PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9/2015
AUTHOR SITE: link
MY GRADE: B
FROM PUBLISHER: Pastry chefs have a secret weapon—an insiders’ list of customers’ most popular flavors. Vanilla, berry and cherry, apple, citrus, cheese, nuts, caramel, coffee, and chocolate: These are the surefire hits that appear on menus across the country time and again. Author Tish Boyle has translated this list of go-to ingredients into a stunning collection of more than 150 recipes for baked goods and other desserts, with a chapter dedicated to each singular flavor. Recipes range from easy cookies and brownies to gorgeous layer cakes to spoonable parfaits to playful takes on donuts, cream puffs, candies, and ice cream. Boyle is a favorite among pastry chefs and bakers in the know for her reliable and pitch-perfect recipes, which are given here in both volume and weight measurements. Combined with luscious photography and a timeless, classic design, this is a must-have for bakers and dessert-lovers of all stripes.
CATEGORIES: Vanilla, Berries and Cherries, Apple, Citrus, Sweet Cheese, Nuts, Caramel, Coffee, Chocolate
THINGS I’VE MADE
CHOCOLATE-CHOCOLATE CHUNK BROWNIE COOKIES
This recipe produced a soft dough that needed to be refrigerated several hours before baking. The dough is nice and sweet but a bit too bitter. I used bittersweet chocolate (60%) when the recipe called for dark chocolate (64%). I used 50% more salt and I doubled the amount of vanilla extract, as chocolate requires more vanilla than usual and this certainly needed more. I added mini semi-sweet chocolate chips to the batter instead of chopped dark chocolate, and I added 1c. lightly toasted finely chopped pecans. My chocolate was slightly sweeter than the recipe called for and though the dough is sweet, 6 oz. was too much melted chocolate. I would definitely make this again but I’d use 4 oz. of melted chocolate, not 6 oz. and I wouldn’t add any chocolate chips at all to the dough, as that only helped make it more bitter, and I’d add an extra 1/2 c. of nuts. I used a 1 1/4″ diameter/2 teaspoon cookie scoop and got 57 dough balls.
The cookie, depending on how long you bake it, is slightly crunchy on the outside and chewy and brownie-like on the inside. It spread out nicely but not as much as I thought it would. That’s why I used a smaller cookies scoop but I’d use a slightly larger one (1 1/2″/3 teaspoon) next time. This is a good looking, nicely textured cookie.
Very good and very moist. These are actually called Extra-Crumbly Blueberry Muffins are have lemon zest and cinnamon added to the batter and just cinnamon added to the crumb topping. I used frozen raspberries instead, no zest or cinnamon, as I don’t like blueberries and I’m particular about what I put cinnamon in. I used slightly more raspberries than called for and I cut them in half before adding to batter. I also added a little almond extract but couldn’t taste it. I made just half and got six. I baked them in a square muffin pan using square liners (Wilton brand) for 25 minutes.
I think the crumb topping shouldn’t have been equal parts sugar and flour but should have used half the amount of sugar. Glaze wasn’t part of the recipe but I made some, adding almond extract and vanilla, and drizzled/spread it on top of the muffins when they were only a little warm. I think almond goes great with raspberries but not cinnamon. The muffins need a pinch more salt but other than that, they’re perfect and I’d definitely make them again but without the crumb topping. I don’t really care for crumb toppings on cakes and muffins. I think they should be for crisps only. I almost always make a powdered sugar glaze for muffins. You could make the full recipe in a 9″ square pan.
SWEET CHERRY AND PEACH CRISP
I wasn’t sure how well cherries and peaches would go together since I’d never mixed the two before. I’d only used sweet cherries (canned) once before many years ago and the cake went into the trash. A sweet cherry by itself is not good so I didn’t know what to expect from this recipe. I always use almond extract with cherries and sometimes with peaches so I did so with this recipe. This is one good tasting crisp.
I was supposed to use fresh peaches and cherries but I used two one-pound bags of sliced unsweetened peaches and one 12oz. bag of frozen cherries. I used an 11″ x 7″ 2 qt. baking dish and the filling filled it perfectly. The crumb topping is very good but a little too sweet. It has ground almonds in it. I didn’t add more sliced almonds to the topping. I also used white sugar in the filling in place of brown sugar. This recipe is a definite keeper but I think I’d use one drained can of tart pitted cherries in place of the sweet ones.
LINZER COOKIES WITH SOUR CHERRY FILLING
These are actually called Pistachio Linzer Hearts with Sour Cherry Filling. I used lightly toasted ground almonds in place of pistachios and used a round fluted 2″ cookie cutter in place of a heart shaped one. They’re good, you can use any preserves/jam/frosting in place of sour cherry fruit spread, but the cookies softened up very soon after assembling them, making them delicate, even when stored in an airtight container. Because of that I wouldn’t use this recipe again.
I divided the dough into thirds, not just two pieces like the recipe stated, because I didn’t want the dough, once rolled between two sheets of wax paper, to extend past the sides of the paper so I needed to use less dough to ensure that didn’t happen. After cutting the cookies out I got another long strip of dough from all the scraps from the three parts, for a total of four. I got 79 cookies, which made 39 sandwich cookies, three less than recipe stated. I layered the cutout dough between the eight strips of wax paper that was used to roll out the dough and stored it in a large plastic container in the refrigerator until I was ready to bake some, then stored the remaining dough in a smaller container in the freezer.
This same recipe is in her previously published book that I just bought, The Good Cookie, under the title Linzer Hearts, page 276.
I used a Wilton® linzer cookie cutter set that I bought 11/2014 at Walmart for just under $5. I used Smucker’s® fruit spread.
APPLE CRISP WITH PECAN-OAT TOPPING
I love me some cooked apples with cinnamon. After I mixed up the topping it was too wet so I added more flour then it was very firm. I added a bit of water to it to soften it up because I didn’t know what else to do and didn’t want to add anymore butter to it since it hadn’t turned out as it was. That worked OK. The topping doesn’t look like it should but it tastes good. But I wouldn’t make it again.
I didn’t follow the instructions for the filling because I’m very familiar with baking with raw apples and they take quite awhile to cook. I covered my dish with foil and baked the apples without the topping for 40 minutes, removed it from the oven, stirred the apples, put the topping on and baked them at a lower temperature for an additional 25 minutes. I basically followed my own recipe for the filling but followed the recipe for the topping and it’s not one I’d make again. This was the first time a crumb topping didn’t turn out.
These are actually called Blueberry Cornmeal Scones. I used dried cherries instead of blueberries and made just half. Though I measured out the flour and cornmeal by weight my dough was too wet so I had to add extra flour, then they seemed perfect. I patted it out into about a 7″ circle, then cut into four pieces. They browned beautifully without using egg wash on top. I made glaze for the tops. They taste pretty good with dried cherries and a bit of almond extract in the dough. There’s no egg in these.
MY THOUGHTS: I really enjoyed baking from this book. I’m happy there were some recipes using cherries. There are a few things I wanted to make but didn’t get around to it, like two different lemon cakes and orange cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, ect.
The book is beautiful, I love the deep burgundy spine, but like a lot of cookbooks, this one needs more photos of the baked goods. There aren’t many. Many of the recipes seem a little too fancy for me and two of the categories I wasn’t interested in at all, sweet cheese and the other, coffee. The majority of recipes I’m not interested in.
I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.