Posts Tagged ‘baking’


What should I bake for a Christmas cookie exchange?

by Melody Dworak on November 27th, 2017

The holiday season is in full swing. It might hit 60 degrees today, but that doesn’t mean you can’t turn on your oven and bake something delicious. And if you have a Christmas cookie exchange coming up, I have just the recommendations for you. The following digital magazines promise to please your cookie-loving taste buds. Or just have delight in looking at all the lovely food styling photos. I won’t judge!

 

All Recipes 

All Recipes Dec/Jan 2018

Find new twists on Christmas favorites, like peanut ginger double-deckers and cranberry pistachio spirals. Yum!

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Ready, set, BAKE!

by Anne Mangano on June 1st, 2016
Ready, set, BAKE! Cover Image

If you’re like me, you’re waiting patiently for PBS to air another season of The Great British Baking Show (or The Great British Bake Off as it is known across the pond). And if you’re like me, you’re baking your way through the wait. The show has inspired me to venture out of my baking comfort zone, exploring the shelves of the Iowa City Public Library for new and interesting recipes to try. The library even has a number of cookbooks by your favorite Bake Off personalities. So, on your mark, get set, bake!

Perhaps the best place to start is a baking book by one of the show’s judges. Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake acts as a primer on technique. The recipes here are pretty detailed, offering the how and why to each Read the rest of this entry »

I’m heading back to school.

by Candice Smith on October 9th, 2015

pieblogPie School, that is.

Several years ago, a friend of mine confided in me that she was really nervous to bake a pie that she would be sharing with other, more accomplished pie bakers. She was, in particular, worried about the crust–she’d heard rumors that one of these other pie bakers could make the perfect crust. Now, I know from experience (okay, experiences…) that my friend is no slouch in terms of baking–or cooking in general, for that matter–so I was perplexed and dismissive of her worry. I didn’t get why she would be concerned about it when, in the end, we all knew the pie would be good enough.

After baking my first two pies, I get it.

With me, it’s not so much worry, since I’m sharing the baked goods with a captive audience who is 1) fond of dessert, 2) often hungry, and 3) legally bound by marriage to me and therefore must eat what I bake (it was in the vows). It’s more of a strong desire to keep making pies–better pies–and that means better crusts. I’m finding it’s not so simple as I previously thought; there are any number of pie crust recipes, using mostly the same ingredients but with small differences in the amounts, some additions, some substitutions. All of those little differences make for crusts that have varying characteristics. Theoretically, these recipes should make for pie crusts that are perfectly good. It’s not just the recipe you have to worry about, though, it’s how you put the ingredients together. How cold is your water, and how do you add it to the dry mix? Mixing by hand, or in a mixer? How are you adding your butter into the mix–literally, how are you rubbing the butter and dry ingredients together, and for how long? Chilling the dough, rolling the dough–there are so many variations on this process and the techniques. Yes, most of these crusts will taste good. BUT–will they be perfectly browned, with the right amount of bite? Will they have tender layers and not crumble apart, but still have nice flakiness?

I’m just a newbie at this. First crust was a bust, second was much better (not beautiful, but tasty). Both have been apple. I’m going to do a couple more tries on a basic crust and fruit pie, then maybe move on to something slightly more adventurous…I’m thinking the gouda and pear pie in Kate Lebo’s Pie School. If you want your own piece of the action, head to the 641.8652s, find a book, and get in the kitchen.

Baking with Biscoff–the cookie spread that won’t quit!

by Melody Dworak on April 22nd, 2015
Baking with Biscoff–the cookie spread that won’t quit! Cover Image

Last month I wrote about my efforts to cook in big batches to make weeknight dinner decisions easier. Turns out, you can make breakfast for a week, too. This is not what I had set out to do when I picked up the Biscoff cookie and spread Cookbook, but it was a delightful fringe benefit.

What is Biscoff spread, you ask? In short: creamed cookies. The spread is as decadent as it sounds. In normal cookies, you have regular things like *air* taking up space, wasting precious room where sugar and fat could go. Biscoff spread wastes not a molecule, packing in sweetness at a 90 calories per tablespoon. Some people know the cookies as the ones they give out on airline flights. For me, the red, white, and tan jar of creamed goodness stared at me from the gifty section at the Bread Garden, and I had to try it.

The Biscoff Cookie and Spread Cookbook includes photos of desserts that look mouthwatering. You can see a few recipes on the Biscoff website, but these photos are nowhere near as scrumptious looking as the ones in the book.

Biscoff coffee cake

Biscoff coffee cake

The recipe I baked was the Biscoff coffee cake. The crumble topping itself contains two sticks of butter and lots of sugar. The cake part under the crumble held enough moisture that it did feel like it melted in my mouth.

I’m looking forward to future Biscoff baking Sundays!

 

Tiz the Season for Cookies!

by Beth Fisher on December 12th, 2014
Tiz the Season for Cookies! Cover Image

The Holidays are fast approaching – and at least for me that means its time to bake cookies!

On the 2nd floor we have a new pop-up display of Cookie cookbooks, and there are even more in the circulating collection at 641.8654.

I can’t pick my favorite cookie book – there are just too many to choose from.  One of our newest is:

cookies100 Animal Cookies: a super-cute menagerie to decorate step-by-step by Lisa Snyder.    The cover art says it all.  This is a book for those who love to spend time creating decorated cookie masterpieces.

The 19 page introduction includes three basic cookie recipes (vanilla, chocolate, or gingerbread) and the recipe for Royal Icing; a explanation of tools and equipment; 8 pages of techniques.  Patterns for 100 animals follow, in six sections:  Farm & Pets; Garden Critters; Woodland Creatures; Ocean & Ice Animals; and Prehistoric Animals.

Each one page pattern contains a full color picture,  list of necessary supplies and step by step instructions for creating the cookie creature.  Tips and tricks are included when needed.

An index and a list of 16 suppliers are included.

 

CookiesOther books you’ll find on our display include:  Cookies!  Favorite recipes for dropped, rolled, and shapped cookies.  By Good Houskeeping.  If you’re a fan of Good Housekeeping’s cookbooks, you’ll have seen many of these before.  All of the recipes in this book come from the many hundreds of recipes in the Good Housekeeping collection. \  The more than 200 cookies here are the best of the best!

COOKIES! is divided in to four sections:  Drop Cookies, Rolled & Cut Out Cookies, Shaped & Icebox Cookies, and Holiday Cookies. Just glancing through the index brings back Holidays past when I see Biscohitos, Pfeffernusse, Browned-butter Shortbread, and Sally Anns.    Seems like every woman in my family knows at least one of these recipes by heart.

 

 

slice and bake cookiesSlice & Bake Cookies: Fast Recipes from your Refrigerator or Freezer by Elinor Klivans.  Refrigerator cookies are my go-too cookies. Cookie connisseur Elinor Klivans once had one of those moments that makes you say ‘doh:  most any kind of cookie can be made using the slice and bake method.  It’s something most experienced cookie bakers have discovered on their own…  you can stash a batch of dough in the fridge and bake them later.

Slice & Bake Cookies contains 47 cookie recipes in four categories:  Chewey cookies; Stuffed & Sandwich cookies; Crisp cookies: and Savory cookies.  She leads off with an 8 page “Ingredients, Equipment, and Techniques” section that is worth a read.   I tend to be more of a “dump it in the bowl and mix” so the mix/chill bo’kind of cookie maker – but I did learn some things by reading her introduction.

It’s obvious Klivans loves her work.  Who wouldnt want to sample more than 1200 cookies wile writing a book?