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The Essential Baker

the essential baker

While I like single-subject baking books – cupcakes, cookies, breads – for the amount of detail and the number of variations on a theme they inevitably offer, comprehensive/compilation cookbooks are often far more interesting. These cookbooks give you a chance to step out of your comfort zone and try something new, tempting you with a picture or a description of a dish you might not ... Read More »

S’more Cookie Bars

s'more bar cookies

It just wouldn’t be right to celebrate National S’mores Day without making a couple of s’mores – or at least using the concept of the s’more as a jumping off point for something equally delicious. This bar cookie is a variation on the classic s’more. Instead of sandwiching marshmallow and chocolate in between two graham crackers, or even between two cookies, the fillings are baked ... Read More »

National S’mores Day and the history of s’mores

peep s'more, small

August 10th (today!) is National S’mores Day. I’m still not entirely sure who comes up with these days, but I will say that this is one I am more than happy to celebrate. With crispy graham crackers, gooey marshmallows and melty chocolate, what is there not to love about a s’more? S’mores originated around the turn of the 20th century, right arond the time that┬ácommercial ... Read More »

Dark Chocolate Pretzel Bites

pretzel bites

As much as I love soft pretzels, their crunchy counterparts are difficult to resist – especially when they’re covered in chocolate. The contrast of the salt topping a pretzel and the sweet bitterness of chocolate (or just sweetness, if you’re indulging in a milk chocolate pretzel) is wonderful. It is also now widely utilized by all kinds of chocolatiers, pastry chefs and home bakers looking ... Read More »

Sandcastle Cakes for summer

mini castles

I can’t remember the last time that I went to the beach and built a sandcastle. I suspect that it has been years. But it’s not due to the fact that I don’t like sandcastles. In fact, sandcastles hold a lot of the same fantasy appeal for adults that they do for kids, which is probably what led to the design of this Sandcastle Cakelet ... Read More »

Waldorf Coleslaw

Coleslaw seems to make a lot of appearances during the summer months. Despite the fact that it needs to be refrigerated (due to the presence of mayonnaise), it is pretty much a staple of every picnic, potluck and bbq when the weather is hot. Its popularity mystified me for many years since I hated the stuff. One day, however, I stumbled upon a coleslaw that ... Read More »

Convenience food doesn’t always save time

The lure of convenience foods – frozen lasagna, bagged salad, heat-and-serve desserts – is the idea that they are big time savers. You can get a lot out of them with minimal effort, while making lasagna and pie from scratch could take quite some time. But there is a catch to the time-saving abilities of convenience food and that is the fact that people don’t ... Read More »

Pre-measured baking liners

silicone liners

I almost always use either parchment paper or a nonstick silicone silpat to line my baking sheets. It’s a snap to pull off a sheet and lay it on the pan, and it always saves me time on cleanup on top of preventing cookies, etc. from sticking. When it comes to other pans – loaf pans, cake pans, pie plates – I don’t always bother ... Read More »

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