Karen Demasco and Mindy Fox - The Craft of Baking: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets With Ideas for Inventing Your Own

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It's All About the Baking

Nov 16, 2009 (Updated Nov 16, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Good, scrumptious sounding recipes

Cons:None

The Bottom Line: It's a good addition to any kitchen, especially helpful for the holiday.


The holidays are fast upon us and with them comes the urge to make all kinds of comfort food. In “The Craft of Baking: Cakes, Cookies and Other Sweets With Ideas for Inventing Your Own,” we have no shortage of ways to satisfy the sweet tooth of everyone in your home.
 
Authors Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox offer chapters on muffins and scones, cookies and brownies, tarts and pieces, custards, ice creams, and roasted fruits, plus lots of other foods in each category.

Even better, they write about stocking the pantry, techniques to improve your offerings, and sources of such foods as chocolates, condiments and flavorings. Stocking the pantry is an especially helpful chapter, since I frequently have set up the bowls, heated the oven and prepared to work before discovering a key element is missing, which means either a permanently postponed baking effort or a mad dash to the grocery store.

Here are a few things they want all bakers to have at hand:
Flours and grains, including unbleached all-purpose flours, nut flours, polenta and cornmeal; sweeteners, such as granulated sugars, honey and brown sugar; salt, including sea salt; eggs; butter, including unsalted butter; oils, such as peanut, olive and grapeseed; dairy, including cream, milk and ricotta cheese; chocolate varieties, including milk, dark and white chocolate; nuts, from Sicilian pistachios to Marcona almonds; flavorings, such as vanilla and extract; and spices, such as Saigon cinnamon and pink peppercorns.

Among the DeMasco recipes featured in the book are: raised cinnamon-sugar doughnuts, apple fritters with caramel ice cream and apple caramel sauce, coffee cake muffins, almond rhubarb tart, blackberry pie with graham cracker crust, milk chocolate hazelnut panna cotta , and brown butter ice cream.

One of the interesting aspects of DeMasco’s recipes is the mixing of new ideas. It’s not all sugar all the time; seasonal or other special ingredients add to unique flavors. So we get spicy caramel popcorn that uses cayenne pepper; or apricot sorbet that uses Vitamin C powder.

 Included are ideas on ways to vary recipes based on the seasons and ideas on how to change recipes by pairing items.

DeMasco is the winner of the 2005 James Beard Award for Best Pastry Chef and works with Locanda Verde in the Greenwich Hotel in New York City. Fox is a food writer and stylist, a founding member of Chefs Collaborative and creator of Farmtotable.org. The colorful photos by Ellen Silverman may send you out shopping now so that you can get started on these delicious-sounding recipes.

 While you're out, you may need to buy some exercise equipment.

Directions are clear; there are recipes for both beginners and experienced bakers.

This is part of the Lean-N-Mean writeoff--go over and join the party.


Recommend this product? Yes

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