Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine Baking Cookbook Review

Better Homes and Garden's Old-Fashioned Baking
Meredith Corporation 1995
ISBN 0-696-20419-3

This week's cookbook was chosen because Valentine's Day is tomorrow. I assumed that a baking book would have lots of "goodies" to choose from. I usually make the guys a special dessert for my Valentine offering. When I say, "goodies" you should know that I always mean Chocolate!
As a source for chocolate baking recipes, this cookbook fell short. I thought with a title like "Old-Fashioned Baking" I'd be knee-deep in recipes for chocolate fudge cake and several ways to make brownies even more fattening by additions of extra chocolate! Imagine my surprise when I found: Apricot Tea Cookies; Orange Custard and Coconut Bread Pudding. I had to hunt for the one recipe for brownies, and the one recipe for chocolate cake. They both started out with Buttermilk in their titles. I don't mind buttermilk, but not everyone's a fan of it and that's the only recipe offered.
Although short on chocolate recipes, (why even light the oven?!) this book has a variety of baking options. The chapters are broken down as follows: Breads; Baked Desserts; Cookies and Crackers; Cakes and Frostings and Pies and Pastries. I didn't see an abundance of baking recipes that would suit my family's tastes, but maybe you would.
Our sample recipe is from page 41 and sounds like a great cookie.

P. 41 Peanut Butter Cup Chocolate Cookies

1/2 C shortening
1/2 C margarine or butter
2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C packed brown sugar
2 squares (2 oz.) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
2 C coarsely chopped chocolate-covered peanut butter cups

-In a large mixing bowl beat the shortening and margarine or butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or tll softened.
-Add about half the flour to the shortening mixture. Add sugar, brown sugar, unsweetened chocolate, eggs, baking soda and vanilla. Beat till thoroughly combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat or stir in the remaining flour. Stir in chopped peanut butter cups.
-Drop dough from a rounded TBSP 2 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or till tops look dry. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Then remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack. Makes about 30.

Here's wishing everyone a big- bowl-licking- chocolate- kinda-Happy Valentine's Day!

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