PUBLISHER: Parragon Books, 7/2013
MY GRADE: B
FROM PUBLISHER: Good Food Made Simple: Baking is part of an exciting and comprehensive new series of cookbooks. Each title is packed with over 140 easy-to-follow recipes, step-by-step photographs, hints and tips, and a clear and helpful introduction. Cook and preparation times are provided for all recipes, as well as detailed nutritional analysis to help with healthy eating. With over 500 full-color photographs, this range of beautiful, yet practical cookbooks is the perfect collection to have in your kitchen. Packed full of delicious soup recipes, plus delicious sides and garnishes, if you want to expand your soup repertoire then look no further than Good Food Made Simple: Baking.
TABLE OF CONTENTS: Cakes, Cupcakes & Muffins, Small Cakes and Bars, Cookies, Desserts, Sweet Pies and Breads
THINGS I'VE MADE
This type of cookie has a firm dough and is rolled into balls then rolled into a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. These turned out as I expected- dry. I divided the dough in half and added lemon extract to half. The first batch was overcooked even though I baked them in less time than indicated. The second batch was baked the next day. I cooked them in less time than before and they were perfectly done. The only problem is that this recipe produced a firm, dry cookie, just like every snickerdoodle recipe I've ever tried.
CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS
I was very disappointed in this recipe. The muffins were dense, tough, and not quite sweet enough. You cut cold butter into the flour mixture and stir all ingredients together. Mine don't look anything like the photo in the book. I made half the recipe and got nine using a 1/4 c. dry measuring cup. I wouldn't make these again. I believe this book is European and I think something went wrong when the ingredients were converted.
This was very good. I used frozen sliced peaches instead of fresh and added cinnamon to them. I used a slightly smaller baking dish than required, 1 1/2 qt. I used two 16 oz. bags but it wasn't enough. The topping is a sweet drop biscuit-type that you dollop over the peaches and was good. I added a bit more milk so that the topping would be wetter so I could spread it evenly over the top of the peaches. It was too thick after baking for my small amount of peaches. The cooked topping had a very nice flavor and was like moist cake inside with a firm, somewhat crunchy exterior. I added 1/4 t. pure vanilla extract to the mixture. Very easy to make and I'm happy with this. Next time I'll dollop the topping over the peaches like the recipe states.
Now this is a different type of cake and I liked it. There's no flour in it, just a high amount of ground nuts and a little cornmeal (I used fine white), and the usual things found in cake batter. I was supposed to use blueberries and lemon zest but I used chopped dried cherries and almond extract instead. I made a powdered sugar glaze for it instead of dusting it with powdered sugar. The cake tasted great but was a bit dry and not so from overbaking. Guess that's just the nature of this sort of cake. Unusual, unique, and good. For some reason I see this being made into mini muffins.
These were typical shortbread cookies except for the addition of one egg yolk. The cookies were to have lemon and pistachio nuts in the dough. I divided the dough in half evenly and added chopped dried cherries, ground almonds, and almond extract to half and the other half, lemon extract and chopped pistachios. We were to form the dough into a log, chill it, then slice and bake them. I like that the cookies were supposed to be flat on the bottom with rounded tops, which resemble classic biscotti. I chilled the plastic wrapped dough logs on a glass cutting board to keep the bottoms flat. I sliced mine into 1/2" slices and got 26 total. I baked them for 11 minutes and dusted the tops with powdered sugar after they cooled, like shown in the photo in the book. The dough wasn't quite sweet enough so these needed the added sugar on top. The great thing about shortbread is that you can add any flavoring you want to it.
CHOCOLATE OAT BARS
These are actually called ginger and chocolate oat bars. Very simple to make. I don't like ginger so I left it out and substituted peanut butter for part of the butter and added vanilla extract. I used milk chocolate chips (1 1/2c.) for the topping instead of semisweet. These are pretty good. I think they're slightly dry, probably from too much oats. I'll use less next time. You just melt a few ingredients together, stir in oats, press mixture into a pan and bake a very short time. You melt chocolate, spread it on top, let cool, then cut into bars. This recipe is a keeper.
MY THOUGHTS: Almost all of these recipes called for salted butter. I only buy unsalted so that's what I used so I added salt to those recipes calling for salted butter. The cornmeal cake was a neat idea, having no flour in it but baking up like a normal cake. Two recipes were failures. There are several more cakes I wanted to make but my mind keeps going back to the failed muffin recipe and I'm scared to try any more cakes from this book. But I will in the future and I'll add to this review.
The book itself is beautiful. It's a large, heavy paperback. There are multiple photos for every single recipe and the pages are in color.
I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.