Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Nov 1, 2008 03:21 PM

Nov/Dec DESSERT Cookbook of the Month: Nigella's How To Be A Domestic Goddess: COOKIES, SCONES and MUFFINS

Here's the place to post recipes, experiences, pros and cons, raves, ingredient information, and general discussion of COOKIES, SCONES and MUFFINS in the book.

As always, please indicate the name of the recipe and the page number.

If you do not have the book, there are usually lists of online recipes in the general topic post about the Dessert COTM.

There are apparently errors in some of the editions of this book, so please note anything you notice. I posted a list of the mistakes and fixes in the main topic thread.

Thanks, Oakjoan

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I made two kinds of cookies from the book tonight: Coconut Macaroons and Pistachio Macaroons.

    The Pistachio Macaroons fell flat within a few minutes of removal from the oven. Maybe my oven wasn't hot enough and they weren't cooked through enough to hold their shape. I even left them in the oven for a bit longer than the recipe called for when I peeked through the glass and saw they were not puffy as in their picture in the book. They were utterly unfit to be made into sandwiches with pistachio-flavored buttercream in between. Too bendy.

    They were, however, quite delicious anyway. My husband loved them. I'll have to try again with my thermometer checking on the temp.

    They're made with ground pistachios, confectioner's sugar and egg whites. That's it.

    My second foray into cookiedom was the Coconut Macaroons, made with whipped egg whites, ground almonds and coconut (with sugar, salt, baking powder, vanilla extract). These turned out pretty well, but again they weren't as high as those in her photo in the book. They did turn a nice golden color, and again, they were quite tasty. I love the coconut and ground almond combo. Since neither of these cookies has shortening or butter, they're also comparatively undecadent in the fat department.

    I'm going to also try these again in a thermom.-tested oven.

    6 Replies
    1. re: oakjoan

      I ate one of each of these this morning and, despite their flattness, they were extremely tasty and chewy.

      Must check my oven temp, Must check my oven temp, Must check my oven temp,,,

      1. re: oakjoan

        I haven't looked at the recipe, but over mixing Macaroon batter is one reason whey they fall flat. So watch that too. Flat macaroons do taste good, thye just aren't pretty. Of course her picture of the pistachio is much more rustic than the French Macaron.

        1. re: jsaimd

          Yeah, I don't think I overmixed, just folded the nut mixture into the whipped egg whites. Will be careful next time when I try with higher oven temp. Note to self: USE YOUR INSTANT READ THERMOMETER TO CHECK OVEN TEMP NEXT TIME, YOU IDIOT!"

        2. re: oakjoan

          hey oakjoan,
          i've made those pistachio cookies before. same thing happened to me. no idea why.

          1. re: pigtails

            But they were so delicious anyway, I didn't mind much...perhaps if I were making them for a party I'd worry more about how slobby they looked.

          2. re: oakjoan

            G'day (Good Day) oakjoan Happy New 2009 to you from Sydney Australia -this is not from Nigella Lawson book but a super EASY recipe for "COCONUT MACAROONS" I have been making for 30 years now. 2 INGREDIENTS ONLY !. PRE HEAT OVEN 325 d. (degrees) F. Grease & flour baking sheet or use BAKING PAPER Take 1 packet 250 grams (8 ounces) of DESSICATED(regular) COCONUT & 1 can 400 grams of sweetened condensed milk I think you get EAGLE brand in USA. MIX both together well & use large Tablespoon ,(you want size of a large walnut) and mound onto tray (I use hands easier) MIXTURE DOES NOT SPREAD. BAKE 25-30 minutes till VERY LIGHT golden colour I check underneath cookie. It will go hard when its cold. DELICIOUS P.S. SELF RAISING FLOUR is ALL PURPOSE FLOUR with BAKING POWDER added. RATIO depends on how much S.R. Flour you use to Baking Powder eg 2 cups S.R> flour add 2 teaspoon Baking Powder. I CAN SEND YOU EXACT RATIO if YOU still NEED Regards,Krystyna

          3. Rosewater Madelienes (p. 49)

            I"m incredibly impressed that oakjoan tried the macaroons - one of my very favorite things, but I'm scared to death of trying to make them myself. Anyway ... I was in the local gourmet store yesterday and saw rosewater and remembered this recipe was in the book. After 2 and a half months without a working oven, I just wanted to make whatever I had the ingredients for, and this won that prize. It's an easy recipe, but a bit of a pain. Mix the egg/salt/sugar, melt the butter and let cool. Then let this batter sit in the fridge for an hour, then let it sit out of the fridge for an hour. I'm dealing with playdates, errands, etc. and this was tough working around, but I did it. And I do like the madeleines - the rosewater makes a big difference to the flavor. I only had a tin with 20 mini-mads instead of 24, and I think I slightly overfilled, but it didnt' make a huge difference, I just had to cook slightly longer than the 5 minutes she calls for. One thing I would say - 20 (or even 24) of these tiny cookies will not last long. So not something to make for a big group. Perfect if you just want to serve one or two with coffee.

            23 Replies
              1. re: LulusMom

                I'm glad you made the madeleines. Despite their fame in Proust, I have never attempted them before. Now I will. It does sound a bit fiddly. I do need to buy a pan. Wonder if they'd work sans mold, i.e., on a baking sheet like regular cookies.

                Any thoughts?

                1. re: oakjoan

                  I love making madeleines - you can make another version of them (commercy cakes?) in small muffin pans, but, really, part of the delight is the shape. I've only ever used JC's recipe from The Way to Cook, and have two metal 'mini' madeleine pans. I kind of wish I had the bigger pans, as, as LulusMom writes, they are a little fiddly, and the mini ones are pretty much bite sized and disappear immediately. By the way - I've seen silicone madeleine pans, and I wouldn't get those. I'm not a fan of silicone generally, but I think it would be more difficult to get the nice, light outside crispness to the madeleines with that kind of pan. I did peruse this book yesterday at the bookstore and saw the rosewater madeleine recipe - I may have to go back and get the book!

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    The thing with madeleine pans is that you really have to brush them well with soft butter otherwise the cakes will never come out of the pan.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Right - I tihnk the JC recipe calls for brushing them with a mixture of butter and flour.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        Do you suppose the spray with shortening and flour would work?

                        1. re: yayadave

                          I think it would. It's a great shortcut, IMHO...

                          1. re: roxlet

                            I'm guessing it would work, but would note that the butter/flour mixture JC recommends is quite thick, and the madeleines pop right out. I think it may also contribute to the nice color on them. Now I want to make some madeleines!!

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              I make these a lot and always use butter/flour mixture (melted butter + enough flour to make a sort of sloppy spreading consistency, maybe 1/2 stick butter to 1/4 c flour, I eyeball it) to grease the molds. The baking sprays do NOT work in my experience.

                  2. re: oakjoan

                    I've got JC out and just put two batches of Nigella's recipe in the fridge - one w/ rose water and one with vanilla. JC says "You can also bake the batter in muffin tins, and would then call them Commercy Cupcakes." I'm going to go ahead and use her method of brushing the pans with the melted butter and flour (1 T flour to 1.5 T melted butter). I do note that her recipe is quite different from Nigella's - you brown the butter, there is a lot more sugar and flour in the recipe. She says they 'freeze perfectly' by the way.

                  3. re: LulusMom

                    Thanks yamalam, it is great to have the oven back! And MMRuth is right - these things go fast. Just to help you see how small this batch was, that is a salad plate they are sitting on.

                    I had assumed that I would have enough batter to maybe make a cooking on the side as oakjoan is asking about so that I could see if it worked withou the mold, but I guess I filled a bit heavier than she says to do (since I only had a mold for 20, not 24). My guess is that they'd be ok, but I don't really think it would be the same thing. And yes, I do think spray with shortening and flour would work (although what a pain in that pan). She calls for melted butter - I just ran softened butter in the mold. They needed a little nudging to get out, but not much.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      Does this look more or less like the recipe?


                      I love the idea of the pistachios .....

                      This looks like it might be the original one:


                      1. re: MMRuth

                        Bingo - that second one looks like it is the same recipe. I notice she calls for an extra tablespoon of butter, which might make it slightly easier to get the madelienes out of the pan. I think pistachios would be lovely with the rosewater.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          LLM: Yeah, pistachios have become my latest craze. It started with a pistachio cake from Rose Bakery - almost all nuts, with only 1/3 cup of flour. It was so delicious and moist, and such a big hit that I've made it countless times since.

                          I've also stocked up on pistachios and use them all the time now. Weird, because I never did anything before but eat them on road trips, cracking them out of their shells. The Pistachio Macaroons are also very good and I'm trying them again this weekend, at a higher temp.

                          1. re: oakjoan

                            I'm a pistachio freak -- what is this recipe for pistachio cake from Rose Bakery? When I was at TJs a week ago, I saw that they had shelled pistachios by the bagful, but I didn't buy any not being sure what I would use that large an amount for.

                            1. re: roxlet

                              OOPS, after writing this, I realized I was entering it in the Nigella thread. Sorrry. Well, Nigella is strong, she can take it.

                              The Pistachio Cake is amazing. Here's a paraphrase.

                              1 cup softened butter (You'll also need some for greasing the pan)
                              1 cup extra fine sugar (I always just use regular)
                              Zest from 1 lemon
                              2 Tbsp natural rosewater or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
                              4 eggs
                              1 cup ground almonds
                              1 cup ground pistachios
                              1/3 cup all-purpose flour
                              1 tsp baking powder
                              pinch salt

                              Preheat oven to 350

                              Butter a 10 inch cake tin and line base and sides with parchment paper NOTE: I just cut a long piece of parch pap. and run it lengthwise along the ends, across the bottom and up the other side of the pan - I leave out parch on the sides as it's easy to loosen the cake with a cake server or knife, then you can lift it out with the ends of the parch.

                              Beat butter and sugar until light and creamy. Mix in lemon zest and rosew. or van. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after adding each egg.

                              Fold in the ground almonds, pistachios, flour, b.p. and salt.

                              Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for about 40 minutes until an inserted knife comes out clean.

                              She says to cool the cake in its tin before removing it.

                              She has a topping, but I don't use it. Here it is.

                              Heat 1/2 cup chopped or whole pistachs, 1/4 cup sugar and zest from another lemon until sugar is melted. Pour over cake.

                              This is a very rich, very moist and delicate cake. Since there's hardly any flour used (only 1/3 cup), it sort of has the texture of the flourless orange cake that can be found in several books and online. Delicious.

                            2. re: oakjoan

                              There is a great, ludicrously easy recipe for pistachio fudge in Nigella Express. I sometimes sub walnuts. This is always a huge hit with people.

                              1. re: LulusMom

                                how funny! i did that fudge recipe friday night! its really good, and i have it in the freezer just waiting to give out at xmas. i substituted pecans for the pistachios and threw in dried cranberries! sooo good!

                                1. re: balletshoes14

                                  Isn't it ridiculously good and easy? I'm making it again myself tomorrow.

                      2. re: LulusMom

                        I made a double batch of these, but realized that I only had 1 T of rosewater left, so I divided the egg/sugar/flour mixture into two bowls, then added in the rosewater, and 4 T butter into one, and 1 tsp vanilla and 4 T butter into the other. Refrigerated, then brushed the molds with the JC flour/melted butter mixture (see photos - it's almost a paste), and dropped in 1 tsp of batter into each shell, using a small teaspon to remove the batter from the measuring spoon. I got 57 madeleines out of the double batch.

                        One think that I noticed was that the batter for the rose water ones was a little runnier (presumably due to the extra two teaspoons of liquid), and that those didn't get nice little humps the way the vanilla ones did - you can see that in one of the photos - the top row was rosewater ones and the bottom row the vanilla ones. I really couldn't discern the rosewater flavor, but could the vanilla. I used to make these all the time w/ the JC recipe, and since it doesn't calling for chilling the dough, I think I'll just use it in the future. Hers also has lemon juice/zest, which I like.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            Oh la la! These are gorgeous. I was just about to post "Hey! We don't get to see the finished product?" when here comes the photo.

                            I am making these tonight using a muffin tin. Hope it works out.

                            1. re: oakjoan

                              Hey - I wouldn't let you down like that! I do suspect you'll need to cook them a bit longer in the muffin pans, and unless it's a mini muffin pan, I'd not fill up the cuprs too much. Good luck.

                      3. Baklava Muffins, p. 74

                        Wow, these are the BEST ever. A tespoonful of chopped walnuts (but I used pecans) bound in sugar, butter and cinammon is nestled inside a golden, fluffy buttermilk muffin. I love buttermilk, it makes things so fluffy without having to fuss. I can't wait to try these again with real cinammon, I used some grocery store schwag that I'm trying to burn through to placate the husband ("Why do we have 9 types of rice, 5 types of flour , 8 types of vinegar, etc..."). These will be great for the holidays too, very wintry and delicious smelling enough to drag houseguests out of their beds early.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: yamalam

                          yamalam: The Baklava Muffins are on p. 74 of my copy of Domestic Goddess. I got so excited about making them after reading your report I went to look them up immediately.


                          1. re: oakjoan

                            Oops, I think we both meant p. 73. Baklava Muffins are on p. 73. Thanks!

                          2. re: yamalam

                            Yes, p 73. I just saw your review (landing late on this COTM) and also raced to open the book to that page. I am a HUGE fan of sticky buns but I haven't ever been thrilled with the idea of so many intricate steps. Nigella calls these "sticky buns for the slapdash cook" which sounds phenomenal to me. I think I will make these late tonight. Is that slapdash enough? LOL! I need late-night projects in the winter so I don't go stir-crazy! I hope another project doesn't involve EATING all of these :) If they turn out well, I could see them appearing Christmas morning...

                            1. re: yamalam

                              Excellent excellent excellent -- yum. I made these moist, light, delicious baklava muffins last week (thanks, yamalam, for the suggestion) and my roommate and I went crazy on them. Then I woke up at 5am the following day to make a warm batch for a breakfast with friends. Everybody raved!

                              In the first batch, I noticed that the muffins were a *little* small, so the second time, I only made ten muffins with the same amount of batter. They looked plumper, which I liked, so that's how I"ll do it in the future. That way, I ended up with a little extra cinnamon filling too :) so I sprinkled some on top, as she suggested -- beautiful. The contrast in the creamy pale muffins and the deep cinnamon looks gorgeous. I did not drizzle with honey because I don't go for overly sweet breakfasts. These are EXCELLENT with coffee!

                              My only issue is that these stick to the baking cups! My guests were literally biting the paper to get every morsel. I tried actually greasing the paper cups, but they still stuck. I would think they would get stuck to the pan, though, if I tried without the cups...

                              I will make these Christmas Eve morning! The scent is just alluring, as yamalam says! A winner that I will certainly make again and again. Sure to impress guests!

                            2. White Chocolate and Pistachio Cookies - p. 205

                              Although I'm not a huge white chocolate fan, my friends liked these a lot (although they all said it was because of the pistachios!) I thought they were good, not great. But, again, I don't really like white chocolate.

                              They were certainly quick and easy to put together. Cream, mix, stir and the batter is done. The batter is rolled into walnut sized balls to make 36 - which, in fact, it does! The balls spread out quite a bit while baking, to finish as bumpily flat-ish, pleasantly chewy cookies. They do break apart if you overly jostle them, though, so if you were transporting them you'd have to be a bit careful.

                              1. Banana muffins, p. 218:
                                This is an unusual muffin recipe. There are no eggs. Just one cup of AP flour plus honey, melted butter, leavening, salt, cinnamon and mashed bananas. My daughter had requested banana chocolate chip muffins, so I added chocolate chips. Nigella says the recipe makes 10 normal-sized muffins but I got eight. Anyway, they were a hit with my famously picky daughter so I will probably make them again. I might double the recipe if I have four or five overripe bananas.