Blog Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Maple Syrup Season 2016

Maple Syrup Season 2016



The Bakepedia Test Kitchen is in New England and this time of year brings us thoughts of everything maple syrup related. Even though we had an unusually warm winter, maple syrup season 2016 is on tap (get the joke?) to be one of the best ever. Apparently once the taps were in the trees the weather was really optimal. Burr Morse, owner of Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks in Montpelier, VT explained that ideal weather conditions for sugaring hover around daytime temperature in the 40s and nighttime temperatures in the 20s. He also said that having more winds from the west and north help the maple flow since “the sap flow has to do with atmospheric pressure, and the pressure inside the trees has to be better than outside.” The weather has been just so. Another producer in Bennington VT, Keith Armstrong, in the southern area of the state has said that this year “was the second-best season we ever had.”

Now, we love pure maple syrup on pancakes as much as the next person, but we also like baking and cooking with it. Here is our take on a gluten-free Browned Butter Maple Nut Bar. It is soft and a bit cake, with pure maple flavor and crunch from the nuts.

To learn more about Vermont maple syrup production, check out

The 50th Annual Vermont Maple Festival will be held April 22-24 in downtown St. Albans. For more information, please visit


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“A Fine Dessert” Celebrates Women & the History of Desserts

Celebrate Women’s History Month


March is National Women’s History Month and it is a perfect time to celebrate all the amazing recipes and baked goods that women have handed down and preserved through the centuries.

In A Fine Dessert, author Emily Jenkins takes us through four centuries following four different families and we watch how they make a special dessert and pass down the same recipe to the next generation. This was a task so often relegated to women and thankfully recipes have been taught, absorbed and passed on again and again so that legacies continue as so beautifully depicted in this book.

A perfect gift for very young children – an enjoyable for the adults reading aloud – A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treatis a joy and comes alive with illustrations by Sophie Blackall.

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Perfecting Pie Crust with Evan Kleiman at Craftsy

Craftsy Has a Fabulous Class on Pie Crust

crimping crust

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.

What is it about pie crust? The prospect of making it strikes fear in bakers. I learned by watching my Nana and she never measured. She would scoop flour into a bowl, add Crisco (that she kept cold in the fridge) and then used orange juice for liquid. She mixed with her hands and a manual pastry blender. Worked every time. I have to admit over the years I have had a few failures – and many people do. Not all of us are blessed with my Nana’s touch! Luckily making great pie crust can be taught. You can sign up for a Craftsy class called Perfecting the Pie Crust and download a free All-Butter Pie Crust Recipe from the class right now. Then you won’t have to be wondering if your next round with dough is going to work. Craftsy teacher Evan Kleiman aims to take the mystery out of making classic pie crust by presenting ingredients, techniques and recipes.

As with all Craftsy food technique classes you get several “Lessons” within the one class that you can go to at any point, but they are laid out in order: Getting Started, Making Pie Dough, Rolling Out the Dough, Blind-Baked Crust, Thickeners, Pie Decorating and The Ultimate Apple Pie.

Evan has some great tips about rolling pins – she likes 16” minimum width, which is a good recommendation. For a standard 9-inch pie plate you will be rolling out dough to about 12 or 13-inches and you want the pin to be larger. If you are new to baking and shopping for a pin, you probably wouldn’t have thought of this. Speaking of pans I agree with her love of Pyrex. We both like being able to see the browning of crusts.

Her introductory discussion of ingredients is interesting. If you are looking for an exact formula, you will not necessarily get that here. She talks about how different flours and different liquids and fats combine in unique ways and how you have to use your sense of touch and observation. Don’t let this scare you. It is what my Nana did to great effect and Evan is encouraging. She helps you relax with this approach and by being able to see it in video format, you will truly understand what she means.

She mentions using kosher salt because she is used to its saltiness and therefore knows how it will enhance a dish. She suggests that you use the salt you are familiar with. Makes sense. This is real cooking and baking. One must taste and experiment and use their senses as they go along.

As far as general formulas she likes to use the 1-2-3 Ratio, which is her Golden Rule (she doesn’t like using the word “recipe”): 12 ounces of flour, 8 ounces of fat (butter, lard and/or shortening) and 4 ounces liquid (water, apple juice etc.). She not only uses these various ingredients but also shows us how to create the dough three ways: hand, manual pastry blender and food processor. Her thinking, which is quite sound, is that by experimenting with various flours/fats/liquids – using the ratio as a guide – and trying your hand at the mixing techniques, that you will be ready to make pie crust anywhere and anytime. And as she says, “repetition is the road to mastery”. Download the free pie crust recipe today and get baking!

Craftsy Dough rolled out

To give you a specific look into her ideas she likes to use a scale, not measuring cups, and she likes to keep her fat larger than many chefs do. Her fat pieces are worked in and left in sizes varying from walnut to pea (you can see the pockets of fat above in the rolled out dough). This is where a video really comes in handy because you can see what she means. I was watching with a friend and at this point in the video she exclaimed, “she’s like our digital Nana”!

One point that Evan made that I really appreciated was in reference to pastry cloths. My Mom used one and I never quite understood their use at the time. Now I know better but their usage had fallen by the wayside. Evan reminded me why you should have one and also a sock to cover your pin. The pastry cloth creates your rolling surface. You gently rub some flour into the cloth and it makes a fairly nonstick surface and keeps the flour from absorbing into the dough, which can toughen it up. But the tip I actually had never thought of was, that as she put it, if you have a pastry cloth you can roll out pie crust anywhere regardless of the surface! So if you are in a rental house on vacation or visiting a friend or whatever the situation, the cloth provides a constant! Brilliant. My favorite tip, which I will pass along even though it wasn’t in her video, is about one of my favorite tools – the mini roller seen below. These are a great adjunct to a large pin.

Craftsy mini roller

There is much more to this class that you will have to check out yourself like the use of vinegar and apple juice in the dough and what she says is the chef’s secret weapon – baking powder! Evan also covers decorative pie crust techniques like appliques and how scissors will help you make a clean look to your double crust pies.

trimming crust with scissors 1

Her dough was so easy to work with that when it came time to fold the edges under the process went cleanly and easily.

folding crust edges under

Same with the crimping, seen in our top image. No cracking! The crust is a dream to work with. Once you try the Free Pie Crust Recipe from Perfecting the Pie Crust you will be on the road to making truly great pie.

Images: Peter Muka

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Baking & Dessert Contests: How to Win!

How to Win a Baking Contest

winning coconut pudding

I judged a pudding contest yesterday. I am still full – but such is the plight of the judge. What I wanted to do here was write about how you, as a contestant, can have a better chance at winning. Of course many contests are for fun and/or charity, but who doesn’t like the bragging rights? There are some simple things to follow that all judges appreciate.

Make it Look Good – Different contests have different rules. Some say evaluate on taste only; most say taste is paramount but consider creativity and presentation. Even if the rules say judge on taste only, we see your dessert before we eat it and even on a subliminal level it can affect how we feel about it. Fancy dishware can add, but I am most interested in the actual food looking good, even if it is in something disposable. (Of course if your contest has a focus on presentation, follow the rules!)


Make the Presentation Clear – If your dish goes with a sauce or whipped cream, have the extra presented in such a way that we can’t make a mistake. Have clear labels. We want to taste your dish the way you intended it. Yesterday there was one dish where the pudding was in a soufflé dish set in a basket. Also in the basket was a small pitcher of sauce. It was obvious that they went together and made for not only a pleasing presentation, but it also helped the judges taste the dessert as intended.

frost on the pumpkin

Temperature Counts – If it is meant to be cold, make sure we get it cold. If it is meant to be warm, it better be. Also, if it is meant to be room temperature, don’t make it the day before, refrigerate it and bring it to us expecting that it will be at its best. Yesterday I had one pudding in particular that was obviously made that morning and brought to the judges table without stopping by way of the fridge and I not only appreciated the better texture, but also the effort that went into it. It made a huge difference.

Creativity Can Backfire – Read the rules. Stay within them. Pushing the edges of the boundaries are fine but judges want something that tastes great! A simple double-crust apple pie can win a pie contest. A stellar, creamy stove-top chocolate pudding could sweep the others at a pudding contest. It’s a funny a balance but you have to find it. Creativity is great if you can execute it. Otherwise, make a classic and make it perfect.

corn pudding

Taste Your Dish! – When we cook and bake one needs to taste, taste, taste as we go along. Of course there are variations in palates but every now and then I taste something that seems so unbalanced that I wonder if the creators tasted it themselves? Now before you think I am being judgey let me tell you that I once went to a book signing and presented chocolate shortbread cookies from the book I was selling and no one was eating them, which was odd. I finally tasted a piece near the end of the signing and realized that I had used salt instead of sugar – I kid you not! I had made them so many times that I hadn’t tasted this batch as I went along. Lesson learned.

Ask Questions – After – Some contests reveal judge’s comments post judging, others don’t. If you want to improve, go ask the judges! I love to talk about what I just ate and would love to answer any questions you might have. Curiosity is a great trait in a baker; ask away! I also love to hear about your creative process. This is all about baking and dessert making and…

pearl barley portobello pudding

Have Fun! – Yes it is a contest, but this is all about sugar and flour, butter, chocolate and eggs and creativity! Nothing is more fun than that. Thank you to all of you who enter contests and make the world a sweeter place.

The images are all from yesterday’s Pudding Hollow contest, which you can read more about. It all began in the 1700s in a little town called Hawley, Massachusetts…Thank you to Tinky Weisblat and all of the volunteers. This was a perfect slice (or scoop) of Americana and it was a pleasure to be involved. The winner was the Luscious Coconut Cream Custard Pudding in the top image. There was a caramelized, crunchy, candied coconut topping, a rich, smooth, creamy coconut filling and a bit of a caramelized sauce way deep down at the bottom. Also pictured a highly ranked corn pudding in a basket – warm and so delectably rich; a very creative pearl barley, portabella mushroom pudding, a Mexican flan (loved the shape), and the most creatively named dish, Frost on the Pumpkin, a pumpkin based pudding served in a pumpkin ceramic bowl, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar “frost”. Kudos to all the contestants!

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Askinosie Chocolate’s “Chocolate University”

A Trip of a Lifetime to Tanzania to Study Chocolate at the Source


Yes, the title is a mouthful, but the following post is by Lawren Askinosie (seen above in patterned pants) of Askinosie Chocolate and her company does indeed have a Chocolate University. Years ago her then new company came to my attention as a small player making quality chocolate. Time has shown that Askinosie is here to stay – they have established themselves as a key chocolate producer in the U.S. – they are making amazing chocolates and chocolate products that we love. They also happen to have a very socially conscious approach. When Lawren told me they were about to leave for a trip to Tanzania, I asked her if she would write about the adventure for us. In this Bakepedia exclusive, learn what happens when you attend Chocolate University.

askinosie 3

Last week, I returned from the trip of a lifetime: a cocoa origin trip to remote southwestern Tanzania, involving 12 high school students. I was there for my family business, Askinosie Chocolate, for which I am the Sales & Marketing Director; traipsing across the globe to buy cocoa beans direct from small farmers is something integral to our company since my father, Shawn Askinosie, founded it 7 years ago. The students were there as part of our local youth community engagement program we call Chocolate University.

Born of a desire to engage youth in our community and supported by funds from our factory tours and generous donations from across the nation, Chocolate University is an experiential learning program with a global reach for local students. The goal is to inspire students through the lens of artisan chocolate making to be global citizens and embrace the idea that business(es) can solve world problems. We involve neighborhood elementary and middle school students in various capacities, but it’s the local high school students who compete for the opportunity to journey with us to cocoa farms of Tanzania. The application process is rigorous and hundreds of students apply each session for a very limited number of spots.

Taking place every other year, this summer’s trip marks the third Chocolate University origin experience. The students spend a week on a local university campus taking intensive courses on Tanzania culture, Swahili, social business, cacao, and more; then they accompany us on a 10-day cocoa origin trip to Mababu, Tanzania, one of our cocoa origins whose cocoa beans are used to make our 72% Tanzania Dark Chocolate, as well as other products.

As our founder and CEO and also our unofficial “Chief Bean Buyer/Farmer Visitor”, my dad, Shawn, visits each of the farmer groups we work with yearly in Ecuador, Honduras, Tanzania, and the Philippines to inspect beans, worth with farmers on post harvest techniques but also to share profits as part of our unique Direct Trade business model. We translate our financial statements into whatever language the farmers need, explain them, share the cash, then hold a full chocolate tasting, as most of these farmers had never tasted chocolate before they began working with us. These Chocolate University students therefore not only get to witness and participate in international business transaction, they also work with us on various community development projects we’ve initiated.

Here are my 5 favorite moments from our 2014 Chocolate University Tanzania Origin Trip:

1. Our first couple of days in Tanzania we spent at Mwaya Secondary School. Aside from the most energetic and heartwarming greeting imaginable upon our arrival at the school, we met with the PTA to discuss them taking over the Sustainable Lunch Program by 2016 (in which we sell a bag of Premium Kyela Rice, harvested by the Mwaya PTA and return 100% of the profits to fund lunches for all 1,000 students every school day), participated in the vibrant graduation ceremony of 13 young women in the Empowered Girls club we sponsor, and checked in on the success of the Saturday tutoring program for girls that we started recently.


2. We then journeyed to Mababu, where we began our time with a visit to the primary school. The 1,400 students greeted us with singing and dancing and led us to a shady grove where they treated us with more elaborate performances but most importantly, where we gifted them 1,200 textbooks, purchased in Tanzania and provided by Chocolate University donations and a grant from the Southeast Springfield Rotary Club. Prior to our arrival, they had none. The excitement of the students and teachers was palpable and they all couldn’t wait to crack them open and begin learning.


3. Earlier this year, the Mababu farmer group sent us a draft of their 2023 Vision, which Shawn had worked with them on last year. Visioning is the practice of articulating dreams and goals, written in the present but at a future date. During a 2-hour session, we worked with the farmers to polish their Vision and make it “official”. During the session, one farmer was so impassioned while contributing to the discussion that he wept joyful tears. We will never forget it.


4. On what was perhaps our favorite day, our group divided into 3 teams who were assigned to various Mababu farmers and we visited their farms to help them harvest cacao. Chocolate University students had never really done this before and it was endlessly educational and inspirational, because the intimate setting allowed for truly getting to know one another, as well as some good old fashioned hard work. Some groups even had chai with the farmers inside their homes, asking each other questions about daily life and more.


5. On our final night, we hosted a luau for the farmers! Our hotel was located on the beach of Lake Nyasa and the sun set on scenes of students and farmers playing soccer together, the adults passing babies back and forth, and everyone sharing a delicious meal of slow-roasted goat. It was a night to remember.



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How Dropping Something on the Floor Cemented My Friendship with Rose Levy Beranbaum

Rose Levy Beranbaum’s New Book, The Baking Bible, is Coming Soon

the cake bible

All the buzz is about Rose Levy Beranbaum‘s forthcoming book, The Baking Bible. We received our advanced copy, took it into the kitchen, baked and played with it and will be reporting all about it in late October. But for me, my relationship with Rose and her recipes began in 1989…

The The Cake Biblehad been published the year before. I had my first edition in hand, already stained and dog-eared. I was about to meet Rose in person and was quite excited.

I was living in the Northampton, MA area and was part of a volunteer group who were putting on a Books and Cooks event where we paired authors and their books with local restaurants and chefs for a night of eating and schmoozing as a fundraiser for the United Way. Julia Child was also one of our authors and her alma mater, Smith College, was excited about her visit. I had my sights on Rose.

After the event we had a swanky dinner for the guest authors and about 20 of us were seated around a huge table in a private dining room at our town’s most upscale restaurant. The night had been very busy and now was the time to corner Rose.

Cake bible dedication

I approached her and asked her to sign my book, which she did graciously. I then started to tell her about one of my experiences baking out of the book.

pine cone cake

At the time I was working at The Black Sheep Deli & Bakery in Amherst, MA. Nick Seamon, the owner, was very generous with my time and allowed me to experiment with whatever caught my fancy. One look at the Chocolate Pine Cone cake in Rose’s book and I knew I had to tackle it. Yes, I said tackle, because it just looked like one of those “project cakes” that one gets immense satisfaction from completing and I was up for the challenge. The exterior of the cake is time consuming and frankly a pain in the butt. Rose called for dipping a small offset spatula into tempered chocolate and making neat, oval dabs on clean parchment, chilling, and then using these oval petals (as she calls them) to create the texture and look of the pine cone. You can see the well worn and even torn page in my book copy, above.

I explained to Rose that I had spent many hours on the components and the finished cake was gorgeous. We put it in the cake case and it sold for some crazy amount of money because we had to cover my time. I didn’t think it would sell due to the cost! Well, apparently it made quite a visual splash in the display case; several people had seen it and ordered it for the holidays. The front-end workers didn’t realize this was supposed to be a one-time deal and had taken the orders! All of a sudden I had to create an assembly line to make several.

We had a large commissary kitchen at the time and I worked alongside some fabulous bakers who helped strategize. Eureka struck. We dumped a bunch of large chocolate drops out on a parchment lined sheet pan and placed them all upright and spaced apart. Then we placed the pan in the oven for a minute or two until the chocolate just softened. Upon removing the tray from the oven we dropped it flat on the ground from a height of about 4 feet and voila! All the chocolate drops spread into perfect ovals, ready to be chilled and used to create the pine cone!

So here I was recounting this to Rose. Her eyes grew wide.

“Wait a minute,” she said. “You made that cake several times?”

“Yes,” I responded.

“I’ve only made that cake once! My editor had wanted me to come up with a real showpiece so I created it for the photo shoot. I didn’t know if anyone would actually make it,” she exclaimed!

“Well, I think we ended up making it half a dozen times, “ I laughed.

Rose pulled out a small pad and started taking notes.

“Tell me again what you did. Exactly. This is brilliant,” she asked as she scribbled down details.

That was it. It sealed the deal. A friendship was formed that night that has continued to this day. We don’t speak or see one another often but when we do every few months or so it is as though no time has passed. We have our own approaches and niches but there is a huge base of shared perspective. And our taste buds are very much in sync. We always have something to chat about – usually some nerdy baking nuance – and the conversations always dissolve into laughter. If you only know Rose through her work you probably envision a very serious person – and she is, when she needs to be. But Rose also has a wicked sense of humor and joie de vivre that I cherish. Her new book, The Baking Bible, is about to be released and is available on pre-order. Order it now. This is destined to be as beloved (and butter stained) as The Cake Bible. Check back on October 2nd, 15th, 27th and November 11th for more articles about Rose and The Baking Bible.

Baking Bible Jacket

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Oliver Farm: Georgia’s Best Pecan Flour, Pecan Oil and More

A Centennial Farm of Georgia

oliver farm 1

Our Test Kitchen was sent a care package from Oliver Farm near Pitts, Georgia. This Wilcox County farm was named as a Centennial Farm by the state of Georgia denoting the fact that the working farm has been owned and operated by the same family for 100 years or more. That’s Clay Oliver and his family in the image above.oliver farm 2

It all began in 1903 when the land was purchased by Daniel Henderson Watson; the farm is currently run by the fifth generation. They have grown crops such as cotton, peanuts, grain sorghum, rye, soybeans, and sunflowers and have tended both beef cattle and swine. Several original buildings are still in use, including the log cabin home and kitchen built by D.H. Watson.

oliver 3

Now they are offering Pecan, Sunflower and Peanut culinary oils that are cold pressed and unrefined, which preserve their flavors and nutrients. Plans are in the works for more oilseeds to be used in the future. They also have Pecan Flour.

We received a bag of the pecan flour as well as a bottle of each of the oils. The packaging is simple and attractive and evokes the setting from which it came. Great branding for the farm.

pecan flour

In my mind I assumed the pecan flour would be a finely ground meal, but upon opening the bag I realized it was indeed an actual flour, very finely milled and powdery. I was excited to put it to use.

My first attempt at making pancakes with 100% pecan flour was a disaster. The flour is very absorbent and my attempted ratios with egg and liquids were way off. I had in mind that I wanted to create a gluten-free pancake, so I tinkered and decided to go with a combo of oats and pecan flour and it worked beautifully. The buttermilk gives a little tang, moisture and lift. These come together very quickly in a blender. Serve with real maple syrup, of course. Now that I had the hang of the flour, I put it to good use in the Test Kitchen – make sure to check out the Pecan Flour Buttermilk Pancakes, Coffee Pecan Shortbread Cookies, the Browned Butter Bourbon Milk Chocolate Chip Cookies with Pecans, Pecan Pat-in Crust, Vegan Chocolate Pudding Pecan Pie and the Triple Chocolate Brownies with Pecan Flour.

Last Image: Dédé Wilson

Other Images Courtesy Oliver Farm

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Recreating the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

original chocolate chip cookie recipe Nestlé debuted their semisweet chocolate morsels 75 years ago, which is cause for a celebration in my book. Recently, I became a bit obsessed with recreating the original chocolate-chip cookie recipe that started the craze. Back in the 1930s, Ruth Wakefield whipped these cookies up in the kitchen of her restaurant, The Toll House in Whitman, MA. Carolyn Wyman, author of The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Book, presents some splendid background on the history of the cookie’s origin, which you can read in our interview with her. What I wanted to do was recreate the cookie that Ruth actually baked. The recipe on the back of Nestlé’s morsels bag has its roots in Ruth’s recipe, but I wanted to follow her own words. I used Ruth’s cookbook (24th printing), Toll House Tried and True Recipes (M. Barrows & Co 1947). She calls her recipe Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookies – and you will soon see why they are aptly named. You might be surprised at the evolution that little treat has taken since her original recipe. Much of my findings and the recipe have been published in our recent article in The Boston Globe, where I discuss the proper butter, flour and eggs to use as well as how to measure the brown sugar and chop the chocolate, among other things. Newspapers have limited space, but we don’t, so here is even more information about what went into Ruth’s cookies so that you can make them at home. Use the Globe article and the information here for a complete picture.

That Baking-Soda-Dissolved-in-Water Trick

Ruth calls for 1 teaspoon of baking soda to be dissolved in 1 teaspoon of hot tap water, and for years this technique was suggested in the recipe on Nestlé’s morsels package. I wondered why she would have called for this step and whether it made a difference. I checked in with two experts. Cindy Manzo, a representative for Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, had this to say: “Pre-dissolving the sodium bicarbonate would remove any possible issues related to inappropriate [too large] particle size and slow dissolution in a dough with low water content. Pre-dissolving the bicarbonate would [also] cut down on the ‘bench tolerance’ of a mixture – wetting bicarbonate will tend to accelerate the release of CO2.” This means that the leavening action of the soda is triggered more quickly. Perhaps this is why Ruth, in her book, recommends dolloping and baking her cookies immediately, as opposed to suggesting a chilling time. There is some research that suggests that they chilled the dough at her restaurant, but again, I was working with Ruth’s own words in this edition of her book. According to food historian Paula Marcoux, there could also be another reason. Proofing the baking soda in water gives visual evidence that the leavener is working. Decades ago, there was much less standardization of ingredients than there is now. Perhaps Ruth wanted to make sure her “soda” was going to give her cookies the lift they needed.

That’s a Tiny Crunchy Cookie!

In the edition of the book I used, Ruth’s recipes are presented with the ingredients and directions intertwined – very similar to the classic Joy of Cooking cookbook approach. Many details are left out. For instance, she calls to bake the cookies at 375°F for 10 to 12 minutes. The dough has been doled out by half teaspoons. She gives no visual cues. I have my ovens calibrated and let me tell you, this is a crunchy cookie – side and middle and all the way around – and well browned. No doughy, chewy aspects at all. And tiny! When was the last time, if ever, that you saw a chocolate-chip cookie the size of a quarter?

The Chocolate Chip Cookie Phenomenon

Friends who knew I was doing this research have asked me if I think this cookie was amazing enough to start such an enduring passion. We have to put it all into context. These days, whether we are gazing upon the ice cream or cookie section of the supermarket or perusing a restaurant menu, it is not unusual to see candy combined with a baked good: turtle cheesecakes, cookie dough ice cream, etc. Ruth Wakefield was the first to combine candy with another dessert and it was truly an inspired innovation. Chocolate had been incorporated into dough before (as in a chocolate cookie), but not strewn throughout. To take two beloved American sweets – cookies and chocolate – and to combine them in a way where the chocolate remained in individual chunks was wholly original. The cookie is small, but it is filled with crunchy, toothsome texture. The butter and sugar caramelize in the high heat, giving the cookie a butterscotch flavor. Her egg amount, along with the high heat and baking time, gives the cookie its crispy texture. She packs in a generous amount of chocolate. All in all, this is a great cookie. It might be diminutive and easy to look over when compared with the typically larger chocolate-chip cookie of today, but it has plenty to satisfy kids and adults. It is also easy to make. As Carolyn Wyman commented, the thing about these is that an 8-year-old who has never baked before can make them or an experienced baker can apply their techniques and you will always get something tasty to eat. So now that I know what Ruth’s cookie was, will I be baking it regularly? The answer is no. But then again, even before I went through this fun and enlightening exercise, I have always been a bit fickle when it comes to chocolate-chip cookie recipes. Sometimes I like them crunchy, other times chewy; 60% cacao chocolate chips one day, white chocolate chunks the next. Nuts come and go. Perhaps the one consistent thing I can comment on is that I am not partial to recipes that include baking powder. Many modern variations that are trying to replicate a thick, doughy texture will include baking powder. I am definitely a crispy edge, chewy center kind of girl; but that is what is great about this all-American cookie, there’s one out there with your name on it.

Image: Peter Muka

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