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Nov 1, 2007 08:57 AM

The Silver Palate Cookbook: Sweets

November 2007 Cookbook of the Month: The Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins.

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  1. On Tuesday I made the Toffee Bars (p. 257.) Everybody loved them on Tuesday, I thought they were better on Wednesday and today, Thursday, they are mostly gone. I did use more nuts than called for, but I always do that.

    5 Replies
    1. re: mirage

      Oh yes, they are sinful and a little goes a long way.

      1. re: mirage

        I'm going to try these -- they're like blondies, right??

        1. re: foxy fairy

          Not quite. They consist of layers: a decadently buttery toffee baked layer with a layer of melted chocolate topped with chopped nuts.

          I use bittersweet chocolate rather than the semi-sweet chocolate specified in the recipe. I think the baked layer is so buttery that the slightly more bitter chocolate is a better contrast.

          This is my go-to recipe for something delicious but easy with impressive eye appeal. My SP cookbook opens automatically to page 257.

          1. re: Indy 67

            I made these last night for our office bake sale today -- they were very easy, and quite delicious. I realized the bottom layer is really a brown-sugar short bread (just butter, sugar, flour and vanilla, no leavening). I varied the recipe slightly by returning them to the oven for another couple of minutes after I put the nuts on top, so they would toast slightly and adhere to the chocolate better.

            It's really a very typical Silver Palate recipe: not a lot of fussy ingredients, and not difficult to prepare, and yet delicious and a little beyond the ordinary.

            1. re: Indy 67

              Indy 67, apparently so does mine. I had marked 'very good' next to the Butterballs on page 257. Now I'll have to try the Toffee Bars, thanks mirage.

        2. Pumpkin Pie (p. 368) and pie crust (p. 411)

          It's turkey month and my husband's been craving pumpkin pie, so I thought I'd stray from my usual and try a new recipe. This one calls for beating eggs and brown and white sugar, and adding pumpkin and spices, and cream and half-and-half. I really liked the spices in this one - ratios were 1 tsp ground ginger, 1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp each ground cloves and allspice, and 1/4 tsp ground cardamom. The directions say to bake for about 40-45 minutes; mine took about an hour. The crust is a little pale - I left the piecrust ring on a little too long so it wouldn't burn, but I should have taken it off a bit earlier to let it brown more. Really a very good pumpkin pie, although we both agreed that our favorite is still the Brandied Pumpkin Pie from Epi (Gourmet mag 1992).

          10 Replies
          1. re: Rubee

            Two things:
            The bread pudding with bourbon sauce .
            The giant oatmeal cookies-I make these every year for Christmas and sometimes for birthdays. I cool the dough in the fridge, roll the balls in sugar and cinnamon. Half way through the baking process, I press each ball with the sugared end of a glass to create a fat disc. They are really the very best oatmeal raisin cookies I have ever had and are great given as a gift.

            1. re: Densible

              D - thanks so much for the tip on the oatmeal cookies - I made them as you described last nite - putting raisins in 1/2 and butterscotch chips in the other - and they are wonderful. I doubled the batch (cause you should never make a single batch of cookies) and have a huge tin of them ready for dad's birthday today. Thanks!!!!!

              1. re: AlaskaChick

                Oh I am so glad! It's interesting that you made them for your Dad. These cookies are the only gift mine will accept!

                1. re: Densible

                  Are these cookies on the puffier side or flat?

                  1. re: 4chowpups

                    You flatten them with a glass dipped in sugar and cinnamon halfway thru baking in this modification - you can go with the original recipe and probably get a puffier cookie.

                    On a side note, after all the cookies were gone, the men in my life agreed that they were a little on the sweet side and I resolved to cut the sugar a little and go more heavy on cinnamon when rolling them prebaking

            2. re: Rubee

              Hi Rubee,

              If you ever want to try a new one, the brown sugar pumpkin pie from Martha Stewart Pies and Tarts is scrumptious!

              1. re: tomaneng

                Hi tomaneng! Thanks for that tip. It sounds delicious and now I want to make it. Is it this one?


                1. re: Rubee

                  Yes, that's it. Let me know how you enjoy it.

                  1. re: tomaneng

                    Thanks, will do! I'm thinking of making it this weekend.

                    1. re: tomaneng

                      Just wanted you to know I made it for Thanksgiving and it was a hit. We liked it better than the Silver Palate one. Thanks again!

              2. This is the most used section of my SP book. The cakes have been a standby for my goddaughters birthdays since their very first.

                Banana Cake definately make this with thick slices of banana between the layers - mmmmm. The youngest's first birthday and still a hit at 20 years old!
                Carrot Cake - this is my standard carrot cake recipe - I may stray but I always come back to this one.
                Chunky Apple Cake - I just made this one as I had an over abundance of apples and it so good even without any frosting
                Sour Cream Apple Pie - I make this when I need a little something different for apple pie but I don't put a top crust on it.
                Lime Mousse - this is perfect for a light dessert and is often requested for "ladies tea"

                Now I know I've made lots of things in this book - but I guess we can see where my true desire lays by the stains on the pages of the sweets section.

                1. The gingerbread (cake-style, not cookie style) is my go-to gingerbread recipe. It's moist and delicious, and the lemon glaze is so easy and yet makes it more "special" than just plain gingerbread. It once bailed me out when I was halfway into cooking dinner for visiting relatives and realized I didn't have anything for dessert. Since the ingredients are pretty basic, everything I needed was already on hand, so I mixed it up, let it bake while we were eating our main course, and then served warm gingerbread for dessert. It was fabulous, and no one knew it wasn't the plan from the beginning! LOL!

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    I finally know what I am making for TG dessert-
                    Sour Cream Apple Pie
                    Ginger Cake

                    Banana cake for my spouse's Birthday.

                    The sweets section is my fav part too. The pages are stuck together and every time I open it, I smell cinnamon.

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                      I made the gingerbread cake this weekend and liked it. The recipe is very easy and comes together in just a few min. w/ ingredients already in my pantry. It baked in about 30 min., and was very moist and tender.

                      The lemon glaze is indeed a nice twist since I adore lemon-ginger combos. The interesting thing is that I tasted it when it was still a little warm, and the glaze tasted a little discordant with the cake. However, by the next day, the flavors married and kind of mellowed. Definitely the kind of cake that tastes better after aging a day.

                      I don't think this will be my go-to gingerbread cake for guests (I prefer a couple of other recipes I've tried), but I would make this again if I wanted something quick and easy to have around the house. Makes for a nice morning bread w/ coffee or afternoon snack w/ tea. The recipe says that it makes 12 servings but I would say more like 8 or 9.

                      1. re: Carb Lover

                        I'm a gingerbread freak and will definitely try this, but I'd love your other favorites, Carb Lover!

                        1. re: Amuse Bouches

                          Since I am a ginger fanatic, I prefer gingerbread cakes that have a high ratio of ginger to molasses. The two recipes that spring to mind:

                          David Lebovitz's Fresh Ginger Cake:

                          Ginger Molasses Cake from Epi:

                      2. re: Ruth Lafler

                        Thanks to Ruth's post, I tried making the ginger bread last night. It was a last-minute decision, and I remembered what she said about the pretty basic store cupboard ingredients. Very true. I mixed it up in no time (very easy), and made the house smell great. Tasty, too. In the end, I couldn't be bothered to make the icing, but I really loved the cake even without it. Oh, and I baked it in a Pyrex loaf pan instead of the 9x9 square pan. Still came out perfectly. It's one of those recipes that I don't think you could mess up.

                        1. re: Kagey

                          Yes, I agree this recipe is pretty foolproof. I almost baked mine in a glass loaf pan too, but decided to stick w/ the square pan. The lemon glaze is a nice addition but by no means necessary IMO.

                          1. re: Carb Lover

                            made this as well, and agree on the very easy and everything in the cupboard part, but I thought it was just ok, I think I'd rather try another recipie but perhps carry over the glaze cause I liked the lemon taste in the combination.

                            1. re: geminigirl

                              I must say it tastes even better after two days, like a lot of those spicy cakes.

                              I was comparing recipes and found that Nigella Lawson's Domestic Goddess book also has a recipe for gingerbread with a lemon icing. The icing is quite thick, though (there's a picture). The recipe is a little more complicated than the SP one, but I may try it sometime to see what it's like.

                      3. I made the decadent chocolate cake a few weeks ago (ok so not in November, but still!). It turned out really well, and I was impressed that the frosting was so easy to make. It was a simple and really delicious cake.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Kagey

                          We're trying this one today :) at my mom's house. I can't tell her what we're making in advance, b/c I know she'll think I'll make a HUGE mess in her kitchen doing a chocolate cake from scratch. Can't wait to try it out! :) I love it when I want to make something and every single ingredient is already in the pantry.