One of YouTube’s best offerings is the Bon Appétit channel, a page with over 5 million subscribers and a variety of wonderful videos, including chefs making gourmet treats, teaching kitchen skills and recreating food from tasting it. The channel is a part of Bon Appétit’s — the monthly American food media magazine — increasingly online presence and ability to relate to viewers with varying experience in the kitchen.
Watching a Bon Appétit video — particularly last November’s Thanksgiving meal preparation — is a calming and learning experience that provides both free serotonin and plenty of wonderful moments. With plenty of chefs making appearances throughout the videos, Bon Appétit’s best personality is Claire Saffitz. With a degree from Harvard, gorgeous grey streaks in her hair and a smile that quite literally brightens everyone’s day, this professional pastry chef is the ideal YouTube host. When she talks about making gourmet candies and snacks, it’s impossible not to fall in love with her. She’s also a meme icon; her disassociating meme went viral and brought the internet to confess its appreciation for Saffitz.
In honor of Saffitz and her upcoming first cookbook, here are the five best gourmet snacks (in no particular order) Saffitz has made on YouTube.
Peeps are the best spring candy; the sugar-dusted marshmallows are tasty and fun to eat. But Saffitz’s take on the iconic sticky candy is incredibly thoughtful. She takes her time researching the candy, dissecting its ingredients and understanding how to actually shape the marshmallow. After attempting to make the Peeps, Saffitz learns more about the air exposure of the treats and coats them with their sugary toppings. But it’s not all smooth sailing. When the Peeps stick to the baking sheet, Saffitz learns that the Peeps need to be carefully handled. It’s a process of trial and error, but Saffitz ends the video with a wonderful result that looks almost better than the original product.
Saffitz spends her time understanding how Takis are made, watching manufacturing videos and really digging into how to make the hot, perfectly crispy Takis. The main concern when making Takis from scratch is the dough — she reaches out to a few other people at Bon Appétit for assistance in the process, but eventually Saffitz prevails. And when she makes the Takis powder successfully and tests the various spices and peppers, there’s a real focus on getting every detail right. She describes the process as having plenty of highs and lows, but the final products look quite tasty.
As people from Bon Appétit taste the Twinkies that Saffitz is trying to dissect, she notes a long list of ingredients. This might be harder than she thought. It gets even harder when it’s difficult to keep the cream from disappearing into the cake — there has to be enough cream and it has to stick. But once the fluffy cake is made and baked, the buttercream filling piped and added, the gourmet Twinkies look just like their from-the-box counterparts (if not better). It’s impressive that Saffitz is able to understand the inner workings of one of America’s favorite snacks and proves just how talented she is.
This video is quite literally one of the best episodes from the test kitchen. Saffitz brings something fresh to the idea of the Hot Pocket, including real ingredients that produce a fluffy, light, wonderful version of the frozen meal. It’s a difficult process to get there; after one test, the insides of the Hot Pocket leak out and burn on the pan. When Saffitz runs through the final instructions on how to make the Hot Pocket, it’s certainly a complicated process. What makes this video so fun is its complexities — fun to watch, but it would be incredibly difficult to make. But Saffitz keeps a smile the entire time and does a great job making the perfect gourmet Hot Pocket.
Here, Saffitz remakes the complex and incredibly tasty Butterfinger. It’s a wonderful process to watch, especially when Saffitz really breaks down the Butterfinger to understand its insides. That crunchy, layered core is what makes Butterfingers one of the best chocolate candies out there (but also, one of the best candies to remake for a Bon Appétit video). Saffitz has some trouble with the insides of the Butterfinger, but she eventually is able to make the perfectly flaky substance that looks like the real thing. And following Saffitz throughout that process, watching her trials as she works through making gourmet snacks, is exciting at every turn.