113 von 121 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
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`The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion' by King Arthur staff bakers and recipe testers, with a major assist from Laura Brody and the usual platoon of editors and designers from W. W. Norton and The Courtryman Press of Woodstock, Vermont is certainly the very best general purpose cookie book I have reviewed to date. I say this with the important caveat that I have yet to review major cookie books by baking heavyweights Nick Malgieri, Maida Heatter, and Carol Walter.
It is important to say that the value of the book is not based on its exhaustive coverage of cookie recipes, although in over 500 pages, the book certainly covers all but a few corners of the far flung land of cookie baking. While it does leave out some important recipes, such as the famous thin Moravian ginger cookies of North Carolina, its real value is in its meticulous description of all those factors that influence great cookie baking.
While a lot of cookie baking is a lot more forgiving than, say, pastry or biscuits or cheesecake, it is still baking, which means that a change in ingredients which would mean nothing to a sautee or a braise will mean the difference between a great cookie and a disappointment. The clearest example of this sensitivity is in the selection of shortening, where the major choices are butter, lard, margarine, or vegetable shortenings such as Crisco. Each option has a significant effect on taste and the degree that a drop cookie will rise or spread. And, that's before you even take nutritional aspects into account with tradeoffs between the saturated fats of butter and the transfats of margarine. Add in the effects of different sugars and different flours and you start to wonder how a cookie ever manages to get made. Oddly enough, the most complicated ingredient, the egg, seems to be the least finicky. All you do is be sure you use large eggs and bring them to room temperature before mixing them into other ingredients.
The fact is, as long as you are good at following directions, you have in this book a terrific collection of recipes for an incredibly modest list price of less than $30 which I am virtually certain will work for you every time. I repeat, this assumes you follow directions and don't do any substituting unless you really know what you are doing.
A perfect example of how this book can improve your cookie baking is the case of my favorite Snickerdoodle recipe from Nancy Baggett's `The All American Cookie Book'. I have been quite pleased with my results from this recipe ever since it became my standard, except that I would like them to spread out a bit less. Nancy's recipe calls for all butter and I happen to be using White Lily flour, which is relatively low in protein (a great pie crust flour, to be sure). It turns out that butter, low protein flour, and high sugar content all contribute to spreading, not to mention dropping the cookie dough onto a warm sheet. And here I thought it was all due to the corn syrup in Nancy's recipe.
My most interesting items in this book are where the authors disagree with statements in super baker Rose Levy Beranbaum's Christmas Cookie book. One is where King Arthur warns against using oil sprays containing lecithin (an emulsifier found in eggs) while Ms. Beranbaum recommends them. Also, King Arthur warns that while you can rework leftovers from cookie cutout margins, the cutouts from reworked dough will be a bit tougher than the originals. Miss Rose suggests there is no problem with reworking cookie dough. Last, Beranbaum warns against using sheets with high edges (such as jellyroll pans) to bake cookies, as this will inhibit cookie browning. King Arthur gives no such warning and recommends jellyroll pans along with no sided or low sided cookie sheets. On these issues, I give King Author two out of three, as I believe I have seen Rose's adverse effect of high-sided pans on cookie baking.
After the exquisitely presented discussion of what makes cookies work, the best feature of this book is its organization of recipes by type, with all of the most important styles grouped into a chapter of `The Essentials'. These are your chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, oatmeal cookies, molasses cookies, peanut butter cookies, shortbread, Biscotti, brownies, and decorated cookies. While I suspect the book dedicated to chocolate chip cookies may do a better job of it, I have seen no better treatment of chocolate chip cookies than what you get here. Also, in the chapter on decorated cookies you get all the basics you need to make gingerbread houses. Ms. Beranbaum's Christmas Cookies book gives a much more elaborate presentation of the subject, but this is more than enough to get you started. The remaining cookie types, each with their own chapter are bars and squares (hermits); drop cookies (thumbprint cookies); roll-out cookies (classic spice cookies and cutouts); shaped cookies (molded cookies such as springerles); batter cookies (such as Madeleines); and no-bake cookies (rum balls).
The low price and the terrific coverage of all basic cookie types make this by far one of the best general-purpose cookie books. There are others which are very, very good and there are special subject books such as Beranbaum's Christmas cookie book which offer things not in this volume, but you simply cannot go wrong if you get this book and follow its advice carefully.
I thing this is a better cookie book than King Arthur's earlier `All Purpose Baking Book'. Very highly recommended.
33 von 33 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
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I am a professionally trained home baker and own over 250 baking books. I also have a set of 16 binders I made for various products and projects while in baking school in the early 2000s along with a ring set of master formulas and a laminated 'cheat sheet'so I can bake any product, anywhere. In fact, I am in the process of writing my own book for like-minded home bakers incorporating many of the tricks and techniques I learned in the fabulous States-side Cordon Bleu-based program I attended (a two year curriculum - now that's thorough!).
So, I didn't need this book, but I was looking for a cookie book to give as a gift for my daughter -- who is a scientist and bakes on the fly -- that would present the standard variety (and hopefully more) in an accurate and easy to follow manner. None of the books I had on my own shelves fit all my criteria, so I did a little exploring on Amazon and found this one. I liked what I read enough to buy a copy for myself, first and have now given it as a gift to many people. I am very happy with it.
Once you know the ratios for each baking product [after all, the same four basic ingredients make up 95% of all baking: flour (base), water/liquid ('reagent'), eggs (leavening), butter/oil (fat)] what matters are the details and particulates added along with the proportions. In culinary school students memorize these ratios so they know the difference between a pancake and a crepe, a biscuit and a muffin. The trained eye can also recognize incorrect 'recipes' and wrong proportions that mean many bookstore baking books are useless and lead to failed projects (this is not a problem in Europe where formulas are considered sacred and product names reflect a standardized version of any baked product - almost as controlled as wines and cheeses! It is more of a dilemma here in the US where anyone can publish a book and call him or herself an expert - thus the dizzying and confusing array of baking books on the market here and their cumbersome size. Recipe books in Europe are concise - a small picture, a bullet list of ingredients, a short paragraph of instruction, since most people know what goes into making a classic croissant, for example and don't need or want every author to repeat it). For that reason, when I peruse baking books, I skip the measurements and instructions and instead merely look for interesting flavors, particulates, embellishments, i.e., the creative and imaginative input of other minds. For the accurate formula for any product, I turn to professional resources.
Now, having said all of that - back to the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. This is a great start for home bakers who want accuracy and a thorough range of standard US cookies without being burdened with too much technical information or formulas (recipes) that take too long to prepare. Most people do not have any time to waste. For a professional version of this kind of baking, turn to Wayne Gisslen's two introductory culinary textbooks (baking and cooking) - they are well worth the investment. Short of Gisslen, this book fits the needs of any home baker.
I am particularly impressed by the amount of professional instruction and explanation that they have managed to include without its interfering with getting the project done. There are simply shaded sidebars throughout that give the kind of tips that elevate the amateur product to the professional and commercial level. For example, using Fiori di Sicilia - standard in commercial kitchens, the principle of docking, without which many products will simply fail (pizza principal among them!) and dough relaxers, among others of this genre.
As for the issue that someone raised about the book failing to discuss proper ingredient temperatures, I believe this was done within the descriptions and explanations of the individual products - perhaps not emphasized as much as would be ideal, but again, too much technical information can be offputting to people who are not meticulous. The important thing is to have formulas that work even when today's hurried home bakers are a bit careless. This book provides those kinds of recipes. But, for example, the concept of eggs brought to room temperature is dealt with on page 485. Softened butter is discussed on page 484. Some cookies doughs need to be chilled and that is addressed throughout the book. Cold butter and cold eggs can be a problem when incorporating hot liquids or other hot ingredients but for the most part these are not serious issues when making cookies (in contrast, cold ingredients are key to a successful pie dough, for example).
Do not expect spectacular imagination and decoration from this basic, accurate, how-to instruction reference. You can find all of that in thousands of ordinary cookie books, online, most of them through Amazon. I still buy them from time to time, myself, to stimulate my own creativity.
There are a handful of professional baking books that the serious baker should have (Amendola, Gisslen, etc.). I keep them in one spot on my cookbook shelves. The rest of my baking books are just for their imaginative details - they are inspirational but little more. The reason baking seems daunting is that it is grounded in math, chemistry and biology. The challenge of all that is they are a bit difficult to master at first, but the reward is, once understood and properly employed, a correct knowledge of baking science will mean perfect outcomes, every single time and the ability to make one or a thousand items with rather simple equipment and tools, anywhere you land.
If I had to throw away all my famous-name, home baking cookie books and keep just one, it would be King Arthur's.