is a unique cooking show that puts kids in the spotlight, inviting them to stretch their culinary muscles as well as their imaginations as they compete with—and cheer on—an amazing group of their peers. Savory cooking is certainly the main focus of the show, but because so many kids first fall in love with the kitchen by baking cookies, muffins, and cakes, no season would be complete without a chance for them to whip up something sweet, whether it’s a showdown about homestyle cream pies or Parisian macarons. Baking’s focus on precision is also a great way for the kids to discipline their kitchen habits and hone their techniques, just like the pros. Mentored by an esteemed group of judges—all masters in their fields—the incredible young MasterChef Junior
contestants dream up an array of cakes, pies, cookies, and other delights that are every bit as polished as anything you’ll find in a professional bakery or fancy restaurant—and have loads of fun doing it! The challenges they face are fast—and so are the friendships they make. When the kids are whipping up towering spiced ganache layer cakes (page 154), tender, chocolate-filled cream puffs (page 192), or pâtisserie-style green tea macarons (page 78), it’s easy to forget that no one in the kitchen is more than thirteen years old. Talk about impressive!
Even though these young chefs are serious about baking, they still find plenty of ways to get creative—and crack each other up. Like the time in Season 3, when Jimmy won the lemon meringue pie challenge and got to throw his foamy pie right into judge Graham Elliot’s face—and then the rest of the contestants grabbed pies and clobbered judges Gordon Ramsay and Joe Bastianich, too! Or in Season 6, after the three-legged doughnut-decorating challenge, when judge Christina Tosi, Joe, and Gordon all got soaked with a waterfall of frosting—followed by buckets of rainbow sprinkles!
Now, with this book to guide you, we hope you’ll join in the fun, too. Whether you’ve been baking with your parents and grandparents since you were just big enough to hold a spoon or you’re just starting out, the techniques and recipes in these pages offer a practical guide that will open up the wide world of baking and have you feeling like the master of your kitchen in no time. Packed with tips and recipes inspired by seven seasons of awesome MasterChef Junior
contestants and challenges, you’ll have all the tools you need to head to the oven with creativity and confidence. From new spins on all your family’s favorite recipes, like gooey chocolate chip cookies, flaky buttermilk biscuits, and sticky banana bread, to towering sprinklestrewn birthday cakes, tempting Sunday-morning doughnuts, fancy fruit tarts, buttery soft pretzels, and decadent cheese-filled quiches. You’ll also hear from your favorite contestants as they share ideas and helpful skills they’ve learned along the way.
And that’s not all. With dozens of pages devoted to important equipment and ingredients, detailed step-by-step photos, in-depth MasterChef Lessons that dive into the essential techniques, and ambitious Home Challenges that will push you to new limits, this book is a fun but practical primer designed to serve young bakers of all levels and ambitions. Get ready to learn the hows and whys of baking fundamentals, like how to measure ingredients (page 16), make meringue, decorate with spun sugar (page 122), frost towering layer cakes (page 146), melt chocolate, pipe pastries (page 188), and lots more cool techniques. For those of you who are ready to really to jump into the role of a MasterChef Junior
baker, you’ll find Home Challenges throughout the book—these are recipes that are especially challenging or involved. You’ll also find tons of other practical hints about must-have ingredients, neat kitchen gear, and the science of baking. While some of the recipes in the collection are more complex than others, almost all of them can be broken down into easy pieces that are made to be mixed and matched any way you please. For instance, maybe you think the Butterscotch Budino with Salted Caramel and Crème Fraîche Whipped Cream (page 216) sounds amazing—but probably a little complicated for an afterschool project? Save the caramel sauce and the whipped cream for another day and just make the pudding. It’s delicious all on its own, takes less than 25 minutes to put together, and is guaranteed to wow everyone when you pull it out after family dinner!
Finally, beyond new recipes and techniques, we hope this cookbook encourages you to embrace the can-do spirit shared by so many of the fantastic young chefs who have been a part of MasterChef Junior
. So, jump in and get your hands dirty! Don’t be afraid to try new ingredients and new flavors. Find inspiration in your family traditions and in exploring unfamiliar tastes and new corners of the world. Take a risk on a recipe you’ve never seen before. Trust yourself and all your abilities. Baking is a delicious adventure—and you’re about to dive in!
Copyright © 2019 by MasterChef Junior, Foreword by Christina Tosi. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.