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Baking From My Home to Yours: Breakfast Sweets

December 2006 Cookbook of the Month: Please post your full-length reviews of recipes from the Breakfast Sweets chapter of Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours here. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. The Corniest Corn Muffins on page 4 are wonderful. They are light, tender and moist. Recipe was easy to follow, easy to prepare and the resulting muffins very easy to eat.

    1. My local produce store had very large, ripe mangos on sale yesterday for $ .99 each, so I bought 4.

      I made the Fresh Mango Bread recipe. I'm not liking it very much. The recipe was easy and the instructions dead on as far as describing how the dough/batter will look and act.

      The batter is dense so the recommendation is to cook it on an insulated baking sheet or two stacked baking sheets to prevent over baking. I followed this step. The cooking time is given as 1 1/2 hours. I know my oven bakes fast so I reduced the cooking time to 1 hour and 15 minutes. The bread was done when tested and was actually overdone by at least 5 if not 10 minutes. My oven may be fast but it is not *that* fast.

      I didn't get much mango flavor off this recipe, mostly it was just sweet. However, Dorie does say that this bread improves with age and wrapping in saran. Maybe it will be better tomorrow after it's had a day to age.

      1. Today I made the Orange Berry Muffins & the Chocolate-Chocolate Chunk Muffins.

        1. Orange Berry Muffins
        changes I made: made 24 mini muffins and 6 regular sized muffins, subbed cranberries for blueberries. Rubbing the orange rind with the sugar was an excellent idear.

        Easy to follow recipe. Muffin is great-tasting, but cranberry may be too tart of a substitution. The jury's still out.

        2. Chocolate-Chocolate Chunk Muffins
        changes I made: made 24 mini muffins and 7 regular sized muffins, mis-read recipe and mixed 4 oz of bittersweet chocolate to the melted butter, but I still added 2 oz chopped chocolate

        Again, recipe is easy to follow provided that baker reads carefully. End product a teensy bit dry but certainly may be due to extra chocolate, smells fantastic.

        I also baked the buttermilk scones from Baking with Julia (Marion Cunningham contribution), and they were my best yet! Loved the inclusion of the lemon rind.

        1. I made the Great Grains Muffins and Pumpkin Muffins.

          Great Grains Muffins
          I used quartered prunes for the fruit and followed the recipe exactly. They smelled heavenly while baking. The muffins tasted good, not too sweet, definitely seemed "healthy". I would make them again, probably using more whole wheat flour next time - I mean, if they're going to taste healthy, they might as well be healthier. Next time I will try a different fruit, such as dried apricots.

          Pumpkin Muffins
          She says these are like Sarabeth's and I agree. Delicious! I overbaked mine by a couple of minutes because the baby started screaming right when the timer went off, so they got slightly dry, but they were still good. I used 3/4 white whole wheat flour and 1/4 AP flour, which seemed to work well. As suggested, I added golden raisins (which I plumped up in hot water first) and walnuts, and would definitely add them next time too. I didn't have sunflower seeds for the top though, but didn't miss them.

          1. Pumpkin muffins

            Delicious. Made a dozen and froze them. Substituted pistachios and chopped dates for the walnut and raison (missing from pantry at the time). Warmed in the microwave every morning for breakfast. Reheated extremely well and had a great texture.

            3 Replies
            1. re: laonion

              Glad to see that two people tried the pumpkin muffins. Will earmark this recipe to try, too (my sister loves pumpkin baked goods and will be joining us for Christmas). Thanks for the write ups!

              1. re: redwood2bay

                I tried the pumpkin muffins, and they were good-- better the second day. I increased the spices and felt that they could have been spicier still. Omitted the raisins but would add them back in next time, because I felt the muffins could have been a little bit more moist.

                1. re: redwood2bay

                  I had one this evening, one day old, and it was much improved from last night. As I noted yesterday, I used prunes instead of raisins. They added a rich sweetness today that was just outstanding.

            2. Pecan Honey Sticky Buns

              These are to die for! I hardly know where to begin to tell you how good they are.

              Let me start with the brioche dough. I was having so much trouble with it, I never thought it would work. I suspect my problems started because I hadn’t brought the ingredients fully to room temp first. It took a good deal longer than three minutes after adding the eggs and sugar for the dough to form a ball. And I’m sure I goosed the speed of the mixer well past the suggested medium. Then I couldn’t get the butter to incorporate. (There’s a lot more butter here than in any other brioche dough I’ve made.) I finally put the butter in a turned off gas oven to warm it up with the pilot light until it was definitely not still “slightly firm.” Here, too, I was using a higher speed than recommended and regularly stopping and scraping. Incorporating the butter took at least 20 minutes, maybe more.

              Then, and I’ve never had this happen before, I set the mixer speed to medium-high and the timer for 10 minutes, got involved in an e-mail, and before the 10 minutes was up heard a loud crash in the kitchen. My Kitchen Aid had walked off the counter! Bless the old Hobart mixer. The back end had loosened, but I just unscrewed it, replaced, screwed it back on, and it seems to be just fine (please, please!). I ended up staying up way too late to religiously slap down the dough every 30 minutes for the first two hours in the fridge then went to bed and let it rest overnight.

              This morning I split the dough in half (I’m making the brioche loaf with the other half and will report on that separately) and rolled it out. It was an absolute dream to work with! It rolled beautifully and wasn’t at all sticky. I followed directions for filling and rolling the dough and then, because this was an experiment and I have no guest eaters today, I cut six pieces off the rolled log and wrapped the remainder for the freezer. Since I was baking less than half the number of buns, I made only 1⁄4 of the glaze recipe and put it in the smallest pan I had: an 8 X 8 dark metal one.

              The recipe says to bake at 375 F for about half an hour. Luckily, I went to check on them at about 15 minutes and half of them were already beginning to burn. I pulled them out of the oven thinking the not-burned ones might be underdone, but they weren’t. I know my oven temp was okay because I checked it with a thermometer. It must have been the small, dark pan (she recommends Pyrex) that threw the timing off so badly.

              These were just sooooo good (did I mention that?). The brioche dough is a marvel with an extraordinarily light, tender crumb. The filling, with yet more butter, is rich and cinnamony without being cloying, and the glaze—which is of course very sweet—isn’t overwhelmingly so. I’m embarrassed to admit that I ate three of them almost as soon as they were cool enough to handle—and then polished off the burnt ones soon thereafter. Sticky buns for breakfast; sticky buns for lunch. Only wish I still had some left for dinner.



              18 Replies
              1. re: JoanN

                Wow. I don't even like sticky buns yet these appeal to me. Lovely pics.

                1. re: JoanN

                  Thanks for the post and great pics. I was just looking thru her book tonite and thought this was the recipe I most wanted to try, but I'm not expecting company this weekend and really didn't want to make these for just the two of us. You've changed my mind! We're going to have sticky buns! I hope we do a cooking lite cookbook for Jan.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Those look sooo good. I love sticky buns! Unfortunately, the brioche dough sounds a little involved for me right now. May have to ask someone to babysit so I can pull it together. Thanks for the great report!

                    1. re: JoanN

                      I made the brioche this weekend. The butter took a long time to incorporate for me too...I'm guessing like 30-40 minutes. Also when I did the final 10 minutes of mixing/kneading on medium high(!) per the recipe... oil dripped from the beater attachment of the mixer. Aarrgh! I know at least one drop got in the dough but I think I got it out. It was a major quandary whether to continue or toss the dough. I continued. Unfortunately I don't think I punched the dought down enough(fell asleep). But I pressed on the next morning and formed and baked the loaves...I think I baked between 20-25 minutes(recipe says 30-35) and they were definitely done. They were not as pretty as the picture(my rectangles weren't as smooth...the dought is hard to work with cold) but they were reasonably attractive and tasted good. I'll try again and maybe using some for the sticky buns.

                      1. re: Bean Counter

                        With all that butter in the dough, Bean Counter, who would notice a little additional grease?!?

                        Interesting that yours were definitely done with about the same timing that mine was not. And do try the sticky buns. I thought they were just outstanding.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          That same thought crossed my mind but I'm definitely a better safe than sorry type so I was a little stressed out.

                          When I was working with the refridgerated dough I was thinking that shaping for the sticky buns might be kind of hard. I thought maybe sort of making your rectangle the night before after all the deflating steps might be the way to go...what do you think? Was shaping/working with the dough easier than I'm anticipating?

                          1. re: Bean Counter

                            I was very pleasantly surprised at what a dream the brioche dough was to roll out. Not sticky at all or problematic in any way. I suspect you'll find it a great deal easier than what you might be anticipating. The consistency was bang-on right out of the fridge the next morning.

                            The one thing I had a bit of trouble with was trying to spread the butter evenly; mine wasn't quite as "room temp" as it needed to be. You might consider leaving the butter out overnight so it will be really soft.

                            Once buttered and sprinkled with the filling, the dough also rolled up easily. You could, if you wanted to bake the buns first thing in the morning, regrigerate the rolled up log overnight. In fact, when I made them, I only cut about a third of the log into buns and put the rest of the log in the freezer. Haven't baked those yet, but I'm sure looking forward to it when I have some guests coming next month.

                      2. re: JoanN

                        I made the brioche dough on Monday night- half for the brioche loaf and half for the Pecan Honey Sticky Buns. I haven't tasted the loaf yet, because I reserved that for banana-stuffed french toast for dinner tonight or tomorrow. I'm a little worried because it didn't really seem to rise very much, especially compared to the sticky buns, which is really weird to me, since it was the same batch of dough. I made the sticky buns last night, and I don't know if it was too much anticipation, too much waiting time, or just too much work, but I just really didn't love them. Not that it was a ton of work, but it was a process, for sure. I only ate one last night and brought the rest to work. Everyone at work loved them, but they get excited about Dillon's donuts too! I thought the honey kind of gave them a strange flavor. Of course, that could just be the honey, because it was a bit darker than usual- I think my beekeeper lady said that it was wildflower this time. Anyway, I was disappointed! :-( Especially for all the butter that was in them- how could you go wrong!

                        1. re: Katie Nell

                          Really sorry to hear these didn't do it for you, Katie. I've made them three times now, and still think they're the best ever. Not sure what honey I used; probably nothing special since I'm not a honey afficionado and more often than not what I buy at the local farmers' market comes in a bear-shaped plastic bottle. :-) Not exactly classy, but it usually works for me.

                          Hope you're happier with the French toast. You might also take a look at her recipe for Bostock if you have some brioche left over. I thought that was a wonderful recipe, too. But then, if you didn't care for the Sticky Buns . . . . Oh well. Sorry if I led you astray.

                          1. re: JoanN

                            Oh, you could never lead me astray! I forgot to mention that I was also terribly grumpy last night, so maybe that affected my tastebuds!! ;-) I would try them again, because it was kind of a fun process, and everyone else seemed to love them- they were gone in under an hour at work this morning, even without an official announcement!

                            Also, I am not what I would call a honey afficionado either. My mom's good friend is a beekeeper and sells at the farmer's market- I will say though, that it always seems to taste much better than grocery store honey.

                        2. re: JoanN

                          I baked the pecan honey sticky buns a couple weeks ago and OMG I truly believe these were the most delectable treats I have ever eaten! Certainly the most delectable I have ever made. In my notebook rating baked goods 1-5 I gave them a 6 star rating!

                          I too spent the evening at home punching down the dough every half hour, and then set the alarm for 4 am to roll out the dough, form into buns and allow to rise a couple hours and got up again at 6 am to bake. (That 4 am alarm is why I am not a professional baker.)

                          I would make these again when I fall in love. They are a lot of work. Okay, if I don't fall in love in the next 6 months, I will probably make them again. In fact I probably half the other 1/2 dough in the freezer since I did not bake a brioche loaf, so I will have to (drat!:) make the sticky buns again.
                          I never imagined I could turn out such a scrumptious, oozy, yummy baked good.

                          1. re: NYchowcook

                            So glad you came back to report on this, NYchowcook. And . . . that you love them as much as I do. This recipe has ruined me for any bakery product, no matter how good the bakery. I've never found a sticky bun that could even begin to compete.

                              1. re: JoanN

                                I see that my links above to Photobucket are no longer active so will try to post my sticky bun photos here.

                                1. re: JoanN

                                  Oh my goodness me. It's a brioche dough, right? Time to kill two birds with one stone.

                                  1. re: buttertart

                                    Yes, it is. And an excellent one. Have you ever tried her Bostock recipe? If not . . . and if you're going to be making the brioche anyway . . . .

                                  2. re: JoanN

                                    The first time I baked these sticky buns (less than 2 months ago) instead of baking a loaf of brioche, I prepared a 2nd round of buns and froze them. I baked them this a.m., (making the pecan/honey/sugar/butter yummyness that sits underneath while baking and then on top). They were fantastic, but I must say I don't think they rose as well or tasted quite as terrific as baking them without freezing. But what a treat!

                            1. Omigod! Are you trying to kill us all?

                              These are gloriously glorious!
                              Thanx for pix.

                              1. I've got a favor. If somebody is home and has this book available, could you shoot me a post letting me know how much pumpkin stuff (and what kind, pumpkin pie filling?) is called for in the pumpkin muffins?

                                I forgot to look at the book before I left home this am, and would like to pick that one ingredient up on the way home tonight.

                                Thanks for any assistance.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Smokey

                                  Not only am I at home, the book was already open in front of me.
                                  3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree

                                  1. re: JoanN

                                    And *that* is why I love Chowhound! :-)

                                  2. Bostock

                                    Bostock, which I’d only heard of once before when Anya L posted reviews from her experiences with the Tartine cookbook (http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...), is noted as a “Playing Around” sidebar for the Golden Brioche Loaves in Dorie’s book. Interestingly, Dorie’s take on the recipe is a good deal simpler than Tartine’s. It’s just almond cream on stale brioche scattered with sliced almonds and baked for about 15 minutes. No syrup, no jam, no powdered sugar. And I must say, I didn’t miss any of them.

                                    Starting with the brioche: with the other half of the dough from which I made the sticky buns, I made a brioche loaf following the directions. Because my sticky buns had started to burn way before the baking time called for, I was being overly cautious about the loaf and pulled it from the oven, about 5 or 10 minutes too early, when the top looked very golden brown. I’ve since double-checked with Madeleine Kamman who says that, if anything, brioche should be slightly overbaked to ensure it stands firm when removed from the pan. Mine didn’t. It collapsed a bit. (Why do I always do my research after the fact?!?) And there was a small part of the bread that just wasn’t cooked enough. Didn’t matter all that much. It was still a superb brioche and this will probably become my go-to recipe.

                                    I made the Bostock today, when the loaf was only one day old and not really stale. Dorie’s recipe for the Almond Cream is in the Indispensables chapter and it’s a snap to make. I ground the almonds in the food processor and was afraid of ending up with almond butter so I probably didn’t grind them quite as well as I should have. That may have resulted in a slightly more grainy almond cream than I was anticipating, but it was excellent nonetheless. Good, but subtle, almond flavor and not overly sweet.

                                    I really liked the Bostock. It didn’t blow my socks off as the sticky buns did, but since this recipe is made from stale brioche and the cream can hold in the fridge for a few days, it’s a really wonderful recipe for tossing together at the last minute for breakfast or afternoon tea, something I will definitely keep in mind when I have overnight guests.


                                    1. Maple-Cornmeal Drop Biscuits

                                      Since I am a baked goods fiend, I try to make things healthier when I think I can get away with it, so I substituted whole wheat pastry flour for AP flour in this recipe. Otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. If anything, I think the whole wheat pastry flour enhanced the nuttiness of the cornmeal and made these mildly-sweet homey biscuits even tastier. They were plenty tender and moist, and a snap to make. I had them plain, but can imagine how delicious they'd be with butter. I will definitely make these again.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Anya L

                                        I made the Maple-Cornmeal Drop Biscuits this morning. These came together incredibly easily (a plus, since I'm not much of a baker--yet). I would have liked the maple flavor to be a little stronger, but otherwise these were good. I sent them off to work with my partner with some maple butter. I like your idea of using whole wheat flour and will try that next time.

                                        1. re: debbiel

                                          They are definitely best when fresh. If you have leftovers, I recommend freezing them and reheating in the toaster oven.

                                      2. So far, I've tried:

                                        Dimply Plum Cake
                                        I really liked this recipe -- it was straightforward, and the results were very good. The cake's texture is somewhat dense and sandy, with good, strong flavors (the cardamom works very well with the orange). The only modification I made was to experiment on one quarter of the cake with sliced apples and the other quarter with fresh raw cranberries, both of which I liked. My only advice with this cake is to err on the side of under rather than overbaking.

                                        Maple Cornmeal Drop Biscuits
                                        This recipe comes together very quickly, and is a good choice for the times you are without fresh buttermilk. The maple flavor goes nicely with the stoneground cornmeal, which gives the biscuits a solid crunch. My modifications: I used a food processor to work the butter in, and baked them in a preheated cast iron biscuit pan with 7 divets. Overall, this recipe reminds me more of a scone than a biscuit.

                                        Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
                                        Made these day before yesterday, and they were a solid hit. This recipe comes together so quickly, it was ready to go in as soon as my oven was preheated. I chose to forgo the icing, because I planned on eating them the next day too (they reheat well). As a result, the lemon flavor was probably less dramatic than with the icing, but still very good. I baked these in the silicon muffin cups (Sili-Cups) from Sur La Table, and they released perfectly.

                                        Corniest Corn Muffins
                                        Probably my favorite recipe so far. I made these twice, once with fresh corn, once with frozen. The second time, I made the following modifications: I sauteed ~1/4 cup of diced pancetta, then sauteed the frozen corn (warmed to room temp) in the same pan. I added both the corn and pancetta as a final step, with excellent results. I like the flavor of the optional nutmeg, and do recommend using it. The muffins keep well, both on the counter and in the freezer.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: TerriL

                                          I made the Dimply Plum Cake too. The recipe was on the wednesdaychef blog. I used Italian prune plums because they are in the market now. I didn't have the cardomon so I put in cinnamon instead. Skipped the lemon juice. Sprinkled a bit of turbinado sugar on top. I baked it in a ceramic square dish. I brought it to an event where people loved it. They just raved. The plums were beautiful and baked up nice and tart. The next day I had some left over so I had it for breakfast. Seemed a little too sweet to me then. I liked it but probably wouldn't make again.

                                          1. re: TerriL

                                            I baked the Dimply Plum Cake twice recently -- with Italian prune plums. It was another winner as I work my way around and through Dorie Greenspan's excellent baking book. I used lemon zest rather than orange because that's all I had. And I simply adore cardamom in cakes. The plums bake up jammy and sweet and complement this simple -- easy and fast! -- coffee cake.

                                            1. re: NYchowcook

                                              That really is a nice cake - good with peaches, too. I bet it'd also be nice with thinly-sliced apples.

                                          2. Thanks again, JoanN, for posting the info on amount of pumpkin puree needed. With your help, I was able to make the pumpkin muffins tonight. I made a couple of changes. I used 50% WWpastry flour and 50% AP flour. I used powdered buttermilk. Added regular (not golden) raisins and pecans. Oh, and my mixer is in the shop, so I had to do it by hand. So, I got the butter pretty well and melted in the microwave to save my arm from falling off.

                                            So far, I'm only so-so on them. They're not as sweet as I expected (which shocks me to say, because normally I don't like things very sweet!), and I would have preferred them with more spices. I think the sweetness 'problem' is really an issue of a match between expectations and reality, and not an absolute problem with the muffins. The +1 really likes them, which also surprises me (he generally likes his muffins tilted towards the cupcake end of the equation). Like a previous poster, I'm probably going to put them in the freezer and defrost one/am in the microwave. Oh, and in spite of the hand mixing, I thought the texture was quite nice.

                                            will probably post more about them tomorrow after I've given that a try and my taste buds have decided it's ok they're not cupcakes!

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: Smokey

                                              Ok, this morning, I decided they're good, but somehow, I'm not CRAZY for them. I have this sinking feeling I left out the cinnamon by mistake (it occured to me while I was mixing them, but then I thought, nah, couldn't be--now I'm beginning to think I really didn't). I think the cinnamon would have helped. I also wish they had more pumpkin flavor. I'm wondering if you couldn't increased the pumpkin and, to compensate, maybe reduce the butter slightly? I don't know. Did anybody else feel the muffins needed a stronger pumpkin taste?

                                              1. re: Smokey

                                                I haven't made the pumpkin muffins yet but I did make the All-in-One Holiday cake which is a pumpkin bundt cake. I felt the flavor profile on that was too bland, needed more pumpkin and needed more spices. The cake itself was very good, extremely moist and tender, but it wasn't a pumpkin bundt cake, it was like the pumpkin was kind of an after thought.

                                                1. re: Smokey

                                                  Although I liked the pumpkin muffins quite a bit, I would probably have liked them even more with a stronger pumpkin flavor. There is a local bakery here that makes stronger tasting pumpkin muffins - I'd love to have their recipe. Actually, the pumpkin bread recipe I usually make -
                                                  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/rec... -
                                                  might work as muffins. I haven't tried it, but another hound probably has, and some commenters on epicuious have. Maybe I'll try it and have a taste test (I have some leftovers in my freezer).

                                                  1. re: Smokey

                                                    I made the pumpkin muffins last night for husband to take to a meeting this morning. Of course, I taste tested one of them.

                                                    I thought the subtle pumpkin and spicing was really nice since oftentimes I find pumpkin desserts are too strong on pumpkin pie spices, etc. I do think that increasing the pumpkin to one cup and increasing the buttermilk to 1/2 c. would suit my taste better. I would probably increase the spices and sugar just a tad to compensate. As a point of comparison, Martha's muffins generally have 1 c. sugar for 12 muffins.

                                                    My version: Used dried cranberries since I can't stand raisins. Used pecans mixed in and pumpkin seeds instead of sunflower seeds on top. I also sprinkled a little brown sugar on top since I wanted a touch more sweetness to compensate for the tartness of cranberries. Also liked the look and texture.

                                                    The dough was def. on the stiff side, but it had a nice elasticity. After baking, crumb was pretty tight and tender. Not super moist, but not dry either. Gorgeous domed tops. These got done in 20 min. (5 min. before the book states) so I'd start checking at 18 min. Temp. called for is 400F which seems higher than most recipes.

                                                    I loved the pumpkin seeds on top! Added a wonderful grassy nuttiness and texture, not to mention a nice color. Worked well w/ the cranberries and pecans. Again, next time I'll try adding more pumpkin puree and buttermilk and maybe play w/ the spicing a bit. I guess I liked these muffins but didn't love them.

                                                    Photo 1:

                                                    Photo 2:

                                                    I hope to make the corn muffins soon!

                                                    1. re: Carb Lover

                                                      Those are beautiful photos! I just made a double batch of these muffins tonight, mine didn't have quite the domed tops your's have, but they are still very nice looking muffins.

                                                      I followed the recipe except for using prunes (which I had on hand) instead of raisins (which I did not have on hand). I cut the prunes down a bit because I find them to be so much sweeter and intense than raisins. I also used pecans rather than walnuts.

                                                      I'm glad you mentioned the stiffness of the batter. This actually had me a bit worried. These were the first items I made with my NEW (and first) stand mixer (arrived today), and I was concerned I had overmixed the batter. I'm not a frequent baker, so I just wasn't sure what to expect.

                                                      The texture of the finished muffins are lighter than I expected; I think I'd like it a little crumbier (again, this could be due to my early skills rather than the recipe). I liked the subtle pumpkin flavor and thought the spicing was great. Love the sunflower seeds on top, but I think I'll switch it up and try pumpkin seeds next time.

                                                      1. re: debbiel

                                                        Glad you had a chance to try them and that you liked them overall. Yes, that batter is very stiff. Husband brought a couple back from work so I ate one for breakfast the next day, 36 hrs. after baking. I found that I liked them even better the next day since the flavors had more depth and clarity. Congrats on your new mixer!

                                                2. I've made two breakfast muffins within the last two days. The beauty of these recipes is that I don't have to pull the stand mixer out. There's something to be said in using two bowls and a whisk.

                                                  Great Grains Muffins (pg. 9)

                                                  I chose these because they appeared healthy. And, they probably are healthier than other breakfast cakes. But, they also taste healthy. I used chopped walnuts instead of dried fruits and I used steel cut oats instead of old fashioned oats. Of course, my instinct is to throw in chocolate chips but it defeats the purpose. They tasted pretty good. They smelled better in the oven and I ate the muffin stone cold. I should have heated it up or toasted it because I think it would have improved the flavor.

                                                  Coffee Break Muffins (pg. 15)

                                                  These were great. I ate it hot out of the oven but I think they will be even better at room temperature. The coffee flavor became more pronounced as I was munching away. I couldn't find instant espresso powder so I used instant coffee powder.

                                                  Pictures of muffins - the coffee ones are the darker ones.


                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: beetlebug

                                                    Just fyi, beetlebug. I checked the glossary before I made the oatmeal cookies because I myself usually have only steel cut oats in the house and Dorie says "The recipes were tested with old-fashioned rolled oats. It's fine to use quick-cooking oatmeal instead, but it's best not to use instant. And, please, never use steel-cut oats--they'll remain pebble-hard no matter how long you bake your cookies."

                                                    It doesn't sound as though they were that much of a problem for you, but I just thought I'd mention it. They both look really good in the photo.

                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                      Thanks JoanN. I was sort of wondering about whether I should use the steel cut oats but not curious enough to go to the store, or to look at the back of the book. But, I had them and thought, how wrong could they really be? They were a little crunchy, but neither C nor I minded. I took the crunch of the oats and nuts to be part of the "healthy" breakfast items... ;-)

                                                      Overalll, the muffins didn't stay with me. I ate two this am for breakfast, spaced over a few hours. It's now 11 am and I am hungry again.

                                                  2. "Corniest Corn Muffins" (p. 4)

                                                    I liked these - not too sweet, and I used frozen corn, which worked fine (I rinsed and blotted). I baked them yesterday and it's a nice quick recipe. Basically whisk dry ingredients together, wet ingredients together, combine, and add corn. I cooked them just a bit too long, or it could have been because I used a dark nonstick pan (just a little too browned), but they were still fine. They were very good right out of the oven, but I also liked them cooled with some butter and warmed honey. I like TerriL's idea of adding pancetta, and also agree that I like the flavor of the optional nutmeg.




                                                    1. Can someone be so kind as to post the recipe for the "Dimply Plum Cake"?

                                                      Thank you much!

                                                      1. I made the corn and fruit loaf today. I used pears for the fresh fruit and a combination of pear, apple and apricot for the dried fruit. I cooked it in a 4.5 by 8.5 glass loaf pan (the only loaf pan I have) rather than the 5x9 called for in the recipe. It was in the oven for 53 minutes (recipe calls for 60) and probably could have come out a couple minutes earlier.

                                                        I'm a lover of corn bread, and this is a very tasty one. Great crust on it, wonderful aroma. During my first piece, I thought perhaps I could up the spices a bit, but I think I'll stick with it as is to keep the corn taste more front and center. I may, however, consider increasing the corn meal.

                                                        Quite good, extremely easy to put together. I'll likely do this one again.

                                                        1. Cocoa-Nana Bread (pg. 46)

                                                          Very mixed feelings about this. I'm all for chocolate as a breakfast food. I love the idea, love the execution but the result was a little disappointing. Disliked it when I tasted it the day after the baking. But, today (2 days later), I liked it a lot more. The recipe calls for 2 bananas. I think it could use at least 1 more. The banana flavor never really kicked in. It's too subtle and the cocoa overwhelmed it. Also, I think the cocoa could be reduced because there was a slight bitter flavor to it. I used dutch process, but according to the glossary in the back, it doesn't matter which kind is used.

                                                          Not the best pictures and despite the dried out looking closeup, the bread was moist.


                                                          Aaagh, too close:


                                                          1. My niece and nephew woke me up early this morning so we could bake. They picked out the Great Grains muffins. Changes we made to the recipe:
                                                            1. Substituted a blend of plain yogurt and whole milk for the buttermilk.
                                                            2. Used 1/2 c. chopped prunes and 1/2 c. chopped pecans.
                                                            3. Used the kids--so measurements might have been slightly off, and mixing might have been slightly overdone.

                                                            Verdict: Very, very tasty, nice crumb, moist. Came together easily. The corn and oats are great in these. Really nice flavor. We'll do these again.

                                                            1. I'm not sure if pulling a two-month old cookbook of the month thread back up is good board etiquette or not, so I apologize if we are to kind of let these fade into the search engine archives.

                                                              Just wanted to note that I made the pecan sour cream biscuits yesterday. I had never made biscuits before, except for Bisquick drop biscuits I made frequently as a kid. I'm pretty sure I overworked the biscuit dough for these, and I got a bit overzealous and rolled them out to then. The result was that they were not particularly light and flaky. Without further evidence, however, I take complete responsibility for that. The flavor, on the other hand, was wonderful! They were slightly rich, with just a hint of sweetness from the brown sugar and the tasty treat of toasted pecan. Quite good, and I'll use this as a practice recipe to hone my biscuit making skills. I'm still loving this cookbook!

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: debbiel

                                                                Thanks for the bisquit report. I love when these old cookbook threads come back up.

                                                                1. re: debbiel

                                                                  Definitely pull up the old threads- we've almost all done it... I just made the braised carrots from Marcella Hazan the other day and had to rave about them! It's always relevant. Those biscuits do sound good, but I admit I'm often overzealous with my biscuit dough too!

                                                                2. Candy recommended the Orange Berry Muffins the other day, and I made them for breakfast this morning. My husband and I both love them. They're rich enough that you don't need added butter and they're not too sweet, so the orange and blueberry flavors shine. I used the rind and juice of a blood orange I had lying around the fridge, but any orange (or Meyer lemon) would be nice, I think. If your family likes muffins, make this recipe!

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                    Another thumbs up on the Orange Berry Muffins. I make them with soy milk because my son can't have cow's milk (I add a bit of lemon juice to the soy milk to simulate the acidity of buttermilk). I use frozen wild blueberries from Trader Joe's (the little teeny blueberries) and get great berry distribution. Been making them twice a month since January. The 2-yr-old asks for them about 100 times a day and they are hit with my husband and me as well, especially warm from the oven. I did have a problem initially of slight overbaking, but have since followed the direction of putting the muffin pan on a baking sheet and it seems to insulate the individual cups enough to slow down the browning around the edges. Yum!

                                                                  2. Pulling up this old thread to report that I made 5 different batches of muffins from this book last night to bring into work today.

                                                                    I made the lemon poppyseed with Dorie's suggestion of adding a teaspoon of lemon curd in the middle of the muffin. They were to die for!

                                                                    Also made the pumpkin, carrot, great grains and allspice streusel. The streusel and lemon were first to disappear, probably because they were the sweetest. The pumpkin muffins were least popular with my colleagues (maybe people were afraid of the sunflower seeds on top?)... however all muffins have disappeared and I've gotten lots of compliments today.

                                                                    My husband and I did our own "scientific" tasting this morning... and to be honest we couldn't decide which ones we liked the best. They were all terrific and all baked up perfectly.

                                                                    The only change I made in the recipes was to substitute ground cloves for the nutmeg and allspice in the pumpkin muffins. I've found that I don't enjoy nutmeg with pumpkin... the spice blend I used was more comparable to my pumpkin pie recipe (my husband's favorite) so we really enjoyed that. Now he's bugging me to make pumpkin pie with the leftover pumpkin puree. Looks like I'll be doing some more baking this weekend!

                                                                    1. To the folks who enjoyed the bostock and love almond cream, I recommend making the almond scones. Granted, I pulse everything together in the processor and not by hand as Dorie instructs, but it all came together nicely anyway and ended up as light, moist scones with that lovely almond flavor you get with a good almond croissant.

                                                                      Not as decadent as almond cream, but sweet and flavorful and a cinch to pull together. I scooped the scones instead of rolling and cutting and also sprinkled raw cane sugar on the tops before baking.


                                                                      1. I made the Fresh Mango Bread this weekend for my mom since she was visiting. My pan was kind of a weird size- it was the right size at the top but then it tapers towards the bottom, so I ended up overfilling the pan. Good thing it bakes on a sheet pan anyway!! I didn't really mind because as the baker, I got to scrape off all the crunchy bits that had overflowed! In the book she says she likes it better the next day because you can taste all of the spices better, but I have to disagree... maybe it was because I was smelling it too, but the lime zest and ginger seemed more pronounced immediately after baking. At any rate, everyone loved it, even my husband who was skeptical of a mango bread. The middle was underdone because of the overfilling disaster, but he prefers it that way, so my mom and I stuck to the sides and he had the middle!

                                                                        1. I made the great grains muffins; they were quite nice. I enjoyed the maple flavor the best.

                                                                          I also made the allspice muffins with streusel; these were delicious and quite buttery. Quite handsome; a bit too big for my muffin pans, and therefore a bit hard to remove (but lots of muffin top to enjoy!). I really did enjoy the mysterious taste of the allspice.

                                                                          I made the blueberry plain cake and it was disappointingly (well) plain. I think I will stick with King Arthur Flour's blueberry buckle with about 2/3 the amount of blueberries called for,

                                                                          1. Being the chocoholic that I am, I just made the Chocolate Chunk Muffins b/c I had leftover buttermilk to use. I misread (like Marthadumptruck above) the directions to separate the 4 oz of chocolate. I just melted it all and them added extra chunks to the batter at the end. So I used extra chocolate not to mention that I just guessed at the 4 oz-I have one of those huge baking bars and no scale. I also had more batter than the 12 cup it called for-made 16. They are not super sweet like you would think. They are served best warm. Dorie recommends to reheat them if eating them the next day. They are good but I don't know if I would make them again. Sorry, I didn't realize this was an older thread but hey, I just got this before christmas!

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: chocchipcookie

                                                                              No need to apologize for posting to an older Cookbook of the Month thread. Many of us keep going back to some of our favorite cookbooks, and this is certainly one of them. It's always helpful to have someone's take on a recipe--good or bad.

                                                                              1. re: chocchipcookie

                                                                                Thanks for the post. I was curious about these muffins but never got around to making them. Doesn't sound like they are worth it.

                                                                                BTW, thanks for bringing the thread up. I always love reading the COTM threads, no matter which month it may be.

                                                                                1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                  Thanks! I just sent them off with my DH to work-those guys will eat everything! Now on to my next cookbook (out of thousands-just bought 3 this week from Wms-Somoma-what a good addiction!) :)

                                                                              2. Allspice Streusel Muffins

                                                                                Made these yesterday on a rainy Arizona morning , they were pretty good. I noticed after mixing my wet ingredients that I was out of flour, so I used half whole wheat flour and half A/P. They were on the sweet side and the spices were prominent enough that the WW flour wasn't noticeable. Now that the family liked them with WW, if I made them again, I'd stick with WW. A very quick and easy Sunday morning recipe, I whipped them up (including baking time) in 40 minutes before everyone else got out of bed.

                                                                                1. Not sure if anyone's commented on the cinnamon raisin loaf just in case I missed a post. I made this for my youngest one a few days ago who adores cinnamon. I'll have a piece of store-bought on occasion, and I already make cinnamon rolls, but this is my first time making this bread and it was fantastic. Very moist, I spread 3 tablespoons of soft butter on the rolled dough instead of 2 before sprinkling the cinnamon sugar and plumped raisins. I usually toast this type of bread, but the texture and flavor was wonderful as it was, and it kept very well wrapped in foil for a few days.

                                                                                  I normally won't take any cinnamon with my chocolate, but in this case I enjoyed the small addition of cocoa to the cinnamon (if this makes sense ;)) I didn't add the full amount of cinnamon, cutting back by 1/2 teaspoon. I'm already planning my next few loaves and one to ship (promise photo next time around). This would be great without raisins too, and it was pretty easy to make.