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rjwong

"Baking: From My Home to Yours" (Part 1)

598 posts in this topic

Made the World Peace Cookies yesterday and it's good that Dorie warned they might be hard to slice prior to baking - they were!  No photos - they look less than attractive but, so far, have got rave reviews - very, very rich- one is plenty! Mine turned out even larger than they should have - my 1/2 inch was off somewhat.  :biggrin:

Edited to add:

I notice no one has posted a photo of these cookies and I am hoping Patrick will give them a go and show us how to make them attractive as well as delicious! :smile: Please.

I want to make these again soon. I made these once before, about a year and half ago, when they were still known as Korova cookies. Here's a photo I took of them with my old point-and-shoot.

gallery_23736_355_27068.jpg


"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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Thoroughly enjoyed watching Dorie Greenspan on the Martha Stewart show yesterday. Dorie was making her Far Breton Cake. It looked absolutely delicious and the method demonstrated was nice and easy. Cannot go wrong with that!

Her wonderful, down-to-earth, happy personality shone! So nice to put a personality and face with a work. Obviously Martha and her staff are much impressed with her book. Guess it is going on my Christmas Wish List!

I hope lots of members had a chance to watch the show.

Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

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Made the Blondies for a birthday celebration at work today. They're yummy but a little too sweet for me. Didn't stop me from eating it but I really needed coffee. The concensus around the office is...well, let's see....they were gone in about 10 minutes and there was plenty else to choose from. Seems that the first question around here is, "did you make something from that cookbook again" and they get eaten pretty darn fast. This may be the only cookbook from my ridiculously large collection that I plan on being able to say that I made everything in it.

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oh, good, I also wanted to see what the WPCs looked like--thanks Patrick.

does anyone know if using regular size choc chips work? I just bought a zillion bags of them in preparation for the holidays and i'd hate to have to buy another size --although i guess i could chop in the mini processor.

Zoe

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It strikes me that apart from the great pleasure we are all having using these recipes - in taste, looks, success in making them - there’s another element that makes Baking such a great book for so many of us. It emphasizes the sort of baked goods that we’re all happy to make for everyday fare (often) whether we live alone or have a large family.

Yesterday I looked carefully at Flo Braker’s The Simple Art of Perfect Baking, a very good book and very useful in putting forth elements one could easily incorporate in confections of one’s own composing. But these are mostly party cakes. The Braker recipe I use most, a plum fig kuchen, is from her newspaper column. This no way disparages Braker’s book. I’m glad to have it in my library and consult it from time to time. I simply note that it emphasizes a kind of baking less useful for me day to day. I use The Cake Bible all the time for reference, seldom for cake recipes. I’ve made a couple recipes from the two Herme books and love them, but again, most recipes in that book do not often suit my casual life. I could make similar comments about most of the baking/dessert books I have.

Dorie’s book, on the other hand has only a dozen or so recipes that I would make only for a party. The rest are for me, doable any/every day of the week. True, living alone, I may hand off some of it to one of my kids who live nearby, a neighbor, or freeze away part of it for another time as a calorie control measure. I’m sure others may disagree with me, but I don’t care to make even simple layer cakes with fillings and frostings except for entertaining - and not always then. For example, last weekend I did make the Tiramisu Cake for a large family party. We all loved it, but I’ll probably not make it again for a long time as I use those occasions to try out new occasion cakes. For me it's more fun to do something different all the time instead of the same thing over and over.

It think the genius of Baking is the beautiful and exacting execution of book dedicated to the art of home baking with finesse. For everyday baking, it’s the goto book in my library. I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t win a bunch of awards. (Yesterday Martha Stewart may have gotten in the first lick, declaring it her book of the year.)


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

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Thoroughly enjoyed watching Dorie Greenspan on the Martha Stewart show yesterday.  Dorie was making her Far Breton Cake.  It looked absolutely delicious and the method demonstrated was nice and easy.  Cannot go wrong with that!

Her wonderful, down-to-earth, happy personality shone!  So nice to put a personality and face with a work.  Obviously Martha and her staff are much impressed with her book.  Guess it is going on my Christmas Wish List!

I hope lots of members had a chance to watch the show.

Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

Yes. And did MS say it was her choice for best baking book of the year or just best book?


Edited by Mottmott (log)

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

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A friend gave me Dorrie Greenspans new book a couple of weeks ago and I started baking from it. Visually, it is a very attractive cookbook and so far the methods have been solid. The results, however, have not been quite as uniformly good.

The Corn Muffins were nothing short of spectacular. I made the Cranberry Upside Downer cake to take to a function this past Sunday afternoon. I rated the cake as merely good, but everyone at the function literally raved about the cake and had seconds; one guy even ate 3 pieces. The Pumpkin Bundt Cake was good but nothing special. The flavor profile was very mild with little discernible pumpkin taste. I think there are much better pumpkin cakes out there. If I made this again I'd probably increase the amount of spices used.

The one clear miss - and it missed by a WIDE margin - were the Salt & Pepper Cocoa Cookies. The only way to describe these is gawd-awful. The problem was not with the additional of the salt and pepper, it was with the texture and the cocoa. There wasn't quite enough sugar in the recipe to offset the bitterness of the amount of unsweetend cocoa powder used. This is a shortbread cookie that uses powdered sugar instead of flour to provide most of the structure. The texture turned out like sand, very fine sand. I shared these cookies with 2 friends that are trained as and working as chefs; both of spit the cookies out :laugh:. I'm pretty sure that the final cookie was not the result of my method or technique, especially in light of the success I've had with other recipes from the same cookbook.

There are a lot of things to like about the book. The recipes are easy to follow, the instructions clearly written and the actual preparation (at least so far) has been a snap. I like that Ms. Greenspan has provided variations for many of the recipes which makes them even more user-friendly. The texture and crumb on everything I've made has been quite tender, airy, refined and elegant, even the corn muffins. I've been less enthralled by the mild, bordering on bland, flavor profile of the final results. I'm planning on working my way through more of the recipes over the next month and hoping that I have more hits since this is an easy baking book and a very, very likeable book.

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I did the All-in-one Holiday Bundt Cake for Thanksgiving. It was delicious served with whipped cream and a big hit despite a little over-baking due to a bundt pan with a dark exterior. I think turning the oven temp down 25-50 degrees next time may fix that.

I also made the cream scones this week, but with a twist. I deleted the raisins and added the minced zest of one orange (using a microplane) to the recipe, and to half the recipe I added about 3/4 cup dried cranberries. Both variants turned out great! These were the best scones I have ever eaten, and I think that the basic recipe invites many tasty additions.

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Mottmott, I believe Martha said it was her and her staff's choice of best baking book of the year.

Kalypso, is it possible that the brand or type of cocoa powder you used might have been an issue? Some of the black cocoas are not the best tasting and I haven't seen the recipe but is it possible it called for Dutch Process cocoa and you used regular or vice versa? Personally I have never been a big fan of any variation of this cookie but that may just well be my personal tastes. It doesn't appeal to me.

Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

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Kalypso, is it possible that the brand or type of cocoa powder you used might have been an issue?  Some of the black cocoas are not the best tasting and I haven't seen the recipe but is it possible it called for Dutch Process cocoa and you used regular or vice versa?  Personally I have never been a big fan of any variation of this cookie but that may just well be my personal tastes.  It doesn't appeal to me.

Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

I thought it might be the cocoa too. I used plain old Hershey's.

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Is it possible you were supposed to use a Dutch-Process Cocoa? Does the recipe specify? Most of the recipes I have seen for these cookies do contain regular old cocoa though, I must admit.

Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

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I also saw the show. She does have a lovely personality. I enjoyed it.


-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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It strikes me that apart from the great pleasure we are all having using these recipes - in taste, looks, success in making them - there’s another element that makes Baking such a great book for so many of us. It emphasizes the sort of baked goods that we’re all happy to make for everyday fare (often) whether we live alone or have a large family.

The rest are for me, doable any/every day of the week.

It think the genius of Baking is the beautiful and exacting execution of book dedicated to the art of home baking with finesse. For everyday baking, it’s the goto book in my library.

You've captured it perfectly. I love that this is an approachable bake-on-a-whim kind of book. Most of my regular baking gets brought into the office. A cake won't produce enough servings and you can't just grab as you walk by.

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Mottmott, you raise some interesting points.

(Have you ever seen a mottmott? They're stunning.)

I believe there is a quote in the frontmatter of Dorrie's book in which Julia Child hugged her and said, "We're just a couple of home bakers." Something to that effect, I'm at work, I don't have my book.

I've been thinking about that, ever since, in the back of my mind. What is a home baker and how is he or she different from a professional baker or other alternative? I mean in the soul of the difference, not the details.

I like to do simple baking and showpiece baking, and both sorts of baking please me, but I think there's a very important place for the recipes that are done routinely in the home. It's not just because they're easy, there are recipes that I don't think are easy -- excellent renditions of pie and fruitcake, for example, are not easy. Having a repetoire of recipes that are practically universally pleasing to both the baker and the baked-for, memorized or nearly memorized, to me that has something to do with the soul of what we call home baking.

It may be possible for a professional baker to make something, not see the baked-for eat it, and not really care if the baked-for really likes it. But is it possible for the home baker to do that?

The butter churns and churns . . .

:smile:


I like to bake nice things. And then I eat them. Then I can bake some more.

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Made the World Peace Cookies yesterday and it's good that Dorie warned they might be hard to slice prior to baking - they were!  No photos - they look less than attractive but, so far, have got rave reviews - very, very rich- one is plenty! Mine turned out even larger than they should have - my 1/2 inch was off somewhat.  :biggrin:

Edited to add:

I notice no one has posted a photo of these cookies and I am hoping Patrick will give them a go and show us how to make them attractive as well as delicious! :smile: Please.

I want to make these again soon. I made these once before, about a year and half ago, when they were still known as Korova cookies. Here's a photo I took of them with my old point-and-shoot.

gallery_23736_355_27068.jpg

Thank you, Patrick! Mine were not quite as pretty as yours but not that far off! I thought I had done something very wrong but am now reassured that this is the nature of these cookies.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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It strikes me that apart from the great pleasure we are all having using these recipes - in taste, looks, success in making them - there’s another element that makes Baking such a great book for so many of us. It emphasizes the sort of baked goods that we’re all happy to make for everyday fare (often) whether we live alone or have a large family.

. . .

I couldn't agree more. There are just two of us so fancy cakes, pies, tarts etc. are rarely appropriate but being able to make some treats for hubby's lunch box is exactly what I want and there are dozens to choose from in Dorie's book. I love that she tells you which one will freeze - those are the ones I will most likely be making.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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From earlier posts, I see that some of you have tried the Cardamom Crumb Cake. I was thinking of making that for a brunch this weekend. Is it a winner? What is it like? Thanks!

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Mottmott, you raise some interesting points.

I believe there is a quote in the frontmatter of Dorrie's book in which Julia Child hugged her and said, "We're just a couple of home bakers."  Something to that effect, I'm at work, I don't have my book.

I've been thinking about that, ever since, in the back of my mind.  What is a home baker and how is he or she different from a professional baker or other alternative?  I mean in the soul of the difference, not the details.

I like to do simple baking and showpiece baking, and both sorts of baking please me, but I think there's a very important place for the recipes that are done routinely in the home.  It's not just because they're easy, there are recipes that I don't think are easy -- excellent renditions of pie and fruitcake, for example, are not easy.  Having a repetoire of recipes that are practically universally pleasing to both the baker and the baked-for, memorized or nearly memorized, to me that has something to do with the soul of what we call home baking.

It may be possible for a professional baker to make something, not see the baked-for eat it, and not really care if the baked-for really likes it.  But is it possible for the home baker to do that?

The butter churns and churns . . .

:smile:

Haha, well aren't you brave, even broaching that topic. I have seen many, many threads on just this topic and they always end up in fights. But basically they are always about who knows better what they are doing, the homebaker or the professional. Then they get into the differences between pastry chefs, commercial bakers and home bakers. Then culinary graduates, pastry chefs, commercial bakers and home bakers.

But you have an interesting slant on it. So basically does immediate feedback influence the baker? That is something to think about. Haha thinking about is safe, I am not so sure that discussing is but there are those more brave than I, haha!

Hugs Squirrelly Cakes

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Well, I'm not going to even attempt to enter the home baker/professional debate, since I have experience only in one arena.

Since I last posted, I've had many baking successes, one fairly big issue, and one catastrophe (the catastrophe is unrelated to a recipe, don't worry). I have no pictures because it was all baking at home and I forgot my camera at school.

Successes: the quintuple chocolate brownies were fabulous-my mom called them the best brownies she's ever had. I used walnuts because they were what I had on hand, and they were just fine. And of course I used the best chocolates-these are almost all chocolate, so that's definitely necessary. I put a little cinnamon in too, inspired by the other brownies with cinnamon you guys have discussed above.

At the last minute on Thanksgiving, I decided I wanted to make the savory corn and pepper muffins...unfortunately, I got to the store literally two minutes after it closed. So I put in some cheddar and parmesan and freshly ground black pepper into the basic buttermilk biscuits, and they were quite delicious, although ridiculously filling.

On Thanksgiving, I also made the cranberry upside-down cake and the pumpkin pecan pie. The cranberry upside-down cake was not stunning, but it was nonetheless delicious in a homey way, and quite pretty too. The pumpkin-pecan pie, however, was quite a success-I liked it much better than I like either pie on its own!

I also made the chocolate malted whopper drops. It was interesting...I didn't have my mixer at home, so I mixed these by hand. And, contrary to the theory advanced upthread, they came out extremely flat. I don't think I could have overmixed them by hand. It might be due to the fact that the recipe doesn't actually mention what temperature to bake them at! I guessed 350, and cooked them for 9-10 minutes. But, although very flat, they were extremely delicious and chewy-the malted flavor was subtle, but it boosted the chocolate-y flavor in a wonderful way.

And now, for the big issue-Bill's Big Carrot Cake. I followed the directions perfectly as far as greasing and flouring the pans, waiting the right amount of time for them to cool before unmolding, etc. But all three rounds stuck horribly! Two of the pans were nonstick, and one wasn't, but they all stuck equally. The sides came off fine, but the bottoms-I had to pry them out with my fingers and a knife! They seemed fully baked, and if I had added parchment to the bottom, I might have been fine, but...as it was, I had chunks of cake instead of a lovely three-layer cake! Also I didn't quite have enough frosting, but that may have been because I needed a lot to glue the layers together! Any suggestions?

Oh, and the catastrophe...well, it wasn't that bad. But we have a new puppy at home, who's adorable but teething, and a troublemaker. I brought Baking home with me, and put it on top of a stack of books-well, the puppy knocked them over while we were out to dinner, and gnawed on the edges of it. Fortunately, she didn't rip any pages out, but my lovely new book now looks a little tattered, and I'm kind of ashamed to bring it to get autographed when I meet Dorie this weekend (I'm so excited!).

One last thing: I live in the French dorm here, and we have French TA's who are in their 20's, from France. I made the tarte tatin from this book for a dorm event a month or so ago-and I just got an email from one of the TA's asking me for the recipe! So I impressed the true French with my cooking! How exciting!

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Fortunately, she didn't rip any pages out, but my lovely new book now looks a little tattered, and I'm kind of ashamed to bring it to get autographed when I meet Dorie this weekend (I'm so excited!).

Don't be ashamed of your chewed book -- I guarentee you that Dorie will be delighted that it's been used! When I brought my then-2-week-old copy to a signing a few weeks ago, the first thing Dorie asked was whether I had stained the pages yet. (And that that was a good thing.)

:smile:

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I just started putting together the dough for brown sugar-pecan shortbread cookies. My first step was grinding the nuts, and what I ended up with is pecan butter, rather than pecan flour. I have no more pecans (in fact my measure is scant). Should I proceed in making the dough, or will it not work now? Thanks for any advice.

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I just started putting together the dough for brown sugar-pecan shortbread cookies.  My first step was grinding the nuts, and what I ended up with is pecan butter, rather than pecan flour.  I have no more pecans (in fact my measure is scant).  Should I proceed in making the dough, or will it not work now?  Thanks for any advice.

I think it should work fine. I would just proceed with the recipe.


"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I made the savoury corn muffins a few days ago. I did add an extra 1.5 tsp cayenne powder and doubled the amount of japaleno as per the request of chilli-lovin' boyfriend. I also replaced the 8 tbsp of melted butter for oil instead, to make a moister muffin. He thought they were the tastiest muffins ever. I couldn't stop eating them as well, even though my tongue was burning!

309932663_da89563ca7.jpg

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I think it should work fine. I would just proceed with the recipe.

Thank you for responding, I do appreciate it. The pecans incorporated just fine into the dough, which is resting in the fridge now. Won't finish the recipe until tomorrow, but so far, so good.

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Ling, those look and sound fabulous! Every time I think I've decided which recipe I want to try next, someone posts a beautiful photo of something they made and suddenly that's the thing I have a craving for. Must. Make. Savory. Muffins.


I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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