1500 Best Bars, Cookies, Muffins, Cakes, and More

Overview

A comprehensive collection of 1500 superb dessert recipes in one volume.

This collection of delicious family desserts has a tremendous variety of both classic recipes and new versions of traditional favorites all sure to please. A one-volume sourcebook, it is essential for every home baker's kitchen.

Some of the delicious recipes are:

  • Caramel double nut squares; raspberry ...
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Overview

A comprehensive collection of 1500 superb dessert recipes in one volume.

This collection of delicious family desserts has a tremendous variety of both classic recipes and new versions of traditional favorites all sure to please. A one-volume sourcebook, it is essential for every home baker's kitchen.

Some of the delicious recipes are:

  • Caramel double nut squares; raspberry oat granola bars; coconut macaroon brownies; lemon shortbread; chocolate chip cookies; apricot almond biscotti; raspberry nut swirls
  • Walnut crunch wheat muffins; lemony apricot jam muffins; fudgy nut muffins; peanut butter muffins; fresh herb muffins; cranberry tea muffins
  • Double strawberry pie; blueberry streusel coffee cake; caramel pecan pumpkin pie; cool key lime cheesecake; mocha hazelnut torte; supreme lattice cherry pie
  • Apple cinnamon cobbler; peach crumble; lemon coconut crisp; raspberry bread pudding; spicy cupcakes; perfect baked custard; butterscotch pudding; velvety chocolate custard.

A wealth of useful baking tips and techniques appear throughout the book, along with detailed and easy-to-follow baking instructions for everything from after-school snacks to luscious cakes and pies for family and guests. With this recipe-packed book, home cooks can bring baked goodness to the table every time.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780778801948
  • Publisher: Rose, Robert Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/12/2008
  • Pages: 624
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Esther Brody has developed thousands of baking recipes. She has run her own muffin business and is the author of several baking books, including The 250 Best Brownies, Bars and Squares and 500 Best Cookies, Bars and Squares. She lives in Calgary, Alberta.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction

Getting Started
Making Perfect Muffins
Making Perfect Cookies
Making Perfect Brownies, Bars and Squares
Making Perfect Cakes
Making a Perfect Pie Crust
Making a Perfect Meringue
Baking Problems (and How to Solve Them)

Classic Muffins
Wholesome Healthy Muffins
Low-Fat Muffins
Fruit and Vegetable Muffins
Quick-Mix and Microwave Muffins
Buffins, Cuffins and Puffins
Muffins Just for Kids
Special Occasion Muffins
Drop Cookies and Hand-Shaped Cookies
Cut, Sliced and Sandwich Cookies
Biscotti, Shortbread and Holiday Cookies
Brownies and Chocolate Bars and
Squares
Fruit Bars and Squares
Coconut, Nut and Peanut Butter Bars and Squares
No-Bake Cookies, Bars and Squares
Specialty Cookies, Bars and Squares
Cakes
Cupcakes
Pies and Tarts
Cobblers, Crumbles and Crisps
Popovers, Turnovers and Scones
Custards, Crème Brûlée and Flans
Mousses and Puddings
Esther's Favorites
Spreads, Toppings, Frostings and Sauces

Index

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Preface

Introduction

Getting Started

The secret to successful baking lies in paying close attention to the recipe. Before you begin, read then recipe carefully and assemble all the necessary equipment and ingredients. Adjust oven racks to the desired level and, 15 minutes before you want to bake, preheat the oven to the required temperature.

Preparing Ingredients
Don't make ingredient substitutions and don't double or halve the recipe unless it states that you can do so.

Use Fresh Ingredients

  • Purchase ground spices in small amounts and store tightly sealed in a cool, dry place. Replace ground spices annually.
  • Ensure that leavening agents such as baking soda and baking powder are still functional. Baking soda will keep for up to 1 1/2 years in a glass jar with a tight lid or in its original container. To make sure it is still active, mix 1 tbsp (15 mL) baking soda in 1/2 cup (125 mL) cold water. Add 1 tsp (5 mL) vinegar. If the mixture doesn't fizz, discard the baking soda. To test whether baking powder is still active, dissolve 1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder in 1/3 cup (75 mL) hot tap water. The mixture should bubble up vigorously.
  • Chocolate should be well wrapped and stored in an airtight container in a cool place. If the storage location is too warm, a gray-white color (called bloom) will appear on the surface of the chocolate. This does not affect the flavor, and the chocolate will return to its normal color when melted.
  • Buy seeds and nuts from a bulk food store with rapid turnover and store them in the refrigerator.
  • Keep marshmallows in the freezer.
  • Check the "best before" date on ingredients such as peanut butter, sour cream and yogurt.

All About Eggs

  • Always use large eggs for baking.
  • Since eggs separate more easily when cold, separate the yolks from the whites as soon as you remove the eggs from the refrigerator. Cover the yolks with cold water and return them to the refrigerator until you're ready to use them. (Drain the water before using.)
  • If you're going to beat the egg whites, let them come to room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes first.
  • Do not leave eggs at room temperature for longer than 1 hour.

Softening Fats
Remove shortening, butter or margarine from the refrigerator to soften 1 hour before mixing unless the recipe specifies the use of cold or chilled.

Toasting
Nuts

Spread nuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F (150°C) for about 7 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan once or twice, until lightly browned. To remove nut skins (such as with hazelnuts or almonds), place nuts in a clean tea towel and rub vigorously.

Making Sugar-Cinnamon Mix
In a cup, combine 1/4 cup (50 mL) granulated sugar and 1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon. Store in an airtight container.

Melting Chocolate
The trick to melting chocolate is to ensure it doesn't "seize." Therefore, it is important that the chocolate does not come in contact with water, which will cause it to solidify into a grainy mass. If your chocolate seizes while melting, add 1 tsp (5 mL) shortening for every 2 oz (60 g) of chocolate and stir until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Do not use butter, as it contains water.

To ensure that chocolate melts quickly and evenly on the stovetop, break it into small pieces (or use chocolate chips) and stir constantly. Chocolate should be melted over low heat in the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over a saucepan of hot (not boiling) water. Grease your melting container with shortening before melting chocolate for easy removal.

Chocolate also melts well in the microwave. Use chocolate chips, squares or small chunks. Place in a microwave-safe bowl, cover tightly with microwave-safe plastic wrap and microwave on High for about 1 minute per ounce (the time will vary depending upon the power of your microwave and the quantity of chocolate used). Stir well until completely melted.

Using Honey Instead of Sugar
You can replace sugar with honey in most recipes. (The reverse does not hold true, however; if a recipe calls for honey, then that is what will work best.) When substituting honey for sugar, add 1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking soda for each 1 cup (250 mL) honey and reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup (50 mL). Reduce the oven temperature by 25°F (10°C), as recipes containing honey will brown faster.

Measuring
For best baking results, it is essential to measure ingredients accurately each time. Have measuring cups for both dry and liquid ingredients ready — it saves time to have large measures also. Make sure your measuring spoons are in good shape, not warped, bent or dented, as you can't get perfect measurements if they are.

Dry Ingredients

  • Use measuring cups with a flat rim so they can easily be leveled off. To measure less than 1/4 cup (50 mL), use standard measuring spoons. Fill cups or spoons to overflowing, then level off using a straight-edged knife or spatula. Do not pack or bang on the table.
  • If a recipe calls for "sifted flour," it should be sifted first, then measured. Otherwise, flour is not sifted before it is measured.
  • If a recipe calls for "packed" or "firmly packed" brown sugar, spoon it into a measuring cup, pack it down with the back of a spoon, then level off.
  • Baking soda, baking powder and cocoa powder have a tendency to pack down in their containers, so before measuring, stir to loosen.

Liquid Ingredients

  • Always use a see-through glass or plastic measure with volume amounts marked on the outside.
  • Place measuring cup on a flat surface and bend down so that you can read the measure at eye level.
  • Make sure your measuring cup has a safety rim above the full cup mark to get an accurate measurement without spilling a drop.
  • Shortening, butter or margarine that is not sold in stick form should be measured in a cup that holds the exact amount when leveled off. Press firmly into the cup so that no air holes are left. Level off and scoop out.
  • To measure oil or melted fat, dip measuring spoon into the oil and then lift out carefully. The spoon should be so full that it will not hold another drop.

Mixing for Best Results

  • Before mixing batter or dough, combine dry ingredients such as flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl and mix thoroughly to ensure they are well blended.
  • If a recipe calls for a melted ingredient, such as butter, shortening or chocolate, let cool slightly before adding eggs. Otherwise, the eggs may curdle.
  • If a recipe calls for extracts or flavorings, mix them in after creaming the butter and sugar (and after beating in eggs, if using) so they will be well incorporated.

Preparing Pans

  • If the recipe indicates the pan should be greased, I recommend using shortening. Place a dab of shortening on a piece of waxed paper and spread it in a thin, even layer over the pan. Grease pans only if the recipe specifies.
  • Butter, margarine or oil may cause baked goods to stick to the pan. If you don't have shortening, instead of greasing, you can line the pan with parchment or waxed paper, cut to fit.
  • If a recipe calls for a lightly greased pan, spraying it with vegetable spray is acceptable.
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