There was a palpable sense of excitement in the air as Bibliobites book group members set their plates and plastic tubs of cookies on the table near the fireplace. What kinds of cookies did folks make? What would become a new holiday favorite? More importantly, when could we start eating them? As one group member said – “There is a lot of butter on that table – time to bring out the SPANX!”
But before the tasting– came the book discussion.
Thoughts on the King Arthur book
- It was a solid cook book with familiar, reliable recipes for the most part. Many tried and true –
- One baking glitch though – One member tried the two-bit monsters recipe which was a mix of condensed milk and coconut. Unfortunately the doorbell rang and then the dough stuck to the cookie sheet. The second batch never firmed up – nix on that recipe
- Apparently if you have a kitchen question you can call or email the King Arthur website and they will troubleshoot the recipe with you – good to know.
- You can also order parchment paper from King Arthur and it comes as pre-cut sheets
- One member had their daughter bake the fudge coated dip sticks – they found the chocolate hard to work with for dipping.
Thoughts on Rosie’s cookie book:
- It included good tips on how to modify a recipe
- It had very detailed instructions
- Good recommendations on equipment and supplies
- Negatives- not enough pictures
- Recipes made were: Pecan Crescents and Peanut butter topped brownies – (A new favorite dessert!)
Thoughts on the Maida cookbook
- Very good recipes but again – not enough pictures
- Also the pages did not lay flat and often were continued onto a page that had to be turned
- The layout seemed dated and the table of contents was sparse
- Did include the famous Nieman Marcus cookie recipe – (a large chocolate chip cookie version with a combo of regular and oat flour)
Thoughts on the Vegan cookie book:
- Graham cracker recipe was great and they proved addictive
- The homemade fig bars were also delicious and fought over
- Many of the recipes substituted ground flax seed for the eggs and used rice milk instead of regular etc.
Other topics that came up:
There was some reminiscing about the Boston Globe Confidential Chat column and the shared recipes – one group member remembers the Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins highlighted there. For an article about those famous muffins – click here and scroll down the page –http://nhgenealogist.com/2/category/boston/1.html
The group discussed the benefits of using the website www.epicurious.com as a convenient collator of recipes. One member commented that she used to subscribe to Bon Appetit but now all of the magazine recipes are online as part of epicurious. Folks thought the online comments from cooks who had tried the recipes were both helpful and flabbergasting. There was some joking about the cooks who drastically changed a recipe when they test it and then rate the recipe low or wonder why it did not turn out.
Some folks really enjoy Christopher Kimball’s emails from Cook’s illustrated- others think he is too pedantic – but most think his radio show and TV show are enjoyable – check all three out if you have not! www.cooksillustrated.com/ – scroll down to bottom and you can sign up for the free newsletter by entering your email. The radio show is on WGBH radio 89.7 on Sundays from 3-4 PM – and the TV show is also on WGBH – channel 2 on Saturdays at 3 PM – you can also watch the show or listen to the radio show on the test kitchen site. http://www.americastestkitchen.com/episodes
Penzey’s website was mentioned again as a fun place to visit– the closest one is in Arlington but has short hours- and limited parking – https://www.penzeys.com/
*Side note from last meeting – one member did try the recipe recommended at the last meeting – the Apple-Berry Galette from “Baking with Julia” and said it was a great success – highly recommended.
Baking/cookie tips –
- Some non-bakers were fans of the efficiency of the “slice and bake” or ice box cookies. They don’t spread much and you can bake lots at a time so that means less time in the kitchen.
- Talked about cookie scoops- Pampered Chef has a nice one and the cooking store in Acton – Kitchen Outfitters in Acton – http://www.kitchen-outfitters.com/ has a nice selection of all sizes.
- Silicone cookie sheets were not that revered but the silpat for rolling out pie crust is awesome- 1st and 2nd place pie winners both use one.
- When you make thumbprint cookies – you make an indentation with your thumb – but one member said – what if you have man-thumbs? 🙂 It only makes sense to use another smaller finger tip – but an even better way to save your hands from getting dirty is to use a ¼ tsp measuring spoon to make the thumbprint.
- The group discussed freezing cookies and unfreezing them – many have had good luck with baking at Thanksgiving time or a little later and freezing cookies for several weeks in tightly closed containers layered between wax paper or parchment. One member says she even refreezes with no significant detriment to the cookie.
- Tip for gifts- as you make cookies – freeze 8-10 balls of the cookie dough – give parents small batches so they can have a warm cookie when they want but don’t want the fuss of mixing up dough or ending up with too many cookies. (Is that possible? To have too many cookies???)
In addition to recipes made from the featured cookbooks, recipes shared were family favorites or made from Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen website (www.smittenkitchen.com) – Better Homes and Garden Magazine, Betty Crocker Recipe Box File, the Penzey’s website and Relish Magazine – an insert in the Lowell Sun.
Here are some recipes that were brought for this month’s meeting:
If you do not see yours posted, please be in touch and we will add.
In addition, there was some talk of an excellent chocolate covered cherry cookie recipe – can the member who was raving about it share it with us? In the meantime, perhaps this one will do. http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/chocolate-covered-cherry-cookies
Our next book is Love Soup by Anne Thomas –
Winter is a great time for cooking up a bowl of comfort.