3 No-Fuss Recipes From Brooklyn's Favorite Bakery

Photographed by Winona Barton-Ballentine.
Brooklyn bakeshop Ovenly has earned a cult-like following for its delicious treats and unexpected flavors. Think: cheddar mustard and blue cheese pecan scones; espresso and burnt sugar shortbread; and carrot and honey buttercream cupcakes. Since its conception in 2010, lines have formed outside the Greenpoint joint, with sweet- and savory-lovers alike anxiously awaiting the latest highly addicting creations from founders Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin.
Now, you can bring the delicious goodness to your kitchen — no wait required. Ovenly's new cookbook (available now), can easily transform baking newbies into dessert masters, with recipes that are as approachable as they are appetizing. Have friends over for some salted chocolate chip cookies or currant rosemary scones, and your apartment might just become the hottest spot in town. Just call this book of recipes your little secret to success.
Ovenly: Sweet & Salty Recipes from New York's Most Creative Bakery, $20.83, available at Amazon.
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Photographed by Winona Barton-Ballentine.
Peanut Butter Cookies
Makes 12 large cookies; 24 small cookies.

"Dense and deeply nutty, this peanut butter cookie is also perfectly chewy," Patinkin says. "The crunchy salt topping provides balance to the brown sugar and sweet vanilla. As a variation, try substituting the Skippy with a 16-ounce jar of all-natural peanut butter, trading out the brown sugar for 1 cup honey, and omitting the vanilla."

1 3/4 cups (packed) light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups peanut butter (While the all-natural stuff works just fine for this cookie, Skippy is our peanut butter brand of choice for this recipe as we’ve found the dough retains its shape best with it)
Coarse-grained sea salt, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together the light brown sugar and eggs until incorporated. Whisk in the vanilla extract. Add the peanut butter and mix with a spatula until smooth and completely incorporated, and until no ribbons of peanut butter can be seen. You know the dough is ready when it has the consistency of Play-Doh.

3. Using a scoop or a spoon, form the dough into 12 approximately 2-inch (2- to 2 1/4-ounce) balls and place them on the prepared rimmed sheet pan. For smaller cookies, use a heaping tablespoon.

4. Sprinkle the dough balls lightly with coarse-grained sea salt just before baking. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, turning the rimmed sheet pan once halfway through baking (for smaller cookies, bake for 16 to 18 minutes). When finished, the cookies will be lightly golden and cracked on top. Let cool completely before serving.

5. You can bake these cookies as soon as the dough is prepared, but they will retain their shape better if you freeze them for 15 minutes before baking.

Excerpted from Ovenly by Agatha Kulaga & Erin Patinkin (Harlequin Nonfiction). Copyright © 2014.
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Photographed by Winona Barton-Ballentine.
Salted Chocolate Chip Cookes
Makes approximately 18 cookies.

"After finishing college, I packed up my liberal arts degree and started work as a waitress at a vegetarian diner (I was an aspiring actor back then, and that's what us theater majors do)," Patinkin explains. "The owners of the restaurant were a kooky husband-and-wife team whose hearts and wardrobe had never left the 1960s, and the chef was an enormous man adept at backhanded compliments. 'Honey, I hear you like to bake. I bet you're good at it! Bring in something next time you make it. And — as a favor to you — I’ll improve anything you bring me.' Those were fighting words. The diner made vegan chocolate chip cookies that were the type of dessert that gave 'vegan' a bad rap. I decided that I would create a vegan cookie that put the restaurant's version to shame. Little did I know that eight years later, Agatha [Kulaga] would take that ancient recipe and alter it to make it absolutely perfect. We're not talking the perfect vegan chocolate chip cookie. We’re talking the perfect chocolate chip cookie. Period. The recipe for this cookie (which, by far, is our best selling item) is very specific and needs to be followed to a T. Trust us, if you follow the rules, you'll be ecstatic about the results."

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups dark chocolate chips (preferably chocolate with 60 percent cocoa content or higher)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp water
Coarse-grained sea salt or flaky sea salt-like Maldon, for garnish

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips to the flour mixture, and toss to coat.

2. In a separate large bowl, whisk the sugars briskly with the canola oil and water until smooth and incorporated, about two minutes. Note: Use fresh, soft light brown sugar. If there are clumps, break them up with the back of a spoon or your hand before whisking.

3. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, and then stir with a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula until just combined and no flour is visible. Do not overmix.

4. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours. Do not skip this step.

5. Preheat the oven to 350⁰F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.

6. Remove dough from the refrigerator and use a scoop or a spoon to form the cold dough into approximately 1 1/2-inch (1 1/2- to 1 3/4-ounce) balls and place them on the prepared rimmed sheet pan. If using a scoop, pack the dough into the scoop to make dense pucks. We recommend freezing the balls of dough for 10 minutes before baking as the cookies will retain their shape better that way while baking.

7. Sprinkle the balls of dough with coarse-grained sea salt (if freezing, remove balls of dough from the freezer first), and bake for 12 to 13 minutes, or until the edges are just golden. Do not overbake.

8. Let cool completely before serving.

Excerpted from Ovenly by Agatha Kulaga & Erin Patinkin (Harlequin Nonfiction). Copyright © 2014.
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Photographed by Winona Barton-Ballentine.
Currant Rosemary Scones
Makes 8 scones.

"This was the first scone flavor we ever created at Ovenly, and it continues to be our most popular," Kulaga says. "My failed hunt to find fresh currants, which I've loved since I was a kid, inspired us to add dried currants to our dough. The fresh rosemary adds an herby aroma reminiscent of a summer garden. While they can easily be made in small batches, our bakers now make these in batches of many thousands at a time. Mounds of scone dough are rolled into sheet pans and then cut by hand. A lot of care (and muscle!) goes into making these scones."

8 tbsp (4 oz) chilled, unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup dried currants
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream + more for brushing
2 to 3 tbsp turbinado sugar, for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 425⁰F.

2. Cut the butter into 1/4 to 1/2-inch cubes and freeze for 10 minutes before using. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

3. Using a pastry cutter or your fingertips, quickly cut or blend the cold butter into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse meal. The butter pieces should be mostly about the size of small pebbles, but some larger pieces are okay.

4. Using a large fork or a wooden spoon, mix the currants and rosemary into the flour-butter mixture.

5. Stir the cream into the flour-butter mixture with a large wooden spoon or a fork until the dough begins to come together. The flour should not be fully incorporated at this point, and do not overmix.

6. Transfer the dough and any loose floury bits to a floured countertop or pastry board/mat.

7. Quickly knead the dough until it comes fully together, and then flatten it with the palms of your hands into a 3/4-inch-thick mound (the shape does not matter at this point). Fold the dough in half, give it a quarter turn, and then flatten it again. Repeat this process three more times.

8. Flour your surface once more, and then shape the dough into a 3/4-inch-thick round that is six inches in diameter. Use a bench scraper or a knife to cut the dough into four equal triangles. Then cut those in half to make eight even triangles. Place the triangles on an ungreased rimmed sheet pan.

9. At this point, we recommend placing the rimmed sheet pan in the freezer for 10 minutes. This will help the scones firm up and retain their shape during baking. If baking right away, brush with cream and top with turbinado sugar to finish; if freezing, brush with cream and top with turbinado sugar just before baking.

10. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the scones comes out clean. Cool the scones on a wire rack. Serve warm with butter, jam, or honey.

Excerpted from Ovenly by Agatha Kulaga & Erin Patinkin (Harlequin Nonfiction). Copyright © 2014.