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November/December 2010 Baking Cookbook of Two Months: MAIDA HEATTER'S COOKIE RECIPES & READY FOR DESSERT, David Lebovitz

The winners of the November/December 2010 Baking Cookbook of the Month are MAIDA HEATTER'S COOKIE RECIPES WHERE EVER YOU CAN FIND THEM and READY FOR DESSERT: My Best Recipes, by David Lebovitz.

This thread will be a place to discuss ingredients, techniques and the books in general. On November 1st, the recipe threads for these two cookbooks will be posted. Please wait to post your reviews until those threads are up so that we have them nicely organized going forward. I should add that my library may or may not be able to deliver these books to me in time. If a few of you already have these books on their shelves, would you email me with the name of the books you own? I might need your help to create the proper threads.

For our new members, reviewing a recipe is easy. Locate the best thread for your dish, post the name of the recipe and page number, and then review away!

Some of the questions you might answer include: Did it come out well? Did you modify the ingredients? Was the seasoning good or did you need less/more? How did your family like it? Would you make it again? Is this a quick weekday or a company is coming recipe? Did your kid(s) like it? And bonus points for photos.

Enjoy!

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  1. Thanks smtucker for wading through all the discussions. This is going to be so much fun!

    1 Reply
    1. re: roxlet

      Absolutely, I've been baking from Ms. Heatter since the late '70's, her recipes are staples, wonderful, and the Lebovitz looks like great fun.

    2. I am very excited for holiday baking. Hoping to carve out some time to bake along.

      But I am a little confused. My library has Maida Heatter's Cookie and Maida Haetter's Book of Great cookies. Which one should I get? Do they contain the same recipes?

      2 Replies
      1. re: greeneggsnham

        The winner was COOKIES, any cookie recipe of Maida Heatter's that you can find, regardless of its origin. This is pretty wide open I believe. Get both!

        1. re: smtucker

          According to the dust jacket, Maida Heatter's Cookies "collects every single cookie recipe from three of Maida's long-out-of-print cookbooks" which are her "Book of Great Cookies" and "New Book of Great Desserts", and "Book of Great American Desserts".

          Here's a link to the book on Amazon as jen provided: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7389...

          ~TDQ

      2. I'm thinking this might be the time to finally buy a stand mixer? I just opened the Heatter cookie book at random to 3 different recipes and each one says "In the large bowl of an elctric mixer..."
        Is butter creamed by mixer going to be different, or just easier?

        16 Replies
        1. re: blue room

          Just easier, I baked for 20 yrs with a cheapo hand electric mixer (and by hand), her recipes too.

          1. re: blue room

            If you don't have a mixer at all, and are thinking of adding one to your batterie de cuisine, I'd definitely go for a hand mixer. I've never had a stand mixer, and found there's not too much that can't be done with a wooden spoon or hand mixer, especially if it's cookies you're aiming to bake.

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              The new ones (Cuisinart etc) are very good and not very expensive. I still have my 1973 Hamilton Beach in turquoise and white!

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                If you want to make heatter's Palm Beach Brownies, that feature I think a 10 min beating of the eggs and sugar, your hand will get tired from the vibration! but sure, why not.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  I know what you mean, Jen. I haven't made that recipe, but I've done a few that involved holding the hand mixer for a loooong time, and it taxed my arm way more than the mixer. But most baking recipes don't demand a stand mixer.

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    My mother never had one and my mother-in-law abandoned hers when her '50s Mixmaster died. I love my KA and have had it since 1987 but it's certainly not essential.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      I grew up with a KA and have had one of my own for 25 years. No question I could bake without it but it definitely makes life easier for cakes, cookies and bread. Dont know if I would be strong enuf to make bread without that dough hook!

                      1. re: jen kalb

                        I generally use the food processor for bread dough.

                        1. re: jen kalb

                          I tell my husband that I married him for his KA. Like yours, it is an old model which I have heard is better since all the component parts are metal, not plastic. I got a Electolux Assistant for Christmas about 5 years ago, and it is incredible for bread, but because there is no paddle beater, not so great for cookies and cakes. Despite the embarrassment of mixer riches, I frequently make cookies by hand anyway.

                  2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    Would I be right to think that of these 3-- cakes, cookies, bread -- I would want a stand mixer LEAST for cookies?

                    1. re: blue room

                      a stand mixer is good for any recipe that requres creaming of butter and sugar and such or that requires a beating time of several minutes. You can walk away and prepare other elements while a stand mixer is working rather than being chained to it. But if you do all your prep ahead and have all your ingredients ready around you (eggs shelled and ready, pan greased, etc) you will be ok. Im a big multitasker but if you are methodical and arent trying to do too many things (i.e. baking at the same time you are mixing) you will be probably go almost as quickly

                      1. re: jen kalb

                        You know, I just watched a little video
                        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRBX-4...
                        that helped a lot--
                        it made clear that the butter should be @ room temp, not melty from the microwave, and you want air mixed into the butter, and then the sugar should be dissolved, not grainy. I do hate it when a recipe calls for "fluffy" butter--to me, fluffy is a dry quality like down in a pillow! But if they mean that air has been incorporated, OK I get it. My hand mixer has klunky blades (like an old egg beater). I notice the one in the video has thin (whisk) beaters -- I wonder if that is important?

                        1. re: blue room

                          You might also find this article helpful in regards to butter and cookie baking: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/17/din...

                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            Bingo! Timely information and much appreciated that you took the trouble to find this. The article contains so much of the kind of things I want to know.

                      2. re: blue room

                        I would say that you need a stand mixer least for cookies, of those items. I have made a variety of cakes, and my mother did before me, including some that require long whipping of eggs and sugar, with only a hand mixer, and not found it a burden, though it would certainly be easier with a stand mixer (as would the springerle my family used to bake for Christmas, again with long-whipped eggs and sugar).

                        I currently have a $20 Black & Decker hand mixer that I bought at a drugstore when my previous one died literally in the middle of mixing cooking project that I could not sacrifice, and it has plenty of power and works great, certainly exceeding my expectation for an emergeny run to CVS..

                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                          I read recently (either in Bake! or this Lebovitz) that you don't want to overbeat the butter and sugar for most cookies, that it causes them to rise and then fall and spread in the oven. So hand mixing (or hand mixer) is just as useful.

                  3. Given that Maida Heatter has many different books that include cookie recipes, plus there are no doubt many available online that may or may not indicate which book they are from, perhaps one general thread for Maida Heatter's cookies would suffice, or if that threatens to be too unwieldy, two or three threads classed by general types (e.g., drop cookies; rolled and molded cookies; bar cookies).

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        Already built the threads with this idea firmly in mind. Great to know that the bakers agree!

                      2. smtucker, the second review down on Amazon's Ready for Dessert listing has a chapter breakdown that lists everything in the book, in case that's helpful to you.

                        http://www.amazon.com/Ready-Dessert-M...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                          This is terrific! My library system has 18 copies of this book, and not one of them is available, so I can't be sure that I will receive it before November 1st. Now I can sleep at night!