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

smtucker Sep 19, 2010 07:01 AM

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.


  1. The Dairy Queen Sep 19, 2010 07:18 AM

    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.


    3 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen
      Caitlin McGrath Sep 19, 2010 11:23 AM

      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
        The Dairy Queen Sep 19, 2010 02:48 PM

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

        I'm going to say YES, too.


        1. re: Caitlin McGrath
          jen kalb Sep 20, 2010 07:42 AM

          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. roxlet Sep 19, 2010 07:30 AM

        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
          The Dairy Queen Sep 19, 2010 07:32 AM

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


          1. re: roxlet
            LulusMom Sep 19, 2010 09:36 AM

            Holy Bloomsday - a James Joyce reference!!!

            1. re: LulusMom
              roxlet Sep 19, 2010 09:58 AM

              LOL! You got it!

              1. re: roxlet
                LulusMom Sep 19, 2010 01:45 PM

                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
                  roxlet Sep 19, 2010 02:25 PM

                  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
                    LulusMom Sep 19, 2010 04:34 PM

                    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
                      roxlet Sep 20, 2010 04:42 AM

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

                  2. re: LulusMom
                    roxlet Sep 20, 2010 04:55 AM

                    Where is your other post, LulusMom?

                    1. re: roxlet
                      LulusMom Sep 20, 2010 05:34 AM

                      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
                        oakjoan Sep 23, 2010 11:23 AM

                        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
                          roxlet Sep 23, 2010 12:11 PM

                          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
                            jen kalb Sep 23, 2010 01:10 PM

                            Here was the last big thread on this
                            I posted the recipe that I understand is the original but obviously there are many claimants.

                            1. re: jen kalb
                              roxlet Sep 23, 2010 01:28 PM

                              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
                            LulusMom Sep 23, 2010 02:30 PM

                            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
                              greeneggsnham Sep 24, 2010 01:59 PM

                              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
                                Caitlin McGrath Sep 24, 2010 02:06 PM

                                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
                                  buttertart Sep 24, 2010 02:11 PM

                                  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
                                  roxlet Sep 24, 2010 02:15 PM

                                  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
                                    The Dairy Queen Sep 24, 2010 02:27 PM

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


                                  2. re: greeneggsnham
                                    LulusMom Sep 24, 2010 03:58 PM

                                    I used golden syrup.

                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                      roxlet Sep 24, 2010 05:26 PM


                                      1. re: roxlet
                                        LulusMom Sep 25, 2010 04:09 AM

                                        Mind is blanking. Doesn't sound familiar though.

                                        1. re: LulusMom
                                          roxlet Sep 25, 2010 05:27 AM

                                          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
                                            The Dairy Queen Sep 25, 2010 05:39 AM

                                            Here's a link to their website. Does it look familiar LLM?

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


                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                              roxlet Sep 25, 2010 07:10 AM

                                              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
                                                The Dairy Queen Sep 25, 2010 07:15 AM

                                                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


                                                1. re: roxlet
                                                  sarahcooks Oct 2, 2010 08:46 AM

                                                  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
                                        pikawicca Sep 25, 2010 10:58 AM

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

                                        1. re: pikawicca
                                          greeneggsnham Sep 25, 2010 07:11 PM

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

                                          1. re: greeneggsnham
                                            amyzan Sep 27, 2010 11:02 AM

                                            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
                                              LulusMom Sep 27, 2010 11:12 AM

                                              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
                                                buttertart Sep 27, 2010 11:27 AM

                                                In many and multifarious packagings. I'd like to get my hands on those biscuits.

                        2. Gio Sep 19, 2010 07:33 AM

                          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
                            The Dairy Queen Sep 19, 2010 07:36 AM

                            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.


                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                              Gio Sep 19, 2010 07:43 AM

                              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
                                oakjoan Sep 23, 2010 11:26 AM

                                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
                                  Gio Sep 25, 2010 04:49 AM

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

                                  Holiday baking is such fun. I miss it.

                                  1. re: Gio
                                    The Dairy Queen Sep 25, 2010 05:43 AM

                                    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?


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                      smtucker Sep 25, 2010 05:55 AM

                                      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
                                        beetlebug Sep 25, 2010 06:13 AM

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

                                        1. re: beetlebug
                                          Gio Sep 25, 2010 07:17 AM

                                          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
                                            The Dairy Queen Sep 25, 2010 07:27 AM

                                            Oh fun!


                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                        LulusMom Sep 25, 2010 08:39 AM

                                        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
                                          The Dairy Queen Sep 25, 2010 09:16 AM

                                          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!


                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                            LulusMom Sep 25, 2010 10:06 AM

                                            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
                                              Caitlin McGrath Sep 25, 2010 10:51 AM

                                              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
                                                Gio Sep 25, 2010 06:28 PM

                                                ... "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
                                                  pikawicca Sep 25, 2010 06:36 PM

                                                  No, no, Gio. You WILL get fat.

                                                  1. re: pikawicca
                                                    Gio Sep 26, 2010 05:41 AM

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

                                2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                  smtucker Sep 19, 2010 07:47 AM

                                  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
                                    The Dairy Queen Sep 19, 2010 09:17 AM

                                    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.


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                      smtucker Sep 19, 2010 09:19 AM

                                      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. Channa Sep 19, 2010 09:33 AM

                                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. amyzan Sep 19, 2010 10:53 AM

                                  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. t
                                    tall sarah Sep 19, 2010 02:45 PM

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

                                    1. Katie Nell Sep 19, 2010 03:49 PM

                                      YES! :-)

                                      1. greedygirl Sep 19, 2010 04:40 PM

                                        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. buttertart Sep 19, 2010 04:40 PM

                                          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
                                            buttertart Sep 20, 2010 06:20 AM

                                            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. j
                                            JaneEYB Sep 19, 2010 07:30 PM

                                            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
                                              Caitlin McGrath Sep 19, 2010 08:39 PM

                                              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
                                                The Dairy Queen Sep 20, 2010 05:41 AM

                                                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
                                                May/June Dessert COTM: CHOCOLATE AND THE ART OF LOW FAT DESSERTS

                                                July-August DESSERT COTM THE PERFECT SCOOP

                                                Sept.-Oct.2008 DESSERT Cookbook of the Month - THE SWEET SPOT

                                                Nov/Dec DESSERT COOKBOOK OF THE MONTH - HOW TO BE A DOMESTIC GODDESS

                                                Feb-March Dessert COTM: ART AND SOUL OF BAKING

                                                Feb-March DESSERT COTM: February-March, THE MODERN BAKER


                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                  JaneEYB Sep 20, 2010 09:32 AM

                                                  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
                                                    The Dairy Queen Sep 20, 2010 09:34 AM

                                                    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.


                                                    1. re: JaneEYB
                                                      Caitlin McGrath Sep 20, 2010 09:54 AM

                                                      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
                                                        buttertart Sep 20, 2010 09:57 AM

                                                        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
                                                          beetlebug Sep 20, 2010 11:15 AM

                                                          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
                                                  oakjoan Sep 23, 2010 11:29 AM

                                                  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
                                                    JaneEYB Sep 23, 2010 06:55 PM

                                                    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. g
                                                  greeneggsnham Sep 20, 2010 07:25 AM

                                                  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. DiningDiva Sep 20, 2010 10:04 AM

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

                                                    1. s
                                                      smtucker Sep 22, 2010 06:17 AM

                                                      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
                                                        buttertart Sep 22, 2010 06:54 AM

                                                        The happiest kind for fanatics like us!

                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                          The Dairy Queen Sep 22, 2010 08:30 AM

                                                          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!


                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                            JaneEYB Sep 22, 2010 08:51 AM

                                                            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
                                                              Katie Nell Sep 22, 2010 09:31 AM

                                                              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
                                                                buttertart Sep 22, 2010 11:52 AM

                                                                For the holidays? Gaaaaah! ;-)

                                                                1. re: buttertart
                                                                  roxlet Sep 22, 2010 01:07 PM

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

                                                                  1. re: roxlet
                                                                    buttertart Sep 22, 2010 01:10 PM

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

                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                      roxlet Sep 22, 2010 01:15 PM

                                                                      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
                                                                        Katie Nell Sep 22, 2010 01:18 PM

                                                                        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
                                                                          roxlet Sep 22, 2010 01:21 PM

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

                                                                          1. re: Katie Nell
                                                                            buttertart Sep 22, 2010 01:38 PM

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

                                                                            1. re: Katie Nell
                                                                              Caitlin McGrath Sep 22, 2010 01:41 PM

                                                                              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
                                                                                buttertart Sep 22, 2010 01:43 PM

                                                                                Absolutely agree with the sage Ms. McGrath.

                                                                      2. re: Katie Nell
                                                                        The Dairy Queen Sep 22, 2010 01:47 PM

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


                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                          buttertart Sep 22, 2010 02:05 PM

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

                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                            Caitlin McGrath Sep 22, 2010 02:17 PM

                                                                            TDQ, so would I.

                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                                              Karen_Schaffer Sep 22, 2010 04:13 PM

                                                                              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
                                                                        oakjoan Sep 23, 2010 11:31 AM

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

                                                                        1. re: oakjoan
                                                                          buttertart Sep 23, 2010 12:04 PM

                                                                          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
                                                                            roxlet Sep 23, 2010 12:14 PM

                                                                            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
                                                                              buttertart Sep 23, 2010 12:15 PM

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

                                                                              1. re: roxlet
                                                                                The Dairy Queen Sep 23, 2010 03:07 PM

                                                                                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?


                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                  smtucker Sep 23, 2010 03:18 PM

                                                                                  :-) 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
                                                                                    The Dairy Queen Sep 23, 2010 03:30 PM

                                                                                    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!


                                                                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                    Caitlin McGrath Sep 23, 2010 08:56 PM

                                                                                    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
                                                                                      buttertart Sep 24, 2010 01:16 PM

                                                                                      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
                                                                                        jen kalb Sep 24, 2010 01:43 PM

                                                                                        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
                                                                                          buttertart Sep 24, 2010 02:02 PM

                                                                                          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
                                                                                The Dairy Queen Sep 23, 2010 03:04 PM

                                                                                True, we've done a Medrich!


                                                                        2. b
                                                                          Bethcooks Sep 23, 2010 01:12 PM


                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: Bethcooks
                                                                            Bethcooks Sep 23, 2010 04:53 PM

                                                                            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. k
                                                                            karykat Sep 23, 2010 08:25 PM

                                                                            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:


                                                                            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
                                                                              The Dairy Queen Sep 24, 2010 06:09 AM

                                                                              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.


                                                                              1. re: karykat
                                                                                buttertart Sep 24, 2010 01:13 PM

                                                                                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
                                                                                  karykat Sep 26, 2010 08:04 AM

                                                                                  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
                                                                                    The Dairy Queen Sep 26, 2010 12:02 PM

                                                                                    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.


                                                                              2. n
                                                                                newfoodie Sep 24, 2010 10:26 AM

                                                                                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
                                                                                  Caitlin McGrath Sep 24, 2010 02:13 PM

                                                                                  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. Becca Porter Sep 26, 2010 11:49 AM

                                                                                  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. roxlet Sep 26, 2010 12:52 PM

                                                                                    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
                                                                                      Becca Porter Sep 26, 2010 02:33 PM

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

                                                                                      1. re: roxlet
                                                                                        JoanN Sep 26, 2010 02:46 PM

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


                                                                                        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
                                                                                          roxlet Sep 26, 2010 04:16 PM

                                                                                          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
                                                                                            The Dairy Queen Sep 26, 2010 04:56 PM

                                                                                            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


                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                              buttertart Sep 27, 2010 06:24 AM

                                                                                              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
                                                                                                The Dairy Queen Sep 27, 2010 07:20 AM

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


                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                  buttertart Sep 27, 2010 07:37 AM

                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                    LulusMom Sep 27, 2010 08:17 AM

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

                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                      buttertart Sep 27, 2010 08:30 AM

                                                                                                      It's on the cover of the book.

                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                        Katie Nell Sep 27, 2010 08:32 AM

                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                        The Dairy Queen Sep 27, 2010 08:34 AM

                                                                                                        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.


                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                          LulusMom Sep 27, 2010 09:59 AM

                                                                                                          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. buttertart Oct 6, 2010 07:52 AM

                                                                                              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
                                                                                                jen kalb Oct 6, 2010 08:26 AM

                                                                                                Last year I bought a compilation of the cookie recipes from Maida's books
                                                                                                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
                                                                                                  Katie Nell Oct 6, 2010 09:32 AM

                                                                                                  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. s
                                                                                                smtucker Oct 7, 2010 07:02 AM

                                                                                                The nomination thread is now open:


                                                                                                1. Katie Nell Oct 25, 2010 01:55 PM

                                                                                                  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
                                                                                                    The Dairy Queen Oct 25, 2010 01:56 PM

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


                                                                                                    1. re: Katie Nell
                                                                                                      blue room Oct 25, 2010 03:15 PM

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

                                                                                                      1. re: Katie Nell
                                                                                                        Caitlin McGrath Oct 25, 2010 03:28 PM

                                                                                                        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
                                                                                                          LulusMom Oct 25, 2010 04:36 PM

                                                                                                          I like this idea too. Great thinking, 99!

                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                                            Katie Nell Oct 26, 2010 03:18 PM

                                                                                                            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
                                                                                                              blue room Oct 26, 2010 03:54 PM

                                                                                                              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.

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