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


rjwong
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mottmott, I'm sure your baking is much more reliable with a scale. I have often puzzled over the weight of eggs and flour when making Japanese recipes in America, and I'm sure that a scale would be a good solution. But even with the huge differences in egg sizes, I have yet to make such a complex recipe that is hugely affected (from what I can tell) from my approximations.

But I understand your argument, and I do want to (even with all of my excuses!) buy a scale. I only need to find a place to put it! My kitchen is very cramped and I must reorganize it to find room! :smile:

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I have often puzzled over the weight of eggs and flour when making Japanese recipes in America, and I'm sure that a scale would be a good solution.

Japanese baking recipes are absolutely made for use with a scale, as they primarily rely on weights (at least the ones I use). Even the most basic digital scale should come with a tare function, and it takes up no more space than softcover book.

Baker of "impaired" cakes...
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I just made the thumbprints and while they taste great, I didn't make a large enough well for the jelly and the cookies don't work as nicely as they could.  They are nutty, crumbly and would be perfect with a touch more fruit. I think they'd work really well with a hit of spice (ginger, lemongrass, cardamon, etc)  in the cookie as well.

When I made these, I noticed that the wells started to puff back out as the cookies were baked. So about 2/3 of the way through baking, using a the oiled bottom of metal teaspoon, I gently tapped down the middle of the cookies, to reform the well. That allowed me to fit a lot more jam in the cookie than I would have been able to otherwise.

"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 Linzer Cookies and the Dressy Chocolate Loaf Cake. I made both with my Cordon Rose Raspberry Conserve from the Cake Bible. The cookies were eaten before we went to bed that night. They were beautiful and delicious.

For the glaze on the cake I only had bittersweet chocolate. I wished I had used semisweet like Dorie listed in the recipe. It just needed that little bit of sweetness. However, I loved it. The cake and jam were great and the glazes consistency was lovely.

-Becca

www.porterhouse.typepad.com

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I've had this book for well over a month, but I'm only now getting around to posting! (Just upgraded the eGullet membership...hehe...)

I just made the pumpkin spice muffins this morning -- delicious! Tender crumb and delicately spiced. I didn't have sunflower seeds on hand, so I used pepitas (which, given that they are pumpkin muffins, seemed like a reasonable substitution).

Other recipes I've made:

Applesauce spice bars -- What else is there to say that hasn't already been said?? These were wonderful!

Great grains muffins -- I really liked these, but I think these definitely improved once they had cooled. The were good right out of the oven, but at or just above room temperature, the texture of the cornmeal was more noticeable and the flavors seemed more pronounced.

White-out cake -- Delicious! However, I had a bit of a "do-over" with the cake. I only had 9" pans, which I thought I could substitute for the 8" pans the recipe called for. Wrong. Well, wrong if you want to cut the cakes into 4 layers because they didn't rise nearly as high as they would have in 8" pans. So I crumbled *those* cakes into crumbs and made another 4-layer cake. But in the end, very tasty and definitely a show-stopper.

You all have given me so many ideas of what to try next! I'm so glad I've joined this forum :).

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Don't have my book with me and I can't remember the exact name of the cake, Mocha Chocolate Bundt Cake? Made it last night. I used instant espresso for a deeper coffee flavor. It is a really moist, coffee, chocolate cake. Great with port last night and equally great (and more coffee intense) this morning with coffee. Now I'm off to run up and down the stairs until I wear off cake in the morning! Not my usual yogurt but a lot more tasty.

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Really enjoying the book. I've tried a number of recipes out of it. I made the white out cake on the cover for my son's seventh birthday. He doesn't like tradiitonal buttercream frosting ("too buttery", says he), so he just loved that fluffy, marshmallowy, meringuey frosting. The cake was moisty and intensely chocolatey. I've also made the buttermilk biscuits, apple spice bars, great grains muffins, lemon cream and the bittersweet brownies I thought all of them were excellent recipes with techniques and ingredients that made them a little different and special. I can't wait to begin my Christmas baking. I've bookmarked several recipes.

Andrea

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I baked the Almond Scones for breakfast this morning. My wife loves almost anything with almonds in it and I had promised her those for a while since she's seen the picture. They did not dissappoint at all, very delicious. The texture is a bit more crumbly than a typical scone since the dough is almost 50% almonds (a very good thing). They are also not too sweet, so a couple of these babies smeared with some apricot preserves and a cup of black coffee is perfect for breakfast. My wife had to make me put the last five away so that she would not finish them off. So, I guess she liked them.

Mine are on the right :wink:

gallery_5404_3609_359521.jpg

Do not forget, the eG Spotlight Conversation with Dorie Greenspan is going on as we speak this week and will be over by tomorrow. Jump in and join the conversation by posting a new topic or following up on Dorie's comments.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Made the maple cornmeal biscuits last night.  Why?  Because I really wanted to eat biscuits and I didn't have a biscuit cutter.  These drop biscuits came together so fast and easy, and were just the right sweetness.  Great buttery flavor, but not too rich - just perfect.  Now if I can just find a biscuit cutter....

You probably have several -- they are also called drinking glasses and cleaned, empty cans. :smile: Seriously, an actual biscuit cutter may give you a somewhat sharper cut and therefore somewhat higher-risen sides after baking, but thousands of grandmas turned out thousands of perfectly delicious biscuits cut with an old tomato can or whatever, so don't let that stop you.

Eureka! Thanks for juggling the grey matter awake.

Using a safety can opener on one end and a regular one on the other end of the can gives you a sharp edge on one end and a rolled edge on the other to protect your hand!

The normal can turned into a fancy biscuit cutter.

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I bake as a hobby, and the system of tablespoons and cups is so much more convenient for me, as I don't have a scale. Maybe that's why American cookbooks don't include the weights all of the time? I really only eyeball the chocolate that I use (I can't count 9 oz worth of Ghirardelli!!), but I haven't had a major disaster yet. I wonder though, in complex baking, I'm sure that a scale would be necessary!

Baking with a scale makes clean-up much easier, especially an electronic one with easily adjustible tare weight. I can use one vessel for liquid and a paper plate for dry ingredients, none of this multiple measuring cups for dry ingredients.

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Made the peanut butter cookies the other day. Of course, being a airhead, I did not read the directions fully and used all natural peanut butter instead of the store bought jar kind. The peanut butter cookies turned out to be like peanut butter sandies. Anyone know why that is the case? What is in Skippy that is not in naturally grounded peanut butter?

Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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When I made these, I noticed that the wells started to puff back out as the cookies were baked. So about 2/3 of the way through baking, using a the oiled bottom of metal teaspoon, I gently tapped down the middle of the cookies, to reform the well. That allowed me to fit a lot more jam in the cookie than I would have been able to otherwise.

Great tip. I pushed the middles down when they came out of the oven but at that point they were a little too done and crumbly to take much manipulation. Earlier tapping would probably work much better. I found these cookies to be much better after a day. The nut flavor of the dough was nuttier.
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First recipe tried: Coconut Orange Tea Cake. I loved this recipe. It's quick, simple, and smelled amazing in and out of the oven. I couldn't resist slicing off a piece even though the cake was barely cool. The coconut flavour isn't all that prominent, more of a nice background note to the orange. The texture is almost as light and fine as a chiffon cake. I had every intention of savoring each bite, but I must admit that I wolfed down the fairly large slice and still want more. It reminds me of Orange Glow Chiffon Cake from The Cake Bible. I didn't use the full 2 cups of sugar and the cake only took 40 minutes in the oven instead of 60-65 minutes. Prep time: 15 minutes... told you it was quick.

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What is in Skippy that is not in naturally grounded peanut butter?

Sugar and shelf-stable trans fats, unfortunately. :sad:

Is that what gives the peanut butter cookies its texture?

Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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What is in Skippy that is not in naturally grounded peanut butter?

Sugar and shelf-stable trans fats, unfortunately. :sad:

Is that what gives the peanut butter cookies its texture?

Actually, the smooth creamy texture of commercial peanut butters is more a product of the very fine particle size to which the peanuts are ground, and the emulsifiers that are added to it.

Regarding the presence of trans-fats in commercial peanut butter, the quantitites are so low as to be physiologically insignificant. According to the USDA's Agricultural Research Service:

Recurring rumors that commercial peanut butters contain trans fats--which appear to increase risk of cardiovascular disease--have no basis in fact, according to an Agricultural Research Service study.

The rumors no doubt started because small amounts of hydrogenated vegetable oils are added to commercial peanut butters--at 1 to 2 percent of total weight--to prevent the peanut oil from separating out. And the hydrogenation process can generate the formation of trans fatty acids in oils, according to Timothy H. Sanders, who leads research at ARS’ Market Quality and Handling Research Unit at Raleigh, N.C.

To see if the rumors had any validity, Sanders prepared 11 brands of peanut butter, including major store brands and “natural” brands, for analysis by a commercial laboratory. He also sent paste freshly prepared from roasted peanuts for comparison. The laboratory found no detectable trans fats in any of the samples, with a detection limit of 0.01 percent of the sample weight.

That means that a 32-gram serving of any of the 11 brands could contain from zero to a little over three-thousandths (0.0032) of a gram of trans fats without being detected. While current regulations don’t require food labels to disclose trans fat levels, they do require disclosure of saturated fat levels at or above five-tenths (0.5) of a gram. For comparison, that’s 156 times higher than this study’s detection limit for trans fats.

Link

In passing, it should also be noted that butter and cream contain natural trans-fat (created by microbial hydrogenation in vivo) in easily detectable quantities. As I recall, the contration of trans-fats in milkfat is around several percent -- orders of magnitude higher than the concentration in peanut butter.

"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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What is in Skippy that is not in naturally grounded peanut butter?

Sugar and shelf-stable trans fats, unfortunately. :sad:

Is that what gives the peanut butter cookies its texture?

It's what keeps peanut butter from seperating both on the shelf and in your baked goods.

Check out my food blog: Coconut & Lime and my cooking review and tip site Food Maven

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What is in Skippy that is not in naturally grounded peanut butter?

Sugar and shelf-stable trans fats, unfortunately. :sad:

Is that what gives the peanut butter cookies its texture?

Actually, the smooth creamy texture of commercial peanut butters is more a product of the very fine particle size to which the peanuts are ground, and the emulsifiers that are added to it.

Regarding the presence of trans-fats in commercial peanut butter, the quantitites are so low as to be physiologically insignificant. According to the USDA's Agricultural Research Service:

Recurring rumors that commercial peanut butters contain trans fats--which appear to increase risk of cardiovascular disease--have no basis in fact, according to an Agricultural Research Service study.

The rumors no doubt started because small amounts of hydrogenated vegetable oils are added to commercial peanut butters--at 1 to 2 percent of total weight--to prevent the peanut oil from separating out. And the hydrogenation process can generate the formation of trans fatty acids in oils, according to Timothy H. Sanders, who leads research at ARS’ Market Quality and Handling Research Unit at Raleigh, N.C.

To see if the rumors had any validity, Sanders prepared 11 brands of peanut butter, including major store brands and “natural” brands, for analysis by a commercial laboratory. He also sent paste freshly prepared from roasted peanuts for comparison. The laboratory found no detectable trans fats in any of the samples, with a detection limit of 0.01 percent of the sample weight.

That means that a 32-gram serving of any of the 11 brands could contain from zero to a little over three-thousandths (0.0032) of a gram of trans fats without being detected. While current regulations don’t require food labels to disclose trans fat levels, they do require disclosure of saturated fat levels at or above five-tenths (0.5) of a gram. For comparison, that’s 156 times higher than this study’s detection limit for trans fats.

Link

In passing, it should also be noted that butter and cream contain natural trans-fat (created by microbial hydrogenation in vivo) in easily detectable quantities. As I recall, the contration of trans-fats in milkfat is around several percent -- orders of magnitude higher than the concentration in peanut butter.

Great info, Patrick! (Man, is there no topic that exceeds the bounds of this guy's knowledge!!!) :rolleyes:

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First recipe tried:  Coconut Orange Tea Cake.  I loved this recipe. It's quick, simple, and smelled amazing in and out of the oven. I couldn't resist slicing off a piece even though the cake was barely cool. The coconut flavour isn't all that prominent, more of a nice background note to the orange. The texture is almost as light and fine as a chiffon cake. I had every intention of savoring each bite, but I must admit that I wolfed down the fairly large slice and still want more. It reminds me of Orange Glow Chiffon Cake from The Cake Bible. I didn't use the full 2 cups of sugar and the cake only took 40 minutes in the oven instead of 60-65 minutes. Prep time: 15 minutes... told you it was quick.

I read this post and now I know what my next recipe from this book will be! I have a question for you all – the recipe calls for a bundt pan, which I don't have. How would I need to amend the baking time if I want to bake it in a rectangular pan? Specifically this pan. Or would you recommend I just get out and buy a proper bundt pan?

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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What is in Skippy that is not in naturally grounded peanut butter?

Sugar and shelf-stable trans fats, unfortunately. :sad:

Is that what gives the peanut butter cookies its texture?

Actually, the smooth creamy texture of commercial peanut butters is more a product of the very fine particle size to which the peanuts are ground, and the emulsifiers that are added to it.

Regarding the presence of trans-fats in commercial peanut butter, the quantitites are so low as to be physiologically insignificant. According to the USDA's Agricultural Research Service:

Recurring rumors that commercial peanut butters contain trans fats--which appear to increase risk of cardiovascular disease--have no basis in fact, according to an Agricultural Research Service study.

The rumors no doubt started because small amounts of hydrogenated vegetable oils are added to commercial peanut butters--at 1 to 2 percent of total weight--to prevent the peanut oil from separating out. And the hydrogenation process can generate the formation of trans fatty acids in oils, according to Timothy H. Sanders, who leads research at ARS’ Market Quality and Handling Research Unit at Raleigh, N.C.

To see if the rumors had any validity, Sanders prepared 11 brands of peanut butter, including major store brands and “natural” brands, for analysis by a commercial laboratory. He also sent paste freshly prepared from roasted peanuts for comparison. The laboratory found no detectable trans fats in any of the samples, with a detection limit of 0.01 percent of the sample weight.

That means that a 32-gram serving of any of the 11 brands could contain from zero to a little over three-thousandths (0.0032) of a gram of trans fats without being detected. While current regulations don’t require food labels to disclose trans fat levels, they do require disclosure of saturated fat levels at or above five-tenths (0.5) of a gram. For comparison, that’s 156 times higher than this study’s detection limit for trans fats.

Link

In passing, it should also be noted that butter and cream contain natural trans-fat (created by microbial hydrogenation in vivo) in easily detectable quantities. As I recall, the contration of trans-fats in milkfat is around several percent -- orders of magnitude higher than the concentration in peanut butter.

Great info, Patrick! (Man, is there no topic that exceeds the bounds of this guy's knowledge!!!) :rolleyes:

Excellent info indeed. I tried a second batch with regular old skippy and they worked out fine. It seemed that I wasted natural peanut butter unnecessarily.

Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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Excellent info indeed. I tried a second batch with regular old skippy and they worked out fine.  It seemed that I wasted natural peanut butter unnecessarily.

I wonder if that explains the problem I had too. I didn't use natural peanut butter, but the only jar I had on-hand was "Light". I got some regular crunchy today and plan to try the recipe again this weekend.

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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Excellent info indeed. I tried a second batch with regular old skippy and they worked out fine.  It seemed that I wasted natural peanut butter unnecessarily.

I wonder if that explains the problem I had too. I didn't use natural peanut butter, but the only jar I had on-hand was "Light". I got some regular crunchy today and plan to try the recipe again this weekend.

Would you let me know how they work? The thought of using skippy is making me really squirmy, but since it gave me nice rich peanut butter cookies...I guess I have to keep a jar handy.

Ya-Roo Yang aka "Bond Girl"

The Adventures of Bond Girl

I don't ask for much, but whatever you do give me, make it of the highest quality.

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Would you let me know how they work?  The thought of using skippy is making me really squirmy, but since it gave me nice rich peanut butter cookies...I guess I have to keep a jar handy.

Definitely. By the way, when you say they were like Sandies, how do you mean? Because mine came out quite flat and crispy, with an almost melt-in-your mouth texture. They're delicious, so I wouldn't mind if they always turned out this way, but I'd like to know why they didn't turn out as expected.

I'm gonna go bake something…

wanna come with?

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I was looking to Dorie's new book and contemplating the pumpkin marshmallows for one of the Thanksgiving sweets. Then it occured to me, what about gingerbread marshmallows too? Take a look at Dorie's recipe and the variations and let me know how you think you would make gingerbread marshmallows.

So long and thanks for all the fish.
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