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Mar 5, 2007 11:00 AM

Novice baker in need of some tasty recipes

Hi all,

I'm fairly new to the baking scene. Although I'm Scottish I have a love of American baked goods and would love to recreate some of them for friends and family. If possible, could people recommend some simple, yet effective recipes that I could start out on? I'm thinking proper homemade brownies, cupcakes with REAL American frosting (not horrible British icing), granola bars, homemade cookies...anything that you would cook yourself that wouldn't completely overwhelm me.

I'd be really appreciative of any recipes that you'd share with me!



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  1. Em, go buy a bag of Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet morsels. On the back, there's a recipe for their Toll House chocolate chip cookies. Make those. That's a great starting point for you.

    Also, a quick bread (banana bread or zucchini loaf) is probably a good place to begin as well. Here's my recipe for banana bread:

    1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 tsp. salt
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1/4 tsp. baking powder

    5 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter
    2/3 cup sugar
    2 large eggs, lightly beaten
    1 tsp. vanilla extract

    3 mashed, very ripe bananas
    3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

    Make sure all your ingredients are at room temp. Preheat your oven to 350 F and grease a 6 cup loaf pan.

    Whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

    In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on high speed 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Slowly add the flour mixture and blend until the consistency of brown sugar, scraping the bowl as you go. Beat in eggs slowly until combined. Add vanilla until combined.

    Fold in banana and chocolate chips until just mixed (do not overbeat!). Pour into pan and spread evenly. Bake 50 - 60 minutes until done (convection will probably take 35 - 40 minutes). Cool ten minutes on a baking rack before turning out to cool completely.

    As for brownies, I always cook out of the box (shame!).

    Hope this helps and good luck! Have fun with it!

    3 Replies
    1. re: QueenB

      Thanks for the recipe - I'm going to have a go at it tomorrow. Unfortunately in Scotland we don't have Nestle Toll House Semi-Sweet morsels but I found a few good cookie recipes so I'm going to try those too. Thanks for your help

      1. re: Scots_lass

        Here you go Scots
        This link is for Nestle Toll House Cookies, you will have to convert measurements and find a chip that is a semi-sweet to use, but you can still follow the recipe!
        Good luck.

        1. re: Scots_lass

          Oh, I apologize. For some strange reason, I completely misunderstood and thought you were a Scot living here in the U.S.!

      2. There's a pretty good web blog on baking. I think it is the

        1. If you're interested in making your own bread (oh, you are), do a search on Chowhound for the No-Knead Bread (aka Bittman bread, Sullivan Street bread, Jim Lahey bread). It is the easiest recipe you could imagine with the most wonderful results.

          Honestly, my husband and I have not bought bread since the recipe came out (November?) - we make 4-8 loves per week and couldn't be happier with them!

          1 Reply
          1. re: kiwijen

            what is horrible British icing?
            also search brownies on this site and you will find many recipes and comments which will help you select which type of brownie you are craving (chewy, cakey, frosted, ufrosted, etc.)

          2. If you're looking for something savory, you might try cornbread. I usually use the recipe on the side of the cornmeal container (the same recipe also usually on the side of the baking powder container). I grew up with cornbread that wasn't sweet, so I usually cut the sugar way down -- or cut it out entirely. Also good if you substitute bacon grease for the fat in the recipe. Throw in some chopped jalapenos or shredded cheese for a little variety.

            Excellent with soups, chili, or breakfast. Very good as muffins.

            1. Essential if you're using American recipes is to have American measuring cups. Do you have those? Otherwise, your recipes aren't going to turn out right.

              The alternative is to find American style recipes converted to UK measurements.