Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.
Judy Rosenberg, owner of Rosie's Bakery, a Boston foodie destination, found her calling by doing what she loved best: baking and eating truly wonderful desserts . . . and if chocolate was involved, so much the better. In her new book, The Rosie's Bakery All-Butter, Cream-Filled, Sugar-Packed Baking Book, Rosenberg shares her enthusiasm by showing us how to bake her luscious treats in our own homes.
Because Rosenberg is a self-taught baker who started her business in a small apartment kitchen, she hasn't lost touch with the realities of the home cook and noncommercial equipment. After reading just a couple of paragraphs of the first chapter, you'll be infected with her you-can-do-it attitude, and you'll have the confidence to tackle any recipe in the book.
The basics chapter and the introduction to each section contain helpful hints concerning ingredients and techniques. Rosenberg guides us through every stage, from measuring to mixing, from baking to storing. Even experienced bakers will find new information, such as specific techniques for mixing batter:
So much depends on a texture that, to me, it contributes as much to a cake's character as does its flavor. A cake's texture depends largely on the way you mix the batter, and there are basic rules for mixing that will stand you in good stead. (p. 13)Rosenberg then goes on to explain those rules, in clear, everyday language. You'll also learn the secrets of how to use cake batter for cupcakes, how to properly pour batter into pans, and which chocolate is the best for baking.
As the title makes clear, Rosie's is not a diet cookbook. The emphasis is on fresh, real ingredients that boost flavor and richness. What the title doesn't make clear is that not every dessert is over-the-top decadent. You'll find dozens of different types of cakes and cookies plus some recipes for pies and puddings. All of the ingredients are readily available in any grocery store, and the recommended equipment list contains very few specialty items. Best of all, the recipes are so straightforward, you are practically guaranteed success.
Other features of note: Rosenberg includes several Passover recipes and a half dozen flourless desserts. There are several drawings but no full-color photographs. The index is excellent--easy to read and easy to find recipes by title or ingredient. Finally, Rosie's includes a handy chart for temperature and measurement conversions, making the cookbook useful for readers outside the United States.
I have a weakness for shortbread and a weakness for baking with semolina flour, so when I saw the following recipe I knew I had to try it. Naturally, I forgot to take photos, so I was forced to bake the cookies a second time. I hope you appreciate the sacrifice.
Semolina Shortbread Bars
Makes 16 bars
- 1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ½ cup plus 3 tablespoons semolina flour
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces
Place both flours, the sugar, and salt in a food processor and process to blend for 5 seconds.
Distribute the butter over the flour mixture and process just until the dough comes together, 40 to 45 seconds. Stop the processor once to scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Pace the dough on a work surface and work it gently with your hands to bring it together. Pat the shortbread gently and evenly into the pan. Using the tines of a fork, poke deep holes over the entire surface.
Bake the shortbread for 45 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 300°F and continue to baking until it is crisp, firm, and richly golden, about 30 minutes.
While the shortbread is still hot, cut it into pieces with the point of a sharp, thin knife. Then let it cool completely in the pan on a rack.
These links lead to affiliate programs.