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December 2014 & February 2011 Cookbook of the Month: THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK Chapters 15-18

Welcome to our February COTM: THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK Chapters 15-18: Cookies, Candy, Frozen Desserts, Cakes, Pie, Tarts and Other Desserts

Please use this thread for review and discussion of recipes from these chapters of THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK. Give us the name of the recipe along with the page number. Photos are welcomed.

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  1. Teddie’s Apple Cake (page 752)

    I believe this was the third recipe most recommended by readers. Hesser says it can be eaten at any time of day and the person quoted about it says “it keeps beautifully.” So it seemed a good choice to keep on the counter for friends who would be staying with me for a while.

    The cake uses oil, and a lot of it (1-1/2 cups) instead of butter, and includes, in addition to apples (I used Honey Crisps), walnuts and raisins. The batter was extremely thick, so thick I’d almost hesitate to call it batter. (In fact, I kept going back and rereading the ingredients list thinking I may have done something wrong, but I don’t think so.) And although the initial mixing can be done in a stand mixer, she recommends incorporating the dry ingredients by hand in order to ensure that the texture of the cake will not be tough. I did that, and it was quite the upper-arm workout. The cake is baked in a tube pan for an hour and 15 minutes and cooled completely before being turned out. I didn’t realize until I took the cake out of the oven that the far edge had begun to burn. I should have known to turn the pan halfway through and have made a note to that effect in the book

    The cake was very good, but almost shockingly rich. I think serving it with either ice cream or whipped cream would be (over)gilding the lily. The cake was somewhat crispy and very caramely around the edges. (In fact, after a couple of days, as the cake dwindled to crumbs--evidently in the middle of the night because it kept disappearing but I never saw anyone eating it--I noticed that someone had started picking at the top and edges and leaving the center on the serving plate. Funny.) Hesser says the cake “has a light, airy crumb.” Maybe I did overmix it a bit, although I made a very concerted effort not to, because “light, airy” isn’t the way I’d have chosen to describe it. It’s definitely a delicious cake, even though I don’t care for raisins and probably would have preferred the cake without them. But clearly this was a big hit with my guests and was really the perfect cake to have on hand to let people have at it whenever the mood or craving hit them.

     
     
    33 Replies
    1. re: JoanN

      Sounds great! Maybe this is a good choice to make on a rainly, snowy, sleety day like today! I think I would eliminate the raisins too since no one in my house (except me) seems to like them much.

      1. re: roxlet

        Has anyone made both this apple cake and Dorie's apple cake? I am wondering how the two compare. I love Dorie's apple cake. Very understated and especially good right out of the oven served with ice cream.

      2. re: JoanN

        How could any cake with 1 1./2 c oil in it have an airy crumb?

        1. re: buttertart

          Good point. I hadn't thought of it that way. Although you do beat the oil and two kinds of sugars for five minutes, it never traps air bubbles the way creaming butter and sugar would.

          1. re: JoanN

            For these kinds of cakes I always wonder how they would work with butter instead of the oil.

            1. re: roxlet

              Me too, and 1 1/2 cups just seems like a dreadfully large amount.

              1. re: buttertart

                Yes, it's a lot of oil. But not all that much more than some other famous cakes. For instance David Lebovitz's beloved Fresh Ginger Cake from Room for Dessert (also in this book, by the way), calls for 1 cup of peanut oil.

                1. re: JoanN

                  Yes, and I make an apple cake that also calls for 1 cup of oil. I have a neighbor who went to culinary school for pastry arts, and she adapted my apple cake recipe using melted butter, which is what I would assume you would do for a cake calling for oil since the texture would be similar I'd guess.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    It's just me, somehow oil in quantity - and fat over a cup in any reasonably-sized baked good - seems somehow not right. Melted butter up to a cup? Fine. Oil, no. That's over 5000 calories of oil alone in that puppy, not that I'm big on calories, but it puts me off.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      I think there are probably texture and chemical (not the right word but you know what I mean) to use oil and not butter.

                      For example in a chiffon cake (which uses oil and also egg whites).

                      Discussed here a bit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiffon_...

                        1. re: buttertart

                          Butter always tastes better though! I love the stuff. And should change my name to butterkat the way we go through it! : )

                          1. re: karykat

                            Wonder if you could make a browned butter chiffon cake, straining out the solids? Hmmm...

                            1. re: buttertart

                              That sounds fantastic! If there's anything better than butter, it's browned butter.

                              1. re: karykat

                                Must try. Too true about the browned butter.

                                1. re: karykat

                                  amen! just made a pumpkin layer cake (6"--half recipe) with praline topping/filling and browned butter cream cheese frosting. To die for! Heck, even melted and browned another two pounds of butter, yes, two pounds, and stored it in the refrig in 1/8 portions each of which is sl. less than 4oz.

                              2. re: karykat

                                Yes! Change your name to butterkat, then we can sculpt your likeness in butter and present you at the State Fair! I'm sure we'd win some kind of prize!

                                And, may I ask a dumb question? Is a tube pan the same as a bundt cake pan or an angle cake pan? I own the latter two...

                                ~TDQ

                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  I guess that technically a bundt pan is a tube pan, but usually a recipe will specify bundt pan if that's what's being called for. I have springform pans with both flat and tube bottoms so that's what I used, but an angelfood pan would definitely do the trick.

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      Yes, that's what I use when it says tube pan, although I do have other tube pans that have a curved bottom giving the cake a curved top...

                                      1. re: roxlet

                                        This particular recipe is much more attractive right-side up than it would be upside-down. I gave passing thought to using a curved-bottom pan and was glad that I hadn't.

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          It sounds strange to describe it as light and airy as it sure looks dense in the photo, and sounds dense the way you describe it.

                                          ~TDQ

                2. re: JoanN

                  JoanN, if I remember correctly, you like the apple spice cake from Kate Zuckerman's book (which I love) ~ how do you think Teddie's Apple Cake compares?

                  1. re: emily

                    You do indeed remember correctly and I liked Kate's cake better. For almost too many reasons to list, but just a few: I liked the smaller chunks of sauteed apple as opposed to the much larger chunks of raw; I like Kate's judicious us of spices; hers has no rasins (!), but no nuts :( either; and I love the tenderness of her cake from the sour cream.

                    1. re: JoanN

                      Joan regardless of the oil, and whether its the best apple cake, it really does look lovely and I'm glad it was enjoyed by your guests. Beautiful photos and thanks for the thorough review.

                  2. re: JoanN

                    Didn't have nuts, so added about half a cup of currants that had been soaking in dark rum for a couple of hours. Used fuji apples, cut into chunks. I would describe this as a dense cake, but in a good way. My daughter thought that Rum Raisin ice cream was the perfect accompaniment. I prefer plain with a cup of coffee. Will certainly make again, as my DH loves apple desserts.

                    1. re: pikawicca

                      I usually use currants in anything calling for raisins, I like them much better.

                      1. re: buttertart

                        Have you ever tried bayberries? I think that's what they're called. Little red dried berries. A little tart. Found them through Persian inlaws. They can be hard to find. They;re used in persian rice dishes. But I bet they could go into baked things too. I put them in oatmeal sometimes. Just a thought.

                        1. re: karykat

                          I love bayberries! Like a cross between dried cranberries and dried cherries, I think. (Edit: in terms of flavor. Not botanically!)

                          ~TDQ

                          1. re: karykat

                            karykat, you are thinking of BARberries. They are called zereshk in Persian; the rice dish is called zereshk polo, meaning barberry rice.

                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                              Whoops, BARberries. I glossed over that.

                              See how lovely they are?

                              http://www.google.com/images?um=1&amp...

                              ~TDQ

                      2. re: JoanN

                        Hmm.. I think I'd like the apples chopped smaller like someone here mentioned, and would like the moisture to come more from raw apple being cooked inside than from oil.
                        "Light, airy"? Odd, huh?
                        But the flavor of all those ingredients together can't miss. (Even the raisins!)

                        1. re: JoanN

                          It looks beautiful, Joan. Thanks for the review and photos!

                        2. David Eyre's Pancake, p. 813.

                          This is one of the recipes that seemed to have some buzz about it. It's not quite knock your socks off good, but it's extremely yummy. As Hesser says in the headnote, it has a combination of "ease and surprise".

                          It is definitely easy (How hard can pancake batter be?) just flour, milk, eggs and nutmeg beaten lightly. You melt 4 TBSP butter in a skillet (I used cast iron) and then pour in the batter and slip into a 425 oven for 15-20 minutes. when it's done, it's beautiful and puffy and golden and you douse it in powdered sugar and lemon juice.

                          It is very buttery. I made this 3 times in one weekend (the fam really liked it!) and the second two times I cut back on the butter a bit at 3 TBSP and it was still very buttery. I think the next time I make it, I may cut back to 2 Tbsp. My son liked it without the lemon juice, but I thought the lemon juice really made it special. Something about the lemon juice, powdered sugar and eggy butteriness really worked for me. Oh, and for me, I let the butter brown a bit in the pan before adding the batter, this was unintentional the first time (hard to see in the cast-iron skillet) but I liked it a lot like that I will continue to do it that way.

                          15 Replies
                          1. re: greeneggsnham

                            I've been making this since the 1970's, when it was known as a Dutch baby. How did David E get to claim it as his own? Must look it up in the book.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              Funny, I've been reading In the Kitchen w a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark and she includes a version of this recipe in her book. She grew up thinking it was called "David Dares". When her Mom gave her the correct spelling much later in life, she learned he was a gentleman in Hawaii that C. Claiborne had brunch w and, provided Mr C w the recipe.

                              1. re: buttertart

                                I read somewhere that the name Dutch Baby is attributed to someone in the 1970s, but the recipe by David Eyre "got his from the St. Francis Hotel Cookbook , published in 1919.." It was introduced by Craig Claiborne through the NYT when he had it at David's house in Hawaii.

                              2. re: greeneggsnham

                                We made this occasionally when I was growing up, and I do think the 1/4 cup of butter is a bit overwhelming, and would cut back if I were to make it now. I agree that the lemon is essential. Browning the butter is a great idea.

                                1. re: greeneggsnham

                                  This sounds wonderful g! I too love that lemony flavour you describe. Can't wait to try this one.

                                  1. re: greeneggsnham

                                    Yes, Hesser says David Eyre's that was the #2 vote getter, after the purple plum torte (265 votes). (I linked that story in the master thread, by the way).

                                    David Eyre’s pancake (80 votes).
                                    Teddie’s apple cake (37 votes)--see JoanN's report at the top of this thread
                                    2002: Chocolate dump-it cake (24 votes)

                                    Four of the top 5 recipes were desserts. Funny, eh?

                                    I'm glad to hear you shaved back the amount of butter without compromsing the results as I would hope to do the same.

                                    ~TDQ

                                    1. re: greeneggsnham

                                      David Eyre's Pancake (p 813)--this was great. Many know this as a "dutch baby". Like greeneggs said, it is not a show-stopper for flavor; but presentation and fun-factor--very high. I doubled the batter and made it in a le creuset 12 inch pan...puffed up beautifully and collapsed just as nicely. Too simple not to try once. Definitely a nice change from the usual "pancake" and easy to see why this is so beloved after 45 yrs.

                                       
                                       
                                        1. re: greeneggsnham

                                          I know this as a Dutch Baby or Dutch Pancake too. Agree on the lemon juice, and that 3 times in one weekend is not to much!

                                          1. re: greeneggsnham

                                            My turn at the Dutch baby, and my first toe in the ENYTC pool. Used 2 TBSP butter and nonfat milk. I was worried that it wasn't sufficiently poofy after 20 minutes, but I took it out anyway because I didn't want the edges to get any browner. Then when I sprinkled the powdered sugar on it definitely collapsed, so I felt okay about the whole thing. She says to serve it with jam or preserves or something, but we thought it was nice just as is, with lemon juice and powdered sugar.

                                            I will point out that we had this for breakfast, even though it's in the "desserts" section of the book. I noticed the two reader's letters she published with the recipe also referred to it as a breakfast pancake.

                                            Finally, she mentioned the first time he published this recipe Craig Claiborne accidently published it with twice the amount of butter. So, that would have been with 8 TBSP? My goodness. It was very buttery with 2!

                                            ~TDQ

                                            1. re: greeneggsnham

                                              David Eyre's Pancake, p. 813.

                                              My turn to make this. Couldn't be simpler - mix the batter (1/3 cup flour, 1/2 cup whole milk, 2 eggs, fresh grated nutmeg), pour into a hot skillet (I used 12-inch cast iron) with 4 TB melted butter, and bake. Mine took exactly 16 minutes at 425. I love how easy this is - perfect for when company stays over.

                                               
                                               
                                               
                                              1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                David Eyre's pancake, p.813
                                                I have enjoyed this over the years - but don't really eat pancakes that often. This was an especially good Christmas breakfast. It was topped with some olallieberries I had picked last summer which were languishing in my freezer.

                                                1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                  It's a lovely recipe. Perfect for Christmas morning!

                                                  1. re: pistachio peas

                                                    It really is - thanks Pistachio :)
                                                    I forgot to mention that I used only one egg and a little less than 2 T melted butter. This pancake has a 'custardy' taste I love.

                                              2. Almond Cake page 777
                                                I think it was buttertart who said the almond fanciers here MUST make this one. I obeyed. Made a half recipe mini cake in a 6 inch pan.
                                                According to the book, it's *supposed* to fall, badly, in the middle, right after removal from the oven. Fall it did.
                                                I wish I could say I love it, but I was happier eating the raw almond paste that was one of the ingredients! It's buttery and almondy and sweet -- pretty dense -- (my Mr. calls it "fleshy" -- eek)
                                                but the flavor was not almond-intense enough for me.
                                                Amanda H. says she has made this recipe more than any other in the book! She also says it improves with age, so maybe tomorrow I'll be more excited about it.
                                                I think I'd give it just a C+ tonight though. I should also disclose that I'm a pie person, not a cake person.

                                                 
                                                 
                                                43 Replies
                                                1. re: blue room

                                                  blue room, it looks lovely---sorry you weren't loving it...this was on my short list, but think it just got bumped!

                                                  1. re: apple342

                                                    Next morning--hey, it *did* get more of an almond flavor overnight! Still not my favorite, but definitely changed for the better.

                                                  2. re: blue room

                                                    I've never seen almond paste in the UK - is it the same as marzipan which is also made from almonds?

                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                      They are not the same thing. I've never known the difference (both have almonds and sugar), but JoanN does --per this thread, she says marzipan has a lot more sugar. But, she also supplies a recipe for almond paste... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5663...

                                                      ~TDQ

                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        Here's a nice description from the same source as the recipe for almond paste that JoanN supplied. http://www.ochef.com/1087.htm

                                                        ~TDQ

                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                          I did make the almond paste for this cake--my recipe called for egg white (rather than corn syrup) along with the almonds and sugar. It was a snap!

                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                            It's too bad you don't like this - I loved it warm and can't stay away from it (the almond flavor deepens with age).
                                                            I used Odense almond paste which is what the recipe de facto calls for (7 oz tube). It's imported from Denmark so it should be available in the UK, I should think? It has an extremely almond taste, perhaps that's what you're missing by using homemade (I've made it in the past too and never been as happy with it in things as I have been with the storebought stuff).
                                                            Mine slumped in the middle too - I was wondering how it would be if you used the egg whites, beaten, as well as the yolks. Must try that.
                                                            Another note - next time I'd make it all in my standing mixer, using a FP and then a bowl seems unnecessary (I believe she says somewhere she doesn't have a standing mixer - the almond paste is quite stiff even at room temp so you'd need something with muscle to get it incorporated - when she says add it by small bits you'd better do just that).
                                                            I truly hope your experience does not dissuade people from making this, I've been baking since I was 8 or so and this is one of my very favorite things I have ever made. Seriously.

                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                              My homemade almond paste could very probably be inferior--and yes, the almond flavor is more apparent now. (And Mr. blue likes it fine.)
                                                              I make a poppyseed cake that is very strongly flavored with almond (extract), I do like that flavor. I like it when you can smell it across the room!
                                                              It (the Almond Cake) is a very pretty golden cake -- and she said it's supposed to deflate, concentrating the middle. Of course it's hard not to wish it stayed domed.

                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                Not necessarily inferior, just different, I believe they use some bitter almond in theirs and you'll never get it as smooth as it is, the almonds are crushed and kneaded in the manufacture as I understand it.
                                                                My middle's not too too deflated, the texture is fairly uniform throughout the cake. I overbaked mine a touch (dark springform and inattentiveness on the part of the baker) but I still love it. Too much.

                                                              2. re: buttertart

                                                                I'm not dissuaded! My issue is "so many recipes, too little time." Desserts always seem to fall off of my list, alas.

                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  Do not fear Buttertart, your recommendation is enough for me. It is on my list for this week.

                                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                                    I'll be interested in your report on this cake. Raves from buttertart and A. Hesser says it's the recipe she has made the most from this book, but I was not happy with it.

                                                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                                                      Make the whole recipe and use Odense or other commercial almond paste, if you're fond of almond flavor I'm sure you'll love it.

                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        buttertart, do you think halving the recipe had a bad effect?

                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                          It is possible - but I think it was the almond paste used that threw it off.

                                                                  2. re: buttertart

                                                                    Glad you enjoyed it. I call it my "thank you" cake because whenever I need to thank someone for doing something special, I give them this cake. Since it stores well and is sturdy, it also ships well. I've sent it across the country many times!

                                                                  3. re: blue room

                                                                    I've never made this cake with home-made almond paste, so that may have accounted for the weaker almond flavor. Not sure. I think if you make it with commercial almond paste, you'd find that it's very almond-y!

                                                                    1. re: amandahesser1

                                                                      Amanda, I have been hoarding my last can of almond paste. It is the 8 oz Love n Bake can. Do you think I could just use 8 oz instead of 7 in this cake?

                                                                      Thanks!

                                                                        1. re: Becca Porter

                                                                          Becca, I'd use 7, only because the batter is so heavy that the center of the cake sinks after baking, and I think if you use 8 ounces of almond paste, it may never rise! Also, I have found that the paste in a can is a little drier than the tubes of almond paste. Not sure how this will affect this cake, but hopefully it'll be ok! Let me know.

                                                                          1. re: amandahesser1

                                                                            Incidentally this cake keeps well (I had to get it off the counter or little snicks en passant were going to pare it down to nothing in no time flat, so stuck the quarter remaining in the fridge). Had a piece Saturday am, nuked for 15 seconds, oh my goodness good. This is getting an introduction to the extended family this weekend.

                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                              My mother-in-law (whose recipe this is) used to keep it under her bed. It will last a good week if stored in an air-tight container ... under the bed.

                                                                                1. re: amandahesser1

                                                                                  Love it! I wonder what magical powers of preservation "under the bed' has?

                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                    That's where my mom used to keep the Christmas cookies made well in advance, come to think of it.

                                                                                  2. re: amandahesser1

                                                                                    How long should the batter be blended in the FP before adding the flour? Thanks

                                                                                2. re: amandahesser1

                                                                                  Just wanted to let you know this was a huge hit with my Iowa in-laws, all of whom are food maniacs - I used Solo almond paste and used the whole 8 oz (I grated it on the big holes of a four-sided grater, only had a hand mixer to work with, the grating helped it to incorporate)- and beat the egg whites stiff and folded them in (as an experiment, because I just had to). The cake rose to 3" on the sides (much higher than my first one) and was somewhat lighter, but it did sink in the middle, which I like anyway - the squidgy bit is reminiscent of Danish kransekage, one of my favorite things on this earth.
                                                                                  What the heck kept me from making this cake for so long? I remember the article it first appeared in.

                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                    I am going to look for almond paste but if I don't find it I might try it with marzipan, just because I have some in the fridge that I need to use up. Maybe I should cut the sugar a little bit if I use marzipan - what do you think?

                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                      Definitely, it's a quite sweet cake with the almond paste. Maybe 1/3 less? Is your marzipan stiff? Almond paste here is quite hard, friable to some extent but very firm.

                                                                    2. re: blue room

                                                                      Almond Cake page 777

                                                                      I made this last night for book group and I loved it. I had been wanting to make this cake and was so happy that I finally had a chance to do so.

                                                                      A word of warning though, the recipe has you mix a cup of sour cream with some baking soda. In order to save a bowl, I just mixed the baking soda into the small container of sour cream (size of a yogurt cup). That was a HUGE mistake. The baking soda caused the sour cream to splooch and bubble over, causing a slight mess onto the counter. When I went to scrape it into a separate bowl, it was pretty messy. I ended up not saving any bowls and had a messy counter to clean up to boot.

                                                                      Ok, back to the cake. It rose beautifully and then had the expected drop. It did look quite pretty once I sprinkled the sifted confectioner's sugar on it. The middle was very moist, almost like it was underdone. The edges were a bit drier and more standard cake like. Is that what the middle is supposed to be like?

                                                                      I made the cake on Wed, served it on Thursday and will have more leftovers tonight. I'm banking on the fact that it improves with age. Can't wait to taste how much more tasty it could possibly get.

                                                                      1. re: beetlebug

                                                                        Beetlebug -- glad you liked it! The center should be moist; sounds like you got it right.

                                                                        1. re: amandahesser1

                                                                          I just have to say this is one of my favorite recipes ever. Ever ever ever.

                                                                          1. re: buttertart

                                                                            Thanks for reminding me about this recipe, I have been meaning to try it.

                                                                      2. re: blue room

                                                                        Made this over the weekend and thought it was excellent, although I still think I prefer Flo Braker's Crystal Almond Pound Cake. The Braker cake has a similar flavor and texture (iirc; it's been a couple of years since I last made it), but wins both on presentation (it's baked in a bundt pan and doesn't fall) and has a lemon/sugar glaze that adds a bit of crunch and the barest hint of tartness to nearly every sweet bite. You must try that one, bt, and let us know what you think.

                                                                        I feel fairly certain, blue room, that your disappointment with the flavor must have been due to the use of homemade almond paste. I used Odense, although I usually prefer Love'n Bake, and thought the flavor every bit as intense as an almond lover could possibly want. In fact, my grandson took one bite and said, "Mmmm. Marzipan."

                                                                         
                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                          Almond Cake

                                                                          Almond cake is a favorite in our household, so I thought I'd give this one a go. I followed the recipe exactly as written, except that I beat the egg whites (which are not used at all in the original recipe) separately into soft peaks and folded them in at the very end of mixing. As a result, my cake took a bit longer to bake than I expected ( I began checking at the 35 minute mark since have a "hot" convection oven). Also, it did not fall as it cooled, as it is apparently supposed to do.

                                                                          We liked this cake well enough, but I prefer my trusty recipe that I've been making for years. It is from the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking cookbook, but has been modified to the point that it very closely resembles David Liebovitz's recipe. My almond cake is cooked in a bundt or tube pan, which prevents the exterior from drying out as much as the NYTC cake. It also has, proportionately, an almost double amount of both almond paste and eggs, which really help keep it moist and intensely almondy.

                                                                          So. While this cake is good, it just isn't on par with my preferred recipe, and I won't be making it again.

                                                                          1. re: Blowfish

                                                                            Hey, so glad you began to make my mother's recipe (I'm married to the cookbook's author). I'm sure the other recipes you mention are great, and Amanda was glad to learn of them. With all respect, though, my mother was pretty fussy about following baking recipes as written, before beginning to experiment, on the theory that people probably specified ingredients, types of oven, cooking times, etc. for a reason. So I wonder if you might not like it better if you made it as written! Just a thought.

                                                                            1. re: tadfriend

                                                                              Who are you married to? I thought New York Times Essentials was an edited volume and Hesser served as the editor, not author.

                                                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                                                I think he is married to Amanda. Because the original recipe is by Elizabeth Friend, Amanda's mother-in-law.

                                                                                1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                  Clearly, I should have gotten off my rump to look at the Title page!

                                                                                2. re: smtucker

                                                                                  I just looked at the book, and it lists Hesser as author (i.e., not "Edited by" or "Amanda Hesser, Editor)." She tested, sometimes rewrote, the recipes, and wrote all the non-recipe prose, including headnotes, AFAIK.

                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                    I also think of her as the author for the reasons mentioned above, as well as her selection of the recipes.

                                                                          2. Brownies p.684

                                                                            I'd intended to start TENYTC today with a chicken dish and side vegetables but a snow day tomorrow meant I suddenly had three extra 15 year old girls for dinner and a sleepover so that plan went out the window. A quick and chocolatey dessert was required so the brownies fit the bill. Really quick to make - less than 10 mins then 25 mins in the oven. I did 24 mins as I like mine fudgey but the middle was a little too gooey so I'll try 25 next time. I don't think these brownies surpassed Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies which I am a big fan of since buttertart introduced me to them. But they were good - good chocolate flavor (I used Ghirardelli 60% choc chips) and a shiny,crackled surface (as Amanda says, an important brownie detail). I love the stories with each recipe in this book - this one is from 1943 and "the recipe was highlighted as a sweet that traveled well as a care package for soldiers".

                                                                            10 Replies
                                                                            1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                              I found the timing to be off on the Amazon cake that I made so maybe that's an issue with this book?

                                                                              Must make these in my quest for the perfect brownie. The pecan brownies from Bon Appetit Y'All are currently on top. Supernatural Brownies are second, tied with Robert's Best Brownies from David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert.

                                                                              1. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                I like those timelines at the beginning of the book too--interesting!

                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                  Glad you're enjoying the timelines. I crowd-sourced some of the material for them from Twitter!

                                                                                2. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                  I like the timelines very much too. And Nick's brownies aren't going to be surpassed, at least not in my book ;-) I keep trying other recipes and end up, in the immortal words of Leonard Cohen, "so deeply unimpressed".

                                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                                    I must be the only person who just isn't a fan of the Supernatural brownies. I am not sure why. They seem pretty mild in chocolate flavor. That could be because I can't hardly get the good stuff around here. I also think they are too fudgy for my tastes, I like a little more chewiness. I feel bad for not loving them.

                                                                                    1. re: Becca Porter

                                                                                      Nothing to feel bad about. i did make them with Baker's at my MIL's and agree that with ordinary chocolate they aren't as good as with the good stuff. For more chewiness, sub cocoa and oil for half of the chocolate called for (3 tb cocoa + 1 tb oil = 1 oz chocolate). Also add 1/2 tsp baking powder.

                                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                                        Yeah, I usually have to use Ghirardelli, better than Baker's but not the best for sure.

                                                                                        1. re: Becca Porter

                                                                                          I've used Hershey's Special Dark in these and people have really liked them. I don't like Ghirardelli very much.

                                                                                      2. re: Becca Porter

                                                                                        Also, if you add a little espresso, it intensifies the chocolate taste.

                                                                                    2. re: JaneEYB

                                                                                      Wow - I've tried a lot of brownie recipes and I believe this one has moved to the top! My only change next time would be to replace a bit of the flour with unsweetened cocoa. Otherwise, I loved the balance of chocolate, sugar and butter in these. Oh, and I used a Valrhona chocolate bar from TJ's (3.5 oz v. 3 oz called for in the recipe).

                                                                                    3. Cashew Butterscotch Bars (p. 697). Another homerun. What a surprise these were. I have never used butterscotch chips before and had NO idea how great they would be. This recipe is a bit of "in/out of the oven" for a bar cookie--but worth it. The shortbread crust is unbelievable. These flew off the plate. Next time, I am going to up the salt a smidge. One guest summed it up perfectly: "holy h#&* these are amazing." So true. Will definitely be making these again.

                                                                                       
                                                                                       
                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: apple342

                                                                                        Gorgeous photos. Looks like you have a lightbox setup. Is it a tabletop size specifically for food photos? Is it something you bought? or something you made? I'm envious, but don't have the room to store it even if I could find someplace to set it up.

                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                          Thank you, JoanN! I dont have a lightbox (dont have the space either!) The weather was so weird that day, I didn't have good natural light. I shot it next to a large window on a piece of white cardboard and had to use my flash (sb600); so it looks more like a "studio shot".

                                                                                        2. re: apple342

                                                                                          These sound, and look, so good. Love everything about this combination - shortbread, nuts and caramel - so definitely on the list.

                                                                                          1. re: apple342

                                                                                            Great to hear this because I almost didn't include the recipe in the book. I'm not a huge ban of butterscotch bars but my husband liked these so much, I decided to keep them in the lineup.