This project is coming up on 4 years old, and I’m a handful of recipes away from finishing the Baked Goods chapter–at least, according to the collection that I have. There’s definitely some out there that I don’t have the card for, but here’s one of the last uncovered few (#50!) that I do have: 17-2: English Rusks. 🇬🇧☕
According to Wikipedia, English rusks are hard, dry biscuits given to babies for teething or crumbled up and used as filler for ground meat. It’s actually the US version of rusks that are more familiar–they list Melba toast and biscotti as examples.
Here’s yet another white bread recipe for you–Simply Delicious has already covered this territory pretty well with 17-6: Best Ever White Bread and 17-10: Poppy Seed Bread. 17-6: Honey White Bread is probably more comparable to traditional white store-bought bread (think Wonder Bread) than the other entries thanks to the sweetness added by the honey.🍯
Here’s a simple whole wheat bread recipe. 17-16: Whole Wheat Baguette has “baguette” in the name, but you could use this same recipe to make buns, rolls, sandwich bread, or any other shape you prefer. This is more of a utilitarian recipe more than anything else–nothing fancy here.
Baguettes are indeed long, thin loaves of French bread (French bread being a type of dough, not a type of shape). I made short, thin individual loaves instead, which the Wikipedia article I linked to calls demi-baguettes, although mine are probably even shorter than that. I thought individually-sized ones might be an interesting experiment instead of one or two long loaves.
One of the last few from the “in-the-queue-way-too-long” batch, here’s 17-22: Bread Loaves with Creamy Filling. I’ve been putting this recipe off for a while–I never seemed to have or remembered to buy cottage cheese to make it. Yes, in another 1980s-lowfat-health-craze-inspired moment, Simply Delicious chooses to sacrifice flavor for “health benefits”, this time by stuffing whole wheat bread with herb-flavored cottage cheese.
See? “Healthy” is right there in the description. Now, 30+ years later, we’ve determined that fats are probably better for you than we thought back then, and carbs/sugar are probably a lot worse for you. Remember, when they make things “low-fat”, they usually have to jack up the sugar to make it somewhat edible. Not really a great strategy for weight loss, as my parents’ yo-yo dieting throughout the 80s, 90s, and beyond can attest to.
One of the last entries from the Baked Goods chapter, 17-10: Poppy Seed Bread is essentially white bread with a sprinkling of poppy seeds on top. Simply Delicious shows it as a loaf, but I chose to make it into rolls/buns–since you’re already topping the bread with seeds, it makes it very reminiscent of sesame seed hamburger buns. 🍔
Even 20+ years later, most mentions of poppy seeds inevitably end up referencing this Seinfeld gag, where Elaine’s love for poppy seed muffins keep causing her to test positive for opium on a work-administered drug test.
This often leads to the question: Can poppy seeds really affect a drug test? And the answer, according to the New York Times, is actually “Yes!” 🤔 You’d have to eat a LOT of them (much more than what the recipe for this bread contains) to have it show up at levels that would cause alarm–but the claim does actually have merit.
Here’s one of the last few recipes left from the chapter on baked goods, Group 17: Baked Goods. I made 17-14: Nutty Muffins for work–I thought they’d make a nice accompaniment to everyone’s morning coffee. ☕️
See? Even Simply Delicious shows them being served with coffee. Wikipedia offers a deeper dive on the history of muffins if you’re interested/bored. There’s a difference between these types of muffins (referred to as “quickbread” muffins or “American” muffins due to the fact that they’re very similar to a cupcake or other types of sweet, dense, cake-like bread) and the traditional “English” muffins that you get with Eggs Benedict or an Egg McMuffin.
As part of my Mother’s Day brunch this year (MD2017), I wanted to push my limits by attempting some of the hardest pastry recipes in the book. I tested my skills not only with 17-44: Homemade Danish Pastries, but with this recipe as well, 17-23: Mocha Éclairs. My mom always referred to éclairs as something that challenged her when she was learning to cook and bake, and that a well-executed one was something that really impressed her. With that in mind, I knew this recipe was a must-do.
I may have to make a few adjustments to Simply Delicious‘ version of the recipe–first of all, there’s no chocolate listed anywhere in this recipe, and it’s advertised as “mocha”, which is coffee AND chocolate. We may have to do something about this “slicing the tops off” idea as well.
Strap in ladies and gents, this one’s a long one. As part of my Mother’s Day brunch this year (MD2017), I thought I’d raise the bar and attempt some of the harder ones in the book–nothing impresses your mother like showing her you can cook (and bake). My mom LOVES pastries, so I made her 17-44: Homemade Danish Pastries to nosh on while I worked on trying to serve up 5-4: Eggs Benedict. Luckily, these turned out better than my hollandaise sauce attempt did.
Obviously, mine look a bit different than what’s pictured on their card–we’ll get into all the decisions and pitfalls that led to that being the case after the jump.
If you’re looking for a relatively easy homemade buttermilk biscuit recipe, 17-39: Herbed Buttermilk Biscuits isn’t a bad choice. I made these once before for a dinner I made about 8 years ago. I remember thinking they were very bland as written–hence my notes written on the front and back about adding more salt. After following my own suggestions this time around, they’re much improved.
I didn’t make these for any particular dinner or reason this time around, but they still made decent snacks and accompaniments to meals throughout the week.
Scones have a lot of different methods of preparation, usually depending on varying geographical interpretations. There’s even different pronunciations of the word “scone”–some rhyme it with “tone”, while others rhyme it with “gone.”
Simply Delicious‘ take, 17-11: Scones, seems to most closely adhere to the British version of scones in that they make theirs into round cakes, score them, and then break them apart into triangle shapes after baking. The North American versions tend to be individually-sized, round, and more often than not closely resemble what we refer to as biscuits.
One of my first memorable experiences with scones were at an 18th birthday tea party I attended in the last few months of senior year of high school–we had just come back from a Spring Break trip to England & Ireland, and I came to the tea party prepared with white gloves and pinkies up. They had scones with clotted cream & jam, finger sandwiches, and lots of flowery, delicate pots of tea. ☕️
Wouldn’t have been my choice for an 18th birthday party (I spent a good portion of mine in my dorm room hungover from a wild freshman-year-of-college Halloween extravaganza the night before), but it was definitely unique.