baking notes

Baking Style Tracker: Top cookie jar favorites from Baking Style: Art, Craft, Recipes include lady bountiful cookies, edge-of-darkness bars, confection brownies, irene’s slice-and-bake sugar cookies (my late mother’s recipe), and wild ones.

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My recipe for Cinnamon-Swirl Sour-Cream Coffee Cake, a baking delight if there every was one, was published in the FOOD pages of the Boston GLOBE. You can view the recipe here. What a splendid cake to have on hand to serve to a crowd at brunch. Enjoy!

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Baking by Flavor Tracker: A Ginger Baking Marathon awaits all spicy holiday bakers in Baking by Flavor. Favorite recipes include Chocolate-Ginger Soufflé Cake (page 380, and following page), Sour Cream Ginger Keeping Cake (page 386, and following page), and Ginger Molasses Sweet Potato Pie (page 396). Lovely for cold weather baking.

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Some of my favorite things begin with…roasted cacao nibs. I add them to trail mix for a mellow chocolate crunch, use them to scatter over iced sweet yeast rolls, and flick them over granola.

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Loaded. You wouldn’t know it by a fast look at the contents page of Dorie’s Cookies (though you might by its heft) with its recipe chapters numbering at a tidy six, but this baking book is just chock-full–of baked goodies of varied textures, types, and flavors. Dorie Greenspan has compiled a mix of personal, memory-dated favorites and new inventions, and for intense, perfection-oriented people with a stockpile of butter, sugar, and flour at hand (count me in this group!)–precise and beautiful recipes from the Beurre & Sel cookie boutique, a shop she ran (and since closed) with her son, Joshua. For seasoned bakers, the chapter titled “the beurre and sel collection” is more than a sweet looking-glass peek into for-the-love-of-cookies-turned-commerce, it is its own how-to primer for achieving a blend of baking craft and art. Along with carefully constructed recipes, the reader-baker is treated to cookie images–so big and bold that any one of them could be imagined–still warm–in your hand.

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A fun treat at the end-of-power-walking–a  little dip into a bag of this fruit and nut mix-up.

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One of my contributions to the food pages of the Boston GLOBE, a lovely Bundt cake, is an anytime must-bake. The Chocolate-chip Brown-sugar Bundt Cake is superb for having around on the weekend to slice-and-serve. You can access the recipe here. Enjoy!

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Baking by Flavor Tracker: The well-loved and repeatedly-baked kitchen sink buttercrunch bars (page 209) from Baking by Flavor have filled cookie tins far and wide–year in, year out. Easy. Rich and chewy. A raging favorite.

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Big in the Department of Must-Bake, my popular extra-crisp and flaky granola is a favorite to keep on hand for crunching throughout the day–as a topping for yogurt and tossed over roasted fruit or a fresh citrus-y salad. Packaged prettily, the granola makes a lovely handmade gift.

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Bar Tartine: Techniques & Recipes by Courtney Burns and Nicolaus Balla, the chefs at Bar Tartine in San Francisco’s Mission District, will captivate creative (and industrious) cooks, whether at home or in a professional kitchen. The cookbook captures the essence of the establishment–hand-crafted, preservation-centered, locally-sourced food. Within the pages of the first section, “Inside the Project Kitchen,” you’ll learn techniques for preparing an entire range of powders, spice mixes, dried fruits and leaves, flavorful oils, preserves, syrups, and sprouted seeds–all with a view toward using the results in the second section of the book, “Recipes.” I was immediately drawn to the “Salads” section and put together the Chicory Salad with Anchovy Dressing one day, followed by the Beet & Blue Cheese Salad the next day, and the Cauliflower Salad with Yogurt and Chickpeas a few days later: The salads are beautifully designed, taste-wise, and largely bold. To use this book to its best advantage, you’ll need to read through and absorb its point of view, then incorporate the ideas and strategies within. What awaits? Salmon in Clear Broth, Grilled Whole Eggplant with Tomato Jam & Spiced Hazelnuts, Grilled Potato Salad with Bacon, and so much more.

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