Tag Archives: baking

Monday Books: Cake!


For all occasions, nothing beats a great cake.

Black Forest Cake

I don’t know if there is one individual food that has more sayings/quotes associated with it. “Let them eat cake”, “the icing on the cake” and “piece of cake” are few of the more obvious. The question is why cake? The answer: because it’s so damn good!

I’m not partial to desserts. But, I will admit, that sometimes a nice hunk of fresh cake and a cold glass of milk is an unbeatable combo.

Looking for some great ideas for your next great cake baking adventure? This installment of Monday Books has a few suggestions for you. Bake on!


Baking with the Cake Boss: 100 of Buddy's Best Recipes and Decorating Secrets Piece of Cake!: One-Bowl, No-Fuss, From-Scratch Cakes Extraordinary Cakes: Recipes for Bold and Sophisticated Desserts The Cake Book

Cake Decorating

Contemporary Cake Decorator's Bible: Over 150 Techniques and 80 Stunning Projects 1,000 Ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies & Cakes (1000 Series) The Complete Photo Guide to Cake Decorating Professional Cake Decorating

Cake Pops!

Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats 175 Best Babycakes Cake Pop Maker Recipes Bake Me I'm Yours...Cake Pops: Over 30 designs for fun sweet treats Cake Pops

OK, now go dig around in the crawlspace and find that old Easy Bake oven and fire it up! You may need to hunt for a light bulb that will actually cook something.Those five year light bulbs are great. But, you can’t bake a cake with one. Technology advancement? Hardly.

A One Million Dollar Recipe


Can one dish be worth a million bucks? Pillsbury thinks so.

A One Million Dollar Recipe

Pillsbury Bake Off

These days there is a cooking competition around just about every corner. I’m sure a lot are worth entering, if that’s your thing. There’s one though that stands head and shoulders above the rest. That’s the Pillsbury Bake Off. It’s like the Super Bowl of cook-offs.

This is the 45th edition of the legendary, bi-annual event. About the only thing that’s changed in all that time are the recipes themselves. I don’t think the Indonesian Chicken Turnovers with Spicy Peanut Sauce was on the menu back at the start. If they only knew what they were missing.

On March 26th, the one hundred finalists will gather in Orlando Florida to slug it out. I would imagine that could get a little intense. Martha Stewart will host this year’s contest. “The Old Redhead”, Arthur Godfrey, hosted the first bunch.

We’ve included a post on the event in this week’s stories, along with a link to the official bake off site. If you didn’t get your entry in for this year don’t sweat it. You’ve got two years to get your act together and have a crack at the $1,000,000 grand prize.

Joe Beef cookbook picks up the Piglet as Alice Waters comes around This week in food writing (Valentine's edition) Cookbook critic: 'Inside the Jewish Bakery' a history with recipes
Claire's Corner Copia Celebrating 35 Years And A New Cookbook Celebrity Chef, Fabio Viviani Releases I Would Love To Meat You, His Second in a Series of Free Monthly eCookbooks Pillsbury Bake-Off gets hipper this year
Review of 'Dock Kitchen Cookbook' by Stevie Parle 10 Awesome Specialty Food Apps Cookbook Reviews, February 15, 2012
Chef Tory McPhail on Cookbooks as Time Machines The Art of Living According to Joe Beef Is Tops Pillsbury Bake Off

Do you have some interesting cookbook news? If so, send it on. We’ll use it in a future post.

A History Of Community Cooking


There is nothing wrong with simple AND delicious.

BUY IT! - Three Rivers Cookbook I

The community cookbook. All of us have somewhere between two and two hundred of those plastic ring bound gems in our cookbook collections. They’re all little different. But, at the same time they’re all a little similar.

The Three Rivers Cookbook I fits the mold perfectly. The Child Health Association of Sewickley Pennsylvania thought 12,500 copies would do it back in 1973. Wrong. By 1990 they had printed an additional 400,000 copies. That’s when the edition I have was printed.

My wife doesn’t cook. At least that’s the story she tells. Actually, she just doesn’t want anyone to know she can do it. I think it takes the pressure off.

At one point in her life, she lived in the Pittsburgh area. So, she was pretty wide eyed when she saw me walk in with this Pennsylvania home cooking treasure. My friend Dennis, who has some PA roots of his own, thought it was a book worth checking out. Before I could even set it down on the counter, she had it on the couch.

Suffice it to say, I have A LOT of cookbooks that come in my front door. She usually just asks me what I’m making her. This was decidedly different. She flipped through those slightly worn pages with genuine interest.

Fifteen minutes past, then thirty, then a proclamation. “These Herbed Rolls look really good”. What? Really? Does she want me to make them or is this something she was going to tackle herself? Before I could sort through the possible answers in my head she filled in the blanks. She was going to make them for us tomorrow night!

I’m sure The Child Health Association of Sewickley Pennsylvania had no idea the magnitude of the breakthrough they had inspired. At least in my home. For the moment, my duties would include only photography. I could get used to this.

Herb Rolls

Here’s How To Do It

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/2 tsp. parsley flakes
1/2 tsp. dill seed
1/4 tsp.onion flakes
1 package buttermilk biscuits, refrigerated

Preheat oven to 425F. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the parsley flakes, dill seed and onion flakes. Stir to mix. Cut the biscuits into quarters. Dip each biscuit quarter in the melted butter mixture. Arrange the pieces in a round Bundt pan, pie pan or square casserole. Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand to cool before serving.

Serves 6

Herb Rolls

Recipe adapted, Herb Rolls, Three Rivers Cookbook I, Mrs. Robert A. McKean III, Child Health Association of Sewickley, Inc., 1973

TIP: It may be hard to find dill seed. We used dried dill weed and had a good result.

This dish was a home run. It’s easy to execute and loaded with goodness. This collection is a great representation of the recipes that are contained in most of the community cookbooks that were written in the 60’s and 70’s. Awesome, homemade, generational dishes that stand up over time.

Looks like my wife can now add these Herb Rolls to the now growing list of dishes that she can whip up. A couple more additions and she’ll have to shed her “non-cook” label. Sorry honey.

You can still get a copy of this classic. They’re used, but, lovingly used.

BUY IT! - Three Rivers Cookbook I Author: Norma Sproull
Plastic Comb
Publisher: Child Health Assn of Sewickley (June 1973)
ISBN-10: 0960763406



BUY IT! - Three Rivers Cookbook I

Can Baking Cookies Really Be This Easy?


Making things look simple is sometimes easier said than done.

BUY IT! - The Cookiepedia: Mixing Baking, and Reinventing the Classics

Noun: A book giving information on many aspects of one subject, namely, the cookie.

Anyone who reads any of my writing knows one thing for certain. Baking isn’t my thing. It just seems so hard. When I see a plate of fresh, out of the oven goodies, I’m NOT thinking “That had to be a no-brainer”. Quite the opposite takes place in my head. “WOW, unless that’s from a tube of pre-made cookie dough, it looks like work”. That’s my mind set. Easy? Hardly.

My friend Kathy makes/bakes some killer chocolate chips. She’s told me on more than one occasion that all of the ingredients are strictly legal. I know she’s honest, but, my craving for them makes me doubt her words. It seems from appearances like there is really nothing special going on here. But, I can’t stop eating them. I love them, but, I don’t want to make them.

Now, there’s a glimmer of hope for skittish, non-bakers like me. Author, Stacy Adimando, is attempting to calm my surely unfounded baking fears. Her new book, The Cookiepedia: Mixing Baking, and Reinventing the Classics, shows you just how simple the baking life can be.

Included are amazing recipes for Snickerdoodles, Ginersnaps, Cornmeal Cookies and yes, let’s not forget, the beloved Chocolate Chip. There are some cooking making basics up front that show you just how easy it can be to impress your friends with a sheet of fresh baked delights.

One of the books more practical features is note taking spaces that accompany each recipe. It’s nice to able to jot down what went right (or wrong) with your creations. It makes the next attempt that much easier and might lead to some of your own delicious variations.

With all of this cookie making talk you’re probably ready to try a big batch for yourself. Kathy won’t give me her secret recipe (I really don’t want it. I want her to make the cookies). But, Stacy is more than happy to share hers with us.

Here’s how to do it.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (about 8 oz.) bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks

1.    Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a big bowl and stir. Set the bowl aside.
2.    Cream the butter and sugars for several minutes, until they look light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until just combined. Add the flour mixture right into the butter mixture. Mix on low speed until they’re incorporated. Then the fun part: stir in the chocolate chips.
3.    Go down the line dropping tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto parchment-paper-lined cookie sheets. Leave about 2 inches between them so they have plenty of room to spread. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking.
4.    Try one hot out of the oven, but let the rest cool for a minute or two before lifting them to a rack to cool. If you get melted chocolate on your hands, you’re eating these too slowly.

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe and above image: Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, Stacy Adimando, The Cookiepedia: Mixing Baking, and Reinventing the Classics, Quirk Books.

The Bottom Line: Looking for a great beginner cookie baking book? You just found it. These recipes are easy to execute and produce a fantastic result. Even for a novice baker (like yours truly). The Cookiepedia would be a welcomed addition to the cookbook collection of anyone who likes to turn out a warm batch of cookies.

BUY IT! - The Cookiepedia: Mixing Baking, and Reinventing the Classics

BUY IT! - The Cookiepedia: Mixing Baking, and Reinventing the Classics

Author: Stacy Adimando
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books: (September 6, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1594745358