The No-Knead Bread


If you haven’t heard about the no-knead bread by now, you clearly don’t read many food blogs (or newspapers, for that matter.) Last year, in The New York Times–actually, TWO years ago in The New York Times (the article was published November 8, 2006! Boy, I’m way behind on making this)–Mark Bittman coaxed a recipe from master bread baker Jim Lahey for perfect bakery-quality bread at home. Shockingly, the recipe required no work, no kneading of any kind. The food world was astonished. Food bloggers went ga-ga. I watched them go ga-ga. And, finally, last week I decided to go ga-ga myself.

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Cream Scones, 1 2 3


We are about to conduct an experiment. For this experiment you will need a person; the person should be a person who: (1) loves scones; (2) is a self-professed non-cook. The purpose of this experiment is to prove that a self-professed non-cook who loves scones can whip up a batch of cream scones so quickly, so easily, that they will: (1) no longer consider themselves a non-cook; and (2) eat scones to their heart’s content.

Don’t believe me? I can get them there in three steps, using a Molly O’Neill recipe from The New York Times (courtesy of Amanda Hesser.) Are you ready? Here we go.

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Weekend Baking: Crispy Salted White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies


This is baking weather, peoples. What better on a chilly day than to fill the apartment/house/shack with the smell of something baking in the oven? Nothing better, I say, nothing.

Last weekend I had you make a chocolate cake and many of you came through; but this time I bet even more of you will join in. Why? Because those cookies you see above are maddeningly awesome; they come from the brilliant Smitten Kitchen website (seriously, is there a prettier website alive?) and the cookies are, to quote Michael Jackson, devilishly good. Let me put it in pretentious foodie terms: the salinity of the salt plays off the sweetness of the white chocolate, and the oats create a texture that is substantive without being heavy. And I took ’em out a bit early so they were actually pretty chewy (which I like) not so much crispy. So I guess you could call ’em “Deb’s Chewy Crispy Salted White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies” but that’d be a mouthful.

Your assignment: make the cookies. Here’s the recipe: the recipe. Take a picture of yourself or your loved ones with the finished cookies and upload the pictures to the Amateur Gourmet Photo Group on Flickr and prepare to see yourself on the blog on Monday. Millions of people will ogle you and talk about how sexy you are and how much they love your cookies. What could be better?

Have a salty, chewy, white chocolate-filled weekend.

Let’s Make Our Cookies Bigger


People of the world, aren’t you tired of tiny cookies? You know the kind I’m talking about. They’re the kind that you end up making when a recipe says, “Drop cookie batter by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.” That’s what the recipe says for Nestle’s Oatmeal Butterscotch Cookies, which I made again tonight (here’s the recipe from the first time I made them). They’re great cookies–sweet chemical morsels embraced by wholesome natural oatmeal–and I definitely enjoyed them when they were small. But tonight I wanted them bigger.

To make them bigger here’s what I did: I used an ice cream scoop. I scooped out big blobs of batter, pushed the little handle on the scoop and dropped them on to parchment paper placed on my cookie sheet. The recipe was to make two dozen, I made nine. Then, instead of using the time allotted on the bag, I baked them until they were flat and brown around the edges.

And you know what? I got exactly what I wanted: big, smile-inducing cookies. Everybody loves a big cookie. So don’t cowtow to the tiny cookie gods just because they yell at you from the side of a bag. Get yourself an ice cream scoop and make your cookies bigger: you’ll be glad you did.