Thanksgiving… Sweets! (Part IV)

This is it! The holiday season is just around the corner, but there’s something we haven’t discussed yet. Dessert! What’s a holiday when there’s no sweets to look forward to? We’re talking familiar and comforting flavors like cinnamon, pumpkin, nutmeg and sweet potato to satiate our sweet tooth! We talk to two lovely ladies, Assata of Baked by AssataSAYS and Lana of Deja Vu Bakery about their fabulous desserts for Thanksgiving this year!

Using baking as a form of self-expression, Assata tells us her ability to bake well comes from her love and passion for cooking. “There is a love there because people that love me were the ones who taught me about baking. I only bake what I like, and I share that with the people I love,” she says.

Photo: Assata

Photo: AssataSAYS

What better way to share that love on Thanksgiving than with Assata’s gorgeous sweet potato pie bites, a recipe that came from her paternal grandmother. Her grandmother was the go-to person for all sweet treats for any type of holiday, be it birthday cakes, banana puddings or sweet rolls.

Photo: Assata

Photo: AssataSAYS

It’s no surprise to know that Assata considers her grandmother the ultimate baker in her life. In fact, her grandmother gifted Assata the recipe for her famous sweet potato bites when Assata was just a teenager. “It took years of practice before I got it right. It’s the only thing I make that I don’t have a written recipe for. I do it all from memory and by taste-testing, just like my grandmother.”

We’re pretty sure this extra layer of history and love is what makes the sweet potato bites taste extraordinary! Unfortunately for many of us, baking really doesn’t come as naturally.

Baking can be intimidating, what with the exact science behind the ingredients and how they should come together. However, Lana feels a bit differently. “Baking has always been something I “felt”. I never time my cookies when they’re in the oven, nor do I have a set temperature I bake them at – all ovens cook differently. I just set them in there and I know when they’re ready.”

Lana’s love for baking is infectious, and probably spills over to her cookies. “I bake every single cookie with the same amount of love and attention to detail as the first!” That love and attention came from her major sweet tooth, which is the reason why Deja Vu Bakery exists today. She’s got funky names to her fun flavors too, naming her cookies based on the feeling one gets by eating the cookie rather than just highlighting the ingredients. Take the ‘Temptation’ cookie, for example. Besides using one of the holiday’s favorite ingredients, we just know biting into that dark chocolate cranberry cookie will make us beg for more!

To take it up a notch, Deja Vu Bakery will also be offering other yummy holiday cookies this year! Lana’s adorable gingerbread men, the Sugar and Spice cookies, is available from this month all through to January.

As for Assata, she’s currently tweaking her own recipe for irresistible gingerbread cookies. Watch this space, she hopes to get ‘em fresh and hot for us by Christmas!

Now, we can’t have a conversation with our baker friends and not ask about the secret to baking really well.  Here’s a little tip from Lana: add a tiny teaspoon of baking powder to the mix, and your cookies will come out fluffier! As for Assata, it’s all about finding the recipes and working on them until they become your own!

Photo via: Daily Mom

Photo via: Daily Mom

Need a quick tip from these busy ladies on handling Thanksgiving this year? Lana says you’ve got to prep, prep and prep! “Plan your day in advance so you can easily enjoy what the holiday is really about!”

Assata’s got a gem on getting through the holiday season alive, reminding us to “… Keep parchment paper and foil on hand! They help to make cleanup a breeze.”

We want to thank both Assata and Lana for taking time out to talk to us, and for serving as inspirations in the kitchen, and in our own lives! We can’t wait to taste many more of their mind blowing treats, and we hope you get in touch with them really soon to have a bite of their desserts too!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! Don’t forget to share this year’s Thanksgiving experience with us (after you’re done with the leftovers and survived Black Friday, of course)!

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