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I have tried several of the recipes from this book and I have liked or loved all of them but the bake times can be very questionable. I love the pie crusts but baking a pate sucree for 30-35 min is ridiculous and it would have burned. I baked it for about half that and it was perfect. I have been baking and cooking for years and knew that was not correct but if you don’t have that experience, you will end up throwing food in the trash because it is burned.
When I flipped through this book, I pretty much immediately wanted to bake everything in it. Beautiful photographs, great descriptions, and easy to follow instructions make this a very nice book. It even includes some non-baked items, like ice cream, that I'm excited to try. I've only tried a few recipes, but I was pleasantly surprised that they were relatively easy to bake. A lot of the best baking cookbooks I have include recipes that are really time consuming and require a million different dishes to make, but these were pretty simple yet still very tasty.
One of the most engaging cookbooks written in years, Ms Chang's book actually made me want to bake her recipes. She wrote the book with neophytes in mind, with attention to detail that is a pleasure. Using the brioche dough recipe as a base, we made 2 recipes, the "brioche au chocolat" (rectangles filled with vanilla pastry cream and dark chocolate) and the sticky buns (love that simple yet fabulous "goo"). Everyone loved them. Also made the "classic currant scones" which had a wonderful texture (also filled them with chocolate chips/shavings). I personally found a taste of too much baking soda or powder in the scone, but when comparing her proportions to other recipes (such as those from Sarabeth's Bakery or The Clinton Street Bakery or Cook's Illustrated) she actually uses quite a bit less than usual, so the next time I made them I reduced the quantity of both the baking soda and baking powder by 1/8 teaspoon and was much happier with the result. She uses creme fraiche (home-made) as well as buttermilk in the scone recipe so the resulting scone still has body but the right amount of lightness. One of the best scone recipes I've made so far. Also tried her "buttermilk biscuits with parsley and sage" for Thanksgiving dinner (I shortcut the recipe by using the food processor to pulse the butter into the flour to make 2 quick batches) and everyone loved them ( but with my experience with the scones, I reduced the baking soda and baking powder by 1/8 tsp each, and reduced the salt to under 1 tsp and was very happy...using 1 1/4 tsp of salt instead of the called for 1 1/2 tsp of salt was too salty for my taste). Very highly recommended this book, and its become my new go-to baking book for fun tasty recipes.
I enjoyed looking through this cookbook for the first time and marked numerous recipes to try. I made the lemon ginger scones. The scone was light and flaky with a pleasant ginger taste that was not overpowering. However, watch your oven...mine baked in 13 minutes, not the 40 minutes stated in the recipe! I too, wish more photos accompanied the recipes. Overall, I think anyone will be pleased with this purchase.
Update: I tried the homemade pop-tart recipe. These turned out excellent! I enjoyed the pastry dough and the recipe was easy to follow. I do suggest cutting down the jam filling for the raspberry version to 1 TBS instead of 2 due to leakage. The chocolate filling was my favorite. I did need to reduce the baking time.
I just got this cookbook a couple days ago and have tried two different recipes. Both came out fantastic, I made the New Old Fashioned Coffee Cake and the Chocolate Cupcakes with Crispy Magic Frosting. My only issue which was why I gave it 4 rather than 5 stars is that the time was way off on both recipes. The cake needed less than an hour, but the recipe calls for an hour and 10 minutes. The cupcake recipe specifies 30 minutes, and sounded too long for cupcakes so I left them in for 22. But really could have taken them out at 20. So while the recipes were very good, I think you need a knowledge of baking to guess the times because they're just way off.
Love how exact her instructions are. The multigrain bread has become an essential in our household. Tried the bran and blueberry muffins and the lemon pound cake. Taste like something only available in a bakery.
The book is ok, but most recipes are missing pictures, I wish the book had more since I always like seeing the final product before starting to bake. Also, I bought "The Sono Baking Company" book a couple of weeks ago and it seems the recipes are more or less the same in both books, guess I should have thought bakerys would sell very similar products. Other than that, all recipes are well explained, and the author has taken it's time to share lots of tips and tricks, so if you are new to baking this book will give you lots of advice.
Edit 26/11 - just tried the lemon-poppy seed pound cake (picture shown above) and it's delicious ! Hope all recipes turn out just as good.
Love the way she writes. She tells her story along with the recipes in this book. I do a lot of baking and have many cookbooks. This will become one of my favorites. She gives step-by-step instructions that are very clear. Even beginning bakers could make these recipes.