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The Clueless Baker: Learning to Bake from Scratch


The new and improved Clueless Baker will show beginners how easy it really is to bake from scratch!

This down-to-earth guide reveals the secrets to baking successfully and makes it fun at the same time. The Clueless Baker contains more than 100 foolproof recipes along with all the need-to-know baking basics at your fingertips. You'll feel like a pro in no time. You'll be creating scrumptious desserts, delicious breads and yummy cookies and ...

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The Clueless Baker: Learning to Bake from Scratch

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The new and improved Clueless Baker will show beginners how easy it really is to bake from scratch!

This down-to-earth guide reveals the secrets to baking successfully and makes it fun at the same time. The Clueless Baker contains more than 100 foolproof recipes along with all the need-to-know baking basics at your fingertips. You'll feel like a pro in no time. You'll be creating scrumptious desserts, delicious breads and yummy cookies and treats that you'll be proud to serve to your family and friends. No stress! No sweat!

Revised and updated, it includes:

  • More gluten-free recipes, as well as suggestions on how to convert conventional recipes to be gluten-free
  • More recipes using whole grain flour and recommendations on using whole grain flour in place of white flour
  • Clear and consistent ingredient lists
  • Updated with some cool new recipes, including Red Velvet Cake, Key Lime Pie and a goofy 3-minute microwave chocolate cake that you bake in a coffee mug.

The Clueless Baker still includes the following invaluable features: Baking: The Eleven-Step Program, The Essential Clueless Baking Cupboard and The Baking Glossary.

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Editorial Reviews

Ottawa Citizen - Karen Turner
With a healthy mix of humour, practical tips and straightforward recipes...Raab guides novice bakers through the Eleven-Step Program to success.
Charlottetown Guardian - Lois Abraham
With decent recipes, a good attitude and a plan, Evelyn Raab thinks novice bakers can turn out delicious treats and have fun doing it. In The Clueless Baker: Learning to Bake from Scratch, Raab reveals the secrets she says will lead to scrumptious cakes, cookies and breads with a dash of humour. (Her) step-by-step advice provides neophytes with enough knowledge and comfort to bake like a pro.
Repository - Saimi Bergmann
[Review of previous edition:] This is a very good book for beginning bakers, with clear, easy-to-follow recipes, but it is the tips and asides that elevate it to valuable.
This is a fabulous book for both the novice and relatively experienced baker.
This delightful primer on baking ... encourages novices and entertains experienced bakers with a remarkably thorough treatment on home baking.
Saimi Bergmann
A very good book for beginning bakers, with clear, easy-to-follow recipes ... tips and asides that elevate it to valuable.
The Repository
In this delightful primer on baking, Raab, author of Clueless in the Kitchen (Firefly, 1998) and The Clueless Vegetarian, (2000/VOYA February 2001), encourages novices and entertains experienced bakers with a remarkably thorough treatment on home baking. Chapters on yeast and quick breads, muffins and biscuits, cookies and squares, cakes and frostings, and pies and pastries each are concluded with a troubleshooting section of commonly experienced problems and their solutions. A substitution chart, checklists of supplies and equipment, step-by-step black-and-white illustrations, and a useful glossary all work together to make this unusual cookbook a joy to read or to use in the kitchen. What makes it stand out from other cookbooks is Raab's breezy, encouraging style, which would make even the most reluctant baker look for variations on old favorites and be inspired to try new recipes. Here is the solution to the broken cake, the burned cake, the cake the dog got—"Cut off the chewed parts and cut the remaining cake into a creative, unusual shape. Cover with frosting, and don't say anything to anyone." Although not segregated as such, ethnic recipes are well represented. Middle and senior high school librarians with cookbooks in their collections will want this book because its anybody-can-do-it approach is well suited to students who enjoy independent forays into their parents' kitchens. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P M J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Firefly, 216p,
— Christopher Finer
This is a fabulous book for both the novice and relatively experienced baker. Anyone who has ever tried to bake something and had it not "turn out" will love this book. Basic skills are outlined in the 11-step program along with a marvelous section that describes the basic equipment needed for most projects. An excellent section called "The Clueless Cupboard" includes absolute necessities, emergency substitutions and a detailed section about the basic ingredients used in most baking projects. Another wonderful section answers a variety of related questions such as. Is there an easy way to separate an egg? or flour—when to sift or not sift? More than 100 tried, tested and true recipes are clearly written with a variety of basic ingredients. Some of the tantalizing recipes are: Blender Peanut Butter Muffins, Soft Ginger Cookies, Zingy Lemon Squares, Flourless Chocolate Cake, Orange Cappuccino Pudding Cake, and many more. An extensive glossary is included along with a detailed index that makes this easy to use. Category: Cookbooks, Useful Arts & Crafts. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2001, Firefly, 215p. index., $12.95. Ages 13 to adult. Reviewer: Shirley Reis; IMC Dir., Lake Shore M.S., Mequon, WI SOURCE: KLIATT, March 2002 (Vol. 36, No. 2)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781770852457
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/22/2013
  • Edition description: Revised and Updated
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 216
  • Sales rank: 1,386,518
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Evelyn Raab is the author of the wildly successful Clueless in the Kitchen. Her popular Cooking with Kids column has appeared in Today's Parent magazine. She attributes her culinary expertise to her sons.

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Read an Excerpt

Getting Started

The oven looms before you. A darkened abyss. The gates of hell. You know — you just know — that whatever you put in there is doomed. Doomed and ruined. It will burn. Or collapse. Probably both.

Plus, your house will burn down. Which is just as well, because after the mess you made of the kitchen it would take ten lifetimes to clean it up, anyway. There is flour on the floor. Batter on the walls. Broken eggs in the sink (it was an accident). You're missing a spatula (you pray it didn't get baked into the cake). The phone is ringing, but you can't find it.

Okay. Take a deep breath and relax. Help has arrived.

What you need are some decent recipes, a good attitude and a plan. Baking can be — should be — fun. Also easy. It should be neither traumatic nor terrifying. And at the end of it, you should have something delicious to eat. Which is, after all, the point of the whole thing.

Let's begin with the plan.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Getting Started

Baking: The Eleven-Step Program
Bare Necessities, Electric Gizmos and Extra Added Widgets
The Essential Clueless Baking Cupboard
Emergency Substitutions
The Basics About Some Basics

Chapter 2: Quick Breads and Yeast Breads

Quick Breads
Yeast Breads
Clueless Troubleshooting: Quick Breads and Yeast Breads

Chapter 3: Muffins and Biscuits

Clueless Troubleshooting: Muffins and Biscuits

Chapter 4: Cookies, Cookies and More Cookies

Squares and Bars
Clueless Troubleshooting: Cookies and Squares

Chapter 5: Cakes and Frostings

Fillings and Frivolities
Clueless Troubleshooting Cakes and Frostings

Chapter 6: Pies and Other Pastries

Basic Pastry Recipes
Pies and Other Pastries
Clueless Troubleshooting: Pies and Pastries

A Baking Glossary

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Dastardly Double Fudge Brownies

These brownies are thick and fudgy and positively dastardly. They really need no frosting, but if you insist, you can slather them with Chocolate Ganache Glaze (see page 166) or Creamy Chocolate Frosting (see page 162) when they're completely cool. Like they'll last that long.

4 squares (1 oz/28 g each) unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup - 175 mL - butter
1 1/2 cups - 375 mL - granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp - 10 mL - vanilla
3/4 cup - 175 mL - all-purpose flour
1/2 cup - 125 mL - semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup - 125 mL - chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 F (180 C). Grease an 8-inch (20 cm) square baking pan. Set aside.

In a medium-sized saucepan melt together the chocolate and the butter over low heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

With a whisk (or an electric mixer on low speed) beat in the sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla, and continue beating until smooth. Stir in the flour, mixing just until it disappears into the batter, then add the chocolate chips and walnuts (if you're using them). Mix well and pour into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until set but not dry (a toothpick poked in the middle of the pan should come out with a little bit of stuff clinging to it). Don't overbake -- it will ruin the fudgy effect.

Makes 25 utterly dastardly brownies.

[Sidebar tip]

Ack! I wrecked my chocolate!

Did you splash water into the chocolate you were melting? And now you're sorry -- it's all seized up into icky, clumpy bits that will not go away. Disaster?Well, maybe not. Here's how you may still be able to rescue your ruined chocolate.

For each 1-oz (28 g) square of chocolate (or equivalent amount of chocolate chips) that has been tragically wrecked, add 1 tsp (5 mL) vegetable oil or solid vegetable shortening, and place back over hot water, stirring until smooth. Don't use butter or margarine because they contain water and will only make matters worse.

And be more careful next time, will you please?

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