17 December 2011

Weekend Cooking: The Rosie's Bakery . . . Baking Book by Judy Rosenberg

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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 a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Have ready an 8-inch square pan.

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.

Rosie's at Powell's
Rosie's at Book Depository
These links lead to affiliate programs.

Published by Workman Publishing, 2011
ISBN-13: 9780761154075
Source: Review (see review policy)
Rating: B+
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


TheBookGirl 12/17/11, 6:45 AM  

I am so glad you pointed out that not every dessert is the ultimate in decadence. That is prettty much the impression I would have had of this book from the title/cover and that may have made me pass it by. Not that I don't like decadent once in a while -- but an entire cookbook, not so much.

The fact that she hasn't lost her sense of being a home cook and that her recipes reflect that is a bonus.

I don't believe I've used semolina flour for cookies -- bread yes, but not cookies. I'm curious to try this recipe.

Uniflame 12/17/11, 6:58 AM  

Thanks for sharing this! It sounds like a book for me because I love baking! And because I am out of the US, I think it is awesome that I can use this book too <3

Little Nell 12/17/11, 7:11 AM  

The shortbread reminds me that I ususally make Christmas Tree shortbread about now. Must go and find that cutter. My post is about a vintage cook book, once lost and now re-acquired.

Alex 12/17/11, 7:40 AM  

I love shortbread with semolina - will try this recipe. Sounds like a lovely idea with a nice cup of tea in the afternoon. Thanks for posting the recipe.

Amanda 12/17/11, 8:12 AM  

This sounds like a very dangerous cookbook, haha! I love that she emphasizes fresh ingredients, though. Maybe one day, when I'm allowed to have desserts more regularly again. :D

Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook 12/17/11, 8:34 AM  

I love the title of the book! It does sound enthusiastic. Your shortbread looks amazing, good sacrifice, LOL!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 12/17/11, 9:10 AM  

That's a huge sacrifice :) You're always thinking of us; thanks for baking a second batch so we could see photos of the shortbread.

Seriously, I love her down-to-earth no nonsense approach - have fun, concentrate on what's important, and enjoy!

bermudaonion 12/17/11, 9:25 AM  

What a great blogger - making such a sacrifice for your readers! lol I love that the title of the book tells you exactly what you're getting with the book. I love to bake so will have to look for this cookbook.

Trish @ Love, Laughter, Insanity 12/17/11, 9:31 AM  

You know I've never heard of Semolina flour! Very curious.

The title alone has me wanting to grab for this book but I like the fact that she seems to be a down to earth baker! Glad you brought this one to our attention.

I also posted a shortbread recipe--but a cookie. I'm off to my annual bake day with my mom and sister so will be baking ALL DAY LONG! ;)

Mary (Bookfan) 12/17/11, 9:56 AM  

Love the title of this cookbook. I'm a shortbread fan but never made it before this week - I found a very simple 4 ingredient recipe that was delicious. I may post it next week. It had the same oven directions as yours but used room temp butter. I have a processor and may give this a try with the cold butter. I need to get semolina - I've never used it!

Nan 12/17/11, 10:30 AM  

I have an older (20 years!) edition of this cookbook, and I dearly love it. I posted a brownie recipe here, and you can see the other cover.

Today's offering on the blog is a great cookie recipe!

Zibilee 12/17/11, 11:12 AM  

Oh, I need this book! Baking is one of my most favorite things to do, and I find it so therapeutic. I don't often eat all the treats that I make, but I love to bake and give away the results. I need a book like this, that doesn't try to convince me that margarine is an acceptable substitute for butter. What a great post today!

Peggy@Peggy Ann's Post 12/17/11, 11:17 AM  

The title says it all and I have to have it! I am a butter freak:)

caite 12/17/11, 11:23 AM  

I have to agree! That is ONE excellent title..lol!

Memory 12/17/11, 11:39 AM  

Ooh, this sounds fantastic! I'm always on the lookout for new baking cookbooks, too.

JoAnn 12/17/11, 12:09 PM  

Oh, the sacrifices you make for your readers;-)
I love shortbread, too, but have never baked with semolina flour. This cookbook is already on my wishlist, but I'll move it closer to the top.

Rikki 12/17/11, 2:15 PM  

I can see that it must have been very difficult to bake the shortbread a second time just for the sake of the pictures.
I love shortbread but have never tried it with semoline flowers (or anything else for that matter). Will give it a try...Thanks!

Margot 12/17/11, 3:07 PM  

I love shortbread but the semolina is new to me. I'm looking forward to trying that. Thanks for your sacrificial second batch.

Michelle 12/17/11, 4:34 PM  

First Dawn's cookie swap post now this? You ladies are not trying to help a girl out in the calorie saving department!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 12/17/11, 9:22 PM  

This sounds like a terrific baking book for anyone who isn't dieting or worried about cholesterol LOL

We love shortbread and the passover recipes would be fun to browse at as well.

Lisa@ButteryBooks 12/18/11, 8:38 AM  

I just bought this book. How could I pass it up with a title like that? The dessert table at any of my family's get togethers usually takes up twice as much room as the main meal. We are all sugar freaks!

Daryl 12/18/11, 8:57 AM  

I am pushing the limits of this theme this week .. I was at the Farmer's Market/Green Market when I took the photo I posted .. and you could eat part of what I posted .. sunflowers have edible seeds!!!

Beth Hoffman 12/18/11, 9:21 AM  

ROTFL --> "I was forced to bake the cookies a second time ..."

I love your sacrifice!

Tam Linsey 12/18/11, 12:45 PM  

I'm all for real food, and you had me at the title of this book. The shortbread clinched the deal ;P

Gilion at Rose City Reader 12/18/11, 1:52 PM  

I have her Cake Bible and it is a little daunting. Maybe this one would be more accessible.

Beth F 12/18/11, 2:02 PM  

Rose City: The Cake Bible is by a different author -- Rose Levy. An understandable mix-up.

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 12/18/11, 2:52 PM  

This looks good. I can use all the baking help I can get! And I don't mind serving decadent cookies to my guests.

Peppermint Ph.D. 12/18/11, 3:38 PM  

I am not the best baker...my stuff tastes better than it looks most of the time, but I'm enthralled by people who manage to make a success out of elaborate cakes and other confections. Sounds like a good cookbook for those who bake on a regular basis.

Anonymous,  12/18/11, 5:50 PM  

I have a cup of tea in hand. Can you please pass the shortbread? It sounds and looks delicious.

Sheila (Bookjourney) 12/18/11, 6:57 PM  

I happen to be drinking tea as well...

AND you made a second batch so there must be leftovers :)

I finally put my post up... nothing like coming in at the last minute.

Christine 12/18/11, 11:03 PM  

I love the title of this cookbook. Who doesn't love all those things?!

The shortbread sounds--and looks!--amazing.

Meg @ write meg! 12/19/11, 9:12 AM  

Oooh, I'm a shortbread freak! This looks super delicious.

Julie P. 12/20/11, 8:02 PM  

I always drool over this one when I flip through it!

Robin M 12/22/11, 8:20 PM  

And just when I was thinking of going on a diet. Can't pass this one up. :)

Unknown 12/29/11, 2:46 PM  

Now this sounds like a cookbook I would like. I'm going to have to try out this recipe too as I love shortbread.

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