"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Parisian Passover Coconut Macaroons and a Shameless Plug for Another Cookbook

Are you even slightly compulsive? Got a sweet tooth? Like coconut?

Then whatever you do, don't make these cookies.

They are utterly irresistible. And they're simple enough--syrup-sweetened meringue folded with unsweetened coconut and baked until just firm, which yields you a cookie that is both crispy and chewy. God, are they good.

OK, this is not the perfect recipe. The seriously un-perfect part of it is the silly direction to shape the meringues into pyramids with wet fingertips. A waste of time, and for the perfectionists in the crowd (that would be me) trying to create a pyramid out of something that refuses straight lines or angles is a maddening venture best abandoned. I settled for pulling the tops up into kind of a twisted pointy top. A far easier solution would be to put the stuff in a pastry bag--quicker too.

You might also be thrown off by the direction to dust the baking pans with matzo cake meal. I just sprayed my sheets with Baking Pam (I have a growing affection for that stuff) but you could also use sil-pat liners or parchment paper if you'd like to dispense with fat/flour altogether.


Shameless Plug for Another Cookbook:

I've been hearing about this book for years and finally bought it.

If you're a baker and you're trying to get whole grains into the picture, run don't walk to the nearest bookstore and get this book.

OK, I've only made three cookie recipes so far, but fans on the Gourmet staff of Katherine Hepburn's Brownies, I'm sorry, the Double Fudge Brownies made with 100% whole wheat has you beaten hands down.

Seriously, they are the best brownies I've ever made or eaten, and that's saying something.

Now, please note that I'm not suggesting that this book could ever replace my one and only true love, The Gourmet Cookbook. I am suggesting cookbook polyamory. And if I had no day job, family or life I would start a second cook-through blog with this book as my subject.

One of the things I am most gratified about is that baking with whole grains has been mysterious territory for me. Baked goods made with whole wheat flour have been, in my experience, dense, sort of metallic tasting, and kind of grainy. (please don't get me started on whole wheat pasta, either)

Here are some of the things I've learned in three recipes:

1. Letting cookie dough made with WW flour rest overnight in the fridge makes that metallic taste disappear somehow.

2. Letting brownies made with WW flour rest overnight before cutting allows the bran? germ? whatever that gritty stuff is absorb moisture, which makes for a smoooooooth texture.

3. You can grind oats in a food processor for 30 seconds to make oat flour for cookies.

4. New experience!!! I sprinkled oat-cashew cookies with SALT before baking. Mmmmm.

This is not whole-grain baking from the 70's, folks. Grab it and bake along with me.


Georgia said...

So when you have completed the Gourmet Cookbook we can look forward to your next cook-through blog...yeah!

Liz C said...

I've had my eye on that book for a long time. Thanks so much for the review!