The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook: Sweetness in Seattle Hardcover – Oct 23 2012
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James Beard Foundation Book Award Nominee for Baking & Desserts (No Source)
“I can’t go to Seattle without dropping in at chef-restaurateur Tom Douglas’s Dahlia Bakery for some of his sweet or savory pies, cookies, and tarts. Being able to make his peerless Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookie at home saves me the trip.” (Martha Stewart Living)
“Warning: The combination of mouthwatering photos and evocative prose in this book may induce a baking frenzy. Beloved Seattle chef Tom Douglas takes unabashed pleasure in food, and when he describes something he adores-such as the sticky, gooey maple éclair . . . you’ll find yourself desperately craving it, too.” (Fine Cooking)
“Dahlia Bakery welcomes jaded bakers back to the oven the old-fashioned way: with muffins and scones and cupcakes and pastries.” (NPR)
“In The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook, Tom Douglas has created the volume every cook should have on baking. It¹s useful not only because it compiles the recipes that have delighted Seattle residents for years (my parents included) but also because of the colorful prose and resource guides. It will occupy a prominent shelf in my kitchen. ” (Mario Batali)
“Chef Tom Douglas of Seattle’s Dahlia Bakery has amassed a devoted following, and for good reason; the man clearly knows what he’s doing. . . . More than just a collection of recipes. . . . One look through the book and you’ll be converted, too.” (Serious Eats)
From the Back Cover
Want to fry up the doughnuts with cinnamon sugar and mascarpone that Food Network star Giada De Laurentiis called the "best thing I ever ate"? Are you pining for the peanut butter sandwich cookie recipe that legendary writer Nora Ephron proclaimed "the greatest cookie ever ever ever"? Do you long to dazzle friends with the triple coconut cream pie that New York food writer and Serious Eats founder Ed Levine called "one of the best pies in the country"? Or do you just want to get your hands on the crazy-rich, streusel-topped monkey bread with caramel dipping sauce that has people lining up outside the Dahlia Bakery's door? Now, those sweet dreams can come true, thanks to The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook.
Seattle's most popular chef and James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur Award winner Tom Douglas shares his secrets for 125 scrumptious treats. Here, you will find chef-tested recipes for breakfasts, pastries, tarts, pies, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, puddings, ice creams, sandwiches, and jams that are guaranteed to work in the home kitchen, including:
In addition to these unique bakery treats, Tom offers savory variations on beloved classics, such as Eggs Benedict with Scallion Hollandaise and Breakfast Sandwiches, both using Dahlia Bakery's famous English Muffins. Filled with informative sidebars, technique tips, and equipment advice—and illustrated with tempting photographs and stories that capture the flavors of Seattle—The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook is sure to please fans of all skill levels and tastes.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
So far I have made the following:
Malted Buttermilk Biscuts - Fantastic! A gold standard I will be making many more times.
Chocolate Truffle Cookies - Fantastic! Expensive with all the chocolate in them (look for bittersweet, it makes a difference) but well worth the effort and cost.
Peanut butter cookies - were more work as they are sandwich cookies but fun overall to make. They were very good but a bit greasy. I would put less butter in the cookie batter portion next time.
Old Fashioned Molasses cookies - Wonderful! Very tasty. I used cooking Molasses rather than fancy as that is what I had. The book does not state what kind to use.
All American Chocolate Chunk Cookies - Meh. My only dissapointment. I found them too sweet and would prefer to skip the milk chocolate next time. I bought good chocolate too and was quite dissapointed in these. They are just "OK".
So far I have a few new items I will be making many more times so am happy with the purchase already. Now, on to the tarts!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
What I have made has been mostly wonderful as well as some good to fair and one failure. Sweet items: Out of the two biscuit recipes, serious biscuits won over malted buttermilk biscuits. Both of the pumpkin pie recipes are superb and quite different from each other. (Note: I used Prueitt's Tartine Fruit Galette pastry dough.) Definitely make both for the Thanksgiving meal along with Chang's Flour pumpkin pie. For the sugar creme pumpkin pie, I used 217 g (not 134 g) of brown sugar because that is a more common conversion for 1 cup of packed brown sugar. (Note: Shelley Lance, the co-author, wrote me that the recipe should have read 3/4 cup /150 grams of packed brown sugar.) The blueberry muffins were fair. The rice pudding was good. The English muffins turned out well; but, as with all bread recipes, one needs to understand if extra flour is needed while still keeping a wet dough. When I made the English muffins, I needed to add more flour and the muffins still had a light and airy crumb. In reviewing the flour to water ratio, it appears that more flour is needed. The old-fashioned molasses cookies were the only failure: perhaps, because the weight of the molasses should have been about 80 g not 99 g and the flour should have been 280 g not 255 g. Savory items: Tomato soup was the best I have ever tasted, even though I forgot the garlic and substituted ajwain seed for the celery seed. Roasted carrot, leek, and goat cheese hand pies were fantastic, although substituted pastry flour and a small amount of spelt flour for whole wheat flour. Also, I would recommend making smaller pies.
Now, the reason I downgraded the cookbook. The volume and weight equivalents are wildly inconsistent from recipe to recipe, e.g. devil's food cupcake lists 1 ½ c (184 g) vs double chocolate layer cake 1 ½ c ( 230 g). In this example, the gram equivalent for 1 ½ cups flour varies by 25%. For cakes, 25% means the difference between a great crumb and a lousy crumb. Thus, I am very hesitant to make any of the cakes or cupcakes. Some small percentage point difference is inevitable if one always uses the same measuring cups and always uses the same method of volume measurement. Such large variation leads to the conclusion that different measuring methods were used. Otherwise, why such huge fluctuations in conversions? Unfortunately, this cookbook is riddled with these errors. (According to Ms. Lance, the Dahlia bakers bake by weight not volume. But for the cookbook, they developed and tested the recipes by first measuring by cups, then weighing the amount. (See p. 10) My conclusion: Because they are not accustomed to volume method, they unknowingly used different measuring methods.)
I do have another of their cookbooks and have had success with both the savory and sweet recipes. And, Dahlia's butterscotch pie in Haedrich's Pie cookbook is fantastic.
So, will I keep trying other recipes? You bet. But with the motto, baker beware of measurements!
Update: 12 December 2012
Made the "hot buttered rum" apple pie. The introduction was right. The 2 hours to bake the pie ensured a flaky crust. Be forewarned that it has a strong bold rum flavor. In fact, the apple flavor (I used pippin apples) seemed to get lost. My preference would be either the apple pie from Daley's In the Sweet Kitchen, or from Chang's Flour.
Update: 21 December 2012
Warning: Made the buttery cupcakes today for a friend's birthday. As always, used the weight measurements, even though the weight for the sugar seemed to be 50% more than it should have been for 1 cup (stated 300g instead of the usual 200g). Also, noticed that weight of the sugar was a lot more than the cake flour, 1.4:1. Usually the ratio is close to 1:1 for cake. Against my better judgement, made the cupcakes with the stated weights. Final result was that the cupcakes were much, much, too sweet.
Afterwards, compared the buttery layer cake recipe to the buttery cupcake recipe and noticed that in the cupcake recipe, flour and butter ingredients were 75% of cake recipe. Unfortunately, this was not true for sugar. The cake recipe called for 1 ½ cups (10 ounces/300 grams) sugar, while the cupcake recipe called for 1 cup (10 ounces/300 grams) sugar. It seems that the sugar volume was reduced appropriately but weight was not. If the cupcake sugar were reduced to 200 grams, then the flour to sugar ratio would be close to 1:1 and would probably have tasted much better. I wished I had compared the two recipes before I made the cupcakes. This is definitely an editing mistake that should have been caught.
That having been said, I would rather recommend Yellow Butter Cupcake recipe from R. Beranbaum in Heavenly Cakes for the following reasons: Beranbaum recipe is quicker to make, the cupcake has a wonderful crumb, the recipe for both volume and weight has been thoroughly tested, and the cupcake flavor is great.
Update: 23 December 2012
Until there is an errata sheet, here is my recommended flour adjustment, based on a second baking experience, for the English muffin recipe, keeping all other ingredient measurements the same as stated in the cookbook. To make a wet but usable bread dough, use an additional 110-120 grams (approximately 3/4+ cup depending on your measuring cup and measuring method) of bread flour. I also substituted the cooled potato cooking water for the water, and used a dough hook instead of a paddle. And if using instant dry yeast, remember to use less than for active dry yeast. Each English muffin takes about 94 grams of dough. When covering the dough on the baking tray, I sprinkled rice flour on each muffin to ensure that the cloth would not stick to the dough. This is a common procedure in making bread. Rice flour can be found in Asian, Middle Eastern, and natural food grocery stores. The muffins can be baked on silpat.
Another English muffin recipe is in Dunaway's No Need to Knead. It has been years since I have made them, but remember enjoying them. The one difference that I recall is that the muffins are not baked, but cooked on the stove.
Jan 1 2013
Is it really a review if people here give it 5 stars but have baked nothing from the book and its recipes???? My pie experience is as follows........
In the book it states that they use glass pie dishes for all pies except the double crust apple.....then goes on to show the coconut pie being made in a metal pie pan. The part that most buyers of the book will not see (mine is the electronic IBook version with video of actual preparation)
the recipe for the coconut custard is wrong...with the coconut and butter actually being added AFTER bringing the milk (and the egg mixture) to a full boil not "almost to a boil" as the book states and not adding the coconut at the beginning. I failed to look at the video prior to making the pie and the custard failed to set completely.Did they test these recipes that were scaled down for home use...where was the editor or proof reader? If the pictures and video don't match the text...we have a problem.
The muffins and the pie are two products that all the 5 star reviewers clamor about...but if in fact they don't work....what then is the value of the book beside being a nice looking coffee table decoration?
I couldn't give it five stars, however, because of the inconsistencies that other reviewers point out (1 1/2 c. cake flour in the devil's food cupcake recipe is equated to 184 gr, while in the recipe on the following page for buttery cupcakes, 1 1/2 c. cake flour is equated to 215 gr). Should you measure your ingredients in cups or grams, which is the correct amount?!
(As a native Seattleite, I was also a bit off-put to see that for #5| of the "top ten Seattle experiences for baking buffs" it is recommended to take a bus to Ballard to check out the factory and shop for Theo's Chocolate. Theo's is not in Ballard. It is in Fremont.)
Here are the recipes I've tried so far....
Hazelnut Whole Wheat Scones with Maple Glaze - turned out flawless and totally delicious
Banana Chocolate Chunk Walnut Loaf - fantastic
Chocolate Chunk Cookie - great and easy
Cranberry Apricot Oatmeal Cookies - the spicing in these cookies is unique and SO delicious - included these in cookie trays I gave away last Christmas, and everyone commented on them
Chocolate Truffle Cookie - good, although not special enough for me to make again
"Prizewinning" pecan brownies - actually a little dry. Maybe the inconsistencies in flour measurements played a role here?
Flaky But Tender Dough / Rhubarb Crostatas - served at a dinner party, they were a show stopper. Great. Perfect really.
Pear Tarts with Dreamy Caramel Sauce - followed the shortcut instructions (storebought puff pastry and high quality storebought caramel sauce) - served at a dinner party and it was great - impressed everyone without being a ridiculous amount of work
All Butter Pastry Dough / Garrett's Chocolate Tart - dough is excellent. the tart is actually a little too rich for my tastes (and I usually love rich desserts). It's recommended to serve with whipped cream, that would help cut the rich caramel, so if you served just a sliver of the pie plus whipped cream or ice cream, I think it would work.
Chocolate Honey Glaze - so rich and delicious! Recipe makes more than is needed for either Garrett's Tart or the Chocolate Heatland Bundt Cake
Chocolate Heartland Bundt Cake - SO delicious, and very moist. Keeps well for a few days. My son and his friends loved it so much that my son asked for it for his birthday cake. Very, very good. For the flour, I used the measuring cup measurements, not weight. This uses vegetable shortening - I used Crisco - so I felt rather guilty and wouldn't make it often, but it's a great treat.
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream - again, totally fantastic ice cream, I served it with the rhubarb crostatas for dinner guests and they commented how delicious it was. But then again, it contains 8 egg yolks - so it's definitely not an ice cream recipe that I will make regularly.
The best chocolates to use, including percentage of cacao solids. How to make vanilla sugar using vanilla beans. Included is what brands are favorites of this very well known baker, like what brand of flour they use and why, what sizes of pans they use, tips for extra equipment and the use of each piece of equipment, this helps the cook decide what they need and don't need for their own foods they want to make.
Some of the recipes are very involved, some are very easy, and most hit the middle road.
Included is the famous Dahlia english muffin recipe, or if you don't want to make your own english muffins there are several mouth-watering recipes for sandwich fillings that could be used on purcahsed english muffins, or any bread you love.
For someone (not me) that wants to take the time there is a Basic Brioche Dough for Doughnuts recipe with variations that are going to prove to be light, and have a sumptious texture , there are recipes included to use as toppings or fillings, like cinnamon sugar, mascarpone, and jam. Yummy. The amazing brioche dough can be used to make monkey bread ( my style, easier) and a dreamy caramel sauce to dip your warm monkey bread in.
There is a plethora of muffin, scone,buscuit, coffe cake ,quick breads and more that are not your mothers recipes, I can't wait to try some of these like the carrot muffins with brown butter and currants . Cookie recipes that look better than any cookie recipes I have ever seen - Toasted Pine Nut Amaretti!!!!! plug in the espresso machine.
Pies::: Including the amazing Dahilia Triple Coconut Cream Pie recipe and 21 more pies, rustic pies, and crisps.Pasrty tarts and apple dumplings, Tangy lemon curd,chocolate caramel pecan tart. Cake and cupcake recipes that promise the super chocolaty, perfect moisture and texture, amazing fresh fruit garnishes to add to the incredible cakes if you want to go the extra step,like brachetto cherries with fresh lime ,using fresh cherries, sugar,the brachetto sparkling red wine, fresh lime juice and zest. Wow! An entire chapter dedicated to puddings, pastry creams, and eclairs, which are unbelievably easy to make .For the eclairs ther is a maple cream filling with maple sugar glaze,a lemon curd filling ( I am making this one first!!!). A chapter for homemade ice cream and ice cream sandwiches. A chapter with a really rich, smooth, creamy tomato soup and various Grilled cheese sandwich recipes,and a recipe for grilled cheese croutons for tomato soup and basil pesto recipe to add to your favorite cheese for a mouthful of delicious. Another chapter includes jams and jellies that are of the refrigerator type so no canning involved, blueberry jam, peach-vanilla jam, and orange marmalade to name several. For the few hard to find ingredients, and there are not many, the author has included sources to purchase these items on line.
This book is a feast for the eyes, can be used by someone who has never picked up a whisk or a cookie sheet, is of great value simply for the tips that will make any skill level baker a better baker, includes very usable recipes for all kinds of food that hold the promise of making any of us look like pros, it is all here ,quality bakers recipes, intense,satisfying flavor combos.great use of fresh fruits that let the fruit shine through. It is as close as going to Dahlia cooking classess as you can get. I just cannot say enough good things about this gift of some of the best bakery food recipes out there. It is a rare thing to find a cookbook that actually delivers the best of techniques, tips, and foods to die for.You will find enough in the Dahlia book to deliver top notch foods for years to come. Comfort foods that you want to eat, the indugences that you dream of for that special day with special people or just for curling up with your favorite beverage on a day when you need some pampering just for you.
I LOVE that the recipes put in the grams/ ounces. I have a kitchen scale and when I'm adding ingredients to a bowl, I'd rather use the scale than measuring cups- it's easier. I also liked that the recipe told me how to bring eggs and butter to room temp. It might be silly, but this was the first recipe I have ever read that said let the pan cool on a wire rack before using a spatula to take the cookies off. It worked so much better! I always thought I was supposed to immediately remove the cookies to a wire rack or they would burn, but taking them off the pan too soon can mess them up!
It took me awhile to figure out why I should only put 6 cookies on such a large baking sheet. Two and a half ounces sounds like such a small amount and I have a mini (ice cream type) scoop for making regular size cookies. When the book suggested I weigh it to get a reference for how full the scoop should be... I figured it out! It took 3 of my mini-scoops to make this size cookie. These are big cookies. They came out delicious and they looked just like the photo in the book.
The next recipe I tried was the Dahlia Triple Coconut Cream Pie. This recipe has a lot of steps and I have never made pastry cream before. But I carefully followed it step by step and it turned out beautifully. The filling is soft and creamy with such a nice coconut flavor. I couldn't find the large chip coconut for the garnish at my supermarket, but the book suggests a place to buy it online so that's what I did. The problem is, my three daughters liked this pie so much they are pestering me to make it again.
The photos are gorgeous and the writing is fun to read; it makes me want to get into my kitchen and bake! I may do the granola next because it would be fun to make our own instead of buying it at the store and I think this recipe is simple enough for my youngest daughter to try.
I like these recipes not only because I can follow them, but because I learn something every time!