Category Archives: Ginger

You Won’t Believe This Cookie Is Nonfat

No fat -- yet with an explosion of ginger goodness.

No fat — yet with an explosion of ginger goodness.

 

I am often put off by the word, ”nonfat.”

It usually means non-flavorful, non-satisfying and non-worth-it.

That’s why I approached with trepidation the recipe for “Nonfat Gingersnaps” in the new Food52 Genius Desserts: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Bake (Food52 Works) (Ten Speed Press) by Kristen Miglore, Food52’s creative director, of which I received a review copy.

The cookbook comprises more than 100 recipes that are touted as game-changers. Indeed, they span from a “Brazilian Carrot Cake” recipe in which raw carrots are blitzed in a blender with eggs, oil and sugar for the batter” to “No-Stress Pie Dough” in which the cubes of butter are pinched into the flour before adding cold water to “Vegan Chocolate Birthday Cake with Superfluffy Frosting” that uses avocado in the batter, and almond milk and brown rice syrup in the frosting for a cloud-like Cool Whip-texture.

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So many people embrace nonfat because of health concerns. But every chef will tell you that fat equals flavor. It also provides satiation. Just consider how much more full you feel — and for far longer — if you choose full-fat yogurt over nonfat, not to mention the added calcium you get.

As I read over the recipe, visions of awful Snackwells nonfat cookies popped into my head. But I knew that if the recipe was published in a Food52 book, it must be good. Moreover, if it was a recipe created by pastry chef extraordinaire David Lebovitz, well, then it had to be superb.

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Savory French Toast — For Breakfast, Lunch Or Dinner

French toast gets a savory makeover with Indian spices.

French toast gets a savory makeover with Indian spices.

 

If you’re under the impression that French toast has to be sweet and only be enjoyed at breakfast or brunch, you are in for a delicious eye-opening taste.

Because “Savory French Toast” done up with Indian spices and served with a fruity tomato chutney with a hit of heat will have your taste buds dancing.

The recipe is from the new “Gunpowder: Explosive Flavors from Modern India” (Kyle Books), of which I received a review copy.

The book is by husband-and-wife Harneet Baweja and Devina Seth, along with Nirmal Save, the head chef of their Gunpowder restaurant in London, where the home-style cooking is a modern take on favorites they all grew up with. That includes “Kale and Corn Cakes,” “Ginger Chicken Wings,” “Maa’s Kashmiri Lamb Chops,” and “Mint and Apple Lassi.”

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Brioche is used for this French toast, its soft, buttery texture and indulgent flavor creating a subtle sweet base for the savory, spicy flavors it sops up.

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Take A Whiff — And Taste — Of Gingerbread Pancakes

This time of year cries out for gingerbread pancakes.

This time of year cries out for gingerbread pancakes.

 

When it comes to Austin, I can’t help but think barbecue, Tex-Mex and food trucks galore.

Now, it’s become synonymous with gingerbread pancakes, too.

That’s because in “The Austin Cookbook” (Abrams), of which I received a review copy, there is a wonderful recipe for just that from Magnolia Cafe, a beloved institution that’s not only open 24/7, but serves breakfast anytime.

The book, by food writer Paula Forbes, features more than 80 recipes that give a delicious overview of the city’s culinary traditions, from “Green Chile Queso” to “Mustard and Brown Sugar-Crusted Ribeye” to Bootsie’s Buttermilk Pie.”

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Being the ginger fanatic that I am, it’s no wonder that “Gingerbread Pancakes” called out to me.

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A Sweet Visit to Batch Pastries

Owner and baker Emily Buysse hard at work in the kitchen of her Batch Pastries.

Owner and baker Emily Buysse hard at work in the kitchen of her Batch Pastries.

 

Emily Buysse is an avowed cookie monster.

So much so that when she was working for an IT company in Berkeley, and couldn’t find a decent cookie to nibble on during her breaks, she took matters into her own hand. She started baking, baking, and baking.

In fact, it snowballed into a sweet new career, launching her first into her own wholesale baking business before she decided to take over Montclair Baking in Oakland two years ago and rechristening it Batch Pastries.

A perfect spot to take a load off with something sweet.

A perfect spot to take a load off with something sweet.

This would almost make me take up running again.

This would almost make me take up running again.

Situated in a small strip mall atop a hill, it’s a bakery small in space but big in heart. Regulars gather on sunny days to relax with coffee and a cookie, which she considers the perfect treat because it’s the ideal size to satisfy without overwhelming.

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Carrot Cake Perfection By The Artful Baker

A carrot cake recipe that will replace any other you used to use.

A carrot cake recipe that will replace any other you used to use.

 

Simply put, “Carrot Cake with Blond Chocolate Frosting” is perfection personified in every single forkful.

Like the creator of this recipe, the uber talented baker Cenk Sonmezsoy, I, too, was skeptical that a carrot cake made without walnuts would prove completely satisfying. After all, I love nuts in almost anything for their added texture, richness and flavor.

But in his cake, you don’t miss the walnuts at all. That’s because browned butter takes its place, getting incorporated into the batter to add a divine nutty aroma and taste all its own. Moreover, the frosted cake gets ringed with toasted pumpkin seeds, which add a big dose of toastiness and crunch.

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This dynamite recipe is from “The Artful Baker: Extraordinary Desserts From An Obsessive Home Baker” (Abrams, 2017), of which I received a review copy.

You may already know Sonmezsoy for his award-winning food blog, Cafe Fernando. If you don’t, it’s high time you got to know this Instanbul-based writer, photographer and food stylist, who received his MBA from the University of San Francisco before going to work for a high-tech PR firm.

Ironically, during his time in San Francisco, Sonmezsoy lived in an apartment so small that he never cooked or baked. It was only when he returned to Istanbul that found himself longing for the food he left behind in San Francisco. So, he began baking like crazy, starting with brownies. He started his food blog in 2006, which took off like mad, capturing the fancy of so many influential bakers and publishers that he quit his corporate job in 2010 to devote full-time to blogging.

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