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Black Girl Baking: Wholesome Recipes Inspired by a Soulful Upbringing

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**As seen on Netflix’s High on the Hog**

**2019 James Beard Foundation Book Award Nominee**

"Black Girl Baking has a rhythm and a realness to it." - Carla Hall, Chef and television personality

Invigorating and Creative Recipes to Ignite Your Senses

For Jerrelle Guy, food has always been what has shaped her—her body, her character, her experiences and her palate. Growing up as the sensitive, slightly awkward child of three in a race-conscious space, she decided early on that she’d rather spend her time eating cookies and honey buns than taking on the weight of worldly issues. It helped her see that good food is the most powerful way to connect, understand and heal.

Inspired by this realization, each one of her recipes tells a story. Orange Peel Pound Cake brings back memories of summer days eating Florida oranges at Big Ma’s house, Rosketti cookies reimagine the treats her mother ate growing up in Guam, and Plaited Dukkah Bread parallels the braids worked into her hair as a child.

Jerrelle leads you on a sensual baking journey using the five senses, retelling and reinventing food memories while using ingredients that make her feel more in control and more connected to the world and the person she has become. Whole flours, less refined sugar and vegan alternatives make it easier to celebrate those sweet moments that made her who she is today.

Escape everyday life and get lost in the aromas, sounds, sights, textures and tastes of Black Girl Baking.

ISBN-13: 9781624145124

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: Page Street Publishing

Publication Date: 02-06-2018

Pages: 208

Product Dimensions: 8.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.45(d)

Jerrelle Guy, founder of the popular food blog Chocolate for Basil, is a foodscholar, award-winning food photographer, recipe contributor and Tastemade Tastemaker. She has been featured in Vogue, The Boston Globe, Food52 and more. Jerrelle currently resides in Boston, Massachusetts.

Read an Excerpt



I eat with my eyes before I eat with my tongue. That's where most anticipation builds. Seeing the shapes, colors, patterns and the way it all gets arranged on the plate or platter is so important to opening my appetite. Growing up, our family dinners lacked bright colors — although I doubt I could've worked up an appetite for green things back then anyhow; most things I ate stayed in the brown or beige category. And while I can still salivate over stews with gravy-thick sauces or piles of cheesy lasagnas disheveled and shoveled onto my plate, I've learned over time to crave an abundance of colors and textures. Yes, some phenomena, like neon-orange slices of cheese, can stop my appetite, but decadent and luscious things like dripping caramel and chocolate, or mesmerizing patterns like braided bread, will make it hard for me to stop staring.


My daddy had curious cravings, some of them he's passed down to me, like his obsession for Raisinets, and others took time to grow on me — oatmeal cream pies with slices of cheddar cheese. He'd top a craggy pie with one of those plastic-wrapped squares of American cheese, and eat it like an openfaced sandwich. At the time, the sight of that neon cheddar on top was ghastly, but I see now, how for him, it was always about the marriage of the sweet and salty. I've followed his footsteps with this recipe, but not without toning down the menacing orange hue first. I'm using an all-natural white cheddar to help make this pairing much easier on the eyes.

Egg-free, whole wheat

Makes about 7 moon pies

Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup (80 g) old-fashioned rolled oats
Cheddar Cheese Filling

8 oz (225 g) cream cheese, softened
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C or gas mark 4) and have 2 parchment-lined sheet trays nearby.

To make the cookies, in a blender or food processor, pulse the rolled oats 20 times so that the oats are chopped and crumbly but not fine like flour. Set aside. In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream the softened butter and brown sugar together until fluffy. Add the applesauce and vanilla and beat again until fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and finally, fold in the pulsed oats. Drop about 1 heaping tablespoon (15 g) of batter onto the cookie sheets, leaving 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7.5 cm) between each cookie. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the filling, combine the cream cheese and cheddar in a bowl and melt slightly either over a double boiler or in the microwave just until the mixture is easy to spread. Fill the cooled cookies and serve.

ALTERNATIVE FILLING: Try a sweeter version by replacing the cheddar with 1 cup (120 g) of sifted confectioners' sugar.


I got as old as five before we moved from our first house on Chickashaw Lane. By then I had learned to read, chopped off all my hair against my daddy's will AND got my first Easy Bake Oven — a dream come true.

But my first exchange with the toy was dissatisfying at best. Fiddling with its cheap plastic timer and baby-size portions at a time in my life when I could really put it away, it was all so cruel. I'm remaking this chocolate cake so it's bigger, actually tastes good and has a real raspberry-pink icing. It makes up for lost times.

Egg-free, vegan option, whole wheat Makes one 9-inch (23-cm) cake


1¾ cups (210 g) white whole wheat flour
Raspberry Glaze

1 cup (120 g) raspberries, rinsed
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C or gas mark 4) and have a 9-inch (23-cm) oiled cake pan lined with parchment nearby.

To make the cake, stir the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk the brown sugar, yogurt, applesauce, oil and vanilla extract together until smooth. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and fold them together gently to combine, being careful not to overmix. Then, pour in the hot coffee, and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a wire rack to finish cooling while you make the glaze.

To make the glaze, in a saucepan, combine the raspberries, cane sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest and cook, stirring occasionally, until the raspberries break down into a sauce, about 10 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat and strain it through a sieve to remove the seeds. To the seedless sauce, stir in the coconut butter. Spread over the cooled, upside-down chocolate cake, and top with the sprinkles, if using. Slice and serve.

NOTES: For a more traditional icing, substitute the coconut butter with 1 to 2 cups (120 to 240 g) of confectioners' sugar.


There is something alarming about blue food. A real saturated blue feels artificial and my mind struggles to connect it to a flavor. I find it amusing to take something as welcoming and familiar as a warm buttermilk biscuit, the kind that would wake me on the occasional Sunday morning, and turn it blue.


Makes 9 biscuits

½ cup (75 g) frozen wild blueberries
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C or gas mark 7), and have a lined baking sheet nearby.

In a small bowl, toss the blueberries with the buttermilk and granulated sugar and set aside long enough for the milk to change color and get cold, 5 to 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, stir the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together. Toss in the cubes of butter and flatten them between your fingers, breaking them into the flour just enough until the flour becomes damp and slightly mealy but there are still chunks of chickpea-size butter cubes dispersed throughout the flour. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the blueberries and buttermilk, mixing gently with your hands, compressing just until it comes together into a dough. You may or may not need all the liquid.

Using a large ice cream scoop, drop about ¼-cup (60-g) spoonfuls of the batter onto the baking sheet, keeping 1 to 2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm) of space between each biscuit. Brush the tops with more buttermilk, sprinkle with the raw sugar, if you like, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until puffed, golden on the outside and powder blue on the inside.

Remove from the oven, and serve warm with more butter.

NOTE: The longer you let the blueberries soak in the buttermilk, the bluer the biscuits get. Place the bowl in the fridge to keep cold while they soak.

VEGAN OPTION: Replace the butter with dairy-free butter and replace the buttermilk with ? cup (160 ml) of nut or grain milk mixed with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to curdle before adding it to the recipe.


I usually wait until the skins of my bananas blacken to the color of charcoal before I finally commit to turning them into bread. That's when they make the kind of banana bread I go crazy for.

Vegan, whole wheat

Makes one 9-inch (23-cm) loaf

3 very ripe bananas, blended into a puree
¼ cup (40 g) cacao nibs, plus more for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C or gas mark 6) and position a rack in the upper middle of the oven. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and line it with a 4-inch (10-cm)-wide strip of parchment long enough to stretch across the width and up the sides with a little hanging over.

In a large bowl, whisk together the pureed banana, milk, coconut oil, sugar and vanilla until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and charcoal powder, if using, until combined. Add the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients, along with the cacao nibs, if using, and fold until combined, being very careful not to overmix. Scoop the mixture into the oiled and lined loaf pan, and gently smooth out the top. Sprinkle with more cacao nibs, and bake in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove the bread from the oven, and let it rest for at least 20 minutes before lifting it from the pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least another 10 minutes, then slice and serve with nut butter or other favorite topping.

NOTE: Be careful to fold the wet and dry ingredients together gently and not overmix. Overmixing even slightly will make a dense crumb that is hard to cook through to the center.

OPTIONAL BANANA ICING: Blend 1 ripe banana with ½ cup (60 g) of confectioners' sugar. Drizzle over the warm banana bread. Slice and serve.


My mother is not an earnest cook. For her, cooking should take 15 minutes or less and pair well with a bowl of steamed rice. So Christmas evenings, when it was time for her to bring a dish over to my granny's house, she'd reach for one of those 6-pound (2.7-kg) Del Monte cans of fruit cocktail drenched in syrup, drain the fruit, add it to a big bowl of sour cream and sugar, cover it with some plastic wrap and we'd be on our way. I've inherited a similar attitude toward some recipes that I make too often — overnight oats, for one. Granola — I can't be bothered to measure or tend to it.

This is an ugly one, just like ambrosia salad, but it tastes like breakfast parfait. This recipe is for the days you rebel against the kitchen and time spent overthinking.

Egg-free, gluten-free, vegan option

Makes one 9-inch (23-cm) loaf

4 cups (480 g) gluten-free granola
Line a loaf pan with a couple sheets of plastic wrap and leave 3 to 4 inches (7.5 to 10 cm) hanging over around the edges.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and dump the mixture into the loaf pan. Compress with the back of a spoon, fold the extra plastic wrap over the top to completely encase the mixture and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, remove the loaf from the pan, slice and serve.

NOTE: Sometimes when I only have regular unsweetened yogurt, I add a layer of my favorite jam to the middle of the bread. Just add half the mixture to the loaf pan, compress, spread 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 g) jam in the center, and then cover with the final layer.

IDEAS FOR FRUIT ADDITION (DRIED AND FRESH): Peaches, plums, mango, blueberries, green apples.


While it cooks, watch as the coconut cream filling bubbles and reduces. The color will deepen to a gorgeous butterscotch, and as it cools the sauce will spill into smooth ribbons that'll make it hard for you to wait for the tart to set.

Vegan, gluten-free

Makes one 9-inch (23-cm) round tart or one 4 x 14-inch (10 X 36-cm) tart

Shortbread Crust

¼ cup (56 g) virgin coconut oil, at room temperature, or softened butter

½ cup (112 g) coconut oil or butter
Flaked sea salt, for sprinkling Sliced Granny Smith apple, for topping (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C or gas mark 5) and have a 9-inch (23-cm) round tart pan or a 4 x 14-inch (10 x 36-cm) tart pan nearby.

To make the crust, in a bowl with a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream the coconut oil, granulated sugar and vanilla together until fluffy. Mix in the almond meal and salt. Then press the mixture evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan. Place the entire tart pan in the freezer for 10 minutes to harden, then bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the edges brown and the center is crusty. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool.

To make the filling, in a saucepan, combine the coconut oil, brown sugar, coconut cream and salt. Bring to a boil, and cook over medium heat for about 25 minutes. Have a cup of ice water nearby. Dip the tip of a fork into the boiling sugar and then into the ice water; if the sugar sticks between the tines of the fork without dissolving, the filling is ready. Pour it into the cooled tart pan, sprinkle with the sea salt, arrange sliced green apples on top, if desired, and let it cool for at least 30 minutes to harden before slicing and serving.

NOTE: Be sure to shake the can of coconut cream before measuring it, because it separates while it sits.


When I see deep fissures stretching across the surface of my brownie, and a gloss finish that looks like the top's been varnished with clear acrylic, I know those signs mean better texture. A crackled top with a dense fudge underneath makes the perfect brownie. Serve with raspberries and whipped cream, if you like.


Makes one 9-inch (23-cm) pie


¾ cup (90 g) cacao powder, sifted
Tahini maple spread

¼ cup (60 g) tahini paste
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C or gas mark 5) and have an oiled 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan or cake pan nearby.

To make the brownies, sift the cacao powder, espresso, baking soda and salt into a bowl and set aside. In the microwave or over a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons (28 g) of the butter, stirring until the chocolate comes together into a thick fudge. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or with an electric mixer, cream together the sugar, vanilla and remaining 11 tablespoons (154 g) of butter until pale, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the beater as you go. Separate 3 of the eggs and add the egg yolks, one at a time, waiting until they are fully incorporated before adding another yolk, then add the whole egg and mix to combine.

Add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the cooled chocolate butter mixture at a time, continuing to beat after each addition until fully incorporated. Mix in the dry ingredients, beating until just combined.

In a separate clean metal bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Make sure no bits of egg yolk sneak into the bowl, or the fat in the yolk won't allow the whites to lift while beating. Add the whipped egg whites to the batter in 3 additions, folding gently to keep the air in the whites from deflating. Once it's mostly combined (a few streaks of white is okay), pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the crust gets shiny and cracks, and a toothpick inserted into one of the cracks comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.


Excerpted from "Black Girl Baking"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Jerrelle Guy.
Excerpted by permission of Page Street Publishing Co..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Why I Bake 8

A Bit About Me 9

Baking with the Senses 10

Why There Are Vegan Things 11

Sight: Shapes, Colors and Patterns 12

Oatmeal Cheddar Cheese Moon Pies 15

(Not an) Easy Bake Cake with Raspberry Glaze 16

Blue Blueberry Drop Biscuits 19

Charcoal Banana Bread 20

Ambrosia Breakfast Bread 23

Sea Salt Butterscotch Tart 24

Fudgy Flourless Brownie Pie 27

Unicorn Ice Cream Sandwiches 28

Summertime Pavlova Pops 31

Butter Pecan Bundt Cake 34

Ringlet Bagels 37

Everything Chickpea Turmeric Crackers 38

Hidden Herb Garlic Knots 41

Baked Buttermilk Beignets 42

Plaited Dukkah Bread 45

Domino Date and Apple Hand Pies 46

Aroma: Scents and Cinnamon 48

Honey Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread 51

Pecan Pie Rugelach 53

Cashew Cream Stuffed French Toast 57

Strawberry Balsamic Shortcake 58

Maple Cinnamon Granola 61

Macadamia Brown Butter Cashew Cookie Dough 62

Rosemary Pita Chips with Crispy Black-Eyed Pea Hummus 65

Apple Cider Monkey Bread 67

Plum Chai Pie 71

Papaya Pastries 72

Cake Doughnuts with Coffee Glaze 75

Onion and Red Pepper Quiche 76

Banana S'mores Pizza 78

Smoked BBQ Roasted Veggies 80

Sound: Snap, Crunch and Music 83

Pop Biscuits 85

Banana Pudding Crouton Parfaits 86

Brûléed Buttermilk Pie 89

No-Bake Nut and Fruit Bars 90

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Bars 93

Peaches and Cream Cake 94

Little Caramel Crunch Bark 97

Blacker Berry Crostada 98

Rice Crispies 101

Almond Coconut Croissants 103

Apple Walnut Crumble 107

Coffee Almond Crumb Cake 108

Cocoa Gingersnap Cookies 111

Orange Peel Pound Cake 112

Blistered Tomato Sheet Pizza 115

Sun-Dried Tomato and Seed Crackers 116

Touch: Textures and Mouthfeel 118

Bananas Foster Lumpia 121

Honey Halva and Cardamom Biscotti 122

Chocolate Cookies 125

Tofu Chocolate Chip Cookies 126

Break n' Drop Chile Chocolate Chip Cookies 129

Hashed Cookies 130

Baked Halva Pralines 133

Rosketti (Chamorro Cookies) 134

Honey Buns 137

Lemon Ricotta Pistachio Pillow Buns 138

Spinach and Feta Pockets 141

Strawberry Butter Rose Buns 142

Sweet Potato Pie with Chocolate Hazelnut Crust 145

Zucchini Bread 146

Kombucha Muffins 149

Orange Juice and Olive Oil Bread 150

Smoked Okra Dip 153

Grits and Greens Soufflé 154

Taste: Spice, Heat and Flavor 156

Maque Choux Strata 159

Five-Spice Coconut Rice Pudding 160

Mango Lime Coconut Cake 163

Coconut Lemongrass Meringue with Gingerbread Crust 165

Quinoa Banana Bread Muffins 169

Chocolate, Chocolate Veneer Cake 170

Sticky Maple Mini Cakes 173

Peanut Butter Jelly Bread 174

A Poet's Peanut Butter Cookie 177

Pepper Jelly Thumbprint Cookies 178

Griddled Cornbread Muffins 181

Saffron Soymilk Pie 182

Carrot Cake Cheesecake 185

Chestnut Skillet Cornbread 186

Cajun-Rubbed Flatbread 189

Jamaican-Style Patty Pot Pies with Pickled Slaw 190

Baking Basics 193

Acknowledgments 203

About the Author 203

Index 204