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January 2012 A Note from Marcy

 


 


 

 


 


One of my all-time best carrot cakes, from The New Best of BetterBaking.com, Whitecap Books 2009, Photo Credit Ryan Szulc, Toronto Canada


 

Dear Friends and Fellow Bakers,



 

Welcome to the January 2012 Issue of BB.  The freebies for this month areExtra Zesty Restaurant Style Cacciatore WingsClassic Minestrone Soup,Rustic Adobe BreadBelgian Milk Chocolate Chip SconesButtermilk Cinnamon Toffee Chip Muffins and Chicken Vesuvio. And yes, for those who asked, the Complete Recipe Archives are still subscribable you can subscribe for one month, 3 or 6 months - it's your choice). Just go to the To Subscribe page. This is still great value and if you have recipe or general questions, you can always check with the head baker for clarification; someone is 'home' at BB and that makes all the difference. I am happy to stand by the recipes I created and help you bake (and cook) better.


 

As per a great suggestion, I've also rounded up my own personal favorite Baker's Dozen of recipes (not free, I'm afraid). The winning recipes from the Year of 2011 are:

Sticky Toffee Cupcakes
Deluxe Limoncello Cupcakes
Apple Brined Chicken
Pumpkin Buttermilk Spice Pancakes
Caesar Salad Bread
Pumpkin Pie Blondies
Vermont Cheddar Cheese Bagels
Maple Walnut Bagels
Banana Raspberry Muffins
Notting Hill Brownies
Terre Etoile's Chocolate Sour Cream Fudge Cake
Caramel Cake from The Help
Carrot Millet Muffins

There are more personal favourite recipes of course but off the top of my head, these are some of the most popular repeats in my house. There's also Popcorn Bread in my cookbook, A Passion for Baking that I absolutely love.


 

When New Year's rolls around, I tend to take stock of where I've been as well as look ahead. What a year this has been! Like most years, it has been a mixed harvest of challenges and blessings on the personal and professional front. The theme of transition still seems in the air. For someone who has a hard time being still or accepting status quo, or embracing change, this is a big lesson. As transitions continue, I am edging nearer to a state of grace and it's humbling and offers many insights.

But if I've learned anything this year it is to go slow in life and in baking. Take one's time with emotions and decisions and hone one's baking into a finely crafted art form. My baking is ten times better and the emotional landscape seems calmer. I don't know about you but I used to rush for various reasons. I hurried to get to the good part of a recipe or of a section of my day or of life itself. I read the last page of books first. But mostly, I rushed to stay under the radar. Under the radar is an interesting term allot of people have mentioned to me lately. 

In fact, a friend (a mother of five, who is studying at night, just began a career as a marriage counsellor and is a practicing minister also wonders why shes feels so busy all the time!) confided that she tries to be perfect, in order to stay under the radar.  Why? Neither of us really knows but I know we are not alone. In part it is to keep on the down low or keep envy (or criticism) away or somehow we think that being perfect keeps us out of harm's way. Since perfection is impossible as a solution for anything (versus an aspiration) it's not a great game plan. It's also exhausting. Not to go Oprah on you, I wonder how many of us use perfectionism as a tactic instead of it being about excelling. Maybe 2012 is the year we drop perfectionism and adopt being perfect however and wherever we are. 

Truth is, I've found better and new recipes, often inspired by goofs, mistakes and faulty new recipes attempt. Sometimes, the mistakes have been where I discover the gold. Recently, I doubled up a batch of shortbread cookies. But I was distracted and only doubled the sugar and not the flour. But that led to more inquiry about about perfecting shortbread (I figured: while I was at it and doing it over anyway) and I think I've taken something simple one notch higher. 

It's almost impossible not to rush about. What with social media as a pop culture tsunami thundering at us, it's not easy to find your inner Walden Pond;there are things churning outside you even as you want to have a calm center. But if we are to find any peace, each of us must do just that. Find that sweet spot of calm within regardless the pace outside. It takes courage to ignore the pack or the trends but I think our spirits fade to black, without even a warning sign, if we don't listen to our inner tune. Morever, in doing that, I think we give each other a model to follow and some extra courage for this human journey in shifting times. (Of course, if you adore being on and electronically connected at all times, that's fine too). So that said, I am taking many more quiet moments in the months ahead to think of how to best transmit my recipes and my words with you. I am even thinking beyond that to exactly what I want to share with you.  I only have a vague idea of what I want share but I do know, it will be pure and simple - just like the baking. Ok - I fib. My baking is pure but not always simple or ordinary. For those of you who seem to similarly like original, unique baking - I am pleased to be your baking host on this rogue adventure with flour. (Did I tell you btw, the best way for shortbread is to knead it after mixing it? THAT turned out to make the best shortbread - that an 350 F oven to start and then 325 F for the last third of baking)

My warmest wishes for a healthy, happy, wonderful, healthy, creative and love-filled New Year, that includes allot of great baking. I also toast the virtue of less-than-perfect and more than .....whole.

 

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


 Previous Issues, Note From Marcy/Baker's Stash

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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