A locally grown baking book for local food fans

When Atlantan Laura Martin decided, about four years ago, to walk away from highly processed sugars, she created a problem for herself: She loves desserts. And she loves to bake.

But anyone who has ever picked up a cookbook knows that most baking recipes are loaded with refined sugars, such as granulated sugar and brown sugar. So Martin set about reworking her favorite recipes to replace the processed sugar with natural and less refined sweeteners, such as honey, maple syrup and date sugar.

What Martin learned was a surprise. “Even though it sounds complicated to substitute natural ingredients and natural sweeteners, it turned out to be really easy,” she says. “If you start out with good-quality, natural ingredients, it’s kind of hard to mess it up.”
What she did with that information, however, is not a surprise at all. The author of a couple dozen books—most of the gardening variety—Martin turned her discovery into a cookbook. “Green Market Baking Book” (Sterling, 2011) was born.

She didn’t include just her own recipes. Martin sought contributions from nationally and regionally known chefs, including Slow Food crusader Alice Waters and Sweet Auburn Bread Co. owner Sonya Jones, to amass 100 recipes, both sweet and savory. Other local contributors include Cynthia Wong, Linton Hopkins and Delia Champion.

A fan of local food, Martin organized the recipes seasonally. Summer selections, for example, include blackberry tart, a crustless yellow squash and sun-dried tomato quiche, and a cheese and fig pizza featuring the locally made Hope’s Gardens pesto.

Don’t have all those ingredients on hand? Don’t sweat it. Martin encourages readers to mess with her recipes. “Part of my goal in writing the book was to create basic recipes that, whatever the farmers have available that week, you could adjust for,” she says.

That philosophy adds to the value of this beautifully illustrated (by Martin, it turns out), nicely organized book. I know I’ll find recipes in here to enjoy each—and every—season.

Recipes from the book:
Author image courtesy of Laura C. Martin, “Green Market Baking Book.”