Flour by Joanne Chang
If you've baked from Flour by Joanne Chang, would you please share your opinion about the recipes? Do they appear to have been well-tested for the home kitchen? Are the results anything special?
I do think this is a lovely looking book with lots of recipes I'd like to try but I've only baked one so far (too many cookbooks, too little time!). It was 'Double-Chocolate Cookies' on page 106 and it was really good, sort of a cross between a brownie and a cookie. In fact Joanne told me that they call them Chocolate brownie cookies at Flour. I'd like to try several of the scones and muffins recipes, the raspberry crumb bars, the lemon lust bars, and a few of the tarts.
There do seem to be quite a few standards - croissants, brownies, sugar cookies, crème brûlée, snickerdoodles, etc - but I suppose if they are good recipes they are worth including. When I'm looking at a new baking or desserts book I'm generally interested in recipes I haven't seen anywhere else.
You asked this question about a month ago, but since you've only gotten one reply: the book is fantastic. The recipes are so detailed (they say things like "mix on medium speed for 30 seconds") and work perfectly, except that in my oven the baking times are typically a few minutes less than the book says. I have a stand mixer and I'm not sure the recipes would work as well if you don't. I've gotten really spoiled for other recipes.
I've made all the cookies, several of the pies and tarts, and some of the breads and breakfast items. Everything has been great and has gotten raves from everyone who's tried them. I go to Flour often here in Boston, so I already know what I'm not so crazy about: the cakes and the quiche. I haven't tried those, although I have used the pate brisee from the quiche in other savory tarts.
It is one of the best baking books I have bought in a long time. The recipes are impeccably tested and accurate for home kitchen (which I cant say for alot of baking books). Instructions are very precise. I have made her Banana bread about 50 times.....everyone says it is the best they have had. If you are looking for a baking book....highly recommend adding this one to your collection.
Another huge thumbs up for this cookbook; it's superb. As Pia and Blancmange have said, the recipes are extremely well written. This might be my favorite baking book (and I have a lot of baking books!)
I've made and loved these recipes:
*classic carrot cake with cream cheese frosting (make two days ahead for best flavor--but good luck trying to avoid devouring it the first day)
*milky way tart--Chang's directions for making caramel--without a thermometer---are so clear and encouraging that I had success with my first attempt at making caramel---I was very caramel-phobic before getting this book. Also, her pate sucree is foolproof and tastes wonderful.
I made but was not fond of the ooey, gooey caramel nut tart but that's only because I discovered I most definitely do not like orange zest in a caramel-nut mixture.
And now that I've leafed though the book again I want to bake from it again--but where to start? There are so very many attractive recipes in it.
I have been very pleased with this book, and I am not even a sweets person. To date I have made the brioche, sticky buns, cheddar-scallion scones, and a sweet scone.
I have found the directions to be very well written, love that everything is in grams [in addition to volume] and the results have been 100%. Not something you can say about many cookbooks.
The sticky buns have already been requested for next Christmas morning. I never ate one, but the reviews from my guests were stellar. My personal favorite is the cheddar-scallion scones, and now that scallions are in season here, I have made several batches which I store in the freezer already cooked.
I too like the Oatmeal Cookies - they did not look like others I have made (thin), but I loved the chewy texture.
I also made the Peanut Butter Cookies and loved them too, but I have not made PB cookies in years so I cannot really remember how my others tasted.
I tried the Gingerbread and loved it with the coffee glaze and whipped cream. I like almost all GB. It sunk a little in the middle, but I used half White Lily flour so maybe that is why.
Finally, I tried the Cornmeal Lime Cookies which came out perfectly. As Chang notes they are cake like. very nice.
Flour is in my neighborhood and right on my way to and from work. DANGEROUS!
The cookbook is good, but not my favorite. I've had a few mixed results, which granted could be my fault. I'm not patient enough to return to a recipe that didn't work the first time. The oatmeal cookies and banana bread were meh, but the xmas sugar cookies (best ever eaten) and the pop-tarts were FABULOUS.