Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A cookbook recommendation

Need a wedding gift or grad gift? (Or a reference book for yourself?)

If we had to downsize considerably, or move to another country or..., this is one of the top 5 cookbooks I'd take with me, maybe even in the top 3. If you follow this post to the end, there will be a recipe you might find useful this week.
This is an excellent, thorough, baking book, with plenty to keep the experienced bakers interested, but simple enough for the beginner. Lots of great pictures, truly good recipes for just about any basic baking need you might have (for example, pumpkin pie with multiple variations, bread, many variations of cut-out cookies, etc.), and lots of variety and more elaborate choices (such as Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake Torte). Pies were my assignment for the upcoming Thanksgiving meal, and after perusing a few of my other favorite cookbooks, the Maple Pumpkin Pie and the Chocolate Pecan Pie in this book were my final choices. I think we're going to have to have the Streusel Pumpkin Sweet Rolls from it again sometime soon, too.

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be in print at this time, but there were some reasonably-priced used copies on Amazon. Perhaps Pillsbury has a newer, similar book, though I have to say that some of the newer baking books have so many recipes that use highly processed/prepared ingredients that are even more unhealthy for us than the basics (even when the basics include lots of butter and sugar), that they just aren't quite the same. I'm all for using a package of crescent roll dough or a boxed cake mix (these usually turn out better for me than the "scratch" ones do anyway) but to have everything start with an expensive roll/muffin/cookie mix that has lots of ingredients on the label that sound more like they came from the pharmacy lab than Grandma's pantry, makes me cringe.

Now for that promised tip from this book:

How to make your own pumpkin pie spice
From The Complete Book of Baking by Pillsbury
4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
Store as you do other spices.

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