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Martha Stewart's "Baking Handbook"


rjwong
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When I was shopping at Costco about last week, I saw in the cookbook section "Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook." I glanced through it (a long glance, mind you), and it looked pretty good.

Has anybody bought it and tried it out yet?

FROM THE PUBLISHER

... Taking the same comprehensive approach as her bestselling Hors d'Oeuvres, The Baking Handbook provides over 250 time-tested, foolproof recipes for the best -- and most beautiful -- baked goods. ...

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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I had the same Costco experience, and the same reaction. It is, like the hors d'oeuvres book, a good, solid reference, as always ideas for presentations, and a great book to turn to when you have to produce something - usually a same-old same-old item, and need some ideas to bounce it up.

It's on my bookshelf.

THeabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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  • 4 weeks later...

My copy just arrived. I'm impressed. The design is impeccable and well organized (no surprise). The photographs are both useful (clearly showing techniques and step-by-steps) and of course very beautiful. Lots of good practical tips throughout. The recipes are largely spins on the good old American standbys, but there's quite a few international classics as well, such as French macarons, cannelé, dobos torte, financiers, sfogliatele. As theabroma said, the book looks like a good source of inspiration for when you're looking for new takes on the standards.

Edited by Steven Blaski (log)
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This is one of the books on my Christmas list so I dare not buy it yet. I've looked through it and it looks wonderful though.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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yes, it's gorgeous. but everything she does is gorgeous. i mean, the holiday baking magazine alone pretty much gave me an orgasm. sometimes i just like to hug the baking book for long periods of time. and then bake something.

the ginger pear bundt cake? out of this world.

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yes, it's gorgeous. but everything she does is gorgeous. i mean, the holiday baking magazine alone pretty much gave me an orgasm. sometimes i just like to hug the baking book for long periods of time. and then bake something.

the ginger pear bundt cake? out of this world.

:laugh:

"i saw a wino eating grapes and i was like, dude, you have to wait"- mitch hedburg

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I dont want to sound negative, but I just will not get anything that comes from Martha Stewart.  All image, no substance.

As you are dismissing her work in general, I'd like to ask. Have you actually used any of her recipes? Have you looked at this book? (I haven't yet.) What do you mean by "substance"? I think the range and dependability of her recipes (taken as a whole) for the home cook has been wonderful. So unless you're comparing her to cutting edge chefs or writers who delve deeply into particular cultural cuisines and food history I'm not sure what you mean.

And for those who want to try before you buy, check out her website where you have access to most of what's in her magazines and shows. I'm not sure about the book recipes.

"Half of cooking is thinking about cooking." ---Michael Roberts

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  • 8 months later...

I just came across this thread. I am a bit late, but thought I would post my favorites. I find this book full of substance.

Biscuits: Very good, all-purpose ones. I do have some flakier recipes, but I turn to these when I need an all butter dinner biscuit. The chive and cream cheese ones are very flaky though.

The rugelach are a little hard to handle, but absolutely delicious.

I love her macaroons. My sister and I made all three versions. They turned out beautiful and delicious. The strawberry and vanilla did taste exactly the same though. The chocolate were my favorite.

The blackberry roulade was fantastic. It was light and summery and delicious. The recipe worked perfectly. The mocha one was almost as good.

I loved the financier recipes. I have never eaten another one so I do not have much info to base my opinion on.

The sour cherry slab pie is my favorite recipe in the book. It is so hard for me to get sour cherries, I will not waste them on another recipe. This one is perfect. It has a much better ratio of crust to filling than traditional recipes. It also browns perfectly.

The key lime tart was great. I liked it better than pie recipes. The graham cracker dough is great.

The tomato tart was so savory. It is fancier than a pizza but with the same flavors. The mashed roasted garlic and fontina are wonderful.

The pullman recipe is the best I've found and I have tried quite a few.

I had forgotten about the cinnamon raison bread until now. It is amazing. The picture is killer.

The parker house rolls were my favorite roll recipe untill the dinner roll recipe in the new Cooks Illustrated came out. They beat out Marthas for flavor by a landslide, but I still prefer the Parker House when it comes to texture.

The cream puffs are really good. I love topping them with tart dough. I also really prefer my pastry cream lightened with whipped cream. I love that this recipe does that.

Eclairs were just as good as the cream puffs. We ate a ton of them.

I pulled my first strudel dough for the Cherry cheese strudel. It was easy to pull the dough, (who knew), moving the finished unbaked strudel to the pan was more difficult. It looked just like the picture!

I have made a few more of the recipes, but these are my favorite. I found these recipes extremely well tested. The recipes worked perfectly. I have never had another cookbook, where such a high proprtion worked perfectly. The pictures are abundant and very inspiring.

Alright, sorry for the long post :biggrin: .

Edited by Becca Porter (log)

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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I dont want to sound negative, but I just will not get anything that comes from Martha Stewart.  All image, no substance.

I agree. I think many of her recipes need to spend more time in the test kitchen. I have many of her books, including the Baking Handbook, mostly gifts from friends. Every recipe I have tried of hers is met with mixed results.

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I agree.  I think many of her recipes need to spend more time in the test kitchen.  I have many of her books, including the Baking Handbook, mostly gifts from friends.  Every recipe I have tried of hers is met with mixed results.

I sometimes wonder if cookbooks that don't "work" for certain people don't result from the vagaries of imperfect communication?

In my case, even though I love Cooks Illustrated, I found Chris Kimball's The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook totally useless. I also had trouble with a disportionate number of the recipes in Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads.

I don't think the recipes were poorly written or inadequately tested though. I just think some styles of writing don't connect with certain reader's comprehension. This is true in other types of writing, and in spoken language for that matter, so I can't see why it couldn't be the case with cook books?

SB (Forgot to order this book! My Amazon Wish List must have dropped it?) :wink:

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I love Martha's book but then I admire all of her works. Funny, I can't say I have ever had a problem with any of her recipes unless a recipe of hers was copied over and credited to her on another site. But then who knows if the typist made an error or if the recipe was actually from Martha.

I found Martha's Baking Handbook to be an excellent book and I think it is also a terrific purchase for a beginner. Anyone who has ever had issues with a perfect Angel Food Cake, the method in her book and the results are the best I have ever gotten and I think I have tried them all. Though most Angel Food Cake recipes are very similar, I think the method stands out on this one.

True it houses a lot of old standards and basics but it also has some new twists on old standards and a few out-of-the-ordinary recipes. I have been baking for almost 43 years and have a quite extensive collection of books but I think this is a worthwhile purchase for the home baker.

Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

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Wow Becca, I'm totally impressed with all your baking from this book. I find work is really cutting into my extra-curricular (i.e. baking) time!

I received the handbook as a Christmas gift and all I've done (sadly) are the blueberry muffins, marble cake with white chocolate glaze, white chocolate butterscotch cookies, gingersnaps, cheesecake thumbprints, and white cupcakes (without the Strawberry Buttercream). I can't really say any of the above recipes blew me away. I recall that making the cheesecake thumbprints was a frustrating experience. The white cupcakes were very light and had a wonderful buttery flavour. I'm probably going to bake one of her sandwich cookie recipes next as I've developed quite the following with her recipe for "carrot cake cookies" (featured in her 2001 Christmas cookie magazine). They are delish!

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