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Cookbook of the Month: Baking for the Holidays [DISCUSSION]

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The suggestion has been made to add a second COTM for the months of November and December specifically for baking. The chosen book would be the COTM: Baking for both months and would be chosen following the same process as the savory COTM.

This thread is a place for the group to determine if there is enough interest to add a Baking COTM for these months. Please add your thoughts, and discuss.

And then, if you are interested in participating include a YES [in all caps] somewhere in your comment. Please only indicate your interest once. If there are at least 10 YES's, a COTM: Baking nomination thread will be started October 8th.

Enjoy!

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  1. I would love to do some more baking around the holidays, but why can't the baking book be a primary COTM as it was with Dorie Greenspan's "Baking from My Home to Yours" in Dec 2006?

    Gourmet and Medrich and Malgieri all have new baking books out this fall. It would sure be fun to cook from those... EDIT: Oh, and Good to the Grain.

    ~TDQ

    3 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      I think it makes perfect sense to do an adjunct baking book for November and December, when many people do lots of baking for holiday entertaining and gifts.

      However, I do not think it makes sense to force it into the regular COTM schedule, where people may not be enthusiastic about it and a baking book might not even make it through the voting process. The audiences for the regular COTM and a baking version aren't necessarily the same, even though there's overlap. While the Greenspan book was successful as a COTM, the Martha Stewart one didn't get much participation, and participants haven't shown much interest in doing another.

      For myself, YES, I'm interested.

      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

        Ah, that's good perspective. Those were before my time.

        I'm going to say YES, too.

        ~TDQ

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          I agree with this perspective. It would be good to do a baking book (maybe a couple of cookie books) during the holiday season.

          As far as the regular COTM, maybe a revisit of a fave would make sense. during this period as an adjunct - All about Braising, Julia Child (she has good recipes for holidays) say or some such.

      2. I would be really happy to have a baking book as a special COTM or primary COTM. YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES, YES. There, that's 10. Molly Bloom has nothing on me.

        32 Replies
        1. re: roxlet

          Well, at least people can't complain about a lack of passion this time around! :).

          ~TDQ

          1. re: roxlet

            Holy Bloomsday - a James Joyce reference!!!

            1. re: LulusMom

              LOL! You got it!

              1. re: roxlet

                And loved it.

                In case you didn't see my other post, we made your sticky (or, as Lulu insists on calling it - Stinky) toffee pudding this morning and absolutely loved it. Exactly what I've been looking for. Thank you so much.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  Oh, I am so pleased you made it -- and loved it!! I didn't see the other post, but I will go and look now!

                  1. re: roxlet

                    I only had a 9 inch pan, and worried somewhat, but I just cooked less (50 minutes in my passive-aggressive oven seemed to do it), and really - pure heaven. Just like what I love every time I'm in the UK, and never can find here. Again - thanks.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      It seems to be somewhat of a different recipe than I've seen elsewhere. It's the tea I think...

                  2. re: LulusMom

                    Where is your other post, LulusMom?

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Hmm, I think I may have posted it (I had SUCH a hard time finding your post with the recipe) in the voting post ... I was eating the cake, frantically looking for your post, and probably suffering a bit of a sugar rush.

                      I also thought the espresso was a nice touch that I hadn't seen in an STP recipe before. We'll be having it for dessert again tonight (and I'm having a *very* tough time resisting having some with the paper right now).

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        roxlet and LLM: I love sticky toffee and sticky date pudding and cake the way Homer Simpson loves "Mmmmmmmmm! Floor pie! Must have more!"

                        The first time I had it was at a wonderful restaurant at Lake Wanaka in New Zealand. I had to stuff my napkin in my mouth to stop myself from screaming "MORE! MORE! Must have MORE!" while running into the kitchen.

                        So let's have a bit more info about where this recipe is on Chowhound, eh?

                        1. re: oakjoan

                          I'll just post it again. I can't remember where it is. We were staying at this fabulous country house in the western part of Ireland, and one night this was served for dessert. I haunted the poor woman who ran the house until she gave me the recipe. Apparently her son was the baker, and the day we were leaving, he had gone to Dublin. After that I emailed her and wrote to her and finally this recipe appeared in the mail one day. I have made it for Christmas (and other times as well) ever since. I don't even mind that it has become other friends' recipe as time has gone on!

                          STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING

                          For the cake
                          
8 ounces (225g/generous 1 cup) chopped dates


                          ½ pint (300ml/1¼ cups) brewed tea


                          4 ozs. (110g/1 stick) unsalted butter


                          6 ozs. (170g/scant 1 cup) castor (superfine) sugar


                          3 eggs


                          8 ozs. (225g/scant 1½ cups) self-rising flour


                          1 rounded teaspoon bread soda (baking soda)


                          1 teaspoon vanilla essence


                          1 teaspoon Espresso coffee or 2-3 teaspoons instant espresso
                          Hot toffee sauce

                          4 ozs. (100g/1 stick) butter


                          6 ozs. (170g/3/4 cup) dark brown sugar


                          4 ozs. (110g/generous ½ cup) granulated sugar


                          10 ozs (285g/3/4 cup) golden syrup


                          8 fl. ozs. (225 ml/1 cup) heavy cream

                          ½ teaspoon vanilla essence


                          8-inch (20.5cm) spring form tin with removable base.
Set the oven to 350 degrees.
                          Soak the dates in hot tea for 15 minutes. Brush the cake tin with oil, flour, then put oiled parchment on the base.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then mix in the sifted flour. Add the baking soda, vanilla essence and coffee to the date tea and stir this into the flour mixture. Pour into prepared pan, and cook for 1-1½ hours or until a cake tester comes out clean.
To make the sauce, put the butter, sugars and golden syrup into a heavy bottomed saucepan and melt gently on a low heat. Simmer for about 5 minutes, remove from heat, and gradually stir in the cream and vanilla. Put back on the heat for 2-3 minutes until the sauce is absolutely smooth.
To serve, pour some hot sauce around the cake and pour some additional sauce over the top. Put the remainder in a sauceboat, and serve with the pudding as well as softly whipped cream.

                          1. re: roxlet

                            Here was the last big thread on this
                            I posted the recipe that I understand is the original but obviously there are many claimants.
                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3587...

                            1. re: jen kalb

                              Yes, thanks for the link. I had previously posted my recipe on that thread too. I am sure that there are as many claimants as to origin as there are recipes. I'm very happy with the version that I make, so I think that I will probably stick with it.

                          2. re: oakjoan

                            My feelings exactly oakjoan. And this recipe truly is the shizzizle. So good, and total raves from all in the family (and normally when we're in the UK, I'm the one who is chomping at the bit for the stuff).

                            1. re: LulusMom

                              Sounds awesome. Is there something that I can sub for golden syrup. Don't think I've ever seen that here in the States. Or is it something I need to order online to re-create the sticky toffee goodness? I read you can sub half honey/half light corn syrup on my quickie google search. Bad idea?

                              1. re: greeneggsnham

                                I have found Lyle's golden syrup pretty available in the places I've lived in NYC and CA, in supermarkets or specialty markets, usually shelved either with the others syrups and molasses, or with British imports.

                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                  I wouldn't substitute with anything because it has a thicker consistency than most syrups. Wonder if it has maltose in it, that makes a thick syrup (pure maltose is just weird, more like melted plastic than a sugar syrup).

                                2. re: greeneggsnham

                                  Lyle's Golden Syrup may be more available than you think, but I don't know where you live. I was surprised that I could find it in most supermarkets. I even saw it in a supermarket in Cairo. Look in the "Foreign Foods" section if your market has one.

                                  1. re: roxlet

                                    Ditto. Our "upscale" grocery stores in the Twin Cities carry it.

                                    ~TDQ

                                  2. re: greeneggsnham

                                    I used golden syrup.

                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      Lyle's?

                                      1. re: roxlet

                                        Mind is blanking. Doesn't sound familiar though.

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          I think that Lyle's Golden Syrup is the one that is generally available. In fact, I don't think I've seen another brand.

                                          1. re: roxlet

                                            Here's a link to their website. Does it look familiar LLM?
                                            http://www.lylesgoldensyrup.com/index...

                                            Also, here's an old discussion on subs... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2695...

                                            ~TDQ

                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              What a riot! I went to that web site and they had a recipe for blueberry flapjacks. I had no idea that flapjacks were ever anything other than another name for pancakes, but these look like a kind of oaten scone!

                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                I was surprised to learn that treacle tarts are made with golden syrup, even though golden syrup is not the same thing as treacle. http://www.lylesgoldensyrup.com/faq.php

                                                ~TDQ

                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                  Make flapjack now. It's like the most delicious, sticky, chewy granola bar ever. My husband is from the UK and makes it occasionally, usually almond and cherry.

                                      2. re: greeneggsnham

                                        Lyle's is at my supermarket here in Indiana. Comes in a can, not a bottle.

                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                          Thanks to everyone for their replies. I'll look for Lyle's in our grocery stores here in North Carolina.

                                          1. re: greeneggsnham

                                            I used to live in the Triangle, and Lyle's golden syrup was available at Lowe's, Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, and A Southern Season. It's a unique, delicious flavor, and worth calling around to find.

                                            1. re: greeneggsnham

                                              Not sure if you're in the Triangle or not, but Southern Season should have it. If you don't live around here, they'd do mail order I'm sure.

                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_nos...
                                                In many and multifarious packagings. I'd like to get my hands on those biscuits.

                        2. I love the idea of a separate baking-for-the-holidays COTM. I think that happened a few years ago and seemed to work out nicely. In my own case, we hardly ever have dessert and have drastically reduced our consumption of sweets so I wouldn't be cooking along if it were the primary COTM, but it's a fine idea.

                          19 Replies
                          1. re: Gio

                            What if we did a baking duo as our primary--a dessert book plus either a general baking book or a bread book? I just fear if we did a "savory" COTM and a separate baking, people would be too busy to cook from both, and we'd effectively be dividing the group up, thereby making it less fun.

                            ~TDQ

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              I still couldn't do it TDQ. Mobility problems and all. DH is just about at his limit with dinner meals. I've done a mountain of baking during our marriage from daily breads, to cakes, pies, cookies.. everything and all things, difficult and easy goodies. Then the RA hit and it was all over.

                              But I'm just one person... there are many others who would Love to that kind of baking...Roxlet for one. LOL Believe me, I'd be right behind Roxlet with my yesses if it were possible.

                              1. re: Gio

                                Gio: "RA"? Is that rheumatoid arthritis? If so, I have it too. Aren't we lucky? Sheesh!

                                However, I like the idea of a separate baking thread for "the holidays" even though we don't really celebrate much around here. My cousins have a big get-together and I usually bring baked stuff, so................

                                1. re: oakjoan

                                  Yes, OJ. That's it. Lucky? If you say so...LOL

                                  Holiday baking is such fun. I miss it.

                                  1. re: Gio

                                    I'm sorry Gio. Is there a way for you to bake vicariously through us, if that would be fun for you? You pick a couple of recipes you like (once a book has been chosen) and someone's who is up to the challenge can try that one and report on it?

                                    ~TDQ

                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      What a great idea! I would be in. I don't actually like to eat things that I bake, but I rather enjoy the baking. I could deliver the illicit sugar-filled goodies in a brown box, placed on your doorstep with the codeword: COTMB. ;-)

                                      1. re: smtucker

                                        Count me in as well, for secret drop off deliveries.

                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                          Oh my Lord... you people are wonderful. You have No idea!

                                          TDQ: That's super idea. I'll study the posted recipe links (the only books devoted to baking I have are the Tassajara Bread Book and Baking with Julia) and cite my vicarious pleasures... LOL

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            Oh fun!

                                            ~TDQ

                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        Count me in too ... I had decided I wasn't going to do any holiday baking this year (just too much going on), but I could easily be talked into doing one or maybe two from a list from Gio, and then pass them along to Craig's office or something. What a great idea TDQ, and Gio, I hope you're feeling the love!

                                        Unfortunately I can't promise drop-off!

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          I could do delivery via mail, but I'm not a very good baker (too impatient...), so, that might not be as appealing as it sounds!

                                          ~TDQ

                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            It did occur to me after typing earlier that there is always over-nighting stuff. I guess it depends on what Gio would like.

                                            I love baking - find it very zen. But I rarely eat much of it myself (excluding that recent sticky toffee pudding which, I'm afraid to say, has played havoc with my waistline) - usually LulusDad and Lulu and babysitters do the damage.

                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                              Gio just went from no holiday baking to being overwhelmed by homemade goodies from near and far. Lucky girl, she'll be passing our baking out to her neighbors just to get rid of it!

                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                ... "To get rid of it"? Uh Uh... I truly hope no one thinks I expect mystery boxes to appear on my front porch. All this is just a lark, right?

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  No, no, Gio. You WILL get fat.

                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                    HAHAHA... I put on 10 pounds just reading this thread...

                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  As I read through previous discussions on this topic, the logic appears to be: everyone eats dinner, but not everyone eats dessert or wants to make bread. The old BAKING COTM's were very active, well, until they weren't. I can't tell you if it divided the group though, or if it was less fun since those days were before my time.

                                  1. re: smtucker

                                    Just a minor point, but the old baking COTM's were really Dessert COTM's, not exclusively baking.

                                    I've personally made the point "Everyone eats dinner, but not everyone eats dessert" numerous times... I don't know if I'd have the energy to do both in any month.

                                    ~TDQ

                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      You know, you are absolutely correct. I leapt to the assumption that "Baking for the Holidays" meant sweets. So maybe that should be part of the discussion.

                              2. Perhaps! For me, it depends on which cookbook is chosen. If it has any recipes for breads, muffins, and coffeecakes. . . then YES. If it's only cakes, cookies, and pies. . . then probably NO.

                                1. I'm interested, though I don't know how much I'd participate. This summer hasn't gone as well as planned in my work, so I may not have a lot of time for baking this fall. I'll say YES, but please, no ill will if I can't bake like I have in years past at the holidays! I had planned to cook from Claudia Roden's books this month, for instance, and have not yet made a recipe. sigh

                                  1. oooohhhh... I think I would participate for the 1st time, so YES! And thanks for organizing!

                                    1. YES! :-)

                                      1. I have been doing more baking recently, and my work colleagues are always happy to take up the slack, so it's a YES from me too.

                                        1. Considering there are now 1500+ posts on the "What are you baking" threads, and interest didn't flag even during this wretchedly hot summer, it seems to me that a baking/dessert book/s would be a natural for the holidays.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: buttertart

                                            And was remiss in not adding YES!!! to this comment.
                                            Or as I like to quote, "either go away or go all the way in" (pace Molly B).

                                          2. Just tonight I was making ice cream from the Perfect Scoop and wondering if there could ever be a desserts or baking book as a COTM. Then saw this topic - great timing.

                                            I love baking, desserts, all sweet things but don't make them very often as I have no willpower and whatever I make I eat. So I would love a holiday baking book to be an extra to the regular COTM so I could dip in and out over the two months, without feeling I was going to gain 10lbs in the process. So it's YES from me.

                                            9 Replies
                                            1. re: JaneEYB

                                              Jane, The Perfect Scoop was the most successful book (in terms of participation) in the Dessert COTM project that happened for a while but ultimately fizzled out. Unfortunately, there's no archive for that, but here is the main thread (if you scroll down a bit, there's a post with links to the subthreads), if you're interested: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/538450

                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                Here are links to all of the DCOTM master threads that I could find. Did we skip January 2009?(New Years resolutions and all, I suppose.) It was such a fun concept, and oakjoan was a trooper, but it was really had to participate consistently.

                                                May/June 2008 Dessert COTM: PURE DESSERT
                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5148...
                                                May/June Dessert COTM: CHOCOLATE AND THE ART OF LOW FAT DESSERTS
                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5148...

                                                July-August DESSERT COTM THE PERFECT SCOOP
                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5386...

                                                Sept.-Oct.2008 DESSERT Cookbook of the Month - THE SWEET SPOT
                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5541...

                                                Nov/Dec DESSERT COOKBOOK OF THE MONTH - HOW TO BE A DOMESTIC GODDESS
                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5688...

                                                Feb-March Dessert COTM: ART AND SOUL OF BAKING
                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5962...

                                                Feb-March DESSERT COTM: February-March, THE MODERN BAKER
                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5962...

                                                ~TDQ

                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                  Thank you so much Caitlin and TDQ for those links. I would love to look through those threads, if ever I get the spare time. Of course it will inevitably result in more cookbook purchases. Which book did you enjoy the most?

                                                  1. re: JaneEYB

                                                    Honestly, I don't think my participation was consistent enough for me to be able to opine, but the book I wish I'd cooked more from was The Sweet Spot and the book I wish I'd bought was Pure Dessert.

                                                    ~TDQ

                                                    1. re: JaneEYB

                                                      I haven't checked out all the baking-oriented books that were done, but Pure Dessert is a real keeper. Everything I've made from it has been fabulous, and there are a ton more recipes I want to try. It has really interesting recipes, which you'll get an idea of if you peruse its thread. This one was the second big hit of the endeavor, along with The Perfect Scoop.

                                                      ETA: My avatar is a picture of the plum and almond tart I've made from Pure Dessert. Recipe is pataphrased here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7114...

                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                        Medrich is great and Pure Dessert is her best book, afaic. there are recipes for stuff you won't find anywhere else in it. The Sweet Spot is good for the scientific explanations included as well as for the recipes.

                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                          I also love the flavors in the Sweet Spot. The slightly spicy notes to offset the sweetness.

                                                          I also agree about Pure Dessert. The flavors just ring through each bite.

                                                2. re: JaneEYB

                                                  Jane: I have solved my bake it then eat it problem by baking, taking one piece or bite, and giving it to my husband to take to work. Let THEM get fat! mmmmWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

                                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                                    That would work except the husband moved out three weeks ago. I'm taking advantage after 20 years of nut-free cooking though as he has nut allergies. Tonight I made Dorie's Chunky Peanut Butter and Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters - as she describes them, "three great cookies rolled into one". Elements of oatmeal/raisin, peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies all in one cookie. but I have two ravenous teenagers (and their friends) who don't seem to put on any weight so I suppose they are my equivalent of offloading to the office.

                                                3. YES. I think that's a great idea. I'm new to the whole thing, but would love to try to get more baking done around the holidays. Don't think it will dilute COTM participation for me. I'm hoping to get into a positive feedback loop of more time in the kitchen! Plus, I was kind of looking forward to doing some of the baking recipes from Barefoot Contessa (I assume there are some in there, don't have the book yet, but have baked some of her stuff off the web).

                                                  1. YES, I do a lot of baking during the holidays and I'd be more than happy to try new recipes

                                                    1. We have over ten "YES", so we will have "Baking for the Holiday" Nomination and Voting threads alongside the usual savory Cookbook of the Month threads. Use the next several weeks to consider which books or book duos you would enjoy cooking from during the months of November and December.

                                                      Happy pondering!

                                                      29 Replies
                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                        The happiest kind for fanatics like us!

                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                          Excellent. So the question I have is, should we consider any "new" books? Medrich, Malgieri, Gourmet Cookie book, Good to the Grain, etc. or should we try to stick with books that might be in people's collections/libraries already?

                                                          P.S. Thank you, smtucker, for the double effort!

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            Maybe we could do a double header of one new that we want to test drive and one older established book? Then if bakers can't get the new one they have the option of just cooking the one they either own or can get from the library.

                                                            The other consideration is whether we go for specific holiday baking books - I own RLB's Rose Christmas Cookies, The Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies by Dede Wilson and Christmas Cookies by Lisa Zwirn. All great books, and of course the cookies can all be made any time, not just at Christmas.

                                                            1. re: JaneEYB

                                                              It's going to be a hard decision, that's for sure. I think KA Whole Grain baking one could be interesting too.

                                                              1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                For the holidays? Gaaaaah! ;-)

                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                  Hahaha. Can't help but agree on this one!

                                                                  1. re: roxlet

                                                                    It's a very nice book and worthy of being explored but I don't think whole grain in this context.

                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                      Yes, I agree. It's like the mother of one of my son's friend's who baked bran muffins for a school bake sale fund raiser. Now, I like a good bran muffin as much as the next person, but guess whose baked goods didn't sell? I think they either gave them to the staff or trashed them, but they didn't earn a penny for the fund raiser. I'm happy to say that my mini whoopie pies sold out instantly. There's a time and a place...

                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        Oh, fine, be that way! ;-) Can't believe someone is inferring that *my* selection is too healthy! Tee hee!

                                                                        I do think it would be fun to bake from it "with" you guys, but I understand not wanting to do it for the holidays.

                                                                        1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                          You're very sweet to take our ribbing, Katie Nell!

                                                                          1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                            It would be a great book for Jan or Feb, I should think.

                                                                            1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                              Katie Nell, if people do not vote for it for this special holiday bake-along (let's not count our chickens), you should start a thread about it, and encourage others to report their baking from it there (and of course, do so yourself).

                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                Absolutely agree with the sage Ms. McGrath.

                                                                      2. re: Katie Nell

                                                                        Uh, erp, I'd consider cooking from KA Whole Grain. I guess that's not very merry?

                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                          I'm sure the field is wide open to suggest whatever dang book you like. CH participatory democracy!

                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                            TDQ, so would I.

                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                              I'd love to cook from the KA book in Jan or Feb -- sounds like a great antidote to the holiday glut, and a nice new year's resolution: "I will bake more bread, and healthy ones to boot!"

                                                                              I'm pleased to see that there will be a separate holiday baking book, since I fall into the category of not baking sweets much, even for the holidays. (Other than fruitcake and maybe a few other standards.) But who knows, maybe I'll be tempted to try something.

                                                                      3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                        Well, we've already done a Medrich. I think we should at least stick to books that are not brand new.

                                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                                          I'm thinking maybe a cookie book? Maida Heatter's Book of Great Cookies would be a contender. Or one of her dessert books with a lot of cookies in it.

                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            A cookie book would be fun, and certainly appropriate for the season. Maybe let's not limit it to one cookie cook book -- maybe a couple. Hey, nothing is written down. We can make our own rules here.... can't we?

                                                                            1. re: roxlet

                                                                              Yes'm...a cookie book and a general dessert book would be great.

                                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                                I think we can make our own rules, as long as we don't drive smtucker crazy!

                                                                                I would love to do a Maida Heatter! What other cookie book do you like?

                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                  :-) Since I already crossed the threshold to crazy years ago, it is going to take more than a baking thread to send me over the edge. This thread is the perfect place to negotiate.

                                                                                  I will do my best to take the group intentions into the nomination thread.

                                                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                                                    Thanks for being such a great sport! I have no doubt that you'll do a great job sorting our musings out, as you have been doing thus far!

                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                    I think Maida Heatter would be terrific. Her books are very accessible in the sense of their appeal, and in the sense of being out there and available used and in libraries.

                                                                                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                      The more I think about it, the more Heatter is appealing (and she's always appealing). The Hungarian walnut shortbread in the first cookie book is a stunner. Among many others.

                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                        I bought a Heatter cookie compilation last year which draws from her older books. I think it might be a good choice (will have to look up its name). One thing I really like about her is that the cookies look very nice but styling isnt the main focus.

                                                                                        1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                          No, with her it's mainly about the taste. There are some semi-fussy ones but they're mostly straightforward. The cookie book that came out in the '90s has some good ones in it too.

                                                                              2. re: oakjoan

                                                                                True, we've done a Medrich!

                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                        2. Yes!

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Bethcooks

                                                                            Sorry - that should have been a yes, would love to do Maida Heatter's cookie book. Just realized that my post makes no sense since I didn't post it have The Dairy Queen's post. It has been that kind of a day. Sigh.

                                                                          2. One idea would be The Great Holiday Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas. It's not new -- it originally came out in about 1994 and is out in paperback now. Lots of ideas for specific holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Years. Some things have a little different twist but many are just solid classics. I have made a couple things from this book with good results and I know her recipes are very well tested and reliable.

                                                                            Another one I've wanted to use more is The Sweet Life by Kate Zuckermann. Not all is baking though. About one third of the book is cakes, tarts and cookies, and the rest other kinds of desserts. Almost everything has some special little twist.

                                                                            And another one I would be very excited about is The Secrets of Baking, Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts by Sherry Yard. Each chapter is a different "family" of dessert or component with some basics and then more complex variations. So, for example, there are chapters on cookies, caramel and brioche. Here's the table of contents to give you a better idea:

                                                                            http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Baking-...

                                                                            I think that a while back we talked about Sherry Yard and someone said they weren't interested in her because of the self-focussed tone of one of her other books. But that book was sort of a culinary memoir with things from all the different restaurants she worked at. This one is not at all like that and I think it looks very well written.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: karykat

                                                                              Oh, these sound great, karykat! My library has 2 of the 3 (not Zuckerman), but I own Zuckerman, so, I'm lucky. Amazon has cheap--around $5-- used copies of the Ojakangas and Zuckerman Yard's is about $13 on Amazon. Zuckerman and Yard are indexed on EYB.

                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                              1. re: karykat

                                                                                That someone was probably me, I didn't like Desserts by the Yard. But the other book sounds good.
                                                                                Ojakangas is another of the lesser-known (at least now, she was better-known 20 or 30 yrs ago) greats of baking. Her Scandinavian book is great.

                                                                                1. re: buttertart

                                                                                  Yeah, after you mentioned it I looked at Desserts by the Yard and agree -- it's kind of narcissitic and focuses on all the desserts she made at each place she worked. A baking memoir all about her baking life. But the other one - Secrets of Baking -- has none of that. It's focused only on the baking. As TDQ knows, I've been lightening my cookbook collection. But that book is one of the last ones I would ever part with. You'd have to pry it from my hands.

                                                                                  1. re: karykat

                                                                                    Yep, I am fortunate enough to know. :) I had a chance to look at The Secrets of Baking by Sherry Yard this weekend (in the Mill City Museum kitchen--in search of a cream cheese kolachi recipe) and it looks very thorough, though, as you pointed out karykat, not exclusively cookie-focused. I'll bet every single recipe in the book has been tested and re-tested and works exactly as it is supposed to.

                                                                                    I also saw King Arthur Whole Grains or whatever it's called. Looks like a nice book, too, but not as rigorous as Yard's.

                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                              2. I'm more of a lurker than a poster, but I do like the idea of a baking book for the holidays. I have, and enjoy, Good to the Grain but it's can be limiting as most of us don't keep spelt flour on hand.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: newfoodie

                                                                                  I enjoy Good to the Grain, too, but I don't think it's really suited to a holiday baking focus because, though it has some cookies and yeasted treats, lots of its recipes are for things like muffins, scones, pancakes, and the like - wonderful, but more casual and homey than the kind of thing people will probably being looking for for entertaining of gift-giving.

                                                                                  newfoodie, if you feel like it, I'd love to hear more about what people are making from the book on this dedicated thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/702840

                                                                                2. I think I participated in the BFMHTY COTM, but not again since. I'm not sure why. I am a YES for anything baking related, as it is an obsession of mine. Sounds fun!

                                                                                  1. A couple of years ago, I bought both Carol Walter's Great Cookies and Martha Stewart's Cookies. Both have numerous green page markers sticking out of them, Walter's book in particular. Does anyone have her cookie book?

                                                                                    12 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: roxlet

                                                                                      I have it. There are some really inspiring pictures in it. I have made quite a few recipes. All good.

                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                        I have Carole Walter's book, also. In fact, I started a thread on it a couple of years ago.

                                                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/485609

                                                                                        Haven't had much of a chance to do any baking since then. I'd be very happy to see this as holiday baking COTM.

                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                          I haven't cooked much from the book (in fact I should go back and check what I have made) but I am sort of surprised that the cookies have had the failures they have because I find her directions somewhat obsessive despite the lack of precision in her measurements. A couple of the cookies from that previous thread sound absolutely divine though.

                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                            Oh, I remember that thread of yours, JoanN. I just re-read it and, despite the book's flaws (of which it is nice to be aware), some of those cookies sound amazing. I would love to do some of those (though, I'll stick to the "easy" recipes! HA!)

                                                                                            Both books (Stewart and Walters):

                                                                                            -are indexed on EYB
                                                                                            -are available in my library (perhaps that's an indication of how accessible these books are?)
                                                                                            -have used copies available on Amazon starting at around $11

                                                                                            ~TDQ
                                                                                            -

                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                              I got rid of my copy of MS "Cookies" (nothing grabbed me) and read through the Walters without finding a single one I wanted to make.

                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                Oh no! That's very discouraging! Did they just seem too ordinary? Or too weird?

                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                  Really just rather ordinary. Or a bit weird (MS chocolate-stuffed gingersnap? doesn't appeal).
                                                                                                  Funny because I like MS Baking Handbook and the Walters Coffeecakes etc.

                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                    ewwww - yeah, that cookie sounds very unappealing to me.

                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                      It's on the cover of the book.

                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                        It's actually really good... not really stuffed, just chocolate chunks. Very moist, not too sweet, and very well received as the cookie of the month one time.

                                                                                                      2. re: buttertart

                                                                                                        Funny, I like chocolate covered candied ginger, but MS's chocolate stuffed gingersnap doesn't sound very appealing.

                                                                                                        I guess I liked the idea of baking some of the cookings mentioned in JoanN's Walters thread, the Snowballs, Peanut Butter Balls, Lime-coconut tassies, Rustic Maple Pecan Cookies, Nuts in the Blanket, Golden almond amaretti, but I guess those are all pretty "standard" cookies.

                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                          I'm totally with you. There is a reason those are standards - because people love them. And if we're going to make these, we'd like people to like them!

                                                                                            2. Maida Heatter keeps whispering in my ear...the original cookie book and Great American Desserts would be a good pairing, since the latter has pies and things suitable for the holidays as well as cookies.

                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                Last year I bought a compilation of the cookie recipes from Maida's books
                                                                                                http://www.amazon.com/Heatters-Cookie...
                                                                                                I think it would be a good choice in lieu of her original cookie book. I see a new pb edition of this is scheduled for later this year.

                                                                                                Other than that I only have her first two books, Great Desserts and New Great Desserts - tho I saw Great American Desserts remaindered last week.

                                                                                                I also bought a cookie book called The Good Cookie by Tish Brophy last year that seems pretty good - more of the styled modern approach. - SEE CORRECTION BELOW BY KATIE NELL - ITS TISH BOYLE.

                                                                                                1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                                  I love The Good Cookie (It's actually Tish Boyle)! Everything I've made has been excellent... even the dog biscuits were much loved, although my dad said they were a little dry! ;-)

                                                                                              2. The nomination thread is now open:

                                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/738996

                                                                                                1. I ran across a thread in which TDQ had suggest a DCOTM where we cook from the dessert sections of each previous COTM. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7080... I think that could be really fun, but noticed it was never mentioned again, so I'm adding it to this thread. Maybe we could revisit that idea at another time?

                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                    I would still love to do that one of these days. A revisiting of previous COTMs, but for dessert specifically!

                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                    1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                      Sure. The perfect philosophy for these times. "Use it up, wear it out, make it do." Revisit !

                                                                                                      1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                        I also think this would be a fun thing to do. Maybe over a couple of months next year, once everyone has had a bit of breathing room after the sweets-heavy holiday season.

                                                                                                        1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                          I like this idea too. Great thinking, 99!

                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                            Okay, I need to stop talking and start cooking, but... I know we've always hoped that there was a good food gift cookbook, and I know nothing about this one, but noticed this book on Leite's: http://leitesculinaria.com/57340/give... I would like to maybe think about this one at some point too! :-)

                                                                                                            1. re: Katie Nell

                                                                                                              How funny, I've been thinking all afternoon about food gifts. Even ordered a star-shaped bread pan, though I've never made pandoro or stollen or whatever it's used for! Then I looked at meringue cookies for a while (now *there's* a cheap cookie, but everyone likes them). I've just barely skimmed the baking COTM "Maida Heatter's Cookies", I'm hoping she notes if cookies are suitable for freezing and mailing.