Holiday Baking With Christopher Kimball

Air Date:
Heard On The Morning Show
Banana Bread Christopher Kimball Milk Street Holiday Baking
Photo courtesy of Milk Street

Break out the aprons, the rolling pins and recipe cards. We’re doing some holiday baking! Whether you’re a traditionalist who uses the same techniques of generations past or you prefer a scrumptious twist on expected treats, Christopher Kimball of Milk Street Radio discusses your delectable options this season. He also provides recipes for a few Milk Street favorites.

What’s your tried-and-true bake? What certain recipes baffles you? Do you wonder whether the holiday baking extravaganza is worth the work? Pose your questions and share your holiday baking strategies. Email, tweet us @wprmornings or post on the Ideas Network Facebook page!

Milk Street airs on Wisconsin Public Radio Sundays at 10 a.m. on The Ideas Network.

Pastel Handwritten General Recipe Card by Colleen Leahy

Pastel Handwritten General Recipe Card by Colleen Leahy

Featured in this Show

  • How To Spice Up Your Holiday Baking — Literally

    Chris Kimball, founder of “Milk Street Radio,” is all about mixing things up. He puts rye flour in his chocolate chip cookies. He shuns cinnamon in his apple pie. He adds cardamom to his banana bread.

    “In a way, all my life I’ve been cooking with one register of keys,” Kimball told WPR’s “The Morning Show.” “But if you think about it, there are all these other keys there, white keys and black keys. So when you start using more of them, the music gets a little more interesting.”

    Playing all the keys for Kimball often means balancing out sugar with unexpected spices and flavors.

    “There’s nothing better than having sweetness when it’s paired with something that’s a little savory, or something that’s a little bitter, something that opposes it a little bit. There’s nothing worse than just a mouthful of sugar,” he said.

    Kimball shares a few tips to help shake things up when you’re baking this holiday season.

    Brown Your Butter And Toast Your Flour

    Slightly altering these basic ingredients is a great way to enhance the flavor of many baked goods, Kimball said.

    Browning butter brings out a carmel-y richness and is a simple way to add a lot of flavor to many different recipes, he said. To brown your butter, put it in a saucepan on medium heat and stir it until it is brown and fragrant.

    The same goes for toasting flour: it makes the flour taste nuttier and can give your baked goods a new depth of flavor. To toast flour, spread it out on a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and stir it for four to five minutes.

    All-Purpose Flour All The Time Is Boring — Switch It Up

    “Bakers are coming to the conclusion that all-purpose flour has no flavor, and so they’re starting to add other flours,” Kimball said.

    You can add rye, whole wheat flour, almond flour, semolina flour — really anything you like — to any recipe. Kimball recommended making about 20-30 percent of the flour in your recipe nonwhite to add a new layer of flavor.

    Experiment With Different Spices

    Traditional Christmas spices are all good and fine. But Kimball tires of them.

    “Our traditional baking in this country comes from northern Europe, (which) had (just) a handful of spices. Unfortunately, cinnamon and allspice and nutmeg and cloves are sort of the four baking spices. And I think we use them much too much,” he said.

    Try putting pepper in your cookies. Or cayenne. Try adding a small amount of a spice you haven’t used for baking before to one of your tried-and-true recipe and see how it tastes.

    “You don’t have to have 30 spices. But if you add five or six new ones to your repertoire, it really changes your cooking,” he said.

Episode Credits

  • Kate Archer Kent Host
  • Kealey Bultena Producer
  • Christopher Kimball Guest
  • Chris Kimball Guest

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