A Note from Marcy August 2023

A pie with some fruit inside of it

A Note from Marcy August 2023

Dear Baking Friends,

Welcome to the August 2023 issue of Betterbaking.com! This is a simple issue, befitting a tired baker who’s danced too much this summer as well as yoga-ed and swam enough laps to brag about. I also just launched a new book that is light in recipes but generous in heartfelt words and stories. Of course I’m referring to Tango Confidential which is making its way into the world.

On that note, I glanced at the new social media landscape outside the hallowed kitchen walls of Betterbaking.com and I realized two things. One: I’ve always disliked self-promoting but that’s just my tough luck as an indie author. Two: I will have to make a game plan to spread the word about my new work. I did make a list of the usual suspects: newspaper book reviewers and their counterparts in book podcasts and TikToc and Instagram as well as Reese, Oprah, Jenna and Drew.  Happily I was invited to speak last weekend on Canada’s CBC Radio which was nice. https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-78-all-in-a-weekend/clip/16000447-marcy-goldman-tango-confidential-a-memoir-dance-floor

Truth is, I’m not shy about reaching out far and wide and for that I thank my freelancer days when I would pitch anyone given thirty spare seconds and pack that half minute with a lot of zeal. I had the touch of a human Taser and more often than not, I got the gig by overwhelming editors with sheer verbiage (and the notion that everyone needs another Salute to Polenta feature). That said, the where-are-my-book-buyers terrain is unpredictable. My hunch is that I will have to let my book journey a bit on its own and find its own way.

I used to think (and this is counter to the splat-assault of social media efforts)  that if you stood still and said: Free Lemonade, ‘they would come’. Chasing the wind aka finding lemonade drinkers is a task that can be exhausting and it’s a speculative endeavour. It may or may not offer results. As a writer, whether it be of memoirs or cookbooks, you toil so hard just getting the work out that you forget you also have to accompany said work into the world. But there’s no rush – I’m here all week, all month in fact. So I shall rest up, make a calling list and we will see what prevails. In the meanwhile, thank you to many of you who have ordered copies!

This simple issue of Betterbaking.com is mostly about quick things: some special cookie recipes  because I am craving cookies myself, I’m also sharing a lemony, moist French lemon loaf that is a good keeper and perfect for people dropping by or gifting in slices to the people you meet in your day and also a beautiful raspberry nectarine pie.

In the BetterBaking Advice Corner please give a thought to changing your bread flour. I recently bought ‘artisanal’ flour instead of my regular ones and the results are so spectacular, I’m awed. What a difference another sort of flour makes! More advice: I also notice so much chocolate these days contains soy products. I’m not sure why – it’s probably about consistency but perhaps do as I am doing: investing in more upscale chocolate especially for little things like Tollhouse Cookies. Pure semi-sweet and pure milk chocolate from Belgium, France or Switzerland impart a flavor bouquet that is decadent, warm and rich and most often, soy-free.

Speaking of which – here’s a bonus recipe that is as charming as possible – a spin of Mrs. Wakefield Tollhouse Cookies, Strawberry White Chocolate Toll House Cookies.

In other baking news, there’s a trend towards browned-butter in recipes. I’ve never been a fan of this and wonder about your thoughts. I find it’s extra effort for something that yields a more greasy form of butter that I’m not sure benefits everything. I’ve also noticed chocolate chip recipes that use a combo of cake flour and bread flour. An example of this is Jacques Torres famous recipe in the New York Times. https://cookiesandcups.com/jacques-torres-chocolate-chip-cookie-recipe/ . I love this recipe and admire Chef Torres but I’d like to explain something about it.

In many professional pastry kitchens, especially those in the French or European tradition, they generally don’t stock all-purpose flour as a home kitchen does. They have either cake (or soft flour) or bread (or hard) flour on hand. To replicate all-purpose flour, (and I was taught this in hotel school) professional pastry chef will use a combination of cake flour and bread flour. It’s not really a secret trick as much as a logistical ploy. So, for us at home, please remember (and/or experiment and see for yourself) that unbleached all-purpose flour is the flour of choice for so many home baking recipes, especially cookies. It might be all-purpose but it really is dedicated to homey baking such as cookies, scones, quick breads and squares. As a side note, you also might notice Tollhouse recipes that also use a bit of cornstarch in them.  I myself might have done that with some of my own recipes back in the day. The cornstarch thing is a ploy that is to ‘soften’ the all-purpose flour in the recipe to make for a more tender cookie. Personally, I’m not a big fan of cornstarch (no real reason why) in general and a recipe that is well balanced with sugar, eggs and butter should be adequately ‘tenderâ€. On the other hand, using a bit of honey or corn syrup to retain the plasticity (chewiness) of a recipe is a good trick. To this point, when I started in baking, companies were laminated crisp doughs with chewy ones to get the ‘soft and chewy’ (bagged) cookies that heralded the ‘Cookie Wars’ of the 80’s. Just a bit of trivia.

A newer trick of mine for my Tollhouse cookies is to shape them after they are baked, that is – while they are still soft, put a cookie cutter around them and jostle it a bit of shape or mold the cookie into a perfectly rounded edge that looks more professional and less raggedy on the edges if you have a preference. If the cookie has spread too far to be ‘jiggled’ into shape then I use a sharp, large cutter to make the cookie into a perfect round with edges (this is after baking). The trimmings are just perfect for nibbling on!

Happy Baking and happy August. Officially it’s still summer even though there’s that subtle shift that says well be in pumpkin time sooner than we’d like. Still, it’s a splendid time to bake what with fruit harvests, one after another, fresh corn, zucchinis begging to be put into quick breads (seriously: why spiralize a zucchini when you can bake it into a sweet snack?).

So I invite you as always, to join me in the kitchen. I’m coming back to myself after a busy summer by jamming and baking and enjoying ever centering second of it.

Warm wishes,

Marcy Goldman
Master Baker, Author, Publisher

Iced Tea Lemon Loaf

Lindt and Callebaut TollHouse Cookies

Special K Mandelbrot


Red Raspberry Nectarine Pie

Strawberry Jam and White Chocolate Tollhouse Cookies

Ok – so not really Tollhouse but as easy as Tollhouse Cookies but so summery! You do have to freeze the dough 2-3 hours before scooping and baking but these are a new classic, especially if you like this flavor combo


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