New York City pastry chef and culinary instructor Tracy Wilk has released “#BakeItForward,” a new cookbook highlighting the grassroots adventure of spreading joy, kindness, and sprinkles of hope by sharing baked goods with essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Featuring 25 recipes and baking tips, “#BakeItForward” also includes inspirational stories from bakers around the world that joined in on this movement of giving, as well as frontline workers that were brought a little happiness through these acts of baking kindness.
“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,” says Wilk.
“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.”
Recipes featured in “#BakeItForward” are user-friendly and feature a difficulty rating scale of 1 to 3.
Broken into four sections – cookies, morning treats, bars and bites and little celebrations, - 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.
The book also includes a tutorial on baking ingredients, tools, simple baking skills and Chefs Notes with tips and tricks for recipe success.
“My goal with this initiative and ultimately, the cookbook, is to satisfy the hunger we all have to connect,” adds Wilk. “Some days we all need a reminder that when life gets to be too much for ourselves or others, sometimes a lot can be solved with a warm cookie.”
Wilk graduated from the University of Central Florida and was trained by Natural Gourmet Institute. She went on to work in the James Beard award–winning pastry department of ABC Kitchen, making many ice cream sundaes while filling doughnuts at Flex Mussels.
She later became the executive pastry chef at David Burke Kitchen, being recognized as 40 Under 40 Rising Stars. Since 2018, Wilk has been teaching as the Lead Recreational Instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education.