Monday, February 09, 2009
Two Fabulous Baking Books
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Triana, for this amazing book!
So far from this book, I've made the Lemon Barley Scones, the Whole Wheat Focaccia (I was very skeptical about this, but it was absolutely scrumptious!), the Soft Whole Wheat Pretzels (actually, Doug made those), the Buckwheat Pancakes, the Quinoa Pancakes, Simple Spelt Pancakes, and Morning Glory Muffins.
(Oh and HELLO! I just noticed there is Coconut Scone recipe. How did I miss that? I would have made that before the Lemon Barley ones, although those were good. Fiona once again pronounced me the "best baker in the world" after those.)
They even have a recipe for Scallion Pancakes, which is my all time favorite snack food. They use peanut oil in the filling rather than toasted sesame oil. Hm. I'll try a roasted peanut oil (for the filling, just plain for the frying).
Triana and I made the Classic Crunch Chocolate Chip Cookies (go to her blog for a pic of her second batch). We had no barley flour, so we used all purpose flour instead (the original is half barley flour and half whole wheat flour, so we used AP and whole wheat). The texture of these cookies is sensational. Crispy, yet a bit chewy in the center. They stay that way for days (if they are around that long). So many chocolate chips. It's almost too many (trust me), but it works.
This book also has an amazing looking Coconut Cake recipe. I don't make a lot of cake for home use (I only want a little bit now and then and I certainly don't want to fill up the kids on cake), but this cake is first in line for a special occasion. Maybe a Goodbye Vermont party!
Everything I've made has been outstanding. The only negative remarks have been from the kids...the Morning Glory muffins got a lukewarm response (they tried them, didn't finish them, and don't want more...I guess they have too many bits in them: sunflower seeds, shredded carrots, etc), and the Fiona did not like the strong flavor of the Quinoa Pancakes. What can I say? They taste like quinoa. If you like quinoa, that's okay, but if you don't, you don't. Apparently, pouring a heaping mound of strawberry sauce on them doesn't hide the taste, either. That little bag (1 pound, 6 oz) of quinoa flour cost me $10, too! It's the only flour I could not find in bulk. However, quinoa is quite high in protein, and it actually has a complete, balanced set of essential amino acids at that, so I'll try to keep using it. The pancakes have powdered ginger and crystallized ginger in them (I was out of the crystallized ginger; I keep eating it), which is a great match for quinoa. It complements the strong taste very well. Sophia ate the Quinoa Pancakes, but did not eat them with gusto as she did the Buckwheat Pancakes. Those went well with a blueberry compote.
This book is huge and I also hope to make the Bacon, Leek and Tomato Quiche this week as well as the Eclairs. I haven't made eclairs in ages. They aren't at all difficult. But, oh, I don't care how much whole grain goodness you put in them, they are definitely a once in a while treat!
I've been spending so much time with King Arthur, I haven't made anything from this, but it's Dorie Greenspan (she has a blog!), and they are recipes from Paris patisseries. I can't stop reading this book. Thank you, Sobo! My friend Annie also has this book, and when I told her I had it, she gushed and gushed and extolled its greatness.
There are three recipes for madeleines: classic, honey, and Earl Grey. I say I do not have much of a sweet tooth, but then I remember madeleines. Really, I could eat one (or more?) a day. So perfect with tea. Just so perfect.
Need I say more? Oh, I do?
The recipes are easy to understand, they are not difficult, and everything sounds like good, wholesome French pastry ecstasy. It's also Dorie Greenspan, who even if you never made a single recipe (I dare you not to) from the book, is such a delight to read. Every time I read through this book, I want to jump on a plane to Paris.
Okay, one more tidbit: there is a recipe in here for Fresh Strawberry and Orange-Flower Water Marshmallows. Wow!
I also can't wait to try her recipe from Patisserie Mulot for Cherry Clafoutis. Swoon.