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Macrina's Baking Book


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I picked up the Macrina baking book at the library last week, and have really enjoyed reading the recipes. Has anyone baked anything from this book, and would grace us with tips and outcomes? Thank you!

p.s. Looks like there's a new paperback version to be released next month, with new recipes. Yup, I pre-ordered it. No, I'm not affiliated with the bakery in any way - just love to bake.

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I am in there way too often - and love buying 1/2 priced bread and pastries - half the time they go into the freezer anyway. But once in awhile, I still bake:

Cream biscuits with black forest ham and romano cheese - though I lightened them up a bit.

Apple anadama coffee cake

Olivia's chocolate chip cookies

Breakfast strata - this was a huge hit.

Sweet & spicy nuts - an even bigger hit.

I want to make the more challenging recipes, but don't seem to get around to it.

Edited by tsquare (log)
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I'm always on the lookout for new chocolate chip cookie recipes--how is the Olivia one? What makes it different from other popular recipes (i.e. Alton Brown, Tollhouse, etc.)?

I've flipped through the Macrina book while waiting in line at the store, but haven't made anything from it.

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I've pre-ordered the Macrina cookbook in paperback, but it isn't available until the end of September--just as well, since it will be at least that long before it cools off enough for me to do any baking. In the meantime, I'm on the lookout for their Lemon Sour Cherry Coffeecake recipe. I saw it featured on Road Tasted not long ago, and it looked pretty spectacular. A Google search came up with nothing. Anyone know where I might find it?

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  • 1 month later...
^I just got a copy of the book and the lemon sour cherry coffee cake recipe is in there. Do you have a copy of the book? I can PM the recipe if you'd like.

I just got a copy of the book too! And I tried out the recipe yesterday, and found it wonderful. Even my extremely-picky-eater son liked it, which is really saying something.

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^That's good to hear! How did you find the texture? It has less butter than I would expect in a recipe with 4 cups of AP flour, but other than that, the recipe looks really good. Is there anything you would do next time with the lemon cherry cake that you think may improve it? Another one that caught my eye is the chocolate cherry pound cake, and the steamed chocolate pudding cake that's pictured on the back cover. :smile:

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The next time I make this recipe, I might add a little buttermilk or cut back on the flour a bit. I generally do things by sight and taste, and the batter on this one looked a little thick going into the pan--and, as the recipe says, the texture is firm, more like pound cake than coffee cake. I think buttermilk would up the "whang" factor (as my husband calls it), combined with the lemon juice and zest. The rest of my family loves it as is, though.

I plan to try the cherry almond scone recipe next--more dried cherries to use up-- and the Macringle, which sounds very similar to something my husband's grandmother used to make. (Alas, the recipe died with her.) Also, the plum and almond crumb tart looks like it would be great.

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^That was my knee-jerk reaction too, that the recipe would be better if the amount of flour was reduced by 1 cup or so. The rest of the proportions look like it would work with 3 cups of flour instead of 4.

Today I made the chocolate cherry pound cake. It was quite tasty. The only changes I made were a modest reduction in sugar, and I soaked the cherries in brandy before adding them to the batter. I would definitely make this again.

ETA: I should've paid heed to Leslie's warning that this is a very rich cake...the rather generous slice I ate after dinner is sitting like a brick in my stomach. :wacko:

gallery_35727_2396_476657.jpg

Edited by Ling (log)
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^ Ling, those cookies look amazing! I didn't look closely at this recipe when I flipped through the cookbook because, although I love cookies, at first glance the recipe seemed pretty similar to others I've used. Do you see a distinct difference between this recipe and others?

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The recipe has both brown sugar and white sugar, which is similar to the recipe I was using previously. However, I've also seen many recipes that call for only white sugar. I been using both together ever since I started baking chocolate chip cookies, because the brown sugar adds a bit of moisture and I like the flavour.

The recipe uses half butter and half shortening. My old recipe uses all butter. Cookies made with shortening apparently spread less, so the cookies stay nice and thick (which is what I like. :smile: )

The large amount of chocolate chips also help the cookies spread less.

I made two more batches of cookies yesterday, but cut the amount of white sugar in half, and it tastes better to me.

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  • 2 months later...

Resurrecting this thread, we made the Lemon-Cherry coffee cake as our first item from this book - WITHOUT consulting this thread - everyone loved it! And even after a three course dinner ending with cheese, we scarfed most of it back in one sitting (but we were 13 of us, or something like that). Next time only change I would make is to chop the cherries up so that they distribute more of themselves around the cake - otherwise fabulous.

If anyone has tried the buttermilk to add bhang or zhang or whatever it was you were trying to add, let us know how it turned out.

I'm thinking of the spiced nuts mentioned up thread as something for today - new year's eats.

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From the earlier Macrina book, I make the squash harvest loaves (makes 2) with roasted butternut squash and find the recipe amazing. It's pretty time-consuming, as you have to roast the butternut squash, toast 3 types of nuts...but it's REALLY worth it for me since I have a weakness for it.

We always wrap one of the loaves in foil and then in a freezer bag and the bread comes out of the freezer nearly perfect...it's just really good stuff. You can taste the harvest loaf at macrina (obviously) but they also have it at Zeitgeist, among other places I'm sure.

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  • 2 weeks later...

^Does the recipe in the book make a loaf that tastes just the same as the Macrina ones? I haven't tried it, but that recipe sounds interesting. :smile:

I highly recommend the buttermilk biscuit recipe. I followed the directions exactly in the book, except I used butter instead of shortening. Absolutely delicious--flaky crisp, moist on the inside. I usually don't like buttermilk biscuit recipes so much (not rich enough) but use good butter and you'll really taste it.

Edited by Ling (log)
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^Does the recipe in the book make a loaf that tastes just the same as the Macrina ones? I haven't tried it, but that recipe sounds interesting. :smile:

I think you were asking me this, and yes, it definitely tastes the same and lately, I think it tastes better! I think macrina is now using pumpkin in their loaves (makes sense since it's much easier to get canned pumpkin) and the butternut squash is sooo much better. a good winter loaf for sure.

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I made the Rustic Potato Loaf, and it was out-of-this-world. Considering it had 1+1/4 lbs. potato for 3 cups flour, I thought it would be a dense lump. But it was light and delicious. It was also a good keeper. I found some that had been in the fridge for maybe a month :shock:, and should have been hard and stale, but a little warming in the microwave or toaster, and it was still good.

BTW, when I first got the book, I emailed the bakery to find out how to measure flour and which Kosher salt they use. They answered almost immediately (and that impressed me):

All of our cook book recipes measure flour with the dip and sweep method. We don't have a standard weight measurement. And we use Diamond Kosher salt in out cafe.

Hope that helps.

-Mary

Edited by merrybaker (log)
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I think you were asking me this, and yes, it definitely tastes the same and lately, I think it tastes better! I think macrina is now using pumpkin in their loaves (makes sense since it's much easier to get canned pumpkin) and the butternut squash is sooo much better. a good winter loaf for sure.

Thanks...this is good to know! I haven't tried their Harvest Loaf (I usually just buy bread at Macrina) but that's next on my list. And the Rustic potato loaf too...I love potato bread, and that's also my bf's favourite bread at Macrina. :smile:

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think after reading this thread, I bought the Macrina Bakery & Cafe Cookbook off of Amazon. I have the issue with the extra chapter named "most requested recipes" at the end.

For the holiday season, I baked their Christmas cookie box (swedish overnights, mexican wedding balls and angel thumbprints). I wasn't overly impressed with any of them except for the thumbprints. I would probably bake them again.

Since Christmas, I've made the morning glory muffins, brown sugar and almond coffee cake, chocolate cherry pound cake, chocolate and apricot cookies and the chocolate walnut tart. I absolutely adored the chocolate cherry pound cake! I only have a 8 cup bundt pan so I made two little mini-loaf pans with the extra batter. The chocolate walnut tart also turned out well but it's quite a lot of work. I hadn't made pie pastry in a long time and had forgotten how much time it takes. For this recipe, you have to make the tart dough, put it in the fridge to firm up, then remove it an hour or so later, roll it out and put it in the tart shell, then put it back in the fridge for another hour, then take it out and bake it off, then let it cool...you get the idea. It's a labour of love.

The brown sugar and almond coffee cake recipe did not work out for me. It says in the recipe to put it in a 9" square baking tin but when I did this it overflowed all over the bottom of my oven! I managed to salvage the rest of the cake and finished baking it off with a cookie sheet underneath to pick up the drippings. Ugh. What a mess!

The morning glory muffins were a bit dense. I don't like recipes that don't list the cup measurements for ingredients such as bananas, carrots or apples. You never know if you've got an overly large carrot or apple or not until you see it takes you forever to bake them off (as your dough is too wet).

I also really enjoyed the chocolate and apricot cookies. They were really delicious and so unique! Quite an unexpected combination but tasty.

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  • 6 months later...

I made the potato loaf this morning and just had a slice with some tomatoes from the garden, mayo and salt and pepper --- delicious! I've never had the bread from the bakery, but mine is very flavorful with a light crumb. The crust did go soft very quickly. Also, my loaf is pretty ugly -- she has you flour the last bit of dough when rolling it up to prevent the seam from completely sealing, but mine opened too much in the oven.

I also made Olivia's chocolate chip cookies earlier this week, but they looked nothing like Ling's. Mine were completely flat. I'm thinking it was probably the organic shortening (Spectrum brand, I think), which is very very soft (especially in the heat we're having -- who knows why I'm baking bread and cookies when it's 90 degrees outside). The dough was practically melting when I spooned it onto the baking sheet even after chilling it for several hours. Flavor was great, though. I'll try these again with regular shortening (now that it's trans-fat free).

I have the old edition of the book and haven't seen any copies of the new one in bookstores or my library. Does the new "most requested recipes" chapter have any interesting recipes?

Edited by mukki (log)
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Nice to see this thread resurrected! I've made the buttermilk biscuits several times and I love that recipe. Also made the ham and cheese biscuits and my bf likes them even more than the buttermilk recipe (I like the buttermilk ones better.) I used aged gruyere instead of romano, and chopped up a handful of herbs and threw them in there as well. They went really quickly at a recent brunch and everyone loved them.

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