Late-Night Baking with Jules Skloot

“There is, like, a moment, there is a shift, and it occurs to me, and I’m like, ‘Yes!’’

That’s Jules Skloot talking about the moment when inspiration strikes for late-night baking.

The Brooklyn dancer, performer, and sometimes banjo player is known to make cookies, pies, and other treats past well past midnight, when the kitchen in his communal home is quiet and the demands of the day are through.

It’s a meditation, and an act of love. “I don’t bake for people I don’t like,” Skloot says. Luckily, he likes the five roommates with whom he shares a rental brownstone in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

Pies demand recipe books and several hours of work. But chocolate-chip cookies take just half an hour, and they can be made whenever the mood strikes. Skloot has the recipe memorized, and the work becomes a meditation. “I enjoy the unknown moments, you know, and the messiness,” he says. “I like to take my time.”

Skloot says the ideal cookie — and the ones in the accompanying video, above, come pretty close — should have plenty of what he calls “loft”:

So they’re not like super-thin, like crackery? And they’re not, like, super tall and fluffy, like cakey? I don’t really like that either. They’re like a really good mix… around the edges they’re gonna be really crisp, but in the middle they’ll still be really pliant.

Late-night baking comes and goes. It’s dependent on busyness, work schedules, other demands — but more importantly, on Skloot’s mood, on the emotional temperature of the house, and the unpredictable strike of whimsy. Sometimes Skloot’s roommates are lucky enough to wake up twice in a week to a pile of chocolate-chip cookies or a pecan pie set on a glass plate. Other times life flows by, weeks pass, and they wait and hope.


3 thoughts on “Late-Night Baking with Jules Skloot

  1. I like the overall idea of the video. It has a good beginning, middle and end and it takes you through the steps of baking cookies pretty nicely. I also like that you show him playing the banjo late at night. It helps make the piece a bit unique and also gives the viewer a little taste of his performer side.
    Having said that, I thought the video was dark and sometimes it was hard to see exactly what he was doing. And the video was also shaky at times, like when he asked you to lick the spoon.
    I liked that you made title cards for transitions but he sounded like he got cut off when he started speaking right after the “making cookies for someone special” card.
    The length of the piece was good, it was short and got to the key points of baking. But I would also like to have known what he put into the cookies. I know you show us but him saying what some of the ingredients are and how much he used could have been helpful too I think.
    Overally, the piece was good but the quality of the video could have been better if there was more light. Your close up shots were nice, esp the one of him tying his apron and also cracking the eggs. And the end result — the close up shot of the cookies made me hungry!

  2. The intro is good and gets straight to the point. I like that his voice is well-preserved and not edited to take out the “like”s and the repetition, since that accurately represents how people talk late at night. The audio sounds good, too, I like how the banjo is incorporated as a soundtrack.

    I get that this was shot at 1am, but does he really bake in the dark like that? It gets a little hard to see what’s going on sometimes. You have some good perspective shots, though, with the over-the-shoulders and the egg cracking shot head-on. There’s a good sense of movement, too.

    This is a nice straightforward narrative. It’s cool that you included him interacting with you, it brings in a more personal feel. The story breaks a little during the banjo shot, but that could also be interpreted as waiting for the cookies to finish baking. This guy clearly loves what he does, and you showed that well.

  3. I thought it was very well put together. It was straightforward, and it wasn’t too long. My only real complaint was that the lighting was a little strange at parts, and some of the closeups were blurry. Other than that, I thought it was great. And most importantly, the audio was good.

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