Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

Dec 8, 2016 | Publisher: edocr | Category: Food & Dining |  | Collection: Recipes | Views: 109 | Likes: 2

Copyright © 2005 by Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., 11 West 42nd Street, New York, NY 10036. All rights reserved. Photographs copyright © 2005 by Jonathan Lovekin. Published in the United States by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc., New York. www.crownpublishing.com www.clarksonpotter.com Clarkson N. Potter is a trademark and Potter and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available upon request. eISBN: 978-0-307-88570-8 Cover photograph by Victoria Pearson Cover design by Mary Jane Callister and Brooke Hellewell Reynolds v3.1 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS THIS BOOK REQUIRED the hard work and dedication of many talented people. I’d like to thank all of them for making sure that it is everything we intended it to be—filled with delicious recipes, enticing photographs, and clear and concise instructions for the very best baked goods. A special thank you to Ellen Morrissey for shepherding the project the whole way through with the utmost care, and to Elizabeth Alsop for her tireless efforts at every step. Shelly Kaldunski spent the better part of two years developing outstanding, must-try recipes and leading our team of bakers. John Barricelli, longtime test kitchen manager at Martha Stewart Living television, created some of our favorites, especially those in the Yeasted Baked Goods chapter. Our friend Susan Sugarman was instrumental in getting the project off the ground and organizing the chapters and recipes in their early stages. A very special thank you to the talented members of the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia food departments who contributed excellent recipes and ideas, most notably Lucinda Scala Quinn, Jennifer Aaronson, Christine Albano, Tara Bench, Monita Buchwald, Sarah Carey, Abigail Chipley, Sandra Rose Gluck, Susan Hanemann, Heidi Johannsen, Anna Kovel, Allison Lewis, Hayat Piñeiro, and Melissa Perry. Another thank you to those who keep our kitchens running smoothly: Tylia Chevalier, Marie Cristino, Aida Ibarra, Lillian Kang, Gertrude Porter, and Darlene Schrack. Photographer Jonathan Lovekin beautifully captured the essence of the baked goods, finding just the right style to highlight their appeal. He was ably assisted by Mark McAndrews. Victoria Pearson shot the lovely portrait that graces the cover. Brooke Hellewell Reynolds created the gorgeous design under the direction of Mary Jane Callister and Eric A. Pike. Andrea Bakacs carefully coordinated the photo shoots. Lisa Wagner helped shape the look and feel of the book through her careful eye and stylistic sensibilities. Duane Stapp did a wonderful job implementing the design, with the guidance of Denise Clappi. Meesha Diaz Haddad was invaluable in keeping the project on track; Evelyn Battaglia scrupulously watched over the accuracy of every recipe. Rory Evans wrote wonderful text to introduce each chapter, and Bunny Wong helped with the equipment glossaries. Several readers helped ensure the book’s quality, including Marc Bailes, Robert Bowe, Amy Conway, Natalie Ermann Russell, Kristen Croker Fiordalis, Kimberly Fusaro, Jennifer Jarett, Adam Kuban, Claire Lui, Kellee Miller, Andrea Peabbles, Debra Puchalla, Sarah Rutledge, Alex Van Buren, Miranda Van Gelder, and Penelope Wood. Many thanks to Margaret Roach, Lauren Podlach Stanich, and Gael Towey for their guidance for the duration of the project, and to our friends at Crown and Clarkson Potter, Jenny Frost, Lauren Shakely, Pam Krauss, Jane Treuhaft, Elissa Altman, Mark McCauslin, Amy Boorstein, and Linnea Knollmueller. Finally, thanks to our readers and television viewers, who continue to inspire us with their feedback every day. A LETTER FROM MARTHA GENERAL BAKING TIPS GENERAL BAKING EQUIPMENT GENERAL BAKING TECHNIQUES SIMPLE BAKED GOODS COOKIES CAKES PIES, TARTS, COBBLERS, AND CRISPS YEASTED BAKED GOODS PASTRIES BASIC RECIPES SOURCES INDEX THE TASTES I BEST remember—the vast majority of them—are tastes that have to do with baking. For me there is something important about the flavor and texture of the best French baguette, the buttery flakiness of the perfect croissant, the subtle sweetness of the whitest cake, and the dense richness of the ultimate petit four. I’ve long wanted to share the recipes for my favorite baked goods, which have not all been easily accessed or readily available to everyone. We, and I do mean we (a talented group of dedicated bakers) and not the royal we (I), have worked long and hard to assemble the best ones in a comprehensive, orderly, easy-to-use compendium for all of us. Here, you will find the recipes and how-tos for the popovers you dream about, and for the simple crumb cake that you always want to whip up on Sunday morning, and for the double-chocolate brownie cookies that will make you a bigger hero with the after-school crowd, and for the citrus bars that you could only find on the eastern tip of Long Island in that little bakery that’s no longer under the same management. We, the team, got together and compiled our lists, gathered our desires, dug through our files, and collated everything into what we hope are sensible chapters, organized for easy use, with workable, clear recipes. Not everything you’ll find on these pages is traditional, and some of the techniques are a bit unusual. But the best results are what we strive for in each one of our recipes, and because freshness of ingredients, exact measurements, accuracy of oven temperature, and careful preparation are tantamount to success, we focused on bringing a new understanding and artistry to the science of baking. Speaking of techniques and baking essentials, I have always been fascinated with the baker’s tools. Starting around the time I first visited Mr. and Mrs. Maus (extraordinary German-born bakers) next door on Elm Place in my hometown of Nutley, New Jersey, I have collected every possible kind of baking tray, sheet, mold, bowl, whisk, rolling pin, frosting tip, pastry bag, icing comb, and pie tin (you’ll see many of my favorite, most beautiful ones photographed on these pages). The heavy edgeless steel pans I dragged home from Paris many years ago, from the legendary store Dehillerin, are still the very best for baking puff pastry for Napoleons and light-as-air cheese straws. And Mr. Maus’s German tin-coated steel kugelhopf molds are the ones I like to use for babkas. And just when you think you have everything, you might discover the custardy excellence of cannelés and will want to invest in the copper molds shaped like tall little turbans that are for them and only them. These days I have silicone rubber molds, too, which bake perfect meringues. And I cannot live without my Silpats and rolls upon rolls of parchment paper that cut out so much scrubbing and scraping, leaving you more time to enjoy in the kitchen. Baking, you will find, as you indulge in this home art, offers comfort and joy and something tangible to taste and savor. As much as any other culinary activity, it can bring countless smiles and much laughter into your home. We all hope that these recipes provide you with years of pleasure. GENERAL BAKING TIPS Read a recipe all the way through before you begin, and note the ingredients and equipment you will need. A read-through will also give you a sense of the techniques involved and the time required. Prep ingredients before you proceed; you will work more efficiently. Measure out ingredients, and bring them to the right temperature, if necessary. Your oven’s internal temperature might not be accurately reflected by the dial or digital display. For a better reading, set an oven thermometer in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven, and check the temperature before you begin baking. Preheat the oven 20 to 30 minutes before you plan to use it; the broiler, 10 minutes beforehand. Unless instructed otherwise, place baking pans and sheets on the oven’s middle rack, in the center. Rotate pans and sheets halfway through the baking time, turning them front to back. If you’re using the upper and lower racks at once, switch the positions of the sheets or pans (top to bottom and bottom to top) when you rotate them. Baking times are important, but pay attention to visual clues as well. If a recipe calls for a baked good to achieve a certain color or texture, remove it from the oven when it arrives at that point, even if the baking time is not up. Measure flour using the dip and sweep method (see here). Sift flour and other dry ingredients only when specified. Remember, too, that recipe wording is important. For example, “1 cup flour, sifted” means to measure first, then sift. If a recipe calls for “1 cup sifted flour,” sift a generous amount onto parchment paper, then measure out 1 cup. Similarly, when a recipe calling for chopped or ground nuts lists the volume amount first, measure the nuts, then chop or grind them. For example, “1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped” means that the nuts are measured whole, then chopped. Always use unsalted butter in baking recipes, rather than salted. This will allow you to control the amount of salt in the recipe. Some recipes call for butter at room temperature; the butter should be pliable, but not runny or melted. Test its softness by pressing your forefinger into the top. Butter is ready when the indentation remains but the butter still holds its shape. To soften butter quickly, cut ¼-inch-thick slices, lay them flat on a work surface, and let stand for about 10 minutes. When mixing, scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally with a flexible spatula to make sure all of the ingredients are incorporated. Use cold eggs when separating whites from yolks; the yolks will be less likely to break (and spill into the whites). You can refrigerate leftover whites and yolks in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Whites can be frozen for up to 2 months. Two tablespoons of whites is equal to one large egg white; 1 tablespoon of yolks is equal to one large yolk. To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, soak them in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes. Foods that contain raw eggs (or eggs that have not been heated to at least 160 degrees) should not be prepared for pregnant women, babies, young children, the elderly, or anyone whose health is compromised. Invest in the best ingredients and equipment that you can afford. You will be more likely to achieve good results and be encouraged to bake more often. GENERAL BAKING EQUIPMENT 1 Kitchen scale 2 Graduated dry measuring cups 3 Sieve 4 Mixing bowl 5 Liquid measuring cups 6 Flexible heatproof spatula 7 Whisk 8 Rasp grater 9 Graduated measuring spoons 10 Pastry blender 11 Bowl scraper 12 Citrus reamer 13 Cheesecloth 1 Kitchen scale When precise amounts are important, use a kitchen scale. In those instances, dry ingredients, such as flour, are often called for by weight. You can also use a scale to weigh nuts, dried and fresh fruits, and chocolate—and to measure out portions of dough. Digital models often have special functions, such as the ability to convert metric measurements. 2 Graduated dry measuring cups Measure dry and semisolid ingredients (such as jam, sour cream, and peanut butter) in graduated dry measuring cups, preferably metal, which let you level ingredients with a straightedge. 3 Sieve A fine-mesh sieve can be used to sift ingredients (such as flour) into a recipe, or to sprinkle ingredients (such as confectioners’ sugar) over baked goods. Look for sturdy mesh that won’t stretch or bend. 4 Mixing bowl Keep a set of glass or ceramic bowls in graduated sizes on hand. Stainless-steel bowls, which are heatproof, are useful for recipes that require setting a bowl over hot water. Avoid plastic bowls; they retain flavors and traces of grease. 5 Liquid measuring cups Measure liquids in clear liquid measuring cups (preferably heat-resistant glass), which allow you to read measurements at eye level and have a spout for pouring. This kitchen essential seems to always be in use, so it’s helpful to have more than one. 6 Flexible heatproof spatula Choose spatulas with silicone heads, which tend to be more resistant to heat and stains than rubber ones. 7 Whisk Look for a stainless-steel whisk with fine wires and a bulbous shape—also called a balloon whisk. 8 Rasp grater This stainless-steel grater has tiny, razor-sharp teeth that remove the flavorful zest from citrus fruits and leave the bitter white pith behind. This tool can also be used to finely grate chocolate, hard cheeses, whole nutmeg, and fresh ginger. 9 Graduated measuring spoons Measure ingredients carefully. Pour liquids, such as vanilla extract, to the rim of the spoon; level dry ingredients, such as salt, with a straightedge. 10 Pastry blender This utensil is indispensable for blending butter into flour, a crucial step in making simple doughs for biscuits and scones. It is also useful when making pie and tart doughs by hand. 11 Bowl scraper This inexpensive plastic gadget collects dough or batter from a bowl, making it easy to transfer these goods to a work surface or a pan. It is especially helpful for manipulating large amounts of dough that a flexible spatula is too small to handle. 12 Citrus reamer Pick out seeds from halved citrus fruits with the tip of this tool; twist the ridged body to express juice. 13 Cheesecloth Use this cloth to bundle pie weights or to sift small amounts of confectioners’ sugar over baked goods. GENERAL BAKING EQUIPMENT 1 Rolling pin 2 Serrated knife 3 Ruler 4 Bench scraper 5 Kitchen shears 6 Pizza wheel 7 Pastry brushes 1 Rolling pin Look for a wooden pin that is slightly heavy. The weight of it will help when rolling out laminated doughs, which have layers of butter and dough. A pin without handles will offer the most control. 2 Serrated knife A long serrated knife is indispensable for leveling the tops of cake layers, slicing bread without compressing it, and chopping chocolate and nuts. 3 Ruler Use a metal ruler to judge the spacing between cookies on baking sheets, to guide you in splitting cakes into equal layers, to measure cookware, to square corners and trim pastry dough, and more. 4 Bench scraper A metal or plastic bench scraper is helpful for loosening dough from a work surface as you knead, scoring certain cookies, such as shortbread, cleanly dividing scone dough, and transferring chopped nuts or chocolate from a cutting board into a bowl. 5 Kitchen shears Look for heavy blades and durable plastic handles. Label the shears “kitchen” so no one will mistake them for regular scissors. Use them to trim dough in a pie plate, cut out parchment rounds for cake pans, and cut dried fruit (such as apricots). 6 Pizza wheel This cutter is used most frequently for slicing pizza and other flatbreads, of course. However, it also can stand in for a pastry cutter. Use it to cut lattice strips from pastry dough, trim rolled-out cookie dough, and divide pastry dough into neat shapes. 7 Pastry brushes Look for pastry brushes with natural, tightly woven bristles that are securely attached to the handle. A large brush (1½ to 2½ inches wide) is ideal for brushing excess flour from work surfaces and pieces of rolled-out dough. A medium brush (1 inch) is good for buttering pans and applying egg washes to piecrusts. A small brush (½ to ¾ inch) is handy for dabbing egg wash on tiny pieces of dough. Reserve at least one brush for dry tasks and another for wet ones; mark each and store separately. GENERAL BAKING EQUIPMENT 1 Parchment paper 2 Baking sheet (cookie sheet) 3 Kitchen timer 4 Nonstick baking mat 5 Metal spatula 6 Large offset spatula 7 Small offset spatula 8 Rimmed baking sheet (jelly roll pan) 9 Wire rack 10 Oven thermometer 1 Parchment paper This heat-resistant, nonstick, disposable paper can be used to line sheets and pans, making it easier to release baked goods. A sheet of parchment used to cover a work surface makes cleanup easier (try it when rolling out dough or frosting a cake). Doughs and baked items can be wrapped in parchment before being stored. Look for unbleached white or natural parchment. Waxed paper is not an acceptable substitute for most baking tasks. 2 Baking sheet (cookie sheet) These sheets have small rims on the short sides for easy gripping; flat edges on the other sides let you slide off cookies without disturbing their forms. Choose sheets made from shiny, light-colored metals, such as heavy-duty aluminum, which encourage even baking and will not curl or warp. If using dark-metal sheets, such as nonstick, be aware that these tend to brown baked goods faster; you may need to lower the oven temperature (by 25 degrees) and reduce the baking time slightly. 3 Kitchen timer Even if your oven comes with a built-in timer, it’s a good idea to have a stand-alone model or even a multijob timer as well. Bakers often find themselves timing goods that are baking in the oven, cooling on a rack, or chilling in the freezer—all at once. 4 Nonstick baking mat A heat-resistant silicone mat, such as a Silpat, can be used instead of parchment paper to line baking sheets; it’s also washable and reusable. Wipe after each use with a damp sponge or, for more thorough cleaning, run it under warm water. Never scrub the mat with an abrasive sponge, which damages the surface. After it’s dry, store the mat flat or rolled up. Don’t fold it or store objects on top of it. 5 Metal spatula A wide, thin-edged spatula can slide under just-baked cookies, rolls, and pastries and gently move them from hot sheets to wire cooling racks. 6 Large offset spatula The thin metal blade makes this tool invaluable for frosting cakes, and the angled design allows it to double as a spatula, lifting cookies from baking sheets and brownies from pans. Steer clear of plastic ones; they are thick and might crush what you are picking up—and they are not as heat-resistant. 7 Small offset spatula A small offset spatula, which can cover hard-to-reach spots and offer more control with tiny goods, is a must- have for cake and cookie decorating. 8 Rimmed baking sheet (jelly roll pan) These sided sheets (really shallow baking pans) are used to make bar cookies, shortbread, sponge cakes, focaccia, and more. Position a sheet under a baking fruit pie, and it will catch juices, preventing them dripping onto the oven floor. Buy sheets made from heavy-duty, shiny aluminum. 9 Wire rack These raised racks allow air to circulate around cooling baked goods. Look for a rack with stainless-steel mesh and feet on the bottom. Avoid plastic racks, and skip those with bars that go in only one direction (small items won’t sit level on them). 10 Oven thermometer Because oven temperature is critical to well-baked goods, an oven thermometer is one of the baker’s most important gadgets. GENERAL BAKING TECHNIQUES CHOOSING MEASURING CUPS Measure liquids in clear cups; place the cup on a work surface as you pour, and bend down so the markers are at eye level. Measure dry ingredients in graduated cups and level them off; use the right size cup (don’t estimate portions). PACKING BROWN SUGAR When a recipe calls for “packed” brown sugar, the sugar should look compact (above), not loose (top). Compress it with the back of a spoon so the sugar is level with the top of the measuring cup. MEASURING FLOUR Employ the dip and sweep method: Dip a dry measuring cup directly into the flour, then use a straightedge—such as an offset spatula—to level the top. This will remove any hidden air bubbles and ensure an accurate measurement. CHILLING INGREDIENTS Cold ingredients are crucial to the success of certain recipes. If chilling many ingredients, group them on a rimmed baking sheet so you can quickly move them in and out of the refrigerator or freezer. MEASURING PANS The right size is important. If a baking pan is too small, batter may overflow; too large, and the end result will be thin and dry. Use a ruler to check: Measure the diameter (between inside edges) and the depth. PREPARING PANS When a recipe calls for a parchment liner, first cut out parchment to fit the pan, then butter the pan and fit it with the liner. Next, butter the liner and dust it with flour. Rotate pan to distribute flour; tap out excess. FOLDING IN BEATEN EGG WHITES To combine egg whites with a heavy base, gently fold in about one-third at a time: Cut a spatula through the center of the mixture, sweep up the side of the bowl, and turn spatula over. Repeat, rotating bowl as you go, until just combined. WHISKING TO COMBINE When a recipe calls for combining dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, whisk them just until the lumps are removed and the mixture has an even appearance. WHIPPING CREAM To whip heavy cream, begin by briefly chilling the bowl and whisk attachment of an electric mixer. Start with the mixer on low speed, then gradually raise the speed and continue beating until peaks form. CREAMING BUTTER AND SUGAR Many recipes call for beating together butter and sugar, or “creaming” them. Beat the two until thoroughly blended and the mixture is pale and fluffy—that is, lightened in both color and texture. ADDING LEMON TO CARAMEL When making caramel, you can eliminate the need to brush the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush (to prevent crystals from forming) by first adding a drop of fresh lemon juice to the sugar water. JUDGING CARAMEL The caramel samples above are (from top) light golden, light amber, amber, and deep amber. To test your batch, drop a spoonful onto parchment and compare the color to those shown here. GENERAL BAKING TECHNIQUES CHOPPING NUTS 1. To coarsely chop nuts, use a serrated knife; the pieces should be about ⅓ inch. 2. To finely chop nuts, use a serrated knife; the pieces should be about ⅛ inch. Before adding finely chopped nuts to doughs and batters, sift them in a fine sieve; the result will be a more professional-looking baked good. 3. To finely grind nuts, or to make nut flour, use a nut grinder or pulse the nuts in a food processor. Watch that you don’t overprocess the nuts, which will turn them into nut butter. BEATING EGG WHITES 1. Egg whites are beaten so that they attain volume and become stiffer. Start with room- temperature whites and a clean stainless-steel (or copper) bowl. As the whites are beaten they will begin to look foamy. 2. With continued beating, the whites will form soft peaks, or peaks that gently droop when the whisk attachment is lifted. 3. More beating yields glossy stiff peaks, or peaks that hold their shape even when the bowl is tilted; be careful not to beat past this point. ASSEMBLING A PASTRY BAG 1. To fit a pastry bag with a pastry tip, drop the larger piece of a plastic coupler into the bag so that its smaller opening is even with the opening of the bag. Place the pastry tip over the end of the plastic piece to fit snugly. 2. Fit the ring piece of the coupler over the tip, and turn the ring until it locks. 3. Fill the bag halfway with frosting; squeeze from the top of the bag down to release any air bubbles. Twist the end of the bag just above the filling; tightly seal with a rubber band. MAKING A PAPER CORNET FOR PIPING 1. Cut a piece of parchment paper into an 8-by-12-by-14½-inch triangle. 2. Fold the lower right-hand point up toward the middle of the shortest side to form a cone shape; form the cone’s point at the middle of the longest side. 3. Wrap the slack around the cone shape, while pulling the inside flap of parchment taut to keep the point tight and completely closed. Tuck the top flaps inside the cone. To keep the cone closed, make a small (½-inch) tear in the folded side you have just created. Snip the tip of the cone after filling it. Baking Powder Biscuits Buttermilk Biscuits Cornmeal Drop Biscuits Cream Cheese and Chive Biscuits Spicy Cheese Biscuits Blueberry Muffins Cranberry-Zucchini Muffins Plum Coffee-Cake Muffins Date-Bran Muffins Popovers Currant Scones Oat and Dried Apricot Scones Chocolate Scones Fennel and Golden-Raisin Scones Banana-Nut Bread Pumpkin Bread Fig-Walnut Bread Cornbread Irish Soda Bread Cherry-Streusel Coffee Cake Classic Crumb Cake Pear-Spice Bundt Cake Classic Pound Cake Glazed Lemon Pound Cakes Brown Sugar Pound Cakes Marble Cake with White-Chocolate Glaze Simple Baked Goods INTRODUCTION You don’t need to wait for a special occasion to make biscuits, muffins, scones, and quick breads. These and other simple baked goods are meant for any Sunday breakfast or afternoon cup of tea—or for whenever you’re in the mood to nibble on familiar favorites. THE RECIPES in this chapter are simple and straightforward, calling for just a handful of ingredients to be combined in a few short steps. They are well suited to spur-of-the- moment urges to roll up your sleeves, tie on an apron, and create. In fact, it’s likely that your pantry and refrigerator already hold the required components. Lots of the recipes call for little more than flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, eggs, butter, and milk or cream. You may already know the roles of these cornerstone ingredients—such as the way cold butter blends into flour to produce flaky biscuits, and how lightly beaten milk, eggs, and flour help give popovers their essential loft. You will find that such interactions recur throughout all baking: It is method, not magic, that turns out sublime Cornbread and sugar-crisped Chocolate Scones—and that enables you, with a little practice, to approach recipes for any baked good with confidence. Look to the following recipes for direction not only on basic techniques, but also on the value of fresh ingredients and original combinations. The flavor of a just-baked Brown Sugar Pound Cake or Cranberry-Zucchini Muffin is unlike anything found in the grocery store. Even the local bakery doesn’t compare: A coffee cake taken from a white cardboard box simply cannot compete with one straight from the oven. Just watch as your family congregates in the kitchen, clamoring for samples. Top to bottom: Baking Powder Biscuits, Buttermilk Biscuits (Cheddar Biscuits variation), Cornmeal Drop Biscuits, and Buttermilk Biscuits Baking Powder Biscuits (Strawberry Shortcake variation) Cream Cheese and Chive Biscuits Spicy Cheese Biscuit Clockwise from bottom left: Date-Bran Muffins, Cranberry-Zucchini Muffins, Plum Coffee-Cake Muffins, and Blueberry Muffins Popovers Left to right: Chocolate Scones, Currant Scones, and Oat and Dried Apricot Scones Fennel and Golden-Raisin Scones Top to bottom: Pumpkin Bread, Banana-Nut Bread, and Fig-Walnut Bread Cornbread Irish Soda Bread Cherry-Streusel Coffee Cake Classic Crumb Cake Pear-Spice Bundt Cake Top to bottom: Brown Sugar Pound Cake and Glazed Lemon Pound Cake Top to bottom: Marble Cake with White-Chocolate Glaze and Classic Pound Cake TIPS Don’t overmix ingredients or overwork dough. A light touch will keep the finished product tender, not tough. When directed to do so, mix ingredients until just combined (or until the dough comes together). Then gently pat the dough into shape. Bring milk, eggs, and butter to room temperature when making muffins. Take these ingredients out of the refrigerator before you start, and let them warm up as you measure the dry ingredients. Cold butter is essential when making biscuits and scones. Cut the butter into small pieces, and then return it to the refrigerator to chill before adding it to the dry ingredients. If your kitchen is warm, chill the mixing bowl and pastry blender as well. If the butter becomes too soft while blending it into the flour, chill the bowl in the freezer for about 10 minutes before proceeding. Make sure you don’t over-handle the dough; the warmth of your hands can affect the final product. Gather together and reroll the scraps of dough when cutting out biscuits. Or you can try this easy alternative: Dip your finger into the cream or buttermilk left in the measuring cup, then use it to moisten the cut edges of the leftover dough; press the scraps together, gently pinching the surface to make it smooth before cutting out more rounds. When working with biscuits, scones, and soda bread, use only a small amount of flour to dust your hands and the work surface. Too much flour will cause the dough to become dry and stiff. Sanding sugar lends a sparkly finish to simple baked goods and doesn’t melt when baked. Experiment with variations. Any number of fruits and toasted nuts will add flavor and texture to muffins, scones, quick breads, and coffee cakes. Most biscuits, scones, and other individual-size baked goods are best eaten the same day they are baked. If you are making a batch that can’t be served all in one day, set aside a portion of unbaked pieces to bake at a later date. Chill the pieces in the freezer until firm, and then transfer them to resealable plastic bags. Return the pieces to the freezer, and store them for up to 3 weeks. To serve, bring the pieces to room temperature, and bake as directed. When you do have leftover biscuits and scones, wrap them in plastic wrap and foil, and then freeze them for up to 3 weeks. To serve, bring the pieces to room temperature, and then warm them in a 300-degree oven for about 15 minutes. Simple Baked Goods EQUIPMENT 1 Bundt pan 2 Muffin pans 3 Biscuit cutters 4 Popover pan 5 Loaf pans 1 Bundt pan Created in the 1950s by an American company, this pan features fluted edges and a long tube in the center. The design encourages even baking and works nicely for Bundt cakes, of course, but also for pound and coffee cakes. Look for one in nonstick aluminum, a durable and easy-to-use option. 2 Muffin pans This baking staple typically has 12 cups, each with a ½-cup capacity. Nonstick models in aluminum result in evenly browned muffins. Pans with smaller cups, which generally hold about 2 tablespoons of batter, come in handy when you want to make minimuffins. You can bake any muffin batter in these pans, but be mindful that the baking time will need to be greatly reduced. Batter poured into the little cups bakes quickly; use a light- colored metal pan, which will heat at a slower rate than a dark one. 3 Biscuit cutters A clean cut is important for biscuits (it makes them rise higher), so a metal cutter with beveled edges is the best choice. Avoid plastic cutters, which are not sharp enough. Buying a boxed set provides a variety of diameters to work with. As for handles, with or without is a matter of personal preference. The former allows for a secure grip; the latter, for pushing down on the cutter evenly. 4 Popover pan Traditionally this pan was made of cast iron, but newer ones are made with anodized aluminum, a much lighter material. Unlike a muffin pan, which has cups that are wider than they are deep, a popover pan has tall and narrow cups. This design encourages steam in the batter to rise quickly and puff up the tops of the popovers. 5 Loaf pans There are two sizes given for standard loaf pans, 8½ by 4½ inches and 9 by 5 inches. The recipes in this book use both, but they are interchangeable as long as you pay attention to visual cues and adjust the baking time accordingly. For fewer issues with sticking and burning, choose metal loaf pans over glass ones. Lining the pans with parchment paper will let you quickly and cleanly lift out baked goods. A small version of the standard loaf pan is perfect for baking quick breads to give as gifts. Ours measures 6 by 3 inches and holds about 2 cups of batter. Simple Baked Goods TECHNIQUES MAKING BISCUIT DOUGH 1. A pastry blender is used to blend small pieces of cold butter into the flour mixture; the tool is pressed down quickly and with as few strokes as possible. (If you don’t have a pastry blender, two table knives make an acceptable— though less efficient—substitute.) 2. The mixture has achieved the proper consistency when it resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger clumps remaining. 3. The liquid is added and folded in just until the dough begins to come together; the dough will still be slightly sticky. The dough is then turned out onto a lightly floured work surface. MAKING SCONE DOUGH 1. After the dry ingredients have been whisked together and the butter and dried fruits have been worked into the dough, liquid is added and mixed in just until the dough begins to come together. 2. The dough should still be a little crumbly when it is turned out onto a lightly floured work surface; it is patted—with minimal handling—into a rectangle. 3. After the dough has been patted to the proper size, it is cut into individual pieces (in this case, into triangles) with a bench scraper or a sharp knife. Before the pieces are baked, they are chilled in the freezer until firm. CUTTING OUT BISCUITS A lightly floured cutter is used to cut rounds from the dough, which has been gently patted out to a 1- inch thickness. Scraps can be patted together and then cut into additional rounds. MAKING DROP BISCUITS Wet biscuit dough, such as that of our Cornmeal Drop Biscuits, is scooped from the mixing bowl with a spoon; then, with the back of another spoon, the dough is eased onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. SLASHING SODA BREAD A very sharp paring knife is used to cut a clean, deep cross (about ¾ inch) in the top of an unbaked round of Irish Soda Bread. A razor blade or bench scraper can be used in place of a knife. PREPARING MUFFIN PANS A pastry brush—which can cover hard-to-reach spots—is used to thoroughly coat pans with softened butter. The surface between cups is brushed to prevent the muffin tops from sticking to the pan. FILLING MUFFIN CUPS Prepared pans are filled using two spoons, one to scoop out the sticky batter, the other to push it into the muffin cups. The batter can also be scooped and dropped with an ice cream scoop. COOLING MUFFINS Baked muffins are turned on their sides while they’re still in the cups of the pan. This prevents them from steaming and cooking further—and makes them cool faster. BAKING POWDER BISCUITS MAKES 1 DOZEN These rich, flaky biscuits are best eaten warm from the oven. As with all biscuits, it’s important not to overwork the dough while you are patting it out. (See photograph) 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 2 tablespoons baking powder 2 teaspoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces 2 cups heavy cream, plus more for brushing Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger clumps remaining. Pour in the heavy cream; using a rubber spatula, fold cream into the dough, working in all directions and incorporating crumbs at the bottom of the bowl, until the dough just comes together. The dough will be slightly sticky. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. With floured fingers, gently pat the dough into a round about 1 inch thick, pressing in any loose bits. Do not overwork the dough. Use a floured 2¼-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out the biscuits as close together as possible. (Use one cut edge as the edge for the next biscuit.) Place the biscuits on an unlined baking sheet about 1½ inches apart. Generously brush the tops of the biscuits with cream. Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the biscuits are golden and flecked with brown spots, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool. HERB BISCUITS VARIATION Follow instructions for Baking Powder Biscuits, adding ¼ cup of finely chopped herbs, such as rosemary, oregano, thyme, or parsley, to the flour mixture after the butter has been cut in. Proceed with the recipe. STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE VARIATION Follow instructions for Baking Powder Biscuits, increasing sugar to ½ cup, and reducing butter to 1½ sticks (¾ cup). Pat dough to about 1¼ inches thick before cutting out rounds. Before baking, brush rounds with 1 lightly beaten large egg (do not brush with cream), and sprinkle generously with sanding sugar, if desired. While biscuits bake, slice 3 pints hulled fresh strawberries in half (or in quarters, if large). In a medium bowl, toss to combine with 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice and ⅓ cup granulated sugar. Let mixture macerate for 20 minutes. After baking biscuits, cool them on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then split in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Place the bottom halves on serving plates, and top each with a dollop of Vanilla Whipped Cream. Spoon strawberries and juice over each, and cover with the biscuit tops. Serve immediately, with additional strawberries and whipped cream on the side, if desired. BUTTERMILK BISCUITS MAKES 1 DOZEN These are delicious served warm or at room temperature with butter and jam. The cheddar variation makes a nice accompaniment to thinly sliced ham. (See photograph) 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon sugar 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces 1¾ cups buttermilk, plus more for brushing Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger clumps remaining. Pour in the buttermilk; using a rubber spatula, fold buttermilk into the dough, working in all directions and incorporating crumbs at the bottom of the bowl, until the dough just comes together. The dough will be slightly sticky; do not overmix. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. With floured fingers, gently pat the dough into a round about 1 inch thick, pressing in any loose bits. Do not overwork the dough. Use a floured 2¼-inch round biscuit cutter to cut out the biscuits as close together as possible. (Use one cut edge as the edge for the next biscuit.) Place the biscuits about 1½ inches apart on an unlined baking sheet. Generously brush the tops of the biscuits with buttermilk. Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the biscuits are golden and flecked with brown spots, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool. CHEDDAR BISCUITS VARIATION Follow instructions for Buttermilk Biscuits, adding 3 cups (9 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese to the flour mixture after the butter has been cut in. Proceed with the recipe. CORNMEAL DROP BISCUITS MAKES 10 These biscuits are very quick and easy to prepare, since the dough is dropped onto the baking sheet without first having to roll it out or cut it. (See photograph) 1½ cups all-purpose flour ¾ cup fine yellow cornmeal 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons sugar 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces 1 cup milk Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger clumps remaining. Pour in the milk; using a rubber spatula, fold milk into the dough, working in all directions and incorporating crumbs at the bottom of the bowl, until the dough just comes together. The dough will be slightly sticky; do not overmix. With two large spoons, drop mounds of dough (about ⅓ cup each) about 1½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the biscuits are golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Slide the parchment and biscuits onto a wire rack to cool. CREAM CHEESE AND CHIVE BISCUITS MAKES 1 DOZEN You can freeze the unbaked biscuits on a baking sheet, then store in a resealable plastic bag for up to three weeks. When ready to serve, bake them (without thawing) on a parchment-lined sheet (the baking time will be the same). (See photograph) 2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 1½ teaspoons baking powder ¼ teaspoon baking soda 1¼ teaspoons salt 1 tablespoon sugar ¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces 4 ounces cream cheese, cold, cut into pieces 1¼ cups buttermilk Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and chives. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter and cream cheese until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger clumps remaining. Pour in the buttermilk; using a fork, mix in buttermilk until incorporated and the dough just comes together. The dough will be slightly sticky; do not overmix. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. With floured fingers, gently knead about four times, until all the crumbs are incorporated and the dough is smooth. With a lightly floured rolling pin, gently roll out the dough to an 11-by-8-inch rectangle, about 1 inch thick. Using a bench scraper or long offset spatula to lift the ends of the dough, fold the rectangle into thirds (like a business letter). Give the dough a quarter turn. Roll out the dough again (to the same dimensions), and repeat the folding process. Wrap with plastic, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Return the dough to the work surface. Roll out as before, and repeat the folding process. Give the dough another quarter turn; roll out the dough one more time, again into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Using a sharp knife, trim and discard ¼ inch from all sides; divide the rectangle into 12 equal squares or rectangles. Place on the prepared baking sheet about 1½ inches apart. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the biscuits are golden and flecked with brown spots, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool. CREAM CHEESE BISCUIT HOW-TO 1. On a lightly floured work surface, dough is rolled into an 11-by-8-inch rectangle. 2. The top and bottom thirds are folded inward, overlapping at the center. 3. The dough is given a quarter turn, then the rolling and folding is repeated twice more. SPICY CHEESE BISCUITS MAKES 10 Sweet smoked paprika is also known as Pimentòn de la Vera. If you prefer foods less spicy, omit it from the biscuit tops. (See photograph) 2¼ cups all-purpose flour 1¼ teaspoons baking powder ¾ teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons sugar ¾ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika, plus more for dusting 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces 6 ounces manchego cheese, finely grated (about 1 cup) 1½ cups heavy cream Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and paprika. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal with a few larger clumps remaining. Stir in the cheese with a fork. Add the cream; using a rubber spatula, stir until the dough just comes together. The dough will be slightly sticky; do not overmix. Using a ½-cup measure, scoop mounds of dough about 1½ inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Lightly dust with paprika. Bake, rotating the sheet halfway through, until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Slide parchment and biscuits onto a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. BLUEBERRY MUFFINS MAKES 1 DOZEN Try sprinkling granulated sugar over the tops of the unbaked muffins (one tablespoon should cover all twelve) to give them a bit of crunch. (See photograph) 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan 1½ teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 2 cups fresh blueberries 1 cup sugar 2 large eggs 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract ½ cup milk Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Working over the bowl, toss the blueberries in a fine sieve with about 1½ teaspoons of the flour mixture to lightly coat; set aside the flour mixture and blueberries. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until combined. Mix in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the reserved flour mixture, beating until just combined. Add milk, beating until just combined; do not overmix. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the blueberries. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the muffins are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool 10 minutes. Turn the muffins on their sides in their cups, and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. BLUEBERRY MUFFIN HOW-TO Tossing the blueberries with some of the flour mixture helps keep them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins as they bake. CRANBERRY-ZUCCHINI MUFFINS MAKES 10 These muffins offer a nice balance of tart and sweet flavors. (See photograph) Unsalted butter, room temperature, for pan, or nonstick cooking spray 1¾ cups all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon salt 2 large eggs 1 cup sugar ½ cup vegetable oil ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 cup finely grated zucchini (1 to 2 medium) ½ cup fresh or frozen whole cranberries Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously butter 10 cups of a standard 12-cup muffin pan; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Stir in the zucchini. Add the flour mixture, and stir to combine; do not overmix. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the cranberries. Divide the batter evenly among the 10 prepared muffin cups. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the muffins are golden and a cake tester inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Turn the muffins on their sides in their cups, and cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. CRANBERRY-ZUCCHINI QUICK BREAD VARIATION Follow instructions for Cranberry-Zucchini Muffins, transferring batter to a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan coated with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 375°F, rotating the pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool before serving. PLUM COFFEE-CAKE MUFFINS MAKES 10 You can substitute an equal amount of chopped peaches or nectarines for the plums. Or use your favorite berries instead—the recipe is very versatile. (See photograph) 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt Pinch of ground nutmeg 2 large eggs, room temperature 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract ¾ cup milk 3 ripe red plums (about 1 pound), pitted and cut into small chunks Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously butter 10 cups of a standard 12-cup muffin tin; set aside. Combine 2 tablespoons sugar and ¼ teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and remaining ¾ cup sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon; set aside. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, and milk. Whisk in the melted butter. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Dividing evenly, fill each of the 10 muffin cups halfway with batter. Smooth the batter with an offset spatula. Distribute the plum pieces evenly among the cups (about 3 tablespoons per muffin), scattering them over the batter. Spoon the remaining batter on top, dividing evenly. Sprinkle tops with the reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the muffins are puffed and golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Turn out the muffins onto the rack to cool a few minutes. Serve warm. PLUM COFFEE-CAKE MUFFIN HOW-TO To keep the chopped fruit in an even layer, the muffin cups are first partially filled with batter, then topped with fruit and another layer of batter. The tops are sprinkled with cinnamon-sugar before baking. DATE-BRAN MUFFINS MAKES 1 DOZEN Be sure to use unsulfured molasses—not sulfured or blackstrap—in this recipe. Also, buy the freshest, moistest dates you can find. (See photograph) 1½ sticks (¾ cup) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan 1½ cups all-purpose flour 1½ teaspoons baking soda ½ teaspoon salt 1½ cups wheat bran ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar 2 large eggs 1½ cups sour cream ¼ cup unsulfured molasses 1½ cups (8 ounces) pitted, chopped dates 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and bran; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the sour cream and molasses; mix on low speed until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the reserved flour mixture, dates, and orange zest until just combined; do not overmix. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes. Transfer t

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