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Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Martha Stewart

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473321,857 (4.27)4
Member:SusanMichelle
Title:Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
Authors:Martha Stewart
Info:Clarkson Potter (2005), Edition: 1St Edition, Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Cookbooks, Your library
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Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook by Martha Stewart (2005)

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I've owned this book for several years, and it has quickly become one of my favorite baking books (Believe me, I own quite a few). The recipes run the gamut from simple breakfast muffins to rustic cobblers to elegant napoleons. There is even a recipe for a three-tiered wedding cake! Some recipes are quick and easy, while others tend to be very complex and involved, offering options for both the novice and advanced home baker, and allowing the user to grow with the book, trying more difficult recipes as one's skills expand. However, even the most complex of the recipes are laid out and explained clearly. In addition, there are beautiful photos on nearly every page (and most pages have more than one!), showing both finished baked goods and illustrating techniques.

I've made quite a few of the recipes in this book and thought I'd share a few of my favorites. There are four cupcake recipes in this book, of which I've tried three. The Maple-Walnut Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream (p. 164) are really excellent. Make more candied walnuts than cupcakes - you'll just want to grab a handful and munch on them while you're garnishing. The Carrot-Ginger Cupcakes (p. 166) were really light and fluffy, although they very mild and not all that carrot cake-y, so that may not be to everyone's taste. But the instructions for making marzipan carrots (with photos!) make them so easy. I've made the One-Bowl Chocolate Cake on p. 168 as both cupcakes and a layer cake, and it's a great go-to basic chocolate cake recipe. The Marble Cake with White Chocolate Glaze (p. 65) is super easy yet impressive - the perfect thing to have with coffee when a friend stops over.

Martha's Classic Apple Pie recipe (p. 228) is simple and excellent, and her Pate Brisée (p. 224) is my go-to recipe for pie dough - it works every time. The Tarte Tatin (p. 265) is about as easy as a "company" dessert can get, looking both rustic and fancy at the same time (and it tastes amazing - like candied apples on pie crust; how could you go wrong?) I've made the Fruit Curd Tartlets (p. 258) with both lemon and lime curd (both on p. 390), and while the tartlet molds I used were really small (about 1" - don't do it to yourself!!!) and a huge pain in my ass, everyone loved them and they were gone in a flash.

This book makes even difficult, pastry chef-caliber techniques like laminated doughs accessible. I made the from-scratch Puff Pastry on p. 359, and while it took the better part of a day and used a crapload of butter, the difference from frozen, pre-packaged puff pastry was so amazing that I don't ever want to buy it again. I also tried my hand at the Danish Dough (p. 334), and made the Prune Pinwheels and Apricot Bow Ties (p. 336 & 338, respectively). The absolute winner of the book, though, is the Chocolate Babka on p. 352. Coming from a Russian/Polish Jewish background, I've eaten a lot of babkas, but this one was PERFECT. Loaded with chocolate, covered in streusel.... you need to try it. Granted, the recipe calls for 2 rises and with several different components it takes a bit of time to complete, but it also makes three loaves and they freeze beautifully. Eat one, store the other two in the freezer, and you'll have something perfect to bring to a potluck or housewarming at a moment's notice. ( )
  agirlnamedfury | Mar 30, 2013 |
some of the things I have tried and specifically recommend: chocolate cake and banana nut bread. ( )
  hwilcox | Nov 2, 2010 |
Is it odd that I like Martha more now that she's a convict? LOL

This is a beautiful book and an excellent compliment to my Williams Sonoma baking book. She has some wonderful recipes and gives great tips! ( )
  janeycanuck | Nov 12, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0307236722, Hardcover)

Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook presents the doyenne of the Better Way in tip-top form. Or rather, it offers the work of a dedicated team who, under Stewart's stewardship, has devised over 200 baking recipes for both savory and sweet treats, ranging from the traditional likes of buttermilk biscuits, gingersnaps, blueberry pie, bagels, and chocolate angel food cake, to the more novel pleasures of Sausage and Feta Hand Pies, Cherry Fragipane Gallete, Carrot-Ginger Cupcakes, and even the buttery-sugary to-die-for yeasted pastry called kouign amans. Also present and accounted-for are Stewartian showpieces like Mocha-Pistachio Wedding Cake.

The greatest virtue of the book, apart from the clarity of its recipes, lies in its organization: the chapters, which cover all baking stops, begin with relevant tips, followed by notes on equipment and techniques, all photo-illustrated. These set-ups supply context that maximizes the possibility of pleasurable, goof-free baking. Photo-illustrated how-to's in the formulas further the cause. A quibble is the absence in many of the recipe headnotes of descriptive material about the baked good they introduce--it's important to provide info on techniques and ingredients, as the headnotes do, but baking recipes in particular cry out for descriptions of what, for example, sfogliatelle (an Italian pastry), or lime-glazed cookies are. This said, the book is immensely appealing and will excite as well as instruct a wide range of bakers, from the would-be to the accomplished. --Arthur Boehm

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:08 -0400)

"A culinary compendium packed with more than 200 foolproof recipes for the best baked goods, Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook takes readers by the hand and guides them through the process of creating an irresistible variety of cakes, cookies, pies, tarts, breads, and much more." "This essential addition to every cook's library is rich with tips, techniques, and the mouthwatering recipes for which Martha Stewart is so well known. Covering a delectable array of topics from simple to sophisticated, including biscuits, muffins, scones, cookies, layer cakes, specialty cakes, sweet and savory pies and tarts, and pastries and breads, she provides a dazzlingly delicious yet crystal-clear, vividly illustrated repertoire of recipes. There are cakes that are elegant enough for formal occasions, such as showers, weddings, and dinner parties, and basic favorites meant to be enjoyed every day and then passed down through the generations. Every chapter includes indispensable visual equipment glossaries and features vital make-ahead information and storage techniques. Organized for maximum clarity and practicality, the handbook also offers step-by-step how to photographs that demystify even the most complex and nuanced techniques. These culinary building blocks will turn good bakers into great bakers, and make great bakers even better."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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