Ovenly: Sweet and Salty Recipes from New York's Most Creative Bakery

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9780373892952: Ovenly: Sweet and Salty Recipes from New York's Most Creative Bakery

Ovenly is an award-winning bakery headquartered in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Since 2010, their innovative baked goods have found their way into cafés, restaurants and stores nationwide.

At Ovenly, our philosophy is to explore culinary traditions with an unexpected twist, while thoughtfully melding salty and sweet with a touch of spice. We are committed to crafting recipes that are complex, innovative and fun. Whether you are enjoying a cookie in our bakery or making one of our cake recipes at home, our goal is to provide you with joy through flavor.

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This chapter is a pared-down guide to our baking and snack nomenclature, and to the necessities you'll need to accomplish the recipes in this book. Included here are facts, tips, tricks, not-so-common ingredients and equipment that we think are most important. This guide is not a list of every single process or ingredient you will find in this book; it's just a summary of the less common or more essential ones .We have written this book with the assumption that the home baker has a general knowledge of tools and ingredients.


Bench Scraper

A bench scraper is indispensable for scraping surfaces; for turning pâte brisée and other butter doughs while rolling; for transferring ingredients, such as chopped chocolate, from a cutting board to a bowl (or other cooking apparatus); and for cutting brownies, bars and coffee cakes.

Cardboard Rounds

Precut corrugated cardboard rounds are precise in shape and totally necessary when decorating cakes. Hidden by the frosting, these rounds help to keep cakes sturdy and allow them to be transported more easily. Rounds can be purchased at kitchenware or craft stores or online.

Digital Scale

For dedicated home bakers, and for professional ones like us, a scale provides the most accurate measurements for consistency.

Dry and Liquid Measuring Cups

As their names imply, dry measuring cups are for measuring dry ingredients (flours, nuts, seeds, cocoa), while liquid measuring cups are for measuring wet ingredients (oils, waters, dairy products). Use a spoon to transfer ingredients to your dry measures, fill them completely and use a knife or bench scraper to level them off. Liquid measures feature gradations (usually in cups and milliliters) and include a pour spout for easy usage.

Why not just use one or the other? you ask. Liquid measures are generally accurate within a fraction of an ounce, no matter the liquid. For example, 8 ounces (1 cup) of olive oil is going to be generally equal to a cup of buttermilk.

This does not hold true for dry measures, since dry ingredients settle. For example, a cup of flour may weigh much more than a cup of oats or dried cherries. For our cookbook, we've chosen to measure in cups, taking into account the weight diferences of diferent types of ingredients, so using the right measuring tools is important when preparing an Ovenly recipe.

Offset Spatula

Offsets spatulas are integral in frosting cakes, great for cupcake frosting details, perfect for smoothing out batters in pans and much more.

Oven Thermometer

Don't let your oven temperature display or dial fool you—ovens vary in temperature, despite what your digital screen or dial may tell you. We always use an oven thermometer to ensure baking accuracy, and we suggest you do, too.

Paper or Silicone Baking Cups

These allow for the easy removal of muffins and cupcakes from the pan, prevent sticking and make cleaning up much easier. We prefer to use unbleached baking cups, such as those from Beyond Gourmet.

Pastry Bags and Tips

For executing cake details and frosting perfect cupcakes, we suggest investing a few dollars in a reusable pastry bag and a variety of tip sizes and shapes. If you are a novice cake decorator, we recommend purchasing either size 14, 18 and 22 open star tips and size 2, 4 and 6 plain/round tips to start or a basic cake-decorating kit, such as Wilton's 12-piece cupcake decorating set (widely available at craft stores or online).

Revolving Cake Stand

If you get into cake decorating, a revolving cake stand (like a lazy Susan) will make your life much easier. A revolving cake stand allows you to spin your cake while you frost, and it helps you to determine whether you have decorated a cake evenly and perfectly. We prefer models with a heavy cast-iron base (like those by Ateco), but plastic works, too. These are widely available in kitchenware stores and on the internet.

Rimmed Sheet Pans & Baking Pans

We prefer uncoated, rimmed, steel or aluminum half-sheet (18 x 13-inch) and quarter-sheet (9 x 13-inch) pans (also known as rimmed cookie sheets) for home use. They are ideal for baking cookies, rolling shortbread and roasting nuts and seeds. Sheet pans of various sizes are widely available at kitchenware stores and on the internet.

When we refer to a baking pan, we recommend using one that is at least 2-inches deep. Our standard baking pans are 9x9-inches or 9x13-inches.


To create a lattice pie crust, evenly sized Hot Tarts or square bars, we recommend using a dedicated metal kitchen ruler. It will make cutting easier and will make your pastry look perfect.


For us, scoops are essential in cookie making. Using a scoop ensures that each cookie is the same size and, therefore, that each bakes evenly. Scoops come in a variety of sizes, but we recommend purchasing one #20 scoop (1% ounces) for larger cookies and one #30 (1 ounce) for smaller cookies.

Stand Mixers & Hand Mixers

While we acknowledge that stand mixers are an investment, they are worth it. Well built and powerful, stand mixers are long-lasting and great for aerating batters, whipping creams and more. They are also very useful in savory cooking and bread making.

If you do not have a stand mixer, a hand mixer can be used to make recipes that call for a stand mixer. However, hand mixers generally are not as powerful; in recipes that call for aeration or whipping, or to fully incorporate some of our thicker cookie batters, you may have to add a minute or so to your mixing time.


Baking Powder

Baking powder is a combination of baking soda and an acidic salt, such as cream of tartar, plus cornstarch. Like baking soda, baking powder is a chemical leavening agent that causes batters to rise when they are baked. Combined with baking soda, baking powder does most of the leavening, while the baking soda neutralizes the acids found in the powder.

Too much baking powder can produce bitter batter. It also can make a batter rise too rapidly, creating large air bubbles, which may cause the batter to break and fall. If you use too little baking powder, your baked goods will be dense. For this reason, when you are creating your own recipes, be mindful of how you use baking powder and how much you use in a recipe.

Baking Soda

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a leavening agent. When combined with an acid (like that found in baking powder, yogurt, lemons and more), it releases carbon dioxide, which makes batters expand and rise.


When we specify butter at room temperature (about 65 degrees Fahrenheit), we mean just that. For recipes that call for mixing and creaming butter, the butter should be cool to the touch and easily retain your fingerprint when you touch it. Butter that is too soft (over 68 degrees Fahrenheit), melted butter, or butter that has been melted and then cooled, should not be used in recipes that require creaming.

We use unsalted Grade A butter (preferably local) in our recipes. The fresher the butter and the higher its quality, the better tasting your baked goods and pastries will be. If you don't plan on using butter right away, freeze it to preserve its flavor.


We prefer to buy whole green cardamom pods and to grind them ourselves. Grind whole pods in a coffee or spice grinder until a fine powder forms. Remove any fibrous strands before using.


The general rule of thumb is buy the best chocolate you can afford, and one that has the fewest ingredients. Brands we love include Callebaut, Guittard, Scharffen Berger, Taza and Valrhona. For most recipes, unless otherwise notes, we recommend using chocolate with a 60 percent cocoa content or higher. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the darker—and the less sweet and more bitter—the chocolate will be.

For our vegan chocolate chip cookie recipe, be sure to use a chocolate that does not contain milk or milk solids (most high-quality dark and bittersweet chocolates do not contain dairy products).

American-Process (Natural) vs. Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder

American-process (natural) cocoa powder is acidic and, therefore, will react with and activate leavening agents (baking soda, baking powder and so on). Dutch-process cocoa powder has been alkalized to make it neutral, and it will not react with leavening agents.

Generally, American-process cocoa powders are sharper, smokier and more acidic than Dutch-process cocoa powders, which are deeper and have a purer chocolate flavor. For the most part, our recipes do not rely on cocoa powders to enhance the rising power of leavening agents, you can use American-process and Dutch-process cocoa powders interchangeably. The key is to buy high-quality cocoa, like Guittard or Scharffen Berger.

Dark Dutch-Process Cocoa Powder

Dark Dutch-process cocoa powder (also called extra dark, black, black onyx and cocoa noir) has a high alkali content, a low fat content, an intense bittersweet chocolate flavor and a beautiful black hue. This cocoa powder is essential to our Brooklyn Blackout Cake and our Salted Dark Chocolate Pudding [PAGE TK]. Since dark Dutch-process cocoa powder can dry out cookies and other baked goods, be sure to use it in very wet doughs and in small amounts in other cookery.

This cocoa powder is available by special order from Sahadi's (www.sahadis.com) and Surfas Culinary District (www.culinarydistrict.com).


Eggs come in a few different sizes (large, extra-large and so on). We use large eggs in all our recipes. A general rule is to bake with eggs that are at room temperature. At room temperature, eggs and dairy products combine to form a bond that traps air. When batters and doughs are heated, the air expands, producing a lighter crumb. For this reason, we also like to let our milk and creams come to room temperature before baking, unless otherwise noted.

Testing Eggs for Freshness

We prefer local eggs from pasture-raised hens. Since these often don't have an expiration date on them, stick any questionable whole eggs in a bowl of water to determine their freshness. Fresh eggs will sink, and rotten eggs will float. So if any of your eggs float, throw them out.

Separating Eggs

Crack the egg on the side of a bowl, pry the shell open and let the whites run out until all that remains is the yolk. Or crack the egg on a flat surface, dump the egg into the palm of your hand and let the whites run through your fingers until all that's left is the yolk.

We prefer to make our own [PAGE TK], but if you use store-bought, be sure to reduce the jam (or jelly or marmalade) before using it in a recipe, such as in our holiday cookies. To do so, bring the jam to a boil in a saucepan, and then simmer it for 5 minutes to thicken it. Let it cool before using.

Pomegranate Molasses

One of our favorite ingredients, pomegranate molasses lends a bright, tart and fruity flavor to cakes and frostings (and it's all natural!). When not using it in one of these recipes, try it in a cocktail. Pomegranate molasses is available from Sahadi's (www.sahadis.com) and most Middle Eastern specialty stores.

Milk, Creams & Buttermilk Milks

In all our recipes that call for milk, use whole milk. Whole milk contains about 3.5 percent fat, and as you would guess, 2 percent milk has that exact fat content and skim contains none. Fat helps bind ingredients together and will help your baked goods and pastries come out tender and moist.


Buttermilk adds a rich tang and moisture to many of our recipes. We believe in using the real stuff, full fat, if you can find it. If not, widely available low-fat buttermilk will do.

Heavy Cream vs. Whipping Cream

Heavy cream and whipping cream differ in that the former contains at least 36 percent milk fat and the latter contains at least 30 percent. For our recipes, you can use either type. For recipes that call for whipped cream or for whipping cream until it is stif, the more fat, the more stable it will be. We recommend using heavy cream (the cream with the higher fat content) for piping, frostings and toppings.

Natural Food Coloring

We use only natural food coloring for our red velvet cake and our pomegranate frosting. The artificial stuff is a derivative of coal tar and petroleum (no joke), so we avoid it. Natural food coloring from India Tree and Chef Master Naturals are largely available in health food stores and on the internet.

Nuts & Seeds

As with spices, the fresher nuts and seeds are, the better. Since nuts and seeds are high in fat, they can go rancid. To prevent rancidity, we keep ours in an airtight container in the freezer (which also preserves their flavor better than the refrigerator) if we won't be using them right away. Experiment by substituting your favorite nuts and seeds in any of our recipes that call for them.


We use rolled oats (not quick-cooking oats) in our recipes. Rolled oats and gluten-free rolled oats differ only in the fact that the latter is milled in a gluten-free certified facility. If you don't have a gluten sensitivity, feel free to use regular oats.

Organic vs. Local

Local ingredients found at markets or in specialty grocery stores create a lower carbon footprint and—especially if purchased at a farmers' market or directly from a farmer—tend to be fresher. As we've said, in both baking and cooking, the fresher the ingredients, the better. When locally grown ingredients are not available, we try to use organic ones wherever we can. Organic ingredients are now widely available in local grocery stores…


Part of the fun with many of our recipes is choosing which salt to finish cookies and bars. For crunch, we usually reach for a coarse-grained sea salt like La Baleine or a flaked sea salt lie Maldon for its beauty and sheen. Light pink Himalayan salt and black volcanic salt are also great for decoration and flavor.

Just as we do our spices, we purchase our salts for home use from The Spice House, but they are also widely available in stores and online.


Use dried spices that are as fresh as possible, as they lose their potency over time. We purchase the majority of our spices from The Spice House in Chicago (www.thespicehouse.com). We love the quality of their products.

Vanilla Beans

See our process on [PAGE TK] to learn how to get the tiny vanilla "caviar" out of the tough skins. After removing it, do like Martha Stewart and stuff any used pods into your sugar jar. Just a few will flavor the sugar, which is great for baking, poaching fruits and more.

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is made from preserving vanilla beans in alcohol. Be sure to use only the pure stuff (not imitation). Vanilla extract is also very easy ...


"This book looks and feels like the striking and comforting bakery that Ovenly is and what they make. The recipes are approachable and always have that little extra element of surprise, which is why their goodies are so good and loved by so many. And, if you are in New York, get over to Greenpoint in Brooklyn and check out Ovenly!"
-Elizabeth Falkner, Chef/Author/Artist

"The most beautiful words in the English language? If you ask me, the answer is 'Ovenly scone.'"
-NYT bestselling author Emma Straub

"Just when you assume that a chocolate chip cookie needs butter, you find yourself at home, stuffing your face with Ovenly's impossibly simple vegan salted chocolate chip cookies for breakfast."
-Noah Bermanoff, Owner Mile End Delicatessen & Black Seed Bagels

"The Ovenly women are two of the coolest people we've ever worked with, and their desserts speak to that quality. We love their salty/savory palate that keeps you coming back for more. They are an inspiration for up-and-coming food entrepreneurs, always surprising us with new products and flavors-and keeping it classy as they do so."
-Natasha Case, CEO/Co-founder, Coolhaus

"If you're content with life as-is, don't mess with Ovenly. Because their (vegan!) salted chocolate chip cookie, their gooey honey blondies, their everything is life-changing. Now if you'll excuse me I must go eat some Brooklyn Blackout Cake and die happy."
-Eric Demby, Brooklyn Flea + Smorgasburg

"Agatha and Erin ... made something beautiful out of nothing, and in NYC no less; the most competitive, bullshit, backstabbing city in the world. Just think about how awesome that is! Their baked goods have a self-trained naïveté that makes them delicious and unique. Screw culinary school, start your own band."
-Brooks Headly, Executive Pastry Chef, Del Posto

"If you can't schlep to Brooklyn, baking your way through this book is the best way to experience the magic that is Ovenly. From the perfect buttery shortbread to sweet and savory surprises like Blue Cheese Apple Pie, these deliciously photographed and easy-to-follow recipes are sure to inspire your inner baker. Kulaga and Patinkin are culinary Sorceresses and we are so lucky to have their sweet spell book."
-Zac Young, Pastry Chef and Television Personality

"When we are not eating our mom's chocolate chip cookies, it's certainly Ovenly cookies-as close to Mom's as a trip to the store."
-Frank Falcinelli, Owner, Frankies Spuntino, Prime Meats, & Cafe Pedlar

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