Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I am rather excited to tell you about the most recent cookbook I had the chance to review, The Amish Cook's Baking Book by Lovina Eicher with Kevin Williams. If you read my previous post on Lovina's first book, The Amish Cook at Home, you will already know that I really enjoyed her first cookbook. While The Amish Cook at Home was more of a peek into the Amish world and culture through food, The Amish Cook's Baking Book focuses a bit closer on the recipes, although there are still plenty of enjoyable stories about the Amish way of baking and Lovina's own personal stories as well.
With this next installment in the series, Lovina has truly outdone herself, bringing a huge sampling of wonderful looking Amish baking recipes. As I read through the book the first time, I kept marking off recipes that I wanted to try. When I was was done, nearly every recipe in the book had been earmarked! For someone who loves to bake, this is a treasure trove of delicious recipes.
It was very difficult for me to select just a few recipes to prepare for you, especially when it came down to bread. I already love bread in general, and there were so many tempting choices. I finally settled on Dilly Bread (page 50). This looks gorgeous when it is done baking, with tiny bits of dill and onion scattered throughout. It does not have an overly oniony taste, however. The crust came out golden and crisp, with the inside tender, soft, and moist. Lovina suggests using this as a sandwich bread and also makes this into dinner rolls. I was quite happy eating a slice on its own, with a bit of butter or dunked into some warm spaghetti sauce. Some of the other tempting bread recipes include Homemade Bread (a basic Amish style white bread loaf), Cheesy Bread, Hobo Bread, Double-Cinnamon Bread, Pineapple Bread, and Strawberry Bread, among others. There is even a recipe for Amish Style doughnuts with a sweet glaze and also one for soft pretzels.
My daughter specifically requested that I make Lovina's Lemon Squares (page 170). These were a bit tricky to photograph, as they are quite soft in the middle. These came out very chewy, sticky, and sweet. Actually, for my tastes they were a bit over the top in the sweetness factor, although I suspect many people would find it just right. They have a lovely bright yellow hue. Among the other tasty bars & brownies to choose from are Oatmeal Bars, Pecan Pie Bars, Butterscotch Brownies, Honey Bars, Toffee Nut Bars, and Delicious Peanut Butter Swirl Bars.
My favorite recipe of the three I tested by far was Monster Cookies (page 114). These cookies are bursting with chocolate and oats. Imagine a crisp oatmeal cookie with a hint of peanut butter, loaded with chocolate chips and M&Ms candies.. and you have monster cookies. These were easy and incredibly delicious. They also kept really well - it took about 10 days before they became stale. These would be a great choice for lunchbox or after school snacks. There are many recipes floating around for variations of Monster Cookies, but this particular version really stood out for me, perhaps because it contains more butter, chocolate, and M&Ms than many other versions I have seen. Rich, delicious, wonderful cookies. Other cookie recipes included are Honey Spice Cookies, Thimble Cookies, Homemade Buttermilk Cookies, Broomstick Cookies, Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies, and more.
The other sections of the book - an entire chapter on pies, one on cakes, and another on special occasion recipes specific to Amish traditions are equally drool-worthy. From the beautiful photography, the variety of tempting recipes, and the charming smattering of notes from Lovina's children on the ways they help out with some of the recipes, this cookbook is a great find. The Amish Cook's Baking Book would make an excellent gift for any home baker, especially one interested in Amish foods. Recommended.
at 8:45 AM Posted by Heatherfeather