From the James Beard Award Winning cookbook, Bakewise, try for yourself these delectable Bourbon Pecan Oatmeal Cookies. Shirley O. Corriher explains the HOWS and WHYS of successful baking, including using shortening to limit the cookie's spread!
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I have tried a few recipes from this book and not one has turned out successfully. I am surprised given Shirley O. Corriher's reputation.more
At the risk of hyperbole, I must say that this is an extraordinary cookbook. Because precision is more important to baking than any other type of cooking, many books will give you a fast-and-dirty introduction to the basics. Corriher's introduction is no exception to this rule, but her introduction is a very nuts-and-bolts one, with tips on how ovens work, and similar information. It's within the chapters that things get really interesting.Bakewise is divided up into chapters on cakes, and cake-like baking (muffins, quickbreads, etc.) puff pastry, pies, cookies and breads. At the beginning of each chapter you have a section that gives you an overview of what you will learn by making the recipes contained in it. For example, the cake chapter will teach you: "How to create your own perfect cakes," "How to spot cakes that won't work and how to fix them," "How to make cakes, muffins and quick breads more moist," "Even if you have never baked, how to ice a cake as spotlessly smooth as glass and looking as if it came from an elegant professional baker," and more. Recipes are then broken down into types, such as "Favorites" or "Elegant cakes." Finally there are the recipes, and here Corriher really goes to town.She leads off with a classic, or very basic recipe, one which we all know, and probably have tried to make in the past. She discusses it, the theories and techniques behind it, and may even show you the process by which the recipe has been perfected. At the head of the recipe is a box that tells you what the recipe will show you. For example, the pound cake recipe which leads off the cake chapter will show you how excess sugar and butter will make this cake moister than a traditional pound cake, and explain why it's important to blend the flavoring with the fat (Fat is a flavor carrier.) or why you must always be sure to mix well so that there won't be any holes in your cake.Finally you get to the recipe, and they are precise down to the last pinch of salt. Many include recipes for icing or filling or variations. Some, such as "Shirley's Version of Pop Corriher's Applesauce Cake" are the focus of a lesson on things like fixing over-leavened recipes which can lead to cakes which fall and become heavy. She discusses leavening thoroughly, how to read a label to find out what's in your leavener, how to make your own, and finally shows you how she fixed her father's cake recipe to ensure perfect results. She anticipates problems that can and will arise during baking, gives examples of recipes which could create those problems, shows how she fixed the recipes, and gives the reader a very good working knowledge which can then be applied to recipes from other sources.You're getting an education with this book, not just a collection of recipes. Armed with what you learn from Corriher's recipes, you can go confidently to other sources, and be sure that you have the ability to create wonderful baked goods, no matter what. You can probably even create your own recipes after working with this book. Really, if you're at all serious about your baking, I cannot recommend a better book on it.more
Bakewise was a winner! I don't have Cookwise so I wasn't quite prepared for the level of detail! This lady has covered every aspect of baking you could ever have questions about. Want to know all about chocolate, where it comes from, different types, and how it works in baked goods - check! How about the science behind a flaky pie crust, a perfect meringue, or the emulsion process involved in making a buttercream frosting? That's all here too. Just want some good recipes? So far I've made:Shirley's Crazy Cake - this recipe intrigued me. No eggs and you mix all the ingredients in the pan you bake it in! Literally no clean to clean! It turned out very good with a nice light crumb and a mocha flavor from the cocoa and coffee. She has a similar recipe called Serious Stuff Gingerbread that is on my list to try.E-Z Delicious Peanut Butter Cookies Another interesting recipe technique-wise, no flour! This recipe is just peanut butter, brown sugar, an egg, and some toffee bits. These are the best peanut butter cookies I've ever had! They had an intense peanut butter flavor and a sort of soft, chewy texture almost like a chewy chocolate chip cookie. I took these to work and got numerous requests for the recipe.Rooster's Famous Fire Crackers - This is the only one I've made so far that I didn't care for. It's essentially saltines with red pepper and cheese baked. She explains why they get really crispy and cheesy and I though the idea sounded intriguing, but the end product didn't do it for me.Simpley Wonderful Strata - Brownes Billows of Cheesy Puff - wow! This was great! I've never had a strata puff up this much. It was cheesy and puffy and delicious! It would be a perfect Christmas morning meal.There are so many other recipes in this cookbook I want to try! I have marked Take-Your-Breath-Away Lemon Pound Cake, Sweet Pears and Crunchy, Roasted Walnut Muffins, "Touch of Grace" Southern Biscuits and a bunch of others!more
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