This book has a really nice selection of treats to choose from. There are, as others have pointed out some errors in weights that I have bumped into as well. Typically you can identify these by comparing the cup measurement with the weight and seeing if they are out of whack.
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!
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160 of 177 people found the following review helpful
Want to recommend this book without hesitation, but ...Dec 8 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
A lovely book with many tasty recipes (see below for the ones tested), great photography, easy to follow instructions, good fonts with plenty of white space, ingredients listed by both volume (cups) and weight (ounces and grams), and nice variety of sweet along with some savory recipes.
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.
53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Questionable English Muffin and Coconut pie recipe?Dec 19 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
I purchased this book mainly for the English Muffin recipe. With all the raves from the bakery clientle I knew I needed to buy this.It is the electronic version for ipad that I got and it is quite nice. I have a mountain of both books and experience in all facets of baking with bread making being my strongest point. I live by the rule that if a book exposes me to just one great recipe....it is worth every penny. The muffin recipe is suspect and the only one tried so far.(3x) The hydration level is close to 86%(not including the moisture from the other ingredients),which for those with experience know,makes for a very challenging effort. Ciabatta is around 80 and good artisan pizza dough 79 so 86 is off the charts.I know I can add more flour and tighten things up to a workable dough but if the recipe itself is the main reason I purchased the book that really doesn't make a lot of sense.Hopefully I can still glean one perfect recipe from this book to validate the purchase to myself.
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?
49 of 62 people found the following review helpful
125 of some of the best flavors, textures, taste combos, and comfort foods you can find on the market today, in 1 great bookOct. 28 2012
- Published on Amazon.com
Besides the amazing recipes in this book , I was really excited about how the authors explain every technique you need to succeed with the many mouth-watering foods. One could be a complete novice and if the techniques and directions are followed succcess is insured. There are a lot of small techniques that make a huge difference in the quality of the finished product these are a gift not often included in cookbooks to everyone from the brand new baker to the seasoned cook. Included are essintial and invalualbe baking tips as follows: about weighing ingerdients, why weighing is better than measuring, why are some ingredients required to be brought to room temperature before using , what is the best way to chop,shave,and make chocolate curls, how to toast nuts and how long and at what oven temp,for different types of nuts, the proper way to fold in ingredients, and more, and more, and more. In addition tips and techniques are included with the recipes if it is unique to making the end result the best of the best for that particuar recipe. 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.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A beautiful baking book and you learn something every timeFeb. 17 2013
- Published on Amazon.com
I received this book as gift. Then bought several more for friends! It's been a pleasure to bake from it. I made the All American Chocolate Chunk cookies first. Most cookbook authors don't seem to anticipate my questions like this one does! Like where to find chocolate chunks and the difference between measuring kosher and regular salt. Also I never thought about brown sugar being moist in a bag and drier in a box... it would make a difference! 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!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Great, but needs a second edition/errata sheet to correct measurement mistakesJan. 29 2014
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I have eaten in several Tom Douglas restaurants, and was totally excited to get this cookbook so that I could recreate some of his desserts now that I live far away from Seattle. Everything I have made so far has been delicious (details below). Many of the recipes are a lot of work, but that is the only way to get results like the bakery. There are also plenty of easier recipes that make the cookbook worthwhile even if you don't have time for the complicated recipes, like cookies and cupcakes, if you don't have a few hours to spend baking. For the complicated recipes, instructions are detailed, and there are lots of tips (like how to caramelize sugar, how to toast nuts, etc) so that you get each step right, even if you're a beginner.
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.