Apr 29, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose
Many years ago, I fell in love with shortbread cookies and decided to sell them. My stepdaughter Beth, who has great artistic talent, and is now an architect, made this sign which I put up in the basement of our apartment house. I only ever got one order. I brought a sample to Georgia DeLucca of Dean & Delucca and his verdict was: "Did you ever try Danish Lurpack butter? It needs salt." I strongly disagreed. Loving salt though I do, this one cookie, which has only butter, sugar, and flour, is the soul of purity and needs nothing more. (I did manage to suspend disbelief and tried the Lurpack butter, but even one grain of salt stood out in an unpleasant way.
Thus ended my career as a cookie baking saleswoman and I went on to write The Cake Bible, and then Rose's Christmas Cookies, in which this recipe resides.
I tried many different types of flours and sugars including part rice flour, which adds crispness, but bleached all-purpose flour is my favorite for this cookie.
Scottish Shortbread Cookies
Makes: 4 dozen 1-1/2 inch cookies
Equipment: cookie sheets, no preparation needed
unsalted butter: 284 grams/10 ounces
powdered sugar: 28 grams/1/4 cup lightly spooned into cup and leveled off
granulated sugar: 50 grams: 1/4 cup
bleached all-purpose flour: 362 grams/3 cups, lightly spooned into cup and leveled off
Cut the butter into 1/2 to 1 inch cubes. Wrap it, and refrigerate.
In a food processor, process the sugars for about 1 minute until the sugar is very fine. Add the butter and pulse until the sugar disappears. Add the flour and pulse until there are a lot of moist, crumbly little pieces and no dry flour particles remain.
Empty the mixture into a plastic bag and press it together. Remove the dough and knead it lightly until it holds together.
Set 2 oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 275°F/135°C.
Measure 2 level teaspoons or 1 scant tablespoon of the dough and knead each piece by flattening it between your palms and then rolling it into a 1 inch ball.
Place each ball on the cookie sheets, flattening it with a cookie press, fork, or the bottom a tumbler, lightly moistened with water. Work with one ball at a time, right after rolling it, so that it does not crack around the edges. Leave about 1 inch between the flattened cookies.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until pale golden (do not brown). For even baking, rotate the cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking period.
Use a small angled metal spatula or pancake turner to transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
Apr 15, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories 2017
A wedding cake is a huge production, and if you don't have a bakery to work in, or at least your own home kitchen with reliable equipment, it is a true labor of love and demands meticulous orchestration. Come to think of it, it is always a labor of love. Hector has chronicled his year long process preparing and executing a wedding cake for his brother an ocean away. Here is how he pulled it off (brilliantly):
(Written by Hector on Tuesday April 4th, 2017)
Sometime ago, my brother Miguel asked me to make his wedding cake. 16 months later, and 10 hours flying from Honolulu to Pasco, Washington, I am arriving to his house to make his cake. I have made many big cakes, and traveled near and far, but this is the first time I will do so on location! All my cakes are always made at my home kitchen! The initial plan was to assemble a passion fruit tiramisu style dessert as the cake, with store bought ladyfingers. But since so much time was available, the project started to walk on its own. A new refrigerator, 2 stand mixers, a chocolate melter, an upgraded turn table, were ordered and arrived! The very best passion fruit syrup, and the ultimate best chocolate were purchased and sent!
During the last 3 weeks, I shipped by USPS flat rate everything I need, literally everything. No piece of equipment has been was shorted. No ingredient quality has been shorted. The project is a 6 tier Génoise with ganache. The wedding is Saturday, and I am writing to you on Tuesday, from Seattle airport, during my connection to my final destination!
(Written by Hector on Friday April 14th, 2017)
Normally, I bake everything at my home kitchen, and travel with a partly finished product. I was on house lock down from 5 am until midnight on Wednesday, to bake all the 12 layers. And on Thursday, I was on a similar schedule to torte and frost all 6 tiers. On Friday, I took a baking break and did family things pre-wedding. I delivered the cake at noon on Saturday, the day of the wedding, and spent 2 hours arranging the gum paste rose petals. The petals were purchased at Etsy, and individually luster glitter dusted in bronze and yellow by the bride and bridesmaid.
Hector and his sister
The finished cake made me happy. The taste, the chocolate aroma, and the floral design surpassed my expectations. I did all the cake cutting myself, and the moment when I started to disassemble the cake, a line of hungry wedding guests mobbed me. The catering staff was awaiting with carts and serving trays to pass the cake, however they had to step away, and just let the mob throw themselves on me! Literally, people were panhandling for cake, and cake serving went very fast. 300 slices and all.
I am home on my island now, and I have many memories to share about the cake, the wedding, and the family gatherings. The only word of wisdom I have for everyone, including myself, and my brother is: You only get married once (or twice), in reference to what I believe is true: no groom or bride will ever ask you to make their wedding cake at their house more than once. The experience is so intense, almost traumatic, yet when love is abundant, I will always say yes.
Note from Rose: here's how we differ slightly: I always say "never again" and then, when the occasion presents, I say "yes"!
Apr 09, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose
We are no longer accepting pledges.
Mar 25, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose
in A Bakeware SALE
We have reduced prices on hundreds of items from previous sales
$20 or less on ALL NordicWare bundt pans
# 31 Thermoworks ChefAlarm thermometer $25 ($40 at Retailers)
# 16 Braun Citronmatic juicer $10 ($50 at Retailers)
# 11 Waring Blender $25 ($60 at Retailers)
# 67A KitchenAid KPRA 3 piece pasta roller set $75 ($200 at Retailers)
$5 each on ALL Silicone ware by Lekue, Kitchen Aid, and others
Over 100 books, all in excellent condition, many brand new first editions &
Rose's books include signing and your dedication
# 26 The Bread Baker's Apprentice Reinhart $15 ($26 on Amazon)
#102 Buchon Keller $25 ($35 on Amazon)
#103 Monofuko Milk Bar Tosi $13 ($21 on Amazon)
$5 to $7 ALL American Test Kitchen books
$5 SALE on over 50 books
including: Fika, Baking with the Brass Sisters, Baking UNPLUGGED, Cookie Love, Fearless Entertaining, Batali Molto Gusto: Easy Italian Cooking, Dinner Pies, Skirt Steak, The Pizza Book
email Woody at: email@example.com If you would like complete lists of our: bakeware & kitchenware, silicone ware, and books with over 500 items.
We can send you photos of any of these items and those on our lists.
We do charge for UPS or USPS ground rates. Post office MEDIA rate for book orders. No added cost for packaging and handling.
Mar 19, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Questions and Answers
Please feel free to post comments here if you can't find another appropriate place. The other question entries became too long for some people's browsers to download.
You can access older entries
Mar 18, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose
Rose's Signature Series Bakeware is being featured at the APG (American Products Group) booth at the IHS.
This is the annual largest housewares show in the world, showcasing 2000+ vendors.
If you are attending, be sure to stop by the booth #S3821 and say hi to Dan O'Malley and his great team.
Mar 18, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose
Having fallen in love with Linh Trang's Milk Bread and her beautifully crafted video, I decided to explore some of her other videos and was intrigued by her unique method of making sponge cake without a tube pan. Normally a cake of this type will dip in the center without a center tube to support it. Linh Trang explained how she created this cake to prevent dipping:
In Vietnam, people think that is a terrible failure. So a large part of my time in the kitchen was used to find out how to have a soft, cottony sponge cake that has a dome in the end :-) A very helpful tip that I learnt recently is to drop the mold onto the counter from a level of about 7 inches) like what I did in this chiffon video, at 5.33). I am not sure 100% but I guess the shocks help to ventilate and release the steam better, and this trick works like magic to me. After dropping the mold 3 - 4 times, we can unmold the cake (if it's not baked in a tube pan) and let it cool on a rack.
The resulting sponge cake is extraordinarily tender, moist, and velvety and not at all overly sweet. I brought half the cake to my dentist, Dr. Kellen Mori, and learned coincidentally that her 6 year old daughter Olivia had just expressed a yearning for strawberry shortcake for breakfast. All that was needed was some lightly sweetened whipped cream and strawberries and apparently it was a great success! Olivia even made a video expressing what she thought a "famous baker" should be. Essentially she said that one should not be concerned about fame or money but rather about having fun, and feeding and making people happy. She certainly made me happy!
Linh Trang's video demonstrates exactly how to make this cake and she has given me permission to offer the recipe to you.
Here is the recipe:
One 8 x 2-1/2 to 3 inch pan, bottom lined with parchment (do not grease the sides) (Note the baked cake was 2 inches at the sides and 2-1/4 inches domed so a 2 inch pan might work)
4 to 5 egg yolks: 76 grams
superfine sugar: 20 grams
milk: 40 ml (3 Tablespoons) fine to use orange juice or lemon juice instead
oil: 30 ml (2 Tablespoons)
vanilla: 1/2 teaspoon
all-purpose flour: 50 grams (I used bleached but she thinks her flour was unbleached)
cornstarch: 50 grams (for the best texture I recommend organic such as Rumford)
4 egg whites: 120 grams
cream of tartar: 1/4 teaspoon (I used 1/2 t but Linh Trang said it is not good quality in
Vietnam so more will be too tangy)
superfine sugar, sifted: 70 grams
In a medium bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar, milk, oil, and vanilla until very smooth. Add the flour/cornstarch through a strainer and whisk until evenly incorporated.
Beat meringue on low speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue on high speed until soft peaks. Then lower speed to medium for about 2 minutes until stiff peaks to give it more stability.
Whisk 1/3 of the meringue into the yolk mixture. Then use a spatula to fold in the meringue, adding it in two parts. Smooth the surface.
Tap the pan 3 times on the counter to release any large air bubbles.
Bake toward lower rack so not too close to top heat at 300°F 40 to 50 minutes (slow rise=less likelihood of falling) until it springs back.
Drop the pan 3 times to release steam and unmold right away. Remove parchment and cool top-side-up on a raised rack.
Mar 15, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose
My wonderful editor Cassie Morgan Jones, at Harper-Collins, gave me a list of questions to answer about how The Cake Bible came to be a classic and my thoughts about the influence that it has had on my and other people's baking lives:
Congratulations to one of our favorite authors, Rose Levy Beranbaum, whose book The Cake Bible was recently inducted into the International Association of Culinary Professionals Culinary Classics Hall of Fame. This bestselling, definitive cookbook makes cake baking a joy and brings professional-quality baking within reach of home bakers everywhere.
Here is the introduction to the Q & A written by Cassie:
And here is the Q & A for you to enjoy.
Mar 11, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Special Stories 2017
CHEF HIROSHI YOSHIKAWA
Over the years, I have had many wonderful travel experiences, but if there had been just one to choose from, without hesitation it would be my visit to the Sakumas in Kyoto.
Yoko Sakuma was my student when I ran the Cordon Rose Cooking School. She took several of the classes more than once, and when I asked her why, she explained in her now exquisite English: There were two reasons. First, you were so kind and patient to teach an actually novice like me at baking. So, I did not hesitate to avail myself of the opportunity to learn till I understood what you taught. Second, as I had just begun NY life and could not understand English well, your baking classes were also English classes for me. You were not only a teacher of baking but also an excellent English teacher though you might not recognize it. Accordingly, I could learn more English than in the actual English class at NYU.
Never have I met a more dignified, truly sweet, and beautifully spiritual soul, who became my life-long friend. When finally Yoko and Ushio returned to Japan, Yoko wrote to me that they would be living for a very short time in Kyoto--exquisite city of artisans. She explained that the apartments were very small and that the only oven she would have room for was a toaster oven, which either burned the bottom of the cake or the top. She said that she could not live too many years in a place which had no oven, and urged me to come and visit them while they were still there. I promised that I would and that when I came, I would teach her how to bake a cake in a toaster oven.
When I arrived, Yoko presented me with a carefully detailed itinerary of my stay, saying that it was not a rigid schedule and that if I wanted to change anything that would be fine. I did not! What followed was more than a week of amazing dinners and trips including to Nara, and to a visit to Horyuji--the oldest wooden temple in the world that exists at present, dating back to 607 AD.
The dining experience that was most profoundly unforgettable was at a tiny sushi restaurant "Matsu (pine tree) Sushi." There were only 5 seats, all at the counter, and we three watched in fascination as the sushi was prepared. Yoko and Ushio explained to me that the fish, which was white on the outside and black on the inside, was called Sayori. Mr. Hiroshi Yoshikawa told them that there was a phrase of "Sayori beauty? in Kyoto. According to him, "Sayori beauty" means a woman who is very beautiful but malicious at heart. Sayori is very beautiful lean silver fish but its inside color is ugly black.
Mr. Hiroshi Yoshikawa, the master, did not speak english so the Sakumas carefully translated everything. They explained that his father before him owned the restaurant and was so respected he had access to the best fish which was a rarity for this inland city. But Mr. Yoshikawa would not allow his son to take over because he felt he did not have the proper spirit.
It was when he was deftly shaping one of the sushis, and his hands curved around it like a dancer's, that I started taking photos, hoping to catch that exact moment. I must have tried about 5 times as that was before digital cameras so I had no way of knowing if I had gotten the shot until he said something emphatic which was translated as "she got it!" He had intuited what I was hoping for and with the precision of a Zen archer who can shoot an arrow into his target with eyes closed, knew when it had arrived. Before leaving he asked the Sakumas if I would send him my book which, of course, I was honored to do on my return to the US.
Mr. Yoshikawa is now over eighty years old. He has been saying that the climate change has had a serious effect on fish, shellfish, and other seafood. They are often too small or too big, and accordingly not tasty, but also are not caught by fishermen or bay men in the right season. So he has decided the time has come to close the restaurant.
Now for the solution to that toaster oven which had two levels. If baking on the higher level the top of the cake burned; if baking on the lower level, the bottom of the cake burned. So I suggested that we try double panning to protect the bottom and to bake on the lower level to protect the top of the cake. It worked.
The most special treasure I brought back was this antique traveling sake cup gifted to me by Ushio after we visited a sake manufacturer and museum. The metal stand enables it to swing back and forth so that the sake doesn't spill a single drop during a train ride!
Elizabeth Andoh, a former New Yorker and much esteemed colleague who has been living in Tokyo most of her life, writing wonderful books on Japanese cooking, once told me a story which I cherish. She said that there was to be a contest of two renowned culinary sensei (master teachers) but only one showed up. The other sent his best student. If I were in that position I would send Yoko.
Mar 08, 2017 | From the kitchen of Rose
in Book Production
Baking Basics Production Phase 7: Revising the Manuscript to send to the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
We Finished the Manuscript! (71,176 words, 560 pages) Of course the many photos, with their captions, will add lots more pages!
A benefit to our having remade most of the recipes for the step-by-step photo phase is that it gave us an ideal opportunity to tweak, revise, and produce a clean and consistent manuscript.
Our goal was to submit the manuscript (along with style sheets for the copy editor) to our editor, Stephanie Fletcher, by March 1, and we did it. (It turns out it is exactly 4 years minus 12 days after we submitted the manuscript for the Baking Bible!) Now an entirely new phase begins with Stephanie and the HMH book production team going into action to begin the publishing process. And fingers crossed to see what the next critical Copy Editor's phase will send back to us. Plus our upcoming week-long beauty/style photos phase in New York City in April.