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Do Alice Medrich's Recipes Work?

I know Alice Medrich is known for her very methodical approach to baking and the details she includes about ingredients in her cookbooks, yet I haven't been particularly impressed by the results I've gotten from her recipes. I've tried her chocolate chip cookie recipe from one of her earlier cookbooks, lemon bars and one or two others and they've been real disappointments even though I do read and follow instructions, use specified ingredients, etc. Has anyone tried her new cookie cookbook yet? Have you been pleased with the results?

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  1. I made the brownies with cheesecake/espresso swirl from the new cookie book last week and they were the best brownies I've ever made. Having said that, I also was pressed for space and had to put them in the unheated pantry, effectively refrigerating them overnight before serving. I've never done that before so it could have also made a difference.

    Of course one recipe does not really answer your question, but I am still thinking about those brownies...

    3 Replies
    1. re: colonelcrunch

      Colonelcrunch - did you make the Espresso Swirl Brownies? Did you make it with Steve Ritual Brownies or with Cakey Brownie batter instead? Hope you can remember - I realize this is a very old post!

      1. re: smilingal

        And I have name changed in the interim. I used the cakey brownie recipe and made it as written, only adding some instant espresso powder and taking them out on the earlier side of the baking time. They benefit from being made ahead and refrigerated. I have made the recipe at least 10 times, always a hit.

    2. I've had pretty good luck with Medrich recipes, and particularly like her Pure Dessert book.
      The fruit-but bread is wonderful, and so nice to have around for a last minute cheese plate.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rabaja

        I also particularly like Pure Dessert. I suppose I've made a half a dozen things from it, and the recipes have all worked well and been excellent (my avatar is a plum and almond tart from that book). I've also made a few things from Chocolate and the Art of Low Fat Desserts, and while a couple were a bit more finicky, they were all pretty successful. I have the new cookie book, but haven't had a chance to bake from it yet.

        Velda Mae, did you feel the recipes you tried really didn't work, or did you just not care for the end result? Perhaps Medrich's taste just doesn't jibe with your own?

        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          I've made several of the recipes from Choc. and The Art etc. and liked them, too. I can't find the book right now, but Michael's fudge brownies are really good & easy to make - they've become my standard recipe. I also remember liking the pound cakes that use buttermilk - I think there was a plain and a marbled one.

      2. I've made a bunch of recipes from Pure Dessert, and they always turn out perfectly. It's one of my favorite baking books. The new cookie book has been wonderful as well, based on my experience with making 3 of the recipes and tasting 5 that Medrich made at a cookie class I took in December.

        1. A question I can respond to!

          Years ago I lived in San Francisco when Alice still had her Cocolat stores. Because of that, I bought a copy of the Cocolat cookbook. That is by far the best chocolate cookbook that I've ever run into (haven't kept count, but I've been at least half of the recipes).

          It's one of the small group of cookbooks I have that come across as labors of love for their authors.

          I haven't tried her new cookbook, though; I've run out of local guinea pigs to cook for, LOL. If it's anything like the Cocolat books, it's more than worth it.

          Since you've tried some recipes already, it might be a function of where you live, the type of ingredients available to you, those sorts of things. I know there's the flour thing in the South. And the Bay Area is a pretty humid place.

          1 Reply
          1. re: dg cookin

            I've tried the lemon bar recipe as well as 5 or 6 other recipes from Pure Dessert and I find myself constantly going back to bake them again and again since they always turn out so well. So I guess IME her recipes work.

          2. I've had all of her recipes work out, except for the lemon tart from Pure Dessert. There was about a 1/4 the filling needed. I love the lemon bars, brownies and plum tart from Pure Dessert.