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

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: 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

                                      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

                                      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