Monday, August 13, 2012

Book Nook - The Craft of Baking

The Craft of Baking: Cakes, Cookies & Other Sweets by Karen DeMasco:

I always try to only recommend cookbooks that I've actually made something from - so many books have beautiful photography &/or a sleek look to them, but the recipes are the real knitty gritty.  If the recipes aren't any good, the cookbook is no good, no matter how pretty it is.

I've made several recipes from The Craft of Baking, so I'll start there.  The first recipe in the book, and one of my favorites, is the chocolate chip scones.  These are the best scones I've ever made.  They are light and buttery, and it's really hard to eat just I ate three!  I made these one morning that I was out of milk, but had lots of heavy cream.  It was almost like having a big chocolate chip cookie for breakfast!

I've also made the brown butter waffles - this time, I was out of milk but had lots of buttermilk in the fridge.  We just roll with it around here!  These were very tasty & easy to make, but I must admit, they are up against stiff competition - the waffles in Cookwise by Shirley Corriher have been our favorite for years.  But these are great if you want to whip up some last minute waffles - the ones in Cookwise need to be prepared the night before.

I also made the strawberry ice cream (which was so delicious - see post here) and the peach ice cream (to be featured in a future post - but it's yummy too).  With all that ice cream, I just had to put the extra egg whites to good use, so I whipped up the toasted coconut meringue, which I cannot stop eating - it's so good.  Finally, I made the yellow cake with milk chocolate buttercream for Little Dude's birthday, but I think I over-mixed the cake batter because it wasn't as light and fluffy as I was expecting.  I loved the buttercream frosting, but the Bachsters didn't care for it, so I probably won't make it again.  Overall, everything I made was very good & some of these recipes are going in my recipe folder to make time & time again.

Now, for the ones I want to try.  I'll start with the ice cream, because that's been my big focus this summer (really, what's summer without ice cream, I ask you).  I might try the banana malt ice cream - I have ripe bananas sitting there doing nothing at this very moment.  I'm dying to try the pumpkin ice cream, but I'll hold off until Fall, when I cannot resist any pumpkin-related treat.  The brown butter ice cream sounds intriguing, and the author has got me curious about her coconut sorbet.  The raspberry prosecco sorbet sounds like a very grown up treat, I must try it.  That's practically the entire ice cream section, and honestly, the entire cookbook is like this for me - I want to try it all!

Also on my must bake list: chocolate pudding and jasmine rice pudding.  My traditional recipe for pudding calls for cornstarch, which you don't need to use here.  Cornstarch isn't so good for you, so I'm definitely going to try these in place of my current recipe.  I'm going to make the crisp honey grahams the next time we have s'mores, because store-bought graham crackers have yucky ingredients like trans fats.  I've also been trying to find a good excuse to make the brown sugar cake - it sounds wonderful.  I might make it, excuse or not.  And finally, kudos to Ellen Silverman, who did all the photography (which is beautiful & inspiring throughout the book) - her shot of the chocolate cake doughnuts with chocolate crackle glaze has me running to the kitchen every time I see it.  I probably could try to resist this recipe otherwise, but her shot of the doughnuts has me dying for a bite every time I see the picture.

The Craft of Baking has so many great recipes in it - this would be a wonderful book to have on your shelf, to reach for over and over, whenever your sweet tooth starts to get demanding.


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