The Sally Behind Sally’s Baking Addiction
Sally McKenney is the blogger behind Sally’s Baking Addiction – the blog and the book. Her readers love her accessible recipes that feature bold flavors and easy preparation, such as her Cookies n Cream Cheesecake, Vanilla Crepes with Nutella and Fudge Ripple Monster Bars. We chatted about the joys of new kitchens, her love of scales and what her readers are baking these days.
Dédé Wilson: Thank you so much for speaking with me. I know you have been moving. Is this a good time to chat? Are you all moved in?
Sally McKenney: Oh, everything is good – just hectic! Been really busy with moving and and getting married next month.
Congratulations! Are you excited about your new kitchen?
Yes! My old one was very small, in a little apartment and I didn’t have room for everything I needed. Now I have two ovens and lots of counter space!
The counter space will make a huge difference for you! Let’s talk about your book…originally you were writing for the digital space and now you have your book. Tell me what it was like making that transition.
Online everything is editable – anytime! With a book it’s so permanent. I found myself being overly critical. And I was writing too much! I was writing very long intros to all of the recipes…writing stories…current ones as well as stories about baking while growing up. I was trying to make sure not to repeat myself with descriptions…at one point I had printed the whole manuscript out and had it spread all over. It’s a different kind of work and takes a lot of time but it is so exciting.
But then you are done and a book arrives and you get to hold it in your hands…how did it feel when you got the first copy?
Unlike anything else! Holding it in your hands, it’s like my baby…so surreal. It’s just so huge.
I love the permanency. And now you have an ISBN# that will always be uniquely yours! How did you choose what was going into the book?
That took a lot of time. The Table of Contents was so hard to figure out…I changed it many times. I would look at it every day and say, I don’t have a peanut butter recipe here so I need to do one…or I don’t have caramel anything so I have to develop one. I wanted to hit all the flavors that I love and my readers love…I was tweaking the Table of Contents up to a month before my deadline! Sometimes I removed recipes because they didn’t work or I didn’t end up liking the image. I wanted this collection to be timeless and include recipes that people would actually make.
What are your readers loving right now?
A lot of readers make my fudge recipe: Marshmallow Swirl S’mores Fudge. It is really easy, ridiculously delicious and impressive. The Brown Sugar Glazed Apple Bread is a favorite, too. It’s actually one of my favorites. And the lemon bars are very popular…
What are the three things every home baker should know? Three things that will help them have success?
1. If a recipe calls for softened butter do not use the microwave. It melts it and it gets greasy. My cookies call for softened butter and I will get emails from people saying that their cookies spread too much. I always ask them, “did you let the butter soften naturally at room temperature”? If they so no, that they used the microwave, then that’s the culprit. There is no way around it…one hour before you start, take your butter out of the refrigerator.
2. I am an avid food scale user. It is so much more accurate. I have so many readers who don’t measure as exactly as they should…baking is a science….one little extra tablespoon of flour can make your cookies dry. My scale is my most used tool in the kitchen. Mine costs $30 and it is in constant use.
3. If you are cooking or baking from a recipe, always read it in full before you begin. Some things have to sit out or need time to thicken or chill or you might have to multi-task. If you know all of that ahead, you won’t be rushing around and scrambling.
What are you looking forward to making this fall?
Pumpkin everything! It’s my favorite flavor to bake with. I eat it all year round, but we are coming into the season where people look for it…pies, breads, all kinds of desserts with pumpkin! And apple pie is my very favorite dessert, so you can look forward to variations of that.
Any extra tips for any of the recipes we are including?
In the Cookies n Cream Cheesecake recipe I write about how to avoid cracks. Beat the cream cheese as well as you can before adding the eggs. Then add the eggs one at a time and beat them just enough to incorporate…just every so slightly after adding the eggs. If you beat too much after adding the eggs the mixture will rise and then crack upon cooling. And for the fudge, cut it into small pieces so you can have more than one because it is really hard not to eat the whole pan!
Sally, thank you so much for chatting with me – and good luck with the wedding next month. Congratulations!
Thank you, Dédé