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What are you baking?


Oh! I should have mentioned that. I usually try to make one recipe that my in-laws are familiar with, one that my paternal grandmother passed down, one that my mom passed down, and one that I hope will become "mine." Am still looking for the one that will become "mine."

1. The no-baking-required: peppermint bark. This will probably happen last as -- O, hardship! -- I have to eat a container of ice cream to make room for the trays in the freezer. This is the recipe from the in-laws' side of the family.

2. What some people call nanaimo bars, some people call "six layer bars" and my Nana called "]Hello Dollies" -- the dessert bars with chocolate, coconut and graham cracker. This is the recipe from my father's side of the family.

3. Jam jewels -- basically, cheese cookies with a dollop of strawberry-rhubarb jam on top. This is the recipe from my mother's side of the family.

4. Fudge -- this is by request from Phil. I'm using Shirley Corriher's recipe from Cookwise.

I am also considering taking on the shortbreak recipe from Cook's Illustrated, but I do not own a standing mixer, and I'm not sure how using a handmixer would affect the dough. I am a little paranoid about the prospect that the hand mixer would somehow introduce more heat into the batter during the mixing process, and since the recipe stresses keeping everything nice and cold ...

But maybe I'll tackle it after next week. One of the reasons I'm prepping and baking/freezing this week is because my mother and brother both requested baked goods from me, so I want to get those out by 12/18.


Yummy sounding, all. I really like the structure you have, with recipes from each branch of the family. "Your" recipe may end up being something that seems commonplace to you. I've checked with my mom about a couple of recipes that I was sure had been handed down for generations on her side of the family, only to be met with, "That? Oh, it's just BH&G [Better Homes & Gardens] and I cut the spices."


You want the stand mixer. (C'mon you know you do! Can't you feel it calling you right now?) But seriously, you want the stand mixer. Get the 4 qt model. The bowl on the 6 qt is too large unless you plan on doing double batches every time. The problem with a hand mixer isn't the heat (actually, that may be somewhat of a problem since you generally have to handle the bowl by hand), but the speed of the mixer and the consistency of the mix. A stand mixer is far faster and much more consistent.

I assume you meant "shortbread". I actually don't recall whether I used a mixer at all the last time I did that. But yes, keep it cold however you mix it. If it's warming up, stop the step early if you have to and cool it down again. If you decide on the hand mixer, place the mixing bowl in an ice bath and it will keep the dough nice and cool. Chill everything, including the mixer bowl and blades, before and while working with it.

(A few years ago, some while working at home and even moreso while looking for work, I discovered I had a nice little talent for pastries... even croissants and puff pastry (yes, the real made-from-scratch stuff). I even developed a handful of my own recipes. One really interesting variation is a Boston Cream pie made with banana cream instead of the pastry cream, genoise or sponge cake instead of the butter cake, and Cointreau or similar to moisten before covering with ganache. It's really light but very, very tasty.)

One other tip - if you're into, or going to get into, baking, learn to measure everything by weight. You'll probably have to develop your own weight tables by working backwards from volume-based recipes, but once you do your results will be MUCH more consistent.

And finally, how interesting your name for that "HD" place. That makes you the third person I know to call it that - the other two being myself and someone I work with.


I'm no good in remodeling. So when I remodeled my kitchen I got get rid of everything like I changed my wooden chairs with chrome bar stools.

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