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May 2016 A Note from Marcy

   

 

Pretty in Pink for May or a Mother's Day Feast, enjoy Free French Strawberry Shortcake, Anzac Bars or FREE Sweet and Tart Rhubarb Pie Dough Strudel. Visit www.Betterbaking.com.

 

 Dear Bakers and Friends,

Whenever it’s time for the monthly Note from Marcy missive, I always check previous issues of BB to see what I wrote that particular month a year ago, five years ago or as far back as the first Note from Marcy in May of 1997.  I sniff around to see a theme, a feeling or culinary sensibility.

Most of my May editorials have that ‘spring and hope springs eternal’ vibe which is what a tender May day, with its shoots new rhubarb, Lily of the Valley, and geese winging north is all about.  It’s also the month we tip our hats mothers and the sisterhood (be it friends or sibs). Accordingly, I tend to choose baking that’s light and a tad feminine; over the years, there have been teas and scones aplenty. In some past issues, you can also sense the relief in returning to regular, post Passover baking.

While it’s nice to stroll through baking nostalgia, the new BB website launch is a few weeks from now. It’s gorgeous! I expect there to be growing pains for all of us but it will be worth it in terms of how beautiful it looks and how efficiently it will operate (for instance: if you lose your password, it’s you that can get a new one!).  My biggest mandate for the new site will be adding photos. BB began before there were (affordable) digital cameras. By the time I got one, BB had over 1500 recipes. So I am starting where I am: adding recipe photos as I can. (Btw there are now over 2550 recipes on this site; the variety is astonishing). My other mandate is a series of E-Baking books with specialized topics. Want to vote? Biscotti, Bagels, Holiday Cookies or Veggie Burgers - what would YOU like to see first? (Write and let me know)

Next week or so, I will also bring you my annual Best Mother’s Day Gift line-up which always features a few amazing perfumes to consider along with some other treats for your moms or as a treat to yourselves. Stay tuned for some amazing gift ideas in crystal, yoga bags, and beautiful journals and perfumes.

Over the years, as host of Betterbaking.com, I’ve been through a few incarnations of taste. I started with the basics I knew best (carrot cake, lots of cheesecakes and bran muffins). Then I segued to what I now refer to as my ‘over-the-top’ baking era (decadent brownies stuffed with Oreos, Fried Oreos, Nutella in everything and double-fudge everything). Now I’m in a new era which is light, globally-flavored foods and the baking is varied – between classic, light, rustic, healthy or more gently ‘over-the-top’. Part of this is just natural evolution: it’s where I am and it’s where the outer food world is as well. Combinations of flavors and international tastes rule and overall, things are rather interesting – and run the gamut of extra healthy (coconut oil, vegan, vitamin-packed waters, Kombucha, chia, hemp and organic everything – all good things) to the next big Cronut (aka: warm pretzels, babka, gourmet donuts and seedy sourdough breads).  

But what I noticed about my own baking is that I’m gently tweaking it or changing simple elements or overhauling in service to freshening the recipe or making it more contemporary. In short, I know better now, I bake better and so shall you.  Anzac Cookies become Anzac Bars; French Toast gets stuffed and the usual strawberry shortcake with a biscuit base is now uplifted into a French layer cake. Little changes, big results. Much like life. Take another way home, change your perfume, buy another flower for the house, repurpose your furniture - in other words, see everything again for the first time. It’s the epitome of mindfulness when you stop and take a breath and realize – there’s another way to do things. It’s uplifting. In my own case, where I’ve been stubborn, I now say: why not? Where I’ve had a strong stance, I now question it. Even the most maverick among us can get too stuck too to our guns: in our food, our décor, the books we read, the same yoga or aqua fit class we’re married to. In changing it up, you’ll find your spirit also breathes in fresh new air. At the least, you might return to what you already love with renewed vows.

I wish you happy baking this merry month of May. 1, 16

Warmly,

Marcy Goldman
Master Baker, Author
www.BetterBaking.com
Est. 1997

May 2016 Recipes of the Month

FREE French Strawberry Shortcake

Pretty in pink, a wonderful golden cake that is American as strawberry shortcake but with French flair.

Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast with Cidered Apples

Perfect in time for a spring luncheon or Mother’s Day Brunch. Great make-ahead fare.

Anzac Bars


A chewy, crisp bar based on the famed oatmeal cookie. The cherries really perk this up but omit them if you just want the pure taste of butter, brown sugar in a chewy oatmeal bar. (It's a good base for a granola bar btw - just add the right stuff)

Ganache Flourless Passover Torte


A gorgeous sweet and a touch tangy (if you use sour cherries) biscotti that features a special spice and an optional sugar cookie. This is the one to dip in a cuppa tea or espresso.

Cranberry Feta Sandwich FREE


Tangy, sweet and salty, the perfect sandwich.

Sweet and Tart Rhubarb Pie Dough Strudel FREE


What's spring without the first taste of rhubarb?

Alphahores or Famous Tango Cookies

These cookies are finally trending – and it’s long overdue. I first created my recipe for these almond scented shortbread, filled with luscious dulce de leche caramel filling when I started tango. It’s my all time favorite cookie alongside shortbread, Tollhouse and Oatmeal. The New York Times had these featured last week (I prefer my recipe) and we (me via the Washington Post) also coincided with babka features. Great baking minds think alike.


Chianti, Black Olive and Parmesan Biscotti
Like the crunch of biscotti but want a savory (salty) munch instead? These are sort of like wine-and-cheese sticks, tender/crisp bites that are nicely eaten, out of hand, with a glass of wine or sangria.

White Chocolate Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins


These are moist, incredibly fragrant, health:  all in all: a delicious muffin. Coconut oil makes these extra healthy (and the whole-wheat flour) but you can use all butter if you prefer. What makes these amazing is the taste, texture and moistness! These are sooooo satisfying.

Baklavah Scones FREE
Amazing baklavah flavors packed into a handy scone. All the taste, half the work.

My Famous Restaurant Style Caesar Salad with Sour Dough Garlic Croutons


Why do we girls love our salad? Can’t beat a classic or can you? Next time a restaurant wants to charge $16 and more for this legend, make your own. Pack it to go or enjoy it watching Billions.


Maple Rosemary Sweet and Salty Bar Nuts


One friend called this recipe pure crack. I don’t know what she means (and I am relatively sure she’s never had crack unless it’s a fault in her house foundation). But it could be because I ate half of them on the way over to her house, intending to give her the whole jar as a gift. She ate the rest before I left our coffee hour.


Thai Shrimp Satays

Global gourmet is so easy. Add some basmati rice and curried corn salad and you have a banquet. Good hot or cold.


 

 

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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, ‘I’ve 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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