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A Note from Marcy

A Passion for Home Baking,
The Baker's Batch of New Recipes

November 2003

(The artist for the lovely bowl cover from www.art.com is by Adele Gold)

Does daylight saving time inspire more baking?

Well,  it does actually. Daylight saving time means dark and often dreary November has descended. It calls for some sort of response. I, for one,  combat the outer climes with my personal, Urban Club Med come-back.

First,  I keep my house well-lit and cozy. Light and warmth are cheering. Candles are lit early in the day and cinnamon as well as vanilla incense are set to wafting. I grind fresh coffee beans fresh as much for the fragrance (eau du cafe: pure heaven) as I do for the resultant grinds. I set a Russian style (but electric) samovar on 'High' and make a pot of Scottish breakfast tea (and sometimes herbal), which keeps warm atop the samovar all day long. So much for scent-and-simmer. Now for the audio.  I have chimes (flattened vintage cutlery from a crafter friend) that breeze outside my test kitchen, sending a windy symphony into the air and harmonizing with the chirping sparrows. Speaking of which....

I seem to feed the birds more often this time of year and they flock as soon as they hear my sliding door open! Why more often? For one, I have a soft spot for the birds that stay behind. Secondly, I rather like the company. Feeding the birds inevitably courts the squirrels with whom my sons and I have an on-going hot and cold war. We like them, we don’t, we think they hog the peanuts and scare the birds. But they are also cute and maybe more to the point - they are relentless. Once, in an effort to outwit them and keep the birdfeeder safe, I coated the pole on which the bird feeder sits, with Crisco. Ah huh, and why would I do that? I once read this in a garden catalogue blurb: “A bit-o-grease beats the squirrel baffler hands down”. Well, our squirrels must have thought the greased pole was a spa treatment or something. Nothing, including an acre of Crisco was going to stop them from getting at the feed. A day or so later I looked out and saw rather desperate squirrel claw marks in the Crisco (I was grateful I did not catch a look of any sliding squirrels – it is a vision I did not want implanted in my brain). Later that week, I saw squirrels with greasy yellow bellies, skulking around the balcony (yellow because I used butter-flavored Crisco). So, having been baffled by the squirrels, we finally agreed to just accept them (i.e., we admitted defeat). We now keep a blob of sunflower seeds and challah chunks (don’t ask) for the squirrels. On the other side of the deck, for the birds, we put out a puddle of cracked wheat and flax seed (the birds are watching their Omega 3 Oils intake). Everyone is happy. My three sons, who eat breakfast in an adolescent stupor, watch our private Animal Kingdom-cum-Discovery Channel each day, as it unfolds on the deck, outside the dining room. We have binocs and while they won’t admit it, all three of my guys now know the difference between types of cardinals and grackles, and that blue jays would sell their soul and mothers for peanuts. Which leads back to food and questions of baking…….

I overdid the bake'n cocoon thing the other day and made about 10 dozen dulce de leche Tollhouse bars, oatmeal hunks, and a truckload of Caramel Apple Cake. What to do? Well, I boxed and bagged things up and bestowed my computer shop repair fellow with some, then the teachers, a bus driver, our pediatrician and nurses (flu shots!), a music teacher, and even the Starbucks barrista in my neighborhood.  Their warm appreciation that was my gift back and made me glow. Suddenly, the somewhat dour, late October day seemed as sunny as July. I felt like the Easter Bunny and somewhat like I had launched my own reality series: Baker in the Big City. Funny, but I forget until I share something I have baked just how nice it feels. You cannot go looking for that feeling either – it comes as as a by-product of giving and doing. Which is what baking is about : doing something. And it is not until you do it, you think: gee, this feels nice. We tend to get completely immersed when our hands are busy.  The racing 'mind chatter' stills and gradually give way to the wonderful thoughts that come with a sense of flow. The reward of being busy, or more accurately, involved,  is a phenomenon that makes you totally present. And nothing, even daylight saving time, beats being in the moment at hand.  It approaches that thing we call 'bliss'. Who knew it began in a bowl of batter?

And now to business......

In this issue of BetterBaking.com, you will notice a slightly modified approach. After six years online, on a baking adventure, I have had to scale back a bit. Maintaining an online magazine at this level, for that length of time, means there are challenges to be met (which is probably the largest understatement I have ever uttered!). Streamlining BetterBaking.com enables me to offer it, as well as my chef's advice to you, 24/7. It allows me to share BetterBaking.com as a bakers' resource and an online oasis. While the freebies are necessarily more modest, the ‘Baker’s Batch’ of a half dozen new recipes each month are all special and created just for you.  There is also, as always, the BB Classic recipes to start any new baker off. For BB Recipe Archive Subscribers, I have also included a listing (below) of the still more new recipes, fresh out of my test kitchen oven.  They can be found in the Complete Recipe Archives (now topping 1300 original recipes!) and are available to subscribers. These recipes are all superb (she says modestly) but the Double Garlic Twisty Cheesy Bread, Friendship Crumb Cake Yeasted Blueberry SconesCaramel Swirl HunksReal Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies are all pure gold. As for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, do check out the archives to find pretty well every dessert you could want, as well as classis 'sides', biscuits, and breads galore. Don't forget there are also hundreds of cooking recipes on the site too, from heartwarming soups to main dishes and fast, savory things like Super Bowl Vegetable Dip in a Bread Bowl. I will also be in touch from time to time with in seperate newsletters with product news about culinary items, scents, holiday gift ideas, as well as unique and specialty lifestyle items that I discover and want to share.

As for some other neat news, I am delighted to inform you that A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking (Doubleday, 1998) is going into paperback with Broadway Books. The new edition will be launched next fall. In book publishing, this news is the same as a professor getting tenure: it means my first book will become a backlist classic and enjoy years of longevity! But it also means, the first edition, hard cover book will soon be a collector's item. So, if you want your own Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking in a hefty hard cover or have been wavering, this would be the time to get the last of the copies that are still out there (I cannot even get anymore!). The paperback version will be out in autumn 2004. 

On other fronts, thanks to everyone who dropped by the Kitchen Aid Live Chat recently and for attending my baking classes here in Montreal, at Loblaws. I have enjoyed meeting with all of you! 

Wishing you, as always, sweet times in the kitchen, 


Marcy Goldman
Head Baker, Author, Host
www.BetterBaking.com
Baker Boulanger Online Magazine

A Passion for Home Baking,
The Baker's Batch of New Recipes

NEW FREE RECIPES FOR NOVEMBER

Classic Pumpkin Pie

Apple Cranberry Tart Cake

Vermont Country Inn Pumpkin Cheesecake

World's Best Double Pecan Pie aka Perfect Pecan Pie

Double Garlic Twisty Cheesy Bread
 

THESE EXTRA RECIPES ARE PART OF THE BB SUBSCRIPTION

$250. 00 Chocolate Chip Cookie or Almost Mrs. Fields
The one that keeps circulating…..but strangely, it is rather good.

Real Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies
Chunkier and more authentic than the urban legend recipe of the same name

Friendship Crumb Cake
A high-rising, crumb topped wonder of a coffeecake. This is a recipe replication of a cinnamon and spice cake that a local rustic bread bakery put out one Friday morning. Big, huge, pans of the stuff was too good to ignore. This is a unique cake that will convince you sourdough starter belong in the kutchen as much as they do, in your baguettes and boules.

Double Chocolate Chunk Almond Biscotti
Classic but chock full of good things, set in a nutty crunchy base

Chocolate Brioche Buns (Pain au Chocolat)
Chocolatines by any other name: a sweet and buttery, tender little bun stuffed with bittersweet chocolate

Apricot Kolache (Yeast Version) Czech Hungarian Pastries
Tender pastries from the Czech kitchen. A must for your baking repertoire.

Double Garlic Twisty Cheesy Bread
A touch of a European boulangerie in a bread that is just right for autumn and chili suppers

Yeasted Blueberry Scones (just amazing yeasted scones)
Legendary scones made with yeast and baking powder, these are bulging and spectacular (and thanks to the generosity of George Fenn)


France’s version of pecan pie is caramelized walnut heaven in a pastry crust. Run, don’t walk to the kitchen.

Lemon Slice Shaker Pie
This should make you stand up and salute. Tart, sweet, sassy and easy as pie.

Baklavah with Honey Lemon Orange Syrup
You asked, I delivered. A wondrous pastry of honey, nuts and butter held in place with butter leaves of filo.

Pull Apart Monkey Bread
Pull apart yeast coffee cake for the kutchen crowd. Frozen yeast dough for a busy baker also works.

Cream Cheese Topped Miniature Schnecken
Little but wow – what a perfect little bite.

Asiago and Cheddar Walnut Bread (or Rolls)
A rustic yet sophisticated bread that I replicated from a local pastry shop

Oatmeal Dulce De Leche Bars
More dulce? Why not? Like a giant oatmeal cookie stuffed into a layer pan and swirled through with rivers of caramel. It cuts into bars you just want to sink your teeth into.

Marcy Goldman Rich Sour Cream Yeast Rugulah Dough
Another basic – a dough that is the black dress of pastry making.


Previous Monthly Essays from A Note From Marcy:

Essays to tickle your funny bone, wake up your inner baker, twinge on your heartstrings, or make you smile and say, Ive know the feeling; I know the place. If you missed an essay, or a season in baking or inner sensibility, we invite you to stroll through our archived Notes From Marcy.

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