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Baking with the Brass Sisters: Over 125 Recipes for Classic Cakes, Pies, Cookies, Breads, Desserts, and Savories from America's Favorite Home Bakers
     

Baking with the Brass Sisters: Over 125 Recipes for Classic Cakes, Pies, Cookies, Breads, Desserts, and Savories from America's Favorite Home Bakers

by Marilynn Brass, Sheila Brass, Andy Ryan (Photographer)
 

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Marilynn and Sheila Brass are on a mission to bring old-fashioned American home baking back to everyone's kitchen. Baking with the Brass Sisters embodies the philosophy that's drawn thousands of fans to them: "We believe that there is nothing that tastes as good as something baked by someone who loves us, unless it is something we have baked and shared

Overview

Marilynn and Sheila Brass are on a mission to bring old-fashioned American home baking back to everyone's kitchen. Baking with the Brass Sisters embodies the philosophy that's drawn thousands of fans to them: "We believe that there is nothing that tastes as good as something baked by someone who loves us, unless it is something we have baked and shared with someone we love."

In their new book, Marilynn and Sheila have gone to their collection of trusted manuscript cookbooks and handwritten recipes that number in the thousands to rediscover the home-baked treats that were brought to America from around the world - Russia, The Ukraine, Germany, Austria, France, Greece, India, Costa Rica, Armenia, Italy, England, Ireland, Norway, Canada , as well as many created here the US. They have listened to the stories of recipes that have been passed down by family and friends and interpreted them for the home kitchen. They've even included some of their own recipes created over 126 years of combined home baking experience.

Readers will find wonderful recipes for treats like Grandma Goldberg's Honey Cake, Chocolate Walnut Banana Muffins, Billy Goat Cookies, Cobblestone Apple Tart, Mother Carleton's Black Walnut Layer Cake, Nana May's Irish Yeast Bread, Jack's Chocolate Caramel Walnut Tart and many more. Baking with the Brass Sisters is a classic baking book that people will keep on their shelves, bake from, and cherish for years to come.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Sheila and Marilynn Brass, my two favorite New England bakers, have done it again! Baking with the Brass Sisters is not only a collection of delicious and easy to accomplish recipes, but in many ways it's a short history of American baking told though the books and manuscripts of scores of home bakers. It's a must-have for all lovers of baking and cookbooks.” —Nick Malgieri, author of Pastry Perfection and How to Bake

“I love the Brass sisters for their ability to cut through the fiddly nonsense too often associated with home baking. Instead, Marilynn and Sheila serve up page after page of doable, utterly delectable treats that you and I can make on a moment's notice without a trip to the gourmet market (and the bank before that). Their Yankee know-how and impeccable taste shines though on every page. This is a cookbook for people who love to bake...and not just dream about it!” —Rick Rodgers, author of Kaffehaus, Tea and Cookies, and Coffee and Cake

Library Journal
08/01/2015
The Brass sisters (Heirloom Baking with the Brass Sisters) return with a new collection of old-fashioned baked goods adapted from manuscript cookbooks and handwritten recipes. They've grouped more than 125 recipes into 12 categories, some standard (cakes, pies, cookies), some unusual (savories, chocolate, summertime treats). Bakers who treasure classic recipes with a touch of history and a lot of love will relish such delicacies as sweet potato drop scones, graham shingles, and cheese crumble apple pie with cheddar cheese crust. VERDICT Highly recommended for most baking collections.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781250064356
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
10/06/2015
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
880,751
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 9.75(h) x 1.02(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt

Baking with the Brass Sisters

Over 125 Recipes for Classic Cakes, Pies, Cookies, Breads, Desserts, and Savories from America's Favorite Home Bakers


By Marilynn Brass, Sheila Brass, Andy Ryan

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2015 Marilynn Brass and Sheila Brass
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-7004-8



CHAPTER 1

A Little Girl's Blueberry Cake

We found this recipe handwritten in the back of a 1932 copy of Kitchen Fun, A Cook Book for Children, by Louise Price Bell. It looked so simple and good, we decided to make a few adjustments and bake it as two loaves of Blueberry Cake. It must have been a very special recipe for the little girl who owned this cookbook. We added the cinnamon and nutmeg and the coarse sanding sugar on the top.

CAKES

3 eggs, separated
2 cups blueberries, washed and dried
3½ cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar

TOPPING

2 tablespoons coarse white sanding sugar

1. Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pans by coating them with vegetable oil spray. Cover the bottoms and ends of each pan with a single strip of wax paper. Coat the wax paper liners with vegetable oil spray. Dust the pans with flour and tap to remove the excess.

2. Add the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat until firm peaks form. If you have only one mixer bowl, transfer the beaten egg whites to another bowl and set aside.

3. Add the blueberries to a small bowl. Measure the flour into a large bowl and remove 2 tablespoons. Add the 2 tablespoons of flour to the blueberries and mix together to coat. Set aside. Add the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg to the flour in the larger bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside. Combine the milk and vanilla in a glass measuring cup and set aside.

4. Add the butter and granulated sugar to the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat to combine. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, making sure to scrape down the mixture from the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and the liquid ingredients alternately in three additions and continue beating. Fold in the whipped egg whites in three additions. Fold in the floured blueberries. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and sprinkle the tops with coarse sanding sugar. Bake the cakes for 45 minutes, or until a metal tester inserted into the center of each loaf comes out clean.

5. Cool the cakes on a wire rack for 20 minutes before removing from the pans. Run a butter knife around the edges of pans to loosen the cakes. Lift the cakes by the ends of the wax paper and remove from the pans. Place the cakes back on the rack, remove the wax paper, and allow to cool completely. Cut the cooled cakes with a sharp serrated knife. Store the cooled cakes, loosely wrapped in wax paper, at room temperature.


Yield: 2 loaves; 12 slices per loaf

SWEET TIP: Wash the blueberries and dry them thoroughly. Blueberries that are still damp will clump together when dipped in flour.


Breakfast Corn Cake

This recipe for a Breakfast Corn Cake came from the manuscript cookbook of Amelia George of Patterson, New Jersey. This is a corn "cake," not a cornbread, and it is made in a stand mixer. The original recipe never mentioned what type of pan in which to bake the Breakfast Corn Cake, so we decided on two loaf pans. This corn cake is great with strawberry jam and unsalted butter. A cornbread becomes a corn cake when beaten egg whites are used to help it rise.

3 eggs, separated
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
2 cups cornmeal
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup granulated sugar
Coarse clear sanding sugar for top (optional)


1. Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pans by coating them with vegetable oil spray. Cover the bottom and ends of each pan with a single strip of wax paper. Coat the wax paper liners with vegetable oil spray. Dust the pans with flour and tap to remove excess flour.

2. Add the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat for 1 minute. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until firm peaks form. If you have only one mixer bowl, transfer the beaten egg whites to another bowl and set aside.

3. Add the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg to a separate bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside. Add the milk and vanilla to a glass measuring cup and set aside.

4. Add the butter and granulated sugar to the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat to combine. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, making sure to scrape the mixture from the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and liquid ingredients alternately in three additions and continue beating until incorporated. Fold in the beaten egg whites in three additions. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Sprinkle with coarse sanding sugar for a sweeter corn cake, if desired. Bake the corn cakes for 45 minutes, or until a metal tester inserted into the center of each loaf comes out clean.

5. Cool the corn cakes on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edges of the pans to loosen the cakes. Lift the cakes by the ends of the wax paper to remove them from the pans. Remove the wax paper from the cakes. Let the cakes cool completely. Cut the cooled cakes with a sharp serrated knife. Store the cooled cakes, loosely wrapped in wax paper, at room temperature.

Yield: 2 loaves; 12 slices per loaf]

NORTHERN CORNBREAD VS. SOUTHERN CORNBREAD

As ladies from Massachusetts, we are used to yellow cornmeal and sugar in our cornbread and corn cakes. However, all of the recipes we've found for cornbread from the Southern part of the country are made with white cornmeal, no sugar, and buttermilk. There is a difference in taste. We like to think of our sweet yellow cornbread from the North as almost a confection. The Southern cornbread we've experienced is a no-nonsense "bread," and when made with cracklings (rendered slivers of pork skin and pork fat), results in a rich bread.


Buckwheat Pancakes

We've tried to replicate the nutty-tasting buckwheat pancakes our father made for us on chilly Sunday mornings in our Winthrop kitchen. We must confess that Aunt Jemima and the Vermont Maid, she of "maple" syrup fame, were two honored guests at our table during the 1950s, but this recipe is made without a mix. Most recipes for buckwheat pancakes are very similar, but we added brown sugar and used beaten eggs whites for added leavening. As when making quick breads, the less beating and folding in, the better.

¾ cup buckwheat flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 cups buttermilk
Butter or vegetable oil, for frying the pancakes


1. Add the buckwheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar to a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

2. Beat the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they form stiff peaks.

3. Whisk the egg yolks in another bowl. Add the butter and buttermilk to the egg yolks and whisk to combine. Add this wet mixture to the dry ingredients and combine: do not overmix. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the pancake batter in two additions.

4. Coat the inside of a glass 2-cup liquid measuring cup with vegetable oil spray and fill with pancake batter. Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium-high heat and place 1 tablespoon of butter on top of the griddle or in the frying pan. Pour a teaspoon of batter onto the prepared griddle and wait until it begins to form. When the tiny test pancake is turned and done on both sides, remove it from the griddle. Pour enough batter onto the griddle to make four 4- to 5-inch pancakes (¼ cup of batter makes a 4-inch pancake). Lift the cup high when pouring the batter because it will help you control the flow. Cook the pancakes until bubbles form on the tops of the pancakes and around the edges. Lift one edge of each pancake to be sure it is formed and that the underside is brown. Turn and cook until the bottom side of each pancake is golden brown, 1½ to 2 minutes. Do not overcook. Serve the pancakes immediately, topped with maple syrup, sour cream, or melted butter. Add more butter to the griddle before making the rest of the pancakes.

Yield: 14 to 15 pancakes


SWEET TIPS: You can also coat the griddle with vegetable oil spray to prevent the pancakes from sticking.

• The pancakes should be eaten as soon as they are done. If this is not possible, keep the cooked pancakes warm on a baking sheet in an oven turned to a low setting, 250°F.

• A teaspoon of vegetable oil can be substituted for butter when frying Buckwheat Pancakes.


Chocolate Walnut Banana Muffins

This recipe reminds us of the luxurious muffins we used to eat at Bailey's on West Street in Boston in the 1960s and the 1970s. Rich and moist, paired with a cup of strong black coffee — pure heaven at ten in the morning. For those of you who don't know about Bailey's, they were famous for their candy and muffins, and for serving their ice cream sundaes in tall hotel silver dishes on large hotel silver saucers to catch the generous drips from the hot fudge sauce.

2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk
2 large ripe bananas, mashed (1 cup)
3 ounces bitter chocolate, melted and cooled
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
18 walnut or pecan halves

1. Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Coat the entire top surface and cups of a 12-cup muffin pan and a 6-cup muffin pan with vegetable oil spray. If using paper liners, spray the top surface of the pans before placing the paper liners in the openings. Muffin cups should have a diameter of 2 ½ inches across the top.

2. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to a large bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and buttermilk to combine. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk gently to incorporate. Fold in the mashed banana, cooled chocolate, and nuts.

4. Fill each prepared muffin cup with the batter, dividing the batter evenly among the pans. Add 1 walnut or pecan half to the top of each muffin. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a metal tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes before turning them out. Store the muffins, loosely wrapped in wax paper, at room temperature.

Yield: 18 muffins


SWEET TIP: Use a wire whisk or wooden spoon to prepare these muffins. Do not use an electric mixer because muffin batters should not be over-mixed.

SWEET TOUCH: These muffins are wonderful with salted butter and apricot jam.


Cowboy Coffee Cake

We found this recipe handwritten in a copy of Laboratory Recipes. Not satisfied with the original recipe, which called for buttermilk and cinnamon, we decided to substitute sour cream to enrich the texture, and our own blend of cardamom, mace, and ground cloves. This is a very easy "hands-on" recipe, but the instructions are a little bit out of the ordinary. Cowboy Coffee Cake is fun to make with the children in your family.

2½ cups flour
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (10 2/3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
½ teaspoon mace
¼ teaspoon cloves
½ cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
¼ cup coarse sanding sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom and four sides of a 9 by 13 by 2-inch metal pan with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Coat the foil with vegetable oil spray.

2. Add the flour, brown sugar, salt, butter, cinnamon, cardamom, mace, and cloves to a mixing bowl and combine with your fingers until crumbly. Transfer ½ cup of the crumb mixture to another bowl. Add the pecans and coarse sanding sugar to the ½ cup of crumb mixture and set aside for the topping. Add the baking powder and baking soda to the larger amount of the crumb mixture, and combine.

3. Add the eggs to bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat until pale. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat to combine. Add the larger crumb mixture and beat on low to break up any clumps in the batter. Add the batter to the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Sprinkle the pecan-and-sanding-sugar mixture on top of the cake. Bake the cake for 35 minutes, or until a metal tester inserted into the center comes out clean. The sides of the cake will pull away slightly from the sides of the pan. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool completely. When cool, remove the cake from the pan, using the sides of the foil as handles. Remove the foil from the coffee cake and cut the cake into squares. If you want to serve the cake sooner, place the pan in the refrigerator to cool. Leftover cake should be stored, loosely covered with wax paper, at room temperature.

Yield: one 9 by 13 by 2-inch cake; about twenty-four 2-inch squares


SWEET TIP: Using disposable gloves is helpful when making the crumb mixture.

SWEET TOUCH: Serve with softened vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.


Grandma Woodward's Whole Wheat Date Muffins

This recipe came from our friend Jeremy Woodward's, great-grandmother Rowena Pollard Woodward, a Maine matriarch who knew how to bake the hearty food that kept her family going through cold New England winters. The recipe for these muffins originally called for graham flour, but we tried them with whole wheat flour to lighten their texture. Graham flour gives them a nutty taste and a coarser crumb. These substantial muffins are easy to make and are best eaten the day they are made. The coarse sanding sugar melts into the muffin tops to form a sweet glaze.

1 cup all-purpose flour
6 ounces chopped dates or 1 cup firmly packed coarsely chopped dates
1 cup whole wheat or graham flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon honey
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coarse clear sanding sugar

1. Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat the entire top surface and cups of a 12-cup muffin pan with vegetable oil spray.

2. Add the flour to a large bowl. Add either the whole wheat or graham flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and granulated sugar to the flour in the larger bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.

3. Add the butter, honey, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla to a separate bowl and whisk to combine. Add this wet mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk gently to combine: do not overmix. Fold the dates into the batter with a spatula. Pour the batter into a 2-cup glass measuring cup with a pouring lip. Pour the batter into the cups of the prepared muffin pan, filling them to the top. Gently shake the muffin pan to evenly distribute the batter in the muffin cups. Smooth the tops of the muffins with an offset spatula. Sprinkle the tops with sanding sugar. Bake the muffins for 25 minutes, or until a metal tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

4. Transfer the muffin pan to a wire rack and allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan, place on a second rack, and continue to cool. If the tops of the muffins stick to the pan, run a butter knife around the tops of the muffins. The muffins may be eaten while still warm.

Yield: 1 dozen muffins

SWEET TIP: If buttermilk is not available, add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to milk to sour it.

• A 4-cup glass measuring cup can be used to pour the batter into the muffin cups, but a 2-cup glass measuring cup is easier to use.

SWEET TOUCH: These muffins are wonderful served with salted butter or cream cheese.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Baking with the Brass Sisters by Marilynn Brass, Sheila Brass, Andy Ryan. Copyright © 2015 Marilynn Brass and Sheila Brass. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author


MARILYN AND SHEILA BRASS are the authors of Heirloom Cooking With The Brass Sisters and Heirloom Baking With The Brass Sisters, a finalist for the James Beard Award. They have hosted their own specials on PBS and the Cooking Channel; have appeared on Throwdown with Bobby Flay and on PBS's Simply Ming. They appear regularly on NPR's All Things Considered - Found Recipes and the NPR blog, The Salt. They live in Cambridge, MA and enjoy baking with their family and friends in their home kitchen.

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