SMORGASBORD: Backward baking ... Cookie cake ... Egg-straBakers Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito develop their ideas somewhat backward. Instead of saying, I want to make chocolate chip cookies, the thread goes more along the lines of, I want something chocolate, what shall it be?
By: Herald Staff Report, Grand Forks Herald
Bakers Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito develop their ideas somewhat backward. Instead of saying, I want to make chocolate chip cookies, the thread goes more along the lines of, I want something chocolate, what shall it be? Finding themselves again and again turning to the same roster of ingredients at Baked, their Brooklyn bakery, inspired them to organize “Baked Elements” Stewart, Tabori & Chang, $32.50), their third cookbook, around their desert island favorites: peanut butter, lemon and lime, caramel, booze, pumpkin, malted milk powder, cinnamon, cheese, chocolate and bananas.
The recipes, grouped in chapters saluting each of the 10 ingredients, amount to redeveloped classics, often with a twist. Key lime tart is here, but with a pretzel crust and a filling spiked with tequila. A butter cookie has lime and a touch of anise flavor from fresh tarragon. Flavors are intense.
“We always add a little more flavor, a little more spice than we should,” Poliafito says. “Those flavors are important, might as well punch them up.”
Indeed, a batch of spicy brownies gets 2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Snickerdoodles lots more. Flavor is layered on flavor. Bread pudding with a chocolate chunk pumpkin bread base gets more pumpkin in the custard. On the downside, some recipes call for making multiple components — the dough and the filling and the assembly and the frosting.
Lewis and Poliafito want recipes that fit the Baked philosophy: “delicious, interesting and unpretentious” — and the offerings here do feel grounded. If some lean from interesting into out-there — cookies stuffed with candy bar chunks and double-dipped in melted chocolate — well, plenty of home cooks are willing to follow.
Pepperidge Farm, maker of the many kinds of Milano cookies, now offers frozen “Milano cookie cake” (thaw before serving).
At one store, the 18-ounce Milano cake was $5.29; other Pepperidge Farm frozen cakes, all weighing 19.6 ounces, were $3.29.
So, there’s an egg sale at the supermarkets. Extra-large are selling for less than large ones. Sometimes, it’s jumbo eggs for less than large ones.
OK, now the question is can extra-large or jumbo eggs be used in recipes calling for large eggs? (Bear in mind that large eggs are the industry standard and that most recipes are tested with large eggs.)
If you’re just making fried or scrambled eggs, the size doesn’t matter, though it will take longer to hard-cook a jumbo egg than a large one. If you’re using eggs to provide moisture in a savory recipe, such as a meatloaf, you might use a tad less milk or water to accommodate more egg.
Bur baking recipes are a different story because there, eggs provide not only moisture but structure. If a recipe calls for one or two large eggs, the American Egg Board says to use the same number of extra-large or jumbos. But:
• If recipe calls for 3 large eggs, use 3 extra-large or 2 jumbo.
• If recipe calls for 4 large eggs, use 4 extra-large or 3 jumbo.
• If recipe calls for 5 large eggs, use 4 extra-large or 4 jumbo.
• If recipe calls for 6 large eggs, use 5 extra-large or 5 jumbo.