Book List, Staff Post

Baking & Books

Baking Recipes from Novels

Starting with Jane of Austin

I have loved Jane Austen since I was 12 years old and have loved modern retellings of her books for nearly just as long. While I have come across multiple reiterations of Pride & Prejudice, there never seemed to be many of Sense & Sensibility. So thank goodness my wonderful sister Sarah is the manager of the Towne Book Center because she found Jane of Austin for me and it has become one of my favorite books. As a modernization of Sense & Sensibility, it features the Woodward (renamed from the original Dashwood) sisters opening and owning a tea and cafe business after their father has disappeared. Thus, this book is the ultimate comfort because while the story follows the familiar lines of the source material, it also includes recipes for delicious treats that the Woodward sisters sell in their shop. A new favorite of ours are the Pumpkin Chai Glazed scones and the beginner-friendly recipe is one of many offered between chapters in the book. If you are looking for a book that sends you on an emotional rollercoaster and with the trademark wit of an Austen novel, then Jane of Austin is for you. While I’ve already read it multiple times, I plan to revisit it again during this time because I can think of no better book to alleviate all of my pandemic-related anxiety.

– Laura, my sister, on Jane in Austin

I love a book that comes with unexpected recipes! While we often look for cookbooks when we want to try something new or different, there are a great deal of fiction titles that include recipes as well! Jane of Austin is one of my sister, Laura’s, favorite books and it includes a recipe for some absolutely delicious pumpkin chai scones! Jane of Austin, along with other favorite Austen adaptions, and novels with recipes, are all available for purchase through our website and are eligible for FREE shipping!

I used to do a great deal of baking in college as a form of stress relief but have fallen out of practice in the decade since I left school. However, for Christmas my mother gave me one of the those iconic and Instagram ready Kitchen Aid stand mixers, and I figured what better time than mandatory self-isolation during a global pandemic to put it to good use. (And while I can’t share the recipe directly here due to copyright laws, I hope you’ll enjoy my mini-baking adventure!)

Because I am a messy baker and everything I undertake always seems to take twice as long, I like to assemble all of my ingredients first. What I forgot to do here, however, was to get all of my measuring utensils together as well! If you routinely have the ingredients for pumpkin pie on hand, you should be able to whip up the recipe in Jane of Austin without an extra run to the grocery store. Personally, I just had to add canned pumpkin to my Wegmans shopping list.

While I mixed everything in my stand mixer, the recipe did not call for the use of any electronic kitchen tools – just mixing bowls, a whisk and a spoon – so it’s perfect for even the most low tech kitchen (so long as you have a sheet pan and oven). I’m also not big on touching sticky doughs, and scone dough is particularly squishy, so the mixer was quite handy. While the recipe calls for kneading, thorough mixing with a spoon works as well.

While the original recipe called for shaping the dough into a log and cutting into triangles, I had particular difficulty with this super sticky dough and wound up making scone loaf and then cutting it apart after a quick bake, and putting it back in to finish baking. Next time, though, I think I’ll make “drop scones” as I call them, and use two spoons to shape the dough, almost like chocolate chip drop cookies.

While the scones baked, I made the chai glaze which was incredibly easy (just milk, powdered sugar, and some spices whisked together) and then drizzled over top. The recipe called for an additional glaze underneath the chai, but I don’t have a big sweet tooth so I omitted that part. However, the scones were plenty sweet on their own, and absolutely delicious!

The joy that I felt making a recipe from a book was incredible, more so than my usual baking joy. It let me feel like I was doing something magical, like bringing the book into real life! Have you every baked anything with a recipe that you found in a work of fiction?

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