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MS Baking Handbook - Anyone Baking from this Book?

Has anyone baked from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook yet? What have you tried & what do you recommend/not recommend? What do you plan to make from it?
I baked the blackberry roulade last December. It was good, but too creamy for me. Also the presentation wasn't pretty enough for a 'special' dessert.
Last week I made the oat & apricot scones from MS book. I sub. chopped prunes for the apricots. At the same time I made cranberry scones from Whole Grain Cookbook. The first day the cranberry scones were better, oat ones were just good. Very surprisingly, the following day the oat scones were terrific-actually better (not dry), whilst the cranberry ones weren't as appealing (dry).
The book has a couple of recipes that use sour cherries that look interesting to me which I may try. Incidentally, I'm Not a fan of Martha, but her recipes are good.
What are you making from the book?

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  1. I love this book! Love the pictures and the detailed instructions.

    So far, I've made the brioche (my first). It was easy to make and the end product was awesome.

    Honestly, 99.9% of the recipes are appealing to me. I am undecided what to make next but am leaning toward the peanut butter sandwich cookies (Mr. Dumptruck is a PB fiend).

    1. I've made (I may not get all the names exact):
      - the double chocolate brownie cookies (THE BEST chocolate cookie ever!)
      - Chocolate chunk cookies (I prefer a chewy cookie, but my dad loves crispy ones, especially with extra chocolate, and he loved these.)
      - the lime slice and bake cookies (I'm not a huge citrusy fan usually, but made these for loved ones, and they all loved these. They are really crumbly and DO NOT mail well, but were still voted second best in my aunt's cookie of the month club... she got some different cookies than grandma did!)
      - the brown sugar and white chocolate chunk cookies (I liked the flavor, but were too hard for me, you really had to dip them in something, like hot tea or hot chocolate, to eat comfortably.)
      - Strawberry Shortcakes (these were good, again, not my favorite dessert and I think I mixed/ kneaded for too long and they were a little tough.)

      I think that's all I've made so far, but I probably need to check again!

      Just remembered one other one... the pumpkin bread, I ran out of buttermilk so I used half sour cream... very good recipe, extremely moist!

      Oh shoot! And another one, the banana bread... LOVED this recipe! Moist inside, crispy top, so good!

      1. Funny you should post this query. I checked both this and the Dorie Greenspan book (the 12/06 cookbook) out of the library, so have also been thinking about recipes in this book. I posted here

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/347949

        about my chocolate babka experience this weekend. I would definitely do this recipe again if I wanted to make chocolate babka. I'm not sure how much I'll want to make it, honestly, but it's nice to have a solid recipe. It's very rich, and I have no idea how authentic it is. But, I could easily see both changing up the filling to match my desires, and, possibly, reducing the amount of butter in the dough.

        After reading over the MS book and comparing to the DG book, I ended up being disappointed we didn't chose MS (and, like you, I am NOT an MS fan, so this surprised me). C'est la vie.

        Thanks for starting this thread. You're giving me some good ideas for what else to try in this book. Interesting that you didn't like the blackberry roulade. I was tempted by that. The mocha roulade on the next page was another one I was tempted by. What were the sour cherry recipes that you were interested in, and what is your source of sour cherries? Outside of the couple of weeks in June that I can get them at my local farmer's market, I don't have any good sources...

        1. I also have the MS book from the library and plan on baking from it because DG still hasn't come in for me. But, there is one more DG intenet recipe I want to try before I move to MS.

          Thanks for starting the thread. Glad I am not alone.

          1 Reply
          1. re: beetlebug

            I'm in the same boat as you. Requested both books from my library; got Martha but am still waiting on Dorie. I've been drooling over all the recipes and photos in the Martha book, and I'm finding myself very tempted by the savory items. I've got all the ingredients for the chive and cream cheese biscuits so those will be made very soon. The pignoli cookies and Seville olive oil crackers (or cookies?) look really good to me as well. Want to also try the financiers and canneles if I break down to get the special pans. Would financiers work in muffin tins?

          2. Glad to see other are baking from this book too. Love the photos, I could (almost) eat them! And I have to agree that 99% or so of the recipes in this book look great to me.
            Katie Nell, great going, appreciate your reviews!

            Smokey, I'm not into anything too rich either. That was one problem I had with the blackberry roulade. The whipped cream was a bit much for me (I have a thing about 'fat' mouthfeel...)
            The other detail with this cake is that as you roll it, it cracks a bit - even the photo, p.185, shows cracking, which is all covered up as much as one can by icing sugar. Didn't like that so much. There's nothing wrong with the recipe, it's good (just me & not liking too much whipped cream). The Mocha Roulade does look awesome!
            In summer I get sour cherries from a friend's tree. Right now I have frozen sour cherries I get from a local wholesaler. There are a few sour cherry recipes in the book. One that I have earmarked is Cherry Streusel Coffee Cake p.55, cherries are layered in the middle in a tube pan. Another one is a Slab Pie (makes a l5 x 10-inch pie) p.238; yet another one is the Sour-Cherry Lattice Cobbler which has balsamic vinegar and the Cherry-Cheese Strudel p.383.
            I haven't even started to narrow down my choices under savory treats, but the Individual Potato & Onion Tartes Tatin look good. Then there are the breads (olive bread & roasted tomato bread look great) and Parmesan-Rosemary Crackers...I could go on.
            Let us know what you all choose & how it turns out!

            5 Replies
            1. re: morebubbles

              Here's some of the things that Becca recommended in a previous thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/... I swear she's made everything in that book! ;-)

              1. re: morebubbles

                I sort of accept cracking on a roulade cake as being a fact of life, so that didn't dissuade me too much.

                I'm jealous of your source of local sour cherries (both off the tree and the wholesaler!). I've never seen them for sale frozen near me. I love them, but they're totally a seasonal treat for me (although the last time I bought them I did freeze a bunch).

                1. re: Smokey

                  I'm being too picky about the roulade, I know! The cake did have a wonderful taste. About the cherries, for some reason I can't find frozen sweet cherries here, I guess there's more local demand for sour cherries.
                  Did you pit the sour cherries before freezing them? Lots of work, that! From my friend's tree we've had fun making jam, juice and cherries in rhum or pisco. The juice is delicious mixed with some sparkling wine!

                  1. re: morebubbles

                    Wow, where are you located? I would love to trade in the bags of sweet cherries (totally useless IMO) for some sour ones!

                    Yep, spent quite a bit of time pitting sour cherries (and subsequently washing my hands of cherry staining!).

                    1. re: Smokey

                      I'm in Montreal. When you come over, we can trade, bring a cooler! ;)
                      Happy baking!!