“Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes” (2009)

This book was given to me as a gift, at my request.  It’s beautifully photographed and really fun to flip through; the pages even smell good to me.  I’ve had this book for almost a year but never cooked out of it until now. 

I made “Gingerbread Cupcakes” in the hopes that they would be good enough for a holiday party.  They tasted great fresh out from the oven, but are extremely greasy.  The recipe called for 12 ounces (3 sticks) of butter and only 1 1/2 cups of flour!  These cupcakes are like little grease bombs — you don’t exactly feel great after eating one.  The other recipes in this book don’t contain as much butter, so I’m not sure if this was an error.  

I ran out of butter so I couldn’t even make buttercream frosting for these.  I had to make some royal icing for a cookie decorating party I was going to, so I just used some royal icing on these cupcakes instead.  That was a mistake because now not only were these cupcakes greasy, but they were also frosted with overly sweet icing.

I may try to make “Mrs. Kostyra’s Spice Cupcakes” — a recipe adapted from Martha’s late mother’s recipe.  It only uses 1 stick of butter for 4 cups of flour.  Other recipes I’d like to try from this book are “Blueberries and Cream Cupcakes”, “Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes”, and “S’mores Cupcakes”.

Published in: on December 20, 2009 at 9:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

“Waffles from Morning to Midnight” by Dorie Greenspan (2001)

I think I’ve only made one recipe out of this book in the past.  It was “Banana-Oatmeal Waffles” which were good if I remember correctly.  The cover photo on this cookbook made me crave traditional breakfast waffles with maple syrup for dinner; however, I went with a savory waffle recipe instead:  “Broccoli-Cottage Cheese Waffles”.  I happened to have fresh broccoli and cottage cheese in my fridge that I had no plans for, so this was the perfect recipe to use them up.  The only problem I had with this recipe was that it had me add so many ingredients into the food processor that the liquid overflowed.  I have a trusty Cuisinart food processor whose only fault is the relatively low maximum liquid level (I’d love to have the new Cuisinart Elite which has a rubber gasket in the lid).  I forgot about this, so it left a bit of a mess.  Next time I’ll use the blender. 

I did as the cookbook suggested and made open-faced grilled cheese sandwiches with these waffles.  Pretty good, but I like the waffles plain as a snack too.  Warmed and crisped-up in a toaster, they are reminiscent of a gourmet potato chip.  This cookbook does have recipes for waffle chips, so I’m not too far off.  “Basil-Parmesan Waffle Chips with Balsamic Tomatoes” and “Tuscan White Bean Waffle Chips with Garlicky Bean Puree” sound delicious!

Published in: on December 11, 2009 at 10:35 pm  Comments (1)  

Irma Rombauer’s “The Joy of Cooking” (1946)


This is the only copy of “The Joy of Cooking” in my collection.  I bought it from a used bookstore sometime ago.  The inscription inside reads, “To Grandma — Love from Susan & Jimmy 12/22/48.”  Either Grandma really loved this book or it was improperly stored, because the cover is falling off.  My friend Courtney recently commented on how the older versions of this book are so different from the modern edition.  She is very correct because I had great difficulty choosing a recipe out of this one.  I even tried to have my one and half year old daughter pick a recipe.  She flipped a few pages and pointed randomly to “Zucchini”, which is an easy enough recipe but zucchini is now out of season and don’t look very good at the grocery store.  I tried to have her choose something else, but she was no longer interested in helping me. 

I definitely had to pass on these:  “Broiled Calf Brains on Tomatoes”, “Cole Slaw in Tomato Aspic Ring”, “Jellied Pigs Feet”, “Chicken Mousse Jellied”, and “Steak and Kidney Pie”.  (Forgive me if I’ve offended anyone who likes these dishes; I just haven’t had a proper introduction to them.)  I wonder if any of these recipes still exist in the current edition?  This old edition has many baking recipes, but I hesitated to use them because the methods are so archaic.  For instance, all the recipes require that you sift the flour before you measure it; I know — not a big deal, but a little annoying since you usually don’t do this anymore.  Some of the recipes require strange ingredients like the “1 ounce carbonate of powdered ammonia dissolved in 1/2 cup water” needed when making “German Honey Cakes”. 

I did eventually settle on a baking recipe —  “Banana Bread” because I had some overripe bananas to get rid of.  I was able to skip the step of presifting the flour before measuring because I have a kitchen scale and was able to determine the weight of sifted flour.  This banana bread recipe is different from the recipe I usually use because it required bread flour instead of all-purpose flour and butter instead of oil.  It turned out very similar to pound cake (tight crumb and not very moist) and the crust was delightfully crunchy when it was fresh out of the oven.  The bread came out smaller than it was supposed to be because a standard loaf pan nowadays is 9×5, but an 8×4 pan was specified in the recipe.  I liked it and so did my daughter (but she loves all bread).  My husband prefers our usual recipe.

Published in: on December 4, 2009 at 11:03 pm  Comments (2)