Making Holiday Magic from Scratch: Home Baking with Yvette van Boven

Get ready for the holiday baking season with Home Baked, the newest cookbook from Yvette van Boven.
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Any new cookbook from Yvette van Boven feels like an early holiday present to home cooks everywhere, and her newest book, Home Baked, is absolutely no exception. Home Baked is exactly what you’ve come to love and expect from van Boven: vibrant and lovely, with mouthwatering recipes that read like a daydream spilling across the pages of someone’s beloved kitchen journal. The recipes are diverse, ranging from kitchen staples (like Lemon Curd and Sourdough Starter) to fully assembled baked goods (like the Chocolate Fudge with Melted Marshmallows, recipe below for you to try at home). There are showstopping birthday cakes and cookies and baked bars and even treats for your favorite furry friends. Taking it beyond recipes, van Boven has filled Home Baked with wonderful stories, beautiful images of Ireland, and tips and tricks for making sure even your leftover bread and cake scraps don’t go to waste.

When it comes to avoiding the stress of crunch time in her holiday baking routine, van Boven’s trick is simple: “I’m quite a planner,” she told FN Dish. “I make lists. Good thing is that I work from home. I can make bread and leave it to proof while I work on something else on the computer at the same time. But I do plan ahead. I hate surprises at the last minute, and I like to sit down with my family and friends once they’re here, without stress.”

For the home cooks thinking to themselves that they aren’t bakers, van Boven has words of wisdom that might surprise them. “If you’re not a real baker but you want to start off, I’d bake cookies,” van Boven advises. “They’re usually not too hard to do, and I don’t know anyone that doesn’t love a friend that brings a big bag of Shortbread Cardamom Cookies or my Gingerbread Pepper Cookies. My butter galettes are to die for, I have to say. We can gobble up the whole batch at once.”

What’s the showstopping dish she finds herself serving over and over again, or bringing with her when she makes the holiday rounds? “I love to make my Pain Epi Wreath,” she says. “It’s so pretty and a real centerpiece on your table. It doesn’t require a cutting board or a knife. The guests can take a piece off themselves whenever they want.”

You can order your own copy of Home Baked here.

Chocolate Fudge with Melted Marshmallows
For 4 Mason jars (about 2 cups / 450 ml each)

Prep 25 min. Bake 32 min.

For the crust:
8 gingerbread cookies (see page 215) or Bastogne or Biscoff cookies
3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
pinch of salt
For the chocolate fudge:
1 egg
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (125 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (125 ml) milk
1/2 cup (125 ml) heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 heaped tablespoons (50 ml) sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (150 g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (25 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1 bag marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Make the crust: In a food processor, grind the cookies into a fine crumble. Mix in the butter and salt and press the crumble into the bottom of 4 ovenproof Mason jars. Press firmly with the end of a spatula or a rolling pin.

Make the chocolate fudge: In a bowl, beat the egg with the brown sugar until completely smooth. Add the milk, cream, melted butter, sour cream and vanilla, and mix until you have a cohesive consistency.

Sift the dry ingredients over a bowl and fold them into the wet mixture. Mix by hand or with a spatula into a smooth batter.

Spoon the fudge into the jars. Tap the jars on the counter to allow the batter to spread out evenly.

Place an oven dish (which fits the jars) just below the middle of the oven.

Place the jars in the dish and pour boiling water into it until it reaches the rim of the dish.

Bake for about 30 minutes.

Remove the jars carefully (the water is boiling hot!) and turn on the broiler.

Top the jars with marshmallows; though be careful, as the glass is hot. Press firmly so that you fit in as many as possible.

Place the jars under the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes until the marshmallows are nicely browned. This goes quickly: stay on it!

Eat immediately, with a long spoon: Whoaaaa, yummy!

Reprinted with permission from Home Baked, by Yvette van Boven, copyright © 2015, published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams Publishing.

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