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Cook's Illustrated Holiday Baking 2012

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This blog entry is a heads up on a great magazine supplement I picked up last week, that has some great baking recipes I plan to make using my Big Green Egg or my indoor oven. The Cook’s Illustrated Holiday Baking 2012 magazine supplement has just under 30 great baking recipes plus tips & tricks for making your baking easier, better or both. Many times these special edition magazine collections will have a few recipes I like, and these couple recipes alone make the purchase worthwhile. This edition has at LEAST a dozen recipes I am looking forward to making.

Before I list the recipes for you, let me take a minute to describe why I like all of their various spinoffs. For those of you who are unaware of Cook’s Illustrated, they are the brainchild of Christopher Kimball and include the America’s Test Kitchen & Cook’s Country TV shows on PBS, Cook’s Illustrated & Cook’s Country Magazines as well as various cookbooks and special magazine supplements such as this
Cook’s Illustrated Holiday Baking 2012. What I particularly like is they take a scientific approach to cooking. Cooking is equal parts Art and Science and I don’t think you can have one without the other. Cook’s Illustrated will explore the science of what makes things taste good. They will sometimes make over 100 versions of something, tweaking the ingredients to achieve the best flavor & testing the results with blind taste tests. There other goal is to try to modernize recipes by making them faster & healthier while maintaining the same great taste. The Cook’s Country TV show focusses more on classic recipes or recipes that have been lost over time. It seems like they focus a little less on the healthy aspects of the recipes. They will attempt to make it quicker or healthier, but they don’t seem to sweat it as much if they can’t make it totally healthy. When you make one of their recipes you know there is a good reason for every thing they do and the recipe has been thoroughly tested. Unlike many cookbooks which have errors or missteps ( see previous blog entry: A RECIPE FOR FAILURE) a recipe from the Cook’s Illustrated folks are as safe as money in the bank.

An other thing I like is before they write out the recipe, they will explain some of the steps and logic behind their final version of the recipe. When you use a recipe they’ve written for the grill, they will list instructions for making the recipes on the gas grill and the charcoal grill. The recipes in
Cook’s Illustrated Holiday Baking 2012 are all written for the indoor oven, but I plan to make many of them on the Big Green Egg. I’ve already made their HERMIT COOKIES recipe and it was a huge hit. One of the things that has happened over the years is the Hermits you buy are not as tasty and they have gotten softer & less crispy. These Hermits were the best I’ve ever eaten, the folks at Cook’s Illustrated worked on the recipe to get classic Hermits. Needless to say I am looking forward to making more of the recipes.

Here are the various recipes contained in the
Cook’s Illustrated Holiday Baking 2012 magazine supplement in their order of appearance:

Chocolate Torte, Revisited
Rescuing Oatmeal Scones
Hermit Cookies
Perfecting Spice Cake
Quicker Apple Strudel
Pumpkin Cheesecake
Easier Holiday Cookies
Eggnog Bundt Cake
Cloverleaf Dinner Rolls
Bringing Napoleons Home
Apple Slab Pie
Grand Marnier Souffle
Buttermilk Doughnuts
Tunnel of Fudge Cake
Perfecting Bread Pudding
Introducing Sable Cookies
Raspberry Mini Cheesecakes
Cranberry-Ginger Pear Pie
French Toast Casserole
Ultimate Banana Bread
Perfect Lemon Bars
How to Make Babas au Rhum
Nut Crescent Cookies
Dutch Baby Grows Up
Introducing Pumpkin Roulade
Easier Flaky Morning Buns
Southern Pecan Praline Pie
Pineapple Upside-Down Cake


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