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Treats from Faculty Bakers

A tasty pile of chouquettes, a French treat.

A bite-size French treat? Yes, please. Chouquettes are among our faculty's favorite recipes.  Media credit: Justine Liepkalns

 

World Baking Day is May 17. What better reason to ask a dozen Arts & Sciences faculty bakers for a favorite recipe? Not that we needed a reason — they were happy to share. So grab an apron, turn on your oven, and get ready to bake!

 

Small but Mighty Bites

 
Colorful rainbow cookies -- more like small squares of cake.
Rainbow Cookies

Bernard Deconinck, Professor and Chair
Department of Applied Mathematics

When my PhD students graduate, I throw them a dessert party (when we're not in a pandemic). These cookies are always featured and popular. Rainbow cookies originated in Italy, but Italian Americans added the color scheme. (The yellow layer used to be a white layer for the Italian flag.) My wife's family is partially Italian American, and these have been among her favorite cookies. The best compliment I received was when her grandmother, instead of serving the cookies when the family came over, reserved them to share with her best friends, proudly proclaiming her grandson-in-law made them. See recipe for rainbow cookies.

 

Chouquettes — round balls of pastry — piled on a plate.
Chouquettes

Justine Liepkalns, Associate Teaching Professor
Department of Biology

A variation on the choux pastry that is used in all kinds of French pastries, chouquettes are wonderful little sweet treats on their own. Growing up in France, I would go to the pastry shop with my mom to buy the daily baguette. Bags of chouquettes were usually found by the counter, and I would often ask to get some. One of my favorite parts was eating the sugar pearls that had fallen from the chouquettes at the bottom of the bag. I have not been able to find these wonderful treats in the States, so I learned to make chouquettes to share these memories with my two-year-old daughter. See recipe for chouquettes.

 

Knafeh topped with chopped pistachios
Knafeh

Nida Kiali, Lecturer
Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilization

Knafeh is a cheesy pastry soaked in rosewater and honey syrup and topped with roasted pistachios. Many countries across the Middle East claim that knafeh originated in their region, but despite the controversy over its origin, it remains one of the most delicious Middle Eastern desserts! Each bite is filled with tradition, history, a fusion of flavors, and great familial moments and festivities. It's a dessert that doesn't need an occasion to be served — I grew up eating knafeh almost weekly — though it is quite popular during weddings, holidays, or even given as a gift. See recipe for knafeh.

 

A sugary plate full of malasadas.
Malasadas

Sarah Stroup, Professor
Department of Classics

Growing up in Hawai'i, we generally didn't make malasadas at home. You'd buy them from a cart at a fair or carnival, or at a roadside stand on the way home from the beach. In the interests of full honesty and allegiance to my Hawaiian roots, this is how we actually did make them at home (as rare as that was): Buy a roll of Pillsbury buttermilk biscuits, tear those apart and shape them into flattened balls, fry them, and then toss in a bag with sugar. That's actually how we did it. This is the legitimate recipe!  Read more about the easiest malasada recipe ever

 

Delicious Cakes, Delectable Pies

 

A serving of streuselkuchen on a plate.
German Streuselkuchen (Crumble Cake)

Annegret Oehme, Assistant Professor
Department of German Studies

Streuselkuchen is an easy and quick cake, a staple in German cuisine as we love afternoon coffee hour (with cake!). My Peruvian partner always jokes that our trips to Germany turn into a sugar-coffee diet because wherever we go, we’re invited to coffee and cake. You can always revamp the basic recipe and adjust it to the seasons, adding apples, berries, rhubarb (Germans are obsessed with rhubarb), and seasonal spices. See recipe for streuselkuchen.

 

Moravian Sugar Cake
Moravian Sugar Cake

Glennys Young, Professor and Chair
Department of History

I grew up in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, a settlement founded in 1740 by the Moravians, who were Protestant missionaries and religious refugees from Central Europe. The Moravian Church (Unitas Fratrum) had its origins in the Czech reformation movement and eventually spread from Bohemia and Moravia to Saxony. I'm not sure whether Moravians made sugar cake in Central Europe, or when they started making it in Pennsylvania, but my grandmother used to make it and it's delicious. See recipe for Moravian sugar cake.

 

handwritten recipe in spiral bound notebook, page stained from years of use.
Apple Cake

Deborah Porter, Professor
Jackson School of International Studies
Co-director, Integrated Social Sciences

This recipe was passed down from my great grandmother to my grandmother, whose handwriting is on the stained, well-used recipe. This was a Rosh Hashanah staple for me growing up, though I make it all year round. We eat it for breakfast as well as for dessert, frequently pairing it with sharp white cheddar cheese. I usually bring it to campus at the start of the academic year, and it’s always a hit. The cake is very easy to make. See recipe for apple cake. 

 

Homemade buttermilk pie
Buttermilk Pie

Carrie Freshour, assistant professor
Department of Geography

I got this recipe from a cookbook by Nicole Taylor, who writes about Black Southern Foodways and culinary traditions. During research with women poultry workers and their families I sat for an oral history with her about her experiences growing up in Georgia, in what she calls "Black Athens." I grew up in rural Northwest Georgia, in a giant multi-racial family eating buttermilk biscuits and cornbread but never pie. This recipe is a small piece of what I learned from Nicole Taylor, served best over long kitchen-table conversations after a warm meal together. See recipe for buttermilk pie. 

 

Scandinavian apple cake, topped with apple slices in a decorative pattern.
Scandinavian Apple Cake

Lauren Poyer, Assistant Teaching Professor
Department of Scandinavian Studies

Apple cake is a common autumn treat across Scandinavia and is variously called eplekakeäppelkaka, æblekage, eplakaka, omenukakku, õunakook, etc. It’s often served as a sweet side to the early afternoon coffee break that is a fixture for many who live and work in Scandinavia — as well as to the Department of Scandinavian Studies here at UW, whose weekly social hour (online this year) takes place over coffee and sweet treats. No better way to enjoy each other’s company than with sugar and caffeine! See recipe for Scandinavian apple cake

 

Bountiful Bread

 

A disk of Lebanese flatbread with red pepper paste spread across the top.
Lebanese Flatbread with Red Pepper Paste Topping
(Man’oushe bi Fleifleh)

Nancy Bou Ayash, Associate Professor
Department of English

This traditional Lebanese flatbread, typically served for breakfast, is a staple of Lebanese street food, available almost everywhere you go in Lebanon from the poorest to the most affluent neighborhoods. It is a relatively simple, inexpensive, but very delicious dish. While the man’oushe comes with diverse toppings — meat, zaatar, spinach, cheese —I have chosen one of my favorite toppings, red pepper paste, which brings back many fond memories. The best treat when I was living in Lebanon was waking up on Sunday mornings to the aroma of my mother’s freshly baked, warm, mana'eesh bi fleifleh. See recipe for Lebanese flatbread with red pepper paste topping

 

Hand-crank kneading pail for making large batch of bread.
Five-Loaf Oatmeal Bread

Linda Martin-Morris, Teaching Professor
Department of Biology

Our family tradition is to bake five loaves of oatmeal bread at a time. The tradition was passed from my grandmother to my mother, a farmer’s wife working outside the home, who believed in batch production of food to feed her five kiddos. Make a big batch, store it away for later.  While I have no need for five loaves at a time, I make this bread for every family birthday to share the benefits of the batch with others. Both my kiddos have their own kneading pail and will, in time, take on the mantle of "birthday bread production." See recipe for five-loaf oatmeal bread.

 

Gluten free bread, sliced on cutting board
Organic Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread

Ann Anagnost, Professor
Department of Anthropology

Those of us with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten intolerance struggle to find tasty, organic, gluten-free bread. That’s why I’m happy to share a gluten-free sourdough bread that I developed (with help from other people online). The recipe definitely needs to be spread around because it is extremely difficult to find bread made commercially that is completely organic, safe for people with gluten-related gut issues, and tastes as good as this. It’s so nice to be able to have sandwiches again! See recipe for organic gluten-free sourdough bread.