When I was in Brooklyn a few months back doing a booksigning with the lovely folks from The Brooklyn Kitchen, a friendly woman came up to me bearing a box of treats from her bakery. I don’t like to eat in front of people, because, frankly, no one wants to meet up with an author while he is shoving pastries in his mouth. And in this day and age of people wanting pictures, I’ve learned that absolutely no one looks good when they’ve got a mouth full of food. And I have a hunch that there are a bunch of photos tagged with my name on them, around the internet, that will prove that.
Results tagged cocoa powder from David Lebovitz
Well, this is quite a baking book. Starting off with the first thirty-one pages, which contain some of the most profanity laced – and best – advice I’ve read about baking. (Hmm, maybe I’ve been doing it all wrong.) But I couldn’t put Robicelli’s: A Love Story with Cupcakes down as I read through the fore matter, which the authors admonish that you’d better read because they “spent the better part of two freaking years” writing it because they “don’t want you jumping in like a lunatic and do(ing) something stupid.” Fair enough.
So it’s a good idea to drop any reluctance you have to strong language – and cupcakes – if you want to enjoy this book, which I couldn’t put down and is truly laugh-out-loud funny. After dropping a number of f-bombs, the Robicelli’s warn you right off the bat that you’re probably thinking that cupcakes are stupid. And they agree with you, that many cupcakes are. But they make their case saying cupcakes are basically individual-sized versions of cake, which they say is one of the top five things in the world. And everyone likes cake – so why the hate?
I’ve been going through my kitchen cabinets, and refrigerator…and freezer…and desk drawers, which has meant unearthing all sorts of odds and ends. Some were long-forgotten for a reason, and others brought back fond memories. Like the Pyrex glass container in my refrigerator encasing some remarkably well-preserved slices of candied citron. When I pulled the sticky citrus sections out, I realized that they don’t look quite as pretty as they did last year – which is okay, because neither do I – but they still tasted great. And the flavor of candied citron prompted me to make something I love: panforte.
I haven’t visited Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Ohio, but I’ve heard Jeni Bauer’s ice cream was sensational. Because I can’t get everywhere – no matter how hard I try – her ice cream came to me in the form of her book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.
When Jeni’s book was released, we had a nice interchange via e-mail about ice cream making, including her technique for skipping the eggs and using other ingredients to get a specific consistency. She’s a stickler for getting rid of ice crystals so milk and cream get boiled to remove water, and corn starch is added to absorb any additional water that might be lingering in your mixture, to help keep the ice cream as smooth as possible.
One of the nifty things about a blog is that you can easily revisit recipes and make revisions, while learning more about baking, and sharing those discoveries, as you go. When I wrote Ready for Dessert, I was able to update my favorite recipes, many created over a decade ago, and I had fun including the changes I’d made over the years.
Often people aren’t sure what to do with persimmons. While Fuyu persimmons are eaten while crunchy and are good in fruit compotes and wintery salads, Hachiya persimmons are abruptly tannic when unripe and must be squishy soft before eaten. And if you’ve even tried an unripe one, you’ll know that I’m being kind when I say “abruptly.” Fully ripe, they’re quite sweet and even though people will sometimes pop them into the freezer then enjoy eating them like sorbet with a spoon, they’re a bit of a one-note fruit for me.
So I was excited when I was reading through Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce and came upon the recipe for adding a second note by combining them with dark chocolate in these not-just-for-breakfast muffins.
When I got the opportunity to re-release my first two books, which had gone out of print, my publisher and I decided that they should be combined into one brand-new volume, Ready for Dessert, with new photos and more than a dozen new recipes added. So I made a master list of all the recipes, then chose my absolute favorites: the ones I’d found myself making over and over again during the years invariably rose to the top.
I had to choose le top du top, as they say in France. Then I sent the list to my editor, who worked for many years at a food magazine known for their exactitude and trying a recipe over and over and over again with every variation (a bit crazy, like me), and we went back and forth for a while, until we agreed on the ones for the final book.
I originally imagined I would sit down and cut and paste recipes, putting them in order, and maybe adding a few notes here and there. But as I scrolled through the recipes, many of which I hadn’t made in over a decade, I started reading through them more carefully. And soon I realized that I was not just making mental notes, but I was jumping up from my desk chair and heading to the kitchen, taking butter out of the refrigerator to soften, and running to the market to buy eggs by the flat.
Believe it or not, there’s been a spate of cupcake places opening in…of all places—Paris.
I haven’t been in to any of them, but I should probably go at some point since I’m not sure if it’s just a fad that’s going to end soon, or something that might be here to stay. Parisians aren’t especially fond of cakes with thick layers of frosting or blue icing, and sugary roses don’t have quite the same nostalgic effect here as they do in America.
A lot of people come to Paris and ask me what they can bring. I’ve kind of had to stop mentioning things when I ramble on here, because if I casually mention that I would kill for a box of thin mints, every guest that comes to visit for the next three years arrives with a dozen boxes of thin mints. So please, don’t bring me any thin mints. Except those After Eight mints. As evidenced by the empty brown, envelope-style wrappers littering my apartment, I love those. (Oh, and I like Planter’s Peanut Blocks, too.)
Since I got in trouble recently for using…shall we say, a less-than nutritionally correct ingredient, on my last trip to San Francisco, folks will be happy to hear that I discovered fresh, wholesome pecans for sale at Costco.