This month, I’m currently reading a few new cookbooks some of which are written by friends. Some of these came out last year in the U.K. but are now being released here in America.Read More
For the past couple of years, a lot of you have emailed and messaged to ask about my favorite cookbooks. I’ve hesitated for many reasons but above all because having not written a cookbook until now, I felt it would be a bit unfair for me to decide. Now having written Season, I know how much work goes into producing a book. There are so many parts to it, the writing, the photography, the illustrations, the design, etc. and then the recipes need to be approachable depending on their targeted audience. IRead More
It’s here, it’s finally here! It took me two years to get to this day and I’m so happy and excited that today, SEASON comes out worldwide in bookstores! Coincidentally, today also happens to be the wedding anniversary of my late maternal grandparents and I think they’d be proud to see become an author. I learned all I knew about Goan cooking and cooking in general from my grandmother, so it would have been amazing to have her see this day.Read More
It's here and I'm so excited and happy to finally share the trailer to my first solo cookbook, Season - Big Flavors, Beautiful Food that comes out this October 2 with Chronicle Books. Watch the trailer to get a quick peek at what's inside!
One of the most important questions when you work on a cookbook, regardless of whether you photograph it yourself or someone else does it, HOW DO YOU PICK AND DECIDE ON A COVER?Read More
Some of you asked a few specific questions about my book proposal format, so let's just dive straight into that. From what I've seen with other authors and now based on my own experience, the style of the proposal varies. But typically, you include samples of your work and a synopsis of the concept of your book for the potential publisher to read and gauge the quality of your work but also to see if the concept is marketable. You might include social media stats (if relevant - not everyone needs to do this), previous media coverage etc., pretty much anything that would be beneficial to making your case.Read More
Fall is a time of excitement because it is cookbook season. There are a lot of new books that are published at this time of the year, from chefs and bloggers alike and it makes me so excited to see what they're are cooking up in their kitchens. You also get to learn more about the people that write these books, what drives them, what their passions are and what makes them unique. This week, my dear friend, Molly Yeh has a her first cookbook out! And the book is as colorful and fun as she is!
In Molly on the Range, Molly shares recipes from her unique Chinese and Jewish cultures and her life on the farm. Pretty photos and illustrations accompany her story along with the recipes in her book and her recipes are equally delicious, like her chicken tater tot pie (which is next on my list of things to cook) and her iconic layer cakes covered decorated with funfetti and marzipan.
Though I've known Molly for a while now, I don't think we've ever discussed our love for marzipan. In fact, it might come as a surprise to everyone as I've never shared a marzipan recipe here either. Every Christmas and Easter celebration, I eat a lot of marzipan because of tradition. At Easter, when my mom placed an order for easter eggs, I'd go with marzipan over chocolate. Marzipan smells and tastes wonderful and the thought of tasting that sweet and chewy texture makes me weak every time. So when, Molly asked me to share a recipe from her book, I quickly picked her Mandel bread recipe because it comes loaded with marzipan and a bunch of other tasting nuggets of flavor and color. (Check out the cute funfetti mix she made and sent along with the book in the little envelope). This is one book, I've been truly excited to wait to read ever since she announced it and it was every bit worth the wait and I highly recommend adding it to your bookshelves!
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this cookie,
- Cut the marzipan into small 1/2 inch cubes, I initially cut them into semicircles because of the way the marzipan tube is shaped. Cubes will be slightly smaller and you will get more bursts of marzipan flavor in each bite.
- The dough is sticky because it is oil based so I strongly recommend greasing both your hands with a little extra oil before you set out to shape the loaves.
- I used a mix of 1/4 cup chocolate chips and 1/4 cup cacao nibs but feel free to choose one over the other if you prefer.
- I used Molly's mix of funfetti on top of the mandel bread because it was the right thing to do!
molly yeh's marzipan and sea salt mandel bread (from Molly on the Range, Rodale Books 2016)
yields: 28 cookies
7 to 8 ounces marzipan
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
3¼ cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup flavorless oil
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ cup cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips
Flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
Pearl sugar or sprinkles, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Cut the marzipan into ½-inch pieces and toss with the powdered sugar. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and oil until combined. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, and then whisk in the vanilla and almond extract. Use a wooden spoon to gradually mix in the flour mixture, marzipan, and cacao nibs or chocolate chips. (This dough can be made the night before and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and place on the lined baking sheet. Mold the dough into two 14 x 3-inch rectangles about 3 inches apart. Sprinkle the tops with a few pinches of sea salt and pearl sugar or sprinkles.
Bake until the centers are set and the bottoms are lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 250ºF. Let the mandel bread cool slightly and then use a sharp serrated knife to cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices. Turn the slices on their sides and bake for 20 more minutes, or until desired crispness. Let cool slightly and enjoy with coffee, hot chocolate, or tea.
First things first, the winner of the Wolf Gourmet giveaway is Angela Fields. Congratulations!!! Angela, please send me an email so I can have your shiny new cookware sent out to you.
When Tessa Huff (who is a cake maven) asked me to share a cake recipe from her new book Layered, I immediately went with her birthday cake. Tessa's blog, if you aren't familiar with it already, is full of delicious cakes and treats made with unique flavors and styles. There's a cake for every occasion to bake and plenty of tasty ones to choose from. From rhubarb, to zucchini to tea infused cakes, you will have a blast going through the book and cooking from it.
A yellow layer cake frosted with chocolate buttercream fudge frosting. It's simple yet decadent and delightful, everything a birthday cake should be! I've added a light sprinkling of maldon salt flakes for color and flavor. Make sure you use good quality chocolate and cocoa for the frosting, it makes a huge difference in flavor. Yellow layer cakes are made with egg yolks which give the cake it's color and name. The crumb is soft and delicate and a spoonful with a layer of chocolate fudge frosting, goes a deliciously long way!
Tessa is also giving away a copy of her book to one lucky reader (contest is open to US and Canadian readers only) from here. The giveaway is open for a week and ends on April 29th, 2016. I'll pick a random winner, all you need to do is leave a comment below and share the name of your favorite birthday cake. Please don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you. Good luck and happy baking!
Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this cake;
- Note that I made a two layer cake instead of four.
- I used dark unsweetened cocoa powder for the frosting to give it a deeper chocolate flavor.
- When making a chocolate based fudge frosting you should end up with a frosting that is soft and smooth. This is important when you frost the cake or it will rip the cake as you move against the grain of the cake with the offset spatula. I usually add more heavy cream (1 tablespoon at a time) to the frosting until it feels smooth and silky. It should be thick enough to hold its shape yet soft enough to frost.
- Adding the salt flakes at the end is optional. Since salt is hygroscopic, it will absorb moisture from air so watch out for that. You could also sprinkle salt flakes on each slice just before serving.
yellow butter cake with fudge frosting (from the book Layered by Tessa Huff)
yields: makes 4-layer or two-layer 8 inch cake
butter/non-stick cooking spray for pans
3 1/4 cups (425gm) cake flour plus a little extra for dusting the pans
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (225gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups (400gm) finegrain sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
6 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups (360mL) whole milk
for the fudge frosting
1 1/2 cups (340gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 1/2 cups (690gm) confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup (50g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon finegrain salt
1/4 cup (60mL) heavy cream
8 ounces (225gm) semisweet chocolate melted and cooled
1 teaspoon maldon salt flakes (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and butter two 8 inch cake pans and set aside.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt and set aside.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and mix on medium-high until the butter is light and fluffy. Add the sugar and mix on medium-high until the butter is light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
4. Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the vanilla and egg yolks, one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
5. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix on medium for no more than 30 seconds after the last streaks of the dry ingredients are combined.
6. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake for 25 to 38 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Let them cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.
For the Fudge Frosting
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth and creamy. With the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioner's sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt. Pour in the cream and mix until incorporated. Turn the mixer to high and mix until the frosting is light and fluffy. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Add the chocolate and mix until smooth.
2. To assemble the cake: Once the cakes have completely cooled, carefully halve them horizontally (I didn't do this) to create four even layers of cake. Level the cakes and choose which layer will be at the bottom. Place it on a plate or serving dish. Spread 3/4 cup of the frosting with an offset spatula. Place the next layer of cake on the top and repeat. Frost with remaining fudge frosting. Sprinkle the top of the frosted cake with a little maldon salt flakes if desired.