I love cookbooks the way Oprah loves bread.
So, I’ve decided to actually do something about it – each week that it’s feasible, I’m concentrating most of that week’s cooking/baking efforts on a single book, making three to five recipes from it. I’ll report on my endeavors here each Friday!
Although it’s been published for several years now, Flour by Joanne Chang is new to my collection and after baking four recipes from it, I have no idea what took me so long to pick it up. It’s a fantastic book that not only inspires you to bake fearlessly, her directions are just good. The recipes work.
I began with Cornmeal Lime Cookies, which I thought for sure I’d burned at the edges when I removed them from the oven, but they were delicious! I think I made them a little bigger than instructed because I wound up with about three fewer cookies than I was supposed to, but I’ll just have to stand by it. Oh, and these got even better the next day.
Next I made Lemon Ginger Scones, mainly because I had some crystallized ginger that needed using up. Results? Outstanding! This is the one recipe I deviated from in the cooking method – the book instructs to cook them for a longer time at a lower temperature, but I’ve always made scones and biscuits at 425 F and anywhere between 12 and 20 minutes bake time. The high heat blasts the cold butter and makes them taller and flakier. Since I know this method works, and this way gets the scone in your mouth faster, I stuck with it. Worked beautifully!
I made her brioche dough, which is enough for either two loaves, or two recipes calling for manipulating the dough into a breakfast treat. I went for the latter, and one recipe of brioche dough yielded a batch of Flour’s famous sticky buns and a brioche au chocolat. I followed her directions exactly on the brioche dough and found them very precise and successful.
So, Flour Bakery’s Sticky Buns shot to fame on that old Food Network show “Throwdown” and they are most assuredly worth the hype. This may ruin all other sticky buns for you, period. The recipe worked *exactly* as advertised, and they are just. so. good! Tastes best slightly warmed.
With the remaining half of the brioche dough, I made Brioche au Chocolat, which is essentially rolling out the brioche dough to a thin rectangle, spreading pastry cream all over it, and sprinkling chopped dark chocolate on the bottom half; fold it in half, cut into logs and bake. I thought for sure this was going to be the terrible recipe because the insides royally spilled out of the logs, but somehow it all worked. They’re not the prettiest breakfast pastry out there, but swoon-worthy delicious.
Overall, highly recommend this book to any home bakers out there!