The Baked Issue

Photography By Cole LoCurto | Last Updated January 26, 2018
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Baked Christmas Cookie wreaths in a box
Cookies, family recipes and everything that makes the holidays sweet can be found in our Baked Issue.

"Happiness is baking cookies. Happiness is giving them away. And serving them, and eating them, talking about them, reading and writing about them, thinking about them, and sharing them."
– Maida Heatter

A study conducted in France several years ago found that the smell of freshly baked bread doesn’t just make you hungry, it makes you kinder — the aroma of baked goods made people more inclined to help others. King Arthur Flour has a campaign underway that associates baked goods with doing good — if you pledge to share a homemade baked good with a loved one or someone in your community, King Arthur Flour will make a donation to sponsor a meal and fight domestic hunger through Feeding America.

The act of baking is often viewed as a sign of love, kindness and compassion, especially during the holiday season. With that in mind, we have filled the pages of our Baked Issue with a variety of ways to keep your oven busy between Thanksgiving and the new year. Need some inspiration to create a perfect cookie tray? We’ve got you covered. Cooking your first holiday meal on your own? Check out the guide with helpful kitchen tips and a timeline to assemble a recipe for a successful celebration. Learn why baking for a good cause is a key ingredient of the business model at some area enterprises. Wondering about the increase in gluten-free products? While most of us can easily gobble up those wheat-based treats, read how those who are gluten-intolerant adapt their diets and still enjoy celebrations. Finally, peek into the kitchens of area chefs as they talk about the traditions behind their favorite holiday dishes.

This season is also an opportunity to give thanks to all those who engage in Northeast Florida’s vibrant food community — the farmers, the food and drink makers and you, our dear readers. May all your gatherings be filled with local bounty (and lots of baked goodness).


Lauren TitusEditor



What's in Season

Beets with greens on gray background
Here's a list of local food you'll find in season throughout the year in Northeast Florida.

Baked Vidalia Onions

Baked Vidalia Onions with Oysters
Baked onions, fried oysters, grits and butternut squash come together for an elegant appetizer.

Chef Eva's Greek Stuffed Mushrooms

Chef Eva and her greek stuffed mushrooms
Love spanakopita? Try this gluten-free version, using mushrooms instead of phyllo dough, for easy holiday hors d'oeuvres.

A Beginner's Guide to Holiday Meals

Don't Fear the Fowl and Other Advice for Newbies. (Plus a sample menu and recipes!)

Roast Turkey with Herbs

Best Roasted Turkey recipe
When possible, buy your turkey from a farmer in your region and support local agriculture.

Sausage-Leek Stuffing

Holiday table dinner party
This stuffing will quickly become a favorite side dish all year round! For a vegetarian version, use fennel instead of sausage.

Rosemary and Cheddar Drop Biscuits

Rosemary Cheddar Bisquits
These drop biscuits are quick to fix and make a great base for leftover open-face turkey sandwiches.

Endive and Fruit Salad

Endive and fruit salad
The poppy seed vinaigrette adds a tangy crunch to the endive and citrus fruit.

Earth and Fire

Moultrie Creek Studios making pottery in st. Augustine
Making ceramic cookware is an ancient trade that brings memory, meaning and connection to the way we experience food.

Chefs at Home for the Holidays

Northeast Florida Chefs at home
Local chefs talk tradition and family favorites when cooking at home for the holidays.

Chef Marcel's Holiday Pork Roulade

Chef Marcel of Llama Restaurant in St. Augustine
Back in 2005, when I was taking my very first classes of culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Lima, I always tried to prove myself, especially to my mother (who is very particular about cooking). I...

Chef Roderick's Southern Cornbread

Chef Roderick of Jax Diner and Cornbread
The one thing I always love about the holidays is my grandmother's cornbread. As kids, we would always race to the kitchen to eat first so we could get a crispy piece. She would make the batter and I...

Chef Vernetta's Crab & Lobster Au Gratin

crab lobster au gratin by chef vernetta
I started making this dish 10 years ago. I had just  graduated from culinary school a few months before the holidays, and thought about doing something different from the traditional dishes we...

Center of the Plate: Flounder

Flounder in papillote
This locally caught fish is a great source of protein with a mild flavor that makes it easy to use in a variety of dishes.

Fennel-Lemon Flounder

Want to add more fish to your diet? Try flounder! The mild flavor appeals to even the pickiest of eaters.

Gourd-eous Winter Squash

Winter Squash Illustration
Winter squash are relatively easy to grow. Start them from seed in spring or late summer to harvest during the cooler months.

Gluten-Free Baking: Fad or Fact of Life?

Baked Good illustration
Around 18 million Americans have been diagnosed with gluten intolerance to date, and the number is climbing.

Flour Power: Gluten-free Baking Ingredients

Gluten-free baking is easier than ever with alternative options like these.

Where to Find Gluten-free Goods

Gluten Free in Jacksonville St. Augustine
Looking for gluten-free baked goodies? Here's a list of some of our favorite locations in Northeast Florida.

Gluten-free Banana Oat Pancakes

For a hot breakfast any day of the week, here’s a simple pancake recipe that comes together almost as quickly as your morning smoothie!

Salt Dough Ornaments

This fun DIY is great for kids, both young and old. Just make sure no one eats the dough.

Baking a Difference

Food-based philanthropy is baked fresh daily at the Seagull Bakery.

The Perfect Holiday Cookie Tray

What do you get when you gather five bakers, mix in some coffee or adult beverages and toss out a question about the perfect cookie tray? A collaborative recipe for a successful collection of holiday...

Cinnamon Wreaths

Be creative when it comes time to decorate these cookies. In addition to sprinkles and chopped nuts, use edible flowers such as violets, lavender or pansies

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Use seeds from locally grown, seasonal pumpkins in this variation on traditional peanut brittle.

Red Velvet Crinkles

red velvet crinkle cookies
Beet root powder can be used instead of red food coloring! Find it in natural food stores or online.

Jammin' Shortbread

Gold and silver sparkly sugars make these fruity cookies pop on the holiday dessert buffet table.

Holiday Magic Bars

holiday magic bars vegan
Bake up some vegan magic with these chewy, fruity bars.

Christmas Morning Scones

Mix these breakfast treats up while the coffee is brewing, and you won’t need an alarm clock to get everyone to the table. The scent of rosemary will even wake up the sleepy-heads.

Pumpkin Gingerbread Breakfast Loaf

Pumpkin Gingerbread load
Warm notes of ginger and molasses make this slightly sweet bread a perfect complement to cozy mornings with family and friends. Serve it with Brown Butter Fig Glaze for an extra special...

The Balboa

Dos Gatos Jacksonville Cocktail
No room for pie? Serve this cocktail for a sweet finish to your holiday feast.
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