The Craft of Baking NPR coverage of The Craft of Baking: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets With Ideas for Inventing Your Own by Karen Demasco, Mindy Fox, and Ellen Silverman. News, author interviews, critics' picks and more.
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The Craft of Baking

Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets With Ideas for Inventing Your Own

by Karen Demasco, Mindy Fox and Ellen Silverman

Hardcover, 256 pages, Random House Inc, List Price: $35 |


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The Craft of Baking
Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets With Ideas for Inventing Your Own
Karen Demasco, Mindy Fox, et al

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Book Summary

Includes 115 recipes for muffins, cookies, brownies, pies, cupcakes, ice creams and other desserts, in a book by a James Beard Award-winning author that includes 50 photos and ideas on variations and creative combinations, such as Apple Fritters with Caramel Ice Cream and Apple Cider Caramel Sauce.

Read an excerpt of this book

Note: Book excerpts are provided by the publisher and may contain language some find offensive.

Excerpt: The Craft Of Baking

Back-to-School Raspberry Granola Bars
Makes 16 bars

These nutty fruit cookies are perfect for a lunch sack, last-minute bake sale, or early autumn picnic. They are quick to put together with pantry staples and everyone seems to love them.

12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks)
unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
11/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
11/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
⅓ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup raspberry preserves

Preheat the oven to 350oF. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line the bottom with parchment.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Spread the pecans on a baking sheet. Bake until lightly golden and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Cool the sheet completely on a wire rack.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, and pecans. Pour in the melted butter, and using a wooden spoon, mix together until well combined.

Transfer about two thirds of the dough to the prepared baking pan. Press the dough evenly into the pan, forming a firmly packed layer.

Using an offset or rubber spatula, spread the preserves over the dough. Evenly sprinkle the remaining dough over the preserves.

Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the top is golden brown and fragrant, about 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool completely. Then cut into 2-inch squares.

The bars can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

Grandma Rankin's Cashew Brittle

My Grandma Rankin started making what became her famous cashew brittle as a young adult, using a recipe passed down by her mother. Years later, she decided to give the salty-sweet candy as Christmas gifts. Before long she was sending my grandfather to the nut factory to buy nuts in bulk. For years she made 150 pounds of the candy every holiday season!

Makes 1 3/4 pounds
Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) salted roasted cashews

Lightly coat a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; set it aside.
Combine the sugar, butter, corn syrup, and ½ cup water in a large saucepan. Stir together so that all of the sugar is wet. Cook the mixture over high heat without stirring until it turns a dark amber color, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Carefully whisk in the baking soda, followed by the salt; the caramel will rise and bubble. Using a wooden or metal spoon, fold in the cashews. Pour the brittle onto the prepared baking sheet, and using the back of the spoon, spread it out into a layer about ½ inch thick. Let it cool completely. Break the brittle into bite-size pieces, using a mallet or the back of a heavy knife.

The brittle can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Varying Your Craft: Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Replace the cashews with 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) toasted pumpkin seeds.