Black Girl Baking: Wholesome Recipes Inspired by a Soulful Upbringing

Each of the recipes in Black Girl Baking: Wholesome Recipes Inspired by a Soulful Upbringing (Page Street Publishing 2020), a 2019 James Beard Foundation Book Award Nominee by Jerrelle Guy, tells a story. Divided into sections based upon one of our five sense, she delves into her many food memories for recipes such as her grandmother’s Orange Peel Pound Cake though she since has refined it.

         “My grandmother used a lot more sour cream and lots more butter and sugar,” says Guy who started cooking from scratch when she was 14 because that’s when she went vegan.

Guy in EJC Studio, the food photography studio she shares with Eric Harrison and their cat Christopher. Courtesy of Bostonia, Boston University.

         “I had to figure out a way to veganize all the things everyone else in my family was eating,” she says. “My experimental approach to cooking is a consequence of thinking outside the box with recipe development from a very early age.”

         Guy, author of the popular blog, Chocolate for Basil, looks at her book not only as stories of her life told in recipes but also as inspirational.

Christopher the Cat after one too many cookies. Courtesy of EJC Studio.

         “I want to inspire black women to reclaim their kitchens, diets, bodies, and personal power,” says Guy, who contributes recipes to the New York Times.

The following recipe is reprinted with permission from Black Girl Baking by Jerrelle Guy, Page Street Publishing Co. 2018.

Apple Cider Monkey Bread

Egg-free, vegan option

Makes 1 loaf


3 tablespoons packed brown sugar

¼ cup warm water, at 115°F

2 tsp  active dry yeast

3–3½ cups white whole wheat flour, divided

½ tsp salt

¾ cup warm milk

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

½ cup softened butter

Apple cider coating

¾ cup packed brown sugar

2 tsp  ground cinnamon

¼ cup applesauce

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tsp salt

4 tablespoons softened butter

Apple glaze

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons applesauce

5 tablespoons packed brown sugar

Pinch of salt

To make the dough, add the brown sugar to the bowl of warm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the top, and let it bloom until a cap of foam forms on the top, 5 to 10 minutes.

In a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combine 2½ cups of the flour and the salt. Mix on low speed, pouring in the warm milk, apple cider vinegar and bloomed yeast mixture. Add about ½ cup  more of flour and knead until all the flour is mixed in, then add the butter and mix until the butter is completely worked in. Add extra flour gradually just until the dough comes off the sides of the bowl. You may not need all the flour. Take the dough out of the bowl and place it in a clean, oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp clean kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm, dark place for 1 to 1½ hours, or until doubled in size.

To make the coating, whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, applesauce, apple cider vinegar, salt and butter in a bowl. Oil a Bundt pan and drizzle 3 to 4 tablespoons (45 to 60 ml) of the coating on the bottom of the pan.

Once the dough has risen, punch it down in the center to release the air. Pinch off about 1½-inch balls from the dough, roll it into a ball and submerge it in the coating. Place the drenched ball into the Bundt pan. Continue until all the balls are coated and arranged in the pan. If there is any leftover coating, drizzle it

over the top of the dough. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for another 30 to 40 minutes, or until doubled in size.

To make the glaze, melt the butter, applesauce, brown sugar and salt together in a saucepan on the stove top or in a bowl in the microwave. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350°F  and position a rack in the center of the oven.

Remove the plastic from the risen monkey bread, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cooked through, and it passes the toothpick/skewer test. Remove the monkey bread from the oven and carefully flip it out onto a serving tray while hot. Drizzle it with the apple glaze, and serve warm

VEGAN OPTION: Replace the butter with virgin coconut oil, at room temperature, or dairy-free butter, and make sure the milk is plant-based.

For more recipes and information, visit Guy’s website.

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