This new cookbook grew from the grassroots effort to share baked goods with essential workers

April 12, 2021

Photo by Taylor Grote on Unsplash

Award-winning pastry chef Tracy Wilk says, “being in the kitchen makes me happy; it emits a sense of calm where love is shown with a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.” When the pandemic struck her home of New York City, she found herself with too many treats to eat herself. So, she began sharing them with essential workers. This turned into an international movement called #BakeItForward, which is also the title of Tracy’s new cookbook. Not only does the book contain a ton of yummy recipes–from Quarantine Banana Bread to Classic Snickerdoodles–but it also includes inspirational stories from bakers and frontline workers around the world.

“When I gravitated to the kitchen, as so many of us did!, during the height of the pandemic, it was a safe space for me. As I continued to bake and couldn’t eat it all, I decided to share it with essential workers, including postal service workers, grocery store clerks, nurses, doctors, and firefighters, to make their days a little brighter, a little sweeter. Realizing we are stronger when we work together, the grassroots social campaign to #bakeitforward spread around the country, with fellow bakers coming together to say a simple thank you during this difficult time,” explains Tracy.

After graduating from the University of Central Florida and training with the Natural Gourmet Institute, Tracy went on to work in the James Beard award-winning pastry department of ABC Kitchen. She later became the executive pastry chef at David Burke Kitchen, and since 2018, she’s been teaching at the Institute of Culinary Education. She says that her favorite things are “wine, sprinkles, and laughter during a meal shared with those she loves the most.”

The cookbook is broken down into four sections–Cookies, Morning Treats, Bars and Bites and Little Celebrations–and all the recipes feature a difficulty rating scale of 1 to 3. Other recipes include Sprinkle Some Joy Cookies, Homestyle Cinnamon Rolls, My Dad’s Favorite Brownies, Amped-Up Rice Krispie Treats, Classic Yeast Doughnuts, and NYC-Style Challah. In addition, you’ll find a tutorial on baking ingredients, tools, simple baking skills, and tips and tricks for recipe success.

In a description of the book, Jen Glantz, author and friend of Tracy Wilk, sums it up perfectly: “#BakeItForward is more than just a cookbook: It’s a testament to the power of connection, mixed with delightful recipes anyone can find solace in baking―for themselves and for others.”

You can purchase a copy of #BakeItForward on Amazon. A portion of all proceeds from book sales will benefit City Harvest.

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