A Baker’s Odyssey

A Baker's Odyssey

There are two main ways to learn how to bake. One way is to teach yourself, working with recipes as guidelines, and one is to have a teacher to demonstrate the techniques involved to you. No one learns exclusively with one method or the other, so it’s not surprising that any time the two come together – descriptive recipes and experienced teachers – we get ... Read More »

Nectarine Turnovers

Nectarine Turnovers

Turnovers are defined as small squares or circles of pastry dough that are filled with a sweet or savory filling, folded in half and pinched to seal, and then either baked or deep fried before serving. I guess I’m a bit narrow-minded when it comes to these pastries because, despite how broad the definition is, I can’t help but think of them as fruit-filled, single ... Read More »

Whipped or light butter in baking

whipped butters

When it comes to recipes, it is usually best to match the ingredient list as closely as possible. Use large eggs, when a recipe calls for them. Use buttermilk, rather than a substitute if you can. You’ll usually get the best flavor and the most accurate results this way. The biggest temptation – these days, it seems – is to substitute lower fat ingredients in ... Read More »

Pie Festival and Pillsbury, April Baking Contests

April must be a good month for baking. I’m not just saying that because we stay indoors more during spring rains, but because there are an awful lot of baking contests going on this month. The World Cup of Baking just took place in France and here in the US, we’re about to see the 2008 Great American Pie Festival and the 43rd Pillsbury Bake-Off. ... Read More »

France wins World Cup of Baking


This week, the world has seen a showcase of some of the best bakers at the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie – a.k.a. the World Cup of Baking. The international event is held every three years at Europain, a massive bakery, patisserie and catering convention in Paris. Artisan bakers – teams of three from 12 different countries – compete in small bakeries specially set ... Read More »

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Chocolate and peanut butter have an interesting relationship. The flavors pair well together in just about every application you can think of, from candies and cookies to the simple, decadent late-night-snack of peanut butter and chocolate sandwiches. The interesting thing is how delicate the balance between chocolate and peanut butter really is. It’s easy to use a too-sweet milk chocolate and make sugar the overly ... Read More »

Bites from other Blogs

101 Cookbooks posted a very tempting picture of some fudgy, rich, melt-in-your-mouth brownies. But these aren’t just any brownies. These are Amazing Black Bean Brownies, flourless brownies that are made with all-natural ingredients and sweetened with agave syrup instead of refined sugar. There’s still a lot of butter in the brownies, though this recipe definitely offers a little bit of a healthy twist on a ... Read More »

In Season Spring Fruits

I’m incredibly lucky to live in California, a state that not only produces fantastic produce, but does so year-round. As a result, you might think that I don’t pay too much attention to what is in season and what isn’t simply because so much is available. But I do. Despite the availability of decent strawberries in December, for instance, nothing beats fresh fruits and veggies ... Read More »

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