Dear Fellow Bakers and Friends,
Welcome to a long Labor Day weekend – a perfect time to bake. Labor Day weekend does mark the end of summer which is somewhat sad but it is also a nice oasis of three full days: one to catch up with, one to garden/back-to-school with, and one of course, for baking.
I’ve been baking so much that it recently caused a slight kerfuffle with my Garland gas 60 inch restaurant-style range. In came the local gas company to check things out. Of course, they didn’t believe my Garland was a residential range (it is; it is one of the first and last of a series that was made for the home but is otherwise totally restaurant grade and performance). The gas company said: get things up to ‘code’ (of some sort)’ and gave me 7 days to do just that. (Otherwise they were ready to put a lock on the stove and that would be the end of the BB Test Kitchen, aka my kitchen). That got me networking to anyone and everyone who would look at my range and do whatever I was supposed to do. Total panic. I thought I would have to sell the house, move and abandon the Garland. It was not easy finding anyone willing to check out what is in fact, a hybrid range. In the end, the incredible folks at a specialty restaurant stove repair company came by like fairy godmen (yes, they exist) and got said stove up and running perfectly. What’s more? No bill, no charge. Goodness of their heart sort of thing. Can you imagine? Life has many miracles.
Do check out some new product profiles on Renaissance-Art Leather, KD Dance, Bingley’s Teas and more in the Product Review section as well as Pinterest. Speaking of Pinterest, I entered a contest from IKEA wherein all you had to do was pin something from IKEA on one’s Pinterest board. Guess what? I won. So I encourage you (this is in Canada – perhaps it is on the U.S. site well) to enter. It takes seconds and you never know! And don’t forget my monthly column at www.Clabbergirl.com where there is a great collection of new and free Rosh Hashanah recipes I created for you and Clabbergirl.
There are tons of New Year’s baking (and cooking) recipes on the site as well as in my Jewish Holiday Baking book, so be sure to suss out what you need. I’ve only offered a smattering of possibilities in this months’ recipe collection. Ditto for September baking – the Recipe Archives is an astounding source for quick breads, muffins, breads, and more – it’s all there and growing every day.
Some of you have asked about my cookbooks. So far, The Baker’s Four Seasons is still looking for a new home. Publishing is in panic mode (still) and the trend these days is for publishers to produce smaller or one-subject books. Since The Baker’s Four Seasons is decidedly a big book, it is sitting out a few dances. That said, I might produce it, as well as my cooking book, myself. I know I’ve mentioned it a few times and have yet to leap into the self-publishing fray but I also want very much to get these two books to you.
Without further ado, the recipes for this month – and happy back-to-school, Happy New Year, and welcome September.
Warm wishes from my kitchen (and working Garland stove) to yours,
Author, Master Baker
FREE New Years Sweet Round Challah
Cranberries or the traditional raisins make this a beautiful sweet challah for the holidays. Leftovers (if you have any) are perfect for a bread pudding. You can add a touch of vanilla of you like and sprinkle the top with almonds or sugar (or both) instead of the sesame seeds called for.
FREE Moist and Majestic Honey Cake C
A delicious Jewish New Year tradition that will make any honey cake hater a honey cake fan. Personally, I prefer an extra moist, sweet, high New Year's honey cake. I tested some 50 or so cakes, on the way to creating this one. This one is queen of the realm - rich with honey, just perfectly spiced.
Free Eclair Cake
A choux paste bottom bakes up into a golden crust. It’s filled with a special cream cheese filling, and then topped with fudge sauce or glazed, fresh fruit (such as strawberries and kiwi). A pretty dessert that is both elegant and easy.
McIntosh Apple Torte
This is a stunner – a cross between pastry, cake and something altogether unique in its own right. It is a crust that houses a ton of apples. Bake it all up and when it is still warm, pour over the vanilla sauce or ‘glue’ that will hold it altogether (along with an overnight stay in the fridge). It serves 12-20 and keeps well for days. A wonderful go-to favourite cake of mine. A Goldman girl classic. Perfect for New Year’s or anytime a company apple cake is called for. (That said, it’s easy- so relax! A beginner can do this cake)
Double Chocolate Sour Cream Mall Muffins
Muffins from the mall: big bad boys of muffin-dome. High heat, high rack baking makes these puffy umbrella topped muffins. Commercial look/homemade taste.
Solid Chocolate Cake With Spiced CrĂ¨me Anglaise
A bouquet of tart-sweet plums, held in place by a vanilla and lightly spiced tinged egg and cream custard. Warm up some apricot jam and brush it on as a glaze for a pastry shop finale. My mother actually made this with canned plums - which would be fine. This is spectacular in flavor and just a nice change from chocolate or cinnamon things. As I look at this recipe now, it occurs to me it is really a spin on Clafouti, the rustic French custard and fruit pie, often made with cherries. I don't recall that this pie (or tart) ever lasted more than an evening at our house. You can use the tart dough here or a ready made pie dough crust (if you are in a hurry) ; either are fine.
This is one of the first tarts anyone learns in hotel school or if you are from Alsace, by your mother’s side. Concentric circles of tender apples set in vanilla-scented cream and finished with a veneer of apricot glaze. Granny Smith is the usual choice here but a combination of a Cortland and Golden Delicious makes a more flavorful tart. Use fresh autumn apples those taste you prefer and is regional but try to find apples that are both tart and sweet or use a tart one and a sweet one to ensure a bouquet of apple flavor.
Free Strawberry Banana Yeasted Swirl Bread
A mild yeasted banana bread that is quietly awesome. The bananas disappear into the dough and the starch in them tenderizes the loaf while the natural sugar in the fruit sweetens it just so. This bread stays soft and fresh for days – if it lasts that long. I saw a Pepperidge Farm bread ad that had these elements (banana and strawberry) and couldn’t resist making my own version.
FREE Sundried Tomato Stuffed Chicken Tortellini
Serve these tender, zesty morsels with Arabica sauce, Alfredo, Marinara, or simply lemon juice, olive oil and a dusting of fresh curls of parmesan and fresh basil. Use wonton wrappers of very thin, fresh pasta. This is oh-so-Olive Garden but so easy. Freeze the uncooked tortellini or even cooked and then douse in simmering water and sauce up, as required
Chicken Caesar Grilled Chicken Breasts Chicken Caesar Grilled Chicken Breasts
A gourmet, quick fix of chicken filets, encased in a unique Caesar salad coating mix, hot ‘oven-fried’ (14 minutes!) to perfection. These are crisp outside, extra tender and moist inside and packed with garlicky Caesar flavor. Serve with the salad by the same name and rice Pilaf for a super quick entrée. Leftovers make great Caesar Salad Chicken sandwiches - tuck them into a pita, a wrap or Panini. This is outstanding bistro fare!
Butterscotch Tollhouse Cookie Chocolate Chip Cake
A cross between a quick bread and a Tollhouse cookie.