December 2010 Baker's Stash
The BB menorah collection awaiting a good cleaning alongside chocolate money or golden loonies - aka Canadian Hanukkah Gelt. Visit www.BetterBaking.com and enjoy Free Ice-Cream Dough Rugulah, Butter and Cream Shortbread Biscotti, Pumpkin Pie Rugular and more.
Dear Friends and Fellow Bakers,
Just a short note this month as I am knee-deep in baking myself. It’s the time of year when I bake non-stop – creating recipes for BetterBaking.com, new books (always), and for family and friends as well as thank-you’s (in flour and butter) or just “I am thinking of you’ baking. All my friends bake but even these great bakers appreciate a bag of crisp biscotti, or rolls of oatmeal cookie dough ready for the oven, buttery rugulah or pancake mix in a jar. Just the other day, a couple of friends enjoyed test batches of vanilla cheesecake with fresh blackberry topping (I had a bag of leftover frozen blackberries and of course it said: make a blackberry cheesecake topping out of us. I heard it everytime I walked by the freezer).
Where do you get rid of all that baking stuff?
That's a question I am asked constantly and it's not surprising because alot of baking goes on here. But it's never a problem finding deserving eaters and taste testers. Sometimes, en route somewhere, my car packed with bags of cookies or some sort of freshly-baked treat that I intend for a friend or family member, the bags don’t quite make their destination. Instead, they (somewhat impulsively) get handed out to street kids and community kitchens or on occasion, the bags go to the tireless Tim Horton drive-thru crew who know me at this point. They seem to welcome something sweet other than donuts. So we do a hot coffee and cookie exchange in the 30 second transaction at the drive-thru window.
Baking whatever it is - it’s all good. Bake the warmth, share the love, bake it forward. The gift I get back when I bestow baking (not that I am waiting for it) is that smile of surprise and pure joy. Nothing beats that moment. It makes me so glad I have something to give and who cares if all my baking gifts don’t quite make it to their designated recipients. It’s also the feeling that I have a skill and a timeless one at that - that is appreciated that makes me glow inside. In those cases, when someone recognizes your craftsmanship and nurutring it gives you (and even we professional bakers) a happy boost. it is an eco-spiritual goes around, comes around
vibe of the highest order.
I’ve been working on a few interesting recipes and the Pumpkin Chocolate Bark
and Pumpkin Pie Rugulah
are two knock-outs. I’ve also been learning about salad bowls with Vermont Bowl, the history of Levi jeans with Levi Canada, the fundamentals of the most amazing cast iron cookware in the world (thank you www.theLodgemfg.com
who also make the most incredible enamel Dutch ovens at about half the price of the usual suspects). I am discovering Pumpkin Oil with King Arthur Flour and realized again, as a new holiday baking season unrolls, nothing beats old-fashioned, back-in-the-day aluminum baking sheets (with parchment paper). Basics – that is what great baking is about.
So, I am starting you off with some Hanukkah recipes and a nice collection of holiday sweeties for later in the month. I suggest you also stock up on any and every ingredient you will need, as well as wrapping supplies. And if you are looking for a quiet window of time to bake, I suggest (tired as you may be) you bake at night. Night offers quiet and stillness which helps you focus which is about the only thing baking needs. At night, I find I get a second wind and have more energy (plus night baking ensures I sleep like a log!). Put on a pot of tea and some music and it’s an urban oasis, laced with cinnamon aromatherapy. And if you need baking help - I am happy to add my input - but don't ask me to choose who's latke or fruitcake recipe is better - yours or your mom's or grandmother's. I know better than to fiddle with th home fires.
To my baking family and friends, my readers, friends in publishing in print and online, in food, housewares, tango, and n the world of scent, I wish you joy and peace.
FREE! Marcy Goldman's New Way Famous Potato Latkes
From the new chapter in my cookbook, The 10th Anniversary Edition of A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking, my world famous potato pancakes or latkes. So, how does a baker make the best latkes? Can you improve tradition? Yes, I can. Bakers are the smartest folks I know. How do you describe these exceptional potato pancakes? Check the recipe (and follow it to the letter)
Ice Cream Dough Hanukkah Rugulah Free!!
I like quirky things and a dairy rich dough for rugulah is Hanukkah-appropriate but also happens to make a lovely, supple dough. I fill this one with the cinnamon/sugar raisin route or chocolate chips or try it with canned cherry pie filling for rugulah that are mini cherry Danish. Just make sure you use a great vanilla ice-cream that is rich and creamy and not lite or air-filled for the flakiest pastry dough.
Pumpkin Pie Rugulah
It’s hard to decide on what makes this one of the best rugulah recipes in the world. Is it the pastry dough that melts in your mouth or the filling of pumpkin, spice and blushing cranberries? These are holiday-wonderful but so much so, they will become part of your regular rugulah. This particular dough is a pure joy to work with.
Pumpkin Chocolate Bark
Pumpkin Chocolate Bark
This is a gorgeous confection that combines three types of chocolate, some pumpkin oil (King Arthur Flour) or orange oil (Boyajian Orange Oil) and results in a slather of chocolate flavours and colours with a holiday feel. Add pecans if you like. A great gift or munch-able.
Greek Wedding Cookies FREE
These delightful cookies are also known as Greek “S” Cookies or Koulourakia. Some versions have nuts but these do not. I suppose this does make a huge batch of huge cookies, so feel free to divide this recipe in half. But, these are such tremendously satisfying, feel-good, over-sized cookies, you will want to have some on hand to give as a gift. They can be rolled in sesame seeds before baking or as I prefer, either dusted with confectioners’ sugar (quite traditional) or in finely pulverized regular sugar (my own invention and thus, quite untraditional).
Butter and Cream Shortbread Biscotti
These are worth their weight in gold. A scone recipe (of all things) that went awry. No self-respecting baker throws out a pound of butter, a lump of brown sugar and heavy cream just because things "don't look right". I rarely omit vanilla in my cookie recipes but one this soars with unrivalled, pure flavour of the butter and brown sugar.
Double Chocolate Chunk Almond Biscotti
A classic made irresistible with a double whammy of chocolate. A nutty biscotti that is crisp and sweet and studded with white and dark chocolate.
Dried Pear, Cranberry and Apple Cookie Strudel
Is this strudel or a new wave biscotti? This features a biscotti/cookie dough, that is rippled through with apple pie filling (the homemade filling is included; you can also use a can of apple pie filling to speed things up). It is baked once and cut into small sticks that are tightly coiled, showing off their filling. They are crunchy as cookies, interesting as biscotti, and unique as strudel. They keep well and are one of those extremely satisfying cookie bites – asgood for the kids as it is for hosting or giving as gifts.
Rice Krispie Mandebrot
Some people call this mandelbrot; others call it biscotti. Either way, this oil-based crisp, twice-baked cookie is a pleaser.
Five Roses Sugar Cookies, or Heritage Sugar Cookies FREE!!
This is a Canadian heritage cookie, that has appeared in the many editions of the Five Roses Cookbook (Five Roses to us is like Pillsbury, King Arthur, Gold Medal to you all). Behind everyone’s ‘favorite’ best, most successful sugar cookies in Canada, there seems to be this recipe. For a tender cookie, it handles like a dream. You can double the recipe, but do not double the salt, quite. Generations of Canadian families have made this recipe without even knowing where it first came from.
Roasted Garlic, Caramelized Onion, and Fresh Tomato Pissaladiere Pizza
Pizza dough, a golden coating of rustic smashed potatoes, onions, garlic and colorful bright slices of garden tomatoes This is a wonderful hospitality pizza, perfect for summertime entertaining or winter holidays. This is great hot, cold, room temperature and I prefer it in small bites. You can also omit the potato component and shred up some raclette or camembert to top it with before it is completed baked. Pissaladiere is French pizza – where pizza really came from.
Golden Almond Holiday Stollen
Country Inn Buttermilk Scone Mix
Buttermilk powder and a secret mix yield quick-and-easy scones for the non-baker. Add a jar of your own, or imported strawberry jam and bask in the thanks. Don't forget to include directions to use the dry mix in your gift card. Use a fresh tin of baking powder for this.
Delicious European holiday sweet bread.For a softer crust, you can paint your stollen with melted butter as it comes out of the oven or a special wash of sugar syrup inclucded in this recipe. This is a rich, tender bread filled with candied fruits and a core of sweet almond paste. As good fresh as it is a few days later, plain or toasted. If you are not partial to candied fruit (who is?), use dried sour cherries, cranberries or minced California apricots to replace the candied fruit. This fiddles with tradition but if we don't update some recipes, the traditions will...ummm, expire.