A chat with a fascinating New Yorker
|Jennifer McHenry in action in her Brooklyn kitchen.|
Baking and blogging might be a pastime for most, but for Jennifer McHenry, founder, editor, and baker of the dessert site, Bake or Break, it’s a full-time gig. The Mississippi native bakes and blogs out of her DUMBO kitchen, which she said gets lots of light and is large by New York standards.
Though she calls herself an “amateur baker,” McHenry started her confectionery journey more than seven years ago, working on the website part-time until December 2011 when she left her job. She decided she would try blogging full time for about six months, and here she is more than two years later, still making delectable confections and sharing them with her audience.
TK: What motivated you to start your baking blog?
JM: I had a full-time job that I really didn’t like and that didn’t afford me a lot of creativity. My husband suggested I start a blog. After some convincing that I could actually do it, I immediately knew that I would write about baking, as it’s been a passion of mine for many years.
TK: Where do you find your recipes?
JM: I’m inspired by recipes from all kinds of sources. Growing up in the South, I have a soft spot for Southern Living magazine. But, I also have lots of cookbooks and enjoy finding ideas just by browsing online.
|Raspberry, white chocolate, and almond loaf|
|Chewy chocolate cookies|
|Peanut butter and jelly donuts|
TK: The photos are fantastic. Who does your photography and what type of camera do they use?
JM: I do my own photography. In the early days, my husband did most of it, but he’s been very helpful in teaching me a lot about photography so that I could become more independent in blogging. He still helps me sometimes, which is a fun thing for us to do together. I have a Nikon D200 that I’ve had for a few years. I’ve been considering an upgrade, but I’m pretty happy with what I have now.
TK: How do you like living in DUMBO?
JM: DUMBO is great. When we first moved to NYC, we lived in Chelsea. I loved it there, too, but DUMBO is pretty much perfect for us. It has more of a neighborhood feel, and the views are tough to beat!
|Jennifer McHenry at the High Line in Chelsea, her old neighborhood.|
TK: Favorite spot or activity in NYC?
JM: There’s no way I can pick just one! One of my favorite spots in the city is right in my own neighborhood. There’s something special about Brooklyn Bridge Park. The views, those bridges, the river.
As for activities, we love live theatre. I think we currently have a list of about eight shows we want to see! We enjoy going to Yankees games, too. This year we took the plunge and purchased a partial season ticket plan. We’re spending our Sundays there this season. We also love just exploring the city. We’ll pick a spot and just wander and see what we can find.
TK: Favorite local baked good that is not yours?
JM: I have a hard time passing up a bakery without trying something, so I have a lot of favorites. If I have to pick one thing, I’d have to choose Baked’s Sweet and Salty Cake. It’s amazingly good. Chocolate, caramel, and just the right amount of salt.
TK: Any words of advice for the novice baker?
JM: I think a lot of people are intimidated by baking. The best thing to do is just find a good recipe and get baking! I usually recommend starting with brownies. Brownies are perhaps the simplest baked good to make and master. You’ll never use a mix again!
|If you’re a novice baker, start with something like the “Kitchen Sink Brownies.”|