BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS BAKING

PUBLISHER: Better Homes and Gardens, 10/2013
GENRE: Cookbooks/Baking
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: This all-new and gorgeous edition of Better Homes and Gardens Baking (the first major all-purpose BHG baking title published since 1998) is a compendium of irresistible cookies, brownies, cakes, pies, cobblers, pastries, and breads—from everyday sweets to special-occasion show-stoppers. It has everything you need to bake fuss-free and with delicious results for bake sales, cookie swaps, birthday parties, holiday tables, or just because you’re in the mood to bake.

You'll find: More than 400 recipes for luscious baked goods such as Cinnamon Rolls (with four fun shape variations), Raspberry French Silk Pie Bars, and Herbed Boule. More than 250 photos showcase the recipes and clarify techniques Chapter-opener features with classic recipes that teach secrets to baking success. Make-It-Mine recipes with choices to help you adapt to your taste, convenience, and occasion Make-It-Mini guides to help bakers turn out scrumptious sweets in smaller sizes.

This will surely be the go-to baking reference and inspiration for years to come.



DOUBLE CHOCOLATE MUFFINS


These turned out perfectly! I got ten instead of twelve. I added vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon, though the recipe called for none. I used a heaping 1/2 c. mini semisweet chocolate chips, not 1c., and that was plenty. I used a standard 1/2 c. capacity square muffin pan and square liners (Wilton brand liners). I used 1/3 c. batter per muffin but that was a little too much. They baked in 18 minutes. They're moist inside and drier on the edges, which I like. They're not too sweet and are made with almost equal parts white and brown sugar, and just 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder. I stored them in an airtight container and they were just as moist the next day. You could dust the tops of these with powdered sugar if you wanted.




BROWNIE PUDDING CAKE


Nice and chocolaty and sweet. This recipe uses cocoa powder in the cake batter. You spread that in a pan and pour a mixture of hot water, cocoa, and brown sugar together and gently pour that mixture over the top of the batter. You don't stir it in. The cake bakes up normally and the liquid forms 'pudding' on the bottom of the pan.

I added 1/8 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract to the pudding mixture. I used a mixture of brown and white sugar instead of all brown sugar in the pudding. I used an 8" square/1.5qt baking dish.




DEVIL'S FOOD CAKE


This is moist and is made with shortening and unsweetened cocoa powder. I used more salt and vanilla extract than called for. I made half the recipe in a 9" pan and it baked in 24 minutes. While good, this isn't the best I've had. I think there's too much cocoa in it and would use 1T. less if I made it again. I wonder how it would have turned out if I'd used milk in place of water. I made my own pourable vanilla frosting for this.




MAKE-IT-MINE COBBLER


This recipe gives you many options for mixing and matching different fruits. I didn't follow a specific recipe for the filling. I used the crumb topping for a different recipe out of the book.

To a large mixing bowl I stirred together one drained can of peach chunks and one drained can of pitted tart red cherries. I added 6T. white sugar, 1.5T flour, 1/8t. salt, and 1/8t. almond extract to the mixture and divided it between three 10oz./4.75"x2" glass bowls. I divided the crumb topping evenly over the bowls and baked them at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes, until the topping was a deep golden brown.

I can't even describe how good the filling is. The topping has twice the amount of sugar in it as was needed. I'd cut back by half next time.




YELLOW CAKE


I made half this recipe and made a pineapple upside down cake (using crushed pineapple) out of it. I used an 8"/2qt baking dish. It baked in 33 minutes. The cake is moist and obviously has a strong butter flavor. For that reason alone I wouldn't make it again.

This is best stored in the refrigerator and eaten within two days because the top of the cake gets soggy from the pineapple.



APPLE STREUSEL PIE


This recipe is actually called Make-it-Mine Streusel Pie and I went with the apple version. The crumb topping on this isn't very good and I won't use it again. In the filling I used a lot more flour than called for, 4T. more, and it was perfect, and I added salt. When the pie cooled down to room temperature and I cut a slice it held its shape perfectly. I also added cinnamon to the apples and not to the crumb topping. I used an all-shortening pie crust that I'd made previously, similar to the one in this book.

I sliced the apples thinly then cut them in half so I'd have shorter pieces. I precooked the apples for ten minutes, then baked the pie uncovered for 35 minutes then laid a piece of foil over the top to protect the topping from burning, and baked it an additional 20 minutes.





LEMON-POPPY SEED LEMON BREAD


This cake is made with vegetable oil, lemon juice, and zest. It turned out good. Mine baked in 36 minutes. It could use a little more salt. I didn't make the simple syrup glaze for this but I did make a powdered sugar glaze. I left out the poppy seeds and added vanilla extract. This is a cake I'd make again.



SPICED JAM SANDWICHES (COOKIES)


This dough is made with equal parts shortening and butter and has a little lemon extract in it. I left out the spices. The dough has great flavor with a crunchy texture when baked. I sandwiched seedless raspberry jam between the layers. The dough itself is slightly hard to work with because the chilled dough starts to warm up as soon as you take it out of the refrigerator, so freeze it instead.

I used a small 1.75" square cookie cutter. They baked in just 7 minutes. I divided the dough into thirds and rolled each portion out between two sheets of wax paper, then chilled it overnight before cutting out. I'd like to make these again and I'd add a little more flour to the mixture, like maybe 1/3c, to see if that made a difference, perhaps make the dough a little stiffer. 

I made a second batch of these cookies a few weeks later, using an extra 1/4c. of flour and it helped make the dough firmer. After rolling the dough out between wax paper, I froze it for a few hours then cut out shapes quickly before the dough got too soft. I used 1.75" square and round ones and I didn't make a cut-out in the center.




CLASSIC PUMPKIN PIE


This is like any standard pumpkin pie recipe but it has extra egg in it and uses half and half cream in place of evaporated milk. It uses brown sugar in place of white but I used all white. This made a whole lot of mixture, way too much for a standard 9"/1qt dish so I used a 1.5qt pie dish and it filled it full. The pie slices are 1.25" thick. This baked in 55 minutes, uncovered. I didn't prebake the crust. The pie is great with a soft consistency when at room temperature.




PASTRY FOR SINGLE-CRUST PIE

This crust couldn't have been any easier to make. I used the all-shortening version. I used it in the Classic Pumpkin Pie recipe but forgot to photograph it before pouring the filling in the dish. I was enough mixture to make a 12" round crust.


SOUR CREAM-CHERRY MUFFINS


These are excellent. They use softened butter and sour cream. I used chopped dried sweetened tart pitted cherries and added almond extract instead of raspberries. These are very moist. I made half and used the whole 5oz bag of cherries. I got 9, not 6. They baked in 14.5 minutes.


MY THOUGHTS: Most things I made out of here turned out good. There are still a handful of recipes I'd like to try at some point in the future like sugar cookies, snickerdoodles, brownies, popovers, and so on. My favorites that I baked from here are the chocolate muffins and sandwich cookies.

The book itself is a heavy hardcover with lots of color photos that take up a whole page

I purchased this book myself.




No comments: