When Simon and Schuster sent me an advance copy of Heather Bertinetti's "Bake It, Don't Fake It" to review, I was intrigued. After all, baking is something I love to do, and Bertinetti was named one of New York's "30 Under 30" in 2011 — a talented pastry chef who has found much success in a number of highly acclaimed Manhattan restaurants.
"Bake It, Don't Fake It" is an interesting read for those of us who enjoy baking. There are a number of excellent tips not only for baking, but also for decorating cakes and other delicious treats. The author has included a very helpful glossary of common baking terms, an index of ingredients and substitutions, and a description of commonly required baking equipment. This appendix is useful to seasoned bakers and newbies alike. There are many mouth-watering recipes that I personally am dying to try, such as Orange Buttermilk Bundt Cake, Creamsicle Fudge, and Lavash, which is a Turkish cracker-like flatbread that looks divine. There is an entire section on Frostings, Fillings, and Sauces, I'm tempted to make all of them.
The problem with a book written by an acclaimed pastry chef is that all the recipes are what I would call "very special occasion" items. These decadent cakes and goodies get their scrumptiousness from very high amounts of saturated fat, and none of the recipes are particularly vegan friendly. For example, the recipe for a pan of brownies calls for 7 eggs, a pound of butter, and 3 1/2 cups of sugar. A basic yellow cake requires 5 eggs plus 3 yolks, 1/2 pound of butter, in addition to buttermilk, sour cream, and vegetable oil. These are not recipes I would make very often; however, the recipes I tried were the very definition of indulgence. I'm already planning ahead for holiday season baking, thanks to this book.
In doing this review, I was allowed to excerpt a recipe. I chose Red Velvet Macarons, which were, quite frankly, scrumptious. They did not look anything at all like the photograph, but I would chalk that up to my own lack of pastry chef skills. The cream cheese filling was the best I had ever tasted, and the macarons themselves were a delicate flavour and consistency, which I enjoyed. I omitted the red food colouring because that's how I roll; red or not, they were delicious.
In a food processor, combine confectioner's sugar, almond meal, and salt, and process until finely ground. Sift the mixture into a large bowl, discarding any lumps or unground almond meal.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed to medium peaks while slowly adding the granulated sugar. The sugar will stabilize the whites.
Sprinkle a small amount of the ground almond mixture over the meringue and gently fold it in with a rubber spatula. Add the meringue to the remaining almond mixture and gently fold in with the spatula until well combined. Fold in the cocoa powder and food colouring.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Fit a pastry bag with a #4 plain tip and spoon in the batter. Pipe 1-inch rounds of batter on the baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart (Nicole Note: I bypassed the pastry bag and simply spooned the batter onto the baking sheet, which may explain why they didn't look like the photograph).
Let cookies air-dry for 30 minutes before baking. Bake cookies until they have puffed up a little and look dry on top, 10 to 20 minutes. Let the cookies cool for 2 to 3 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack.
To make the frosting: beat the room temperature cream cheese and butter together on medium speed until smooth. Scrape in the vanilla seeds (Nicole Note: I added vanilla extract, not seeds), add the sugar, and beat until smooth.
To assemble the macarons, sandwich cookies together with the cream cheese filling. Decadent and delightful!
copyright Heather Bertinetti
* Look for Bake It, Don't Fake It, published by Simon and Schuster Canada, in bookstores November 19, 2013.
And we're giving away FIVE hardcover copies of Heather Bertinetti's "Bake It, Don't Fake It!" thanks to Simon and Schuster Canada so you too can tie on an apron and make some delicious goodies!
To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment below and tell me what is it that YOU love to bake!
You have until October 31, 2013 to enter. You must be a YMC member and please be sure you've registered your email address in our commenting system so we can contact you if you win. Yummy Rules and Regs: You must be a YummyMummyClub.ca member to win. Click to sign up! It's free and filled with perks. One comment per member. Entries accepted until October 31, 2013. Contest open to Canadian residents (excluding Quebec). Winners will be picked using www.random.org. See full contest rules. See more at: http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/blogger-giveaway-standard-copy#sthash.ZpKpYynP.dpuf