Wednesday, July 27, 2005

In time for tea...

photograph picture of cookies baked from recipes in the winter 2005 issue of Donna Hay magazine

A few days ago, on San Francisco's hottest day of the year, my Winter edition of Donna Hay magazine arrived from Australia. Or neighbour did us a favour so we decided to bake him some little treats as a thank you, using some of Donna Hay's recipes.

photograph picture  the winter 2005 issue of Donna Hay magazine

The chocolate dipped shortbread should have been piped with a fluted nozzle. I did try but our nozzle was too small and I couldn't force the dough through it, so we made half-domes with a cookie scoop instead. The recipe was lacking in butter. I had to almost double the amount in order to blend the dough. These cookies were extremely dense and buttery to which the dark chocolate was the prefect foil. I would make these again, but next time I am going to buy the correct nozzle for my piping bag.

photograph picture of cookies baked from recipes in the winter 2005 issue of Donna Hay magazine

The pistachio and lemon bites became almond flavoured when I made them, as almonds were all I had in the pantry. Again, these were a fairly heavy cookie, with a marked lack of sweetness (despite the fact the were rolled in powdered sugar). I wasn't so keen on these cookies until I tried one from the fridge. A chilling improved them no end. That's hardly surprising, afterall it is Winter in the Southern hemisphere...




posted in and and
In time for tea...

17 Comments:

  • At 27/7/05 09:18, Blogger tara said…

    Oh, I am jealous of your subscription. I keep meaning to get one, then promptly forget, finally tracking down each issue from one of the two stores I know to consistently carry Donna Hay (but are sadly behind the times, as they attempt to snyc the seasons). What adorable little bites these look to be, and I'm all for the addition of butter!

     
  • At 27/7/05 11:53, Blogger Cate said…

    I love, love, love Donna Hay! I used to subscribe but it was cheaper to buy it at Barnes & Noble. Tara - if you join their readers club ($25/year), you get discounts on magazines too. :)

     
  • At 27/7/05 15:01, Blogger Monkey Gland said…

    I lived in Oz for a while and she used to do Marie Claire food stuff out there. I'd marry the woman, but I fear my missus might have something to say about it.

     
  • At 27/7/05 17:40, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Ew!! Monkey Gland! Shame. Well, then -- I'd marry you, but I'm afraid I've fantasized you're Mr. Darcy -- and my beloved husband and co-cook would have a conniption. I need his help in the kitchen.

     
  • At 27/7/05 22:15, Blogger deborah said…

    I enjoy Donna Hay's Magazines... and even though I buy the occassional magazine I always end up suing cookbooks or the internet as sources of inspiration. Good to see a few succesful results from them - as well as your variations.

     
  • At 27/7/05 23:45, Blogger Rose said…

    Being the newbie foodie that I am, I have never heard of this magazine (Somehow I imagine a loud "gasp" coming from all the food blog world?)

    I'll have to check it out when I return to the US (I doubt I'll find it here in Taiwan), since everyone is raving about it so.

     
  • At 28/7/05 00:01, Anonymous David said…

    Hmmm. I wonder if you had trouble because the recipes are for Australians, and their flour and butter are different than in the US? BTW: For lovely lemon flavor, have you tried the Boyajians lemon oil? It's all-natural and inexpensive, and you can buy some with your Sur La Table gift certificate (their lime oil makes a great addition to Margaritas too!)

    David

     
  • At 28/7/05 00:18, Blogger Sam said…

    tara - I am lucky - the subscription was a christmas present from my dad.

    sweetnicks - I love the magazine and especially the pictures. I've made a few recipes but not as many as I should have done. I am glad I have the subscrition because I wouldn't get round to buying it from the store each time otherwise (Borders stock it too)

    MG - you could always get a divorce first, but you'd have to be careful in case Cookie crumb got to you before you got to Martha.

    CookieC - hey - since when did Becks and Posh become an all-swinging dating website ???? :)

    Saffron - do you have any of her books? I don;t but I;ve wondered if I should?

    Rose - it's not American, it's Ozzie, so it's not very common in the US, there are plenty of people who have never heard of it here, I am sure. The subscrition is pretty pricey - but I think they will ship anywhere in the world. Ask for it as a present - that's what I did!

    David - what do you mean their flour and butter are different than in the US? Please explain further.
    thanks for the lemon and lime oil tips - I 'll be checking them out soon.

     
  • At 28/7/05 01:11, Anonymous David said…

    Well, (I don't know about Australia) but I know in France, the 'all-purpose' style flour is softer and similar to US pastry or 'cake' flour. It's lighter and not as strong (which is why their baguettes are better.) If you make a US recipe using French flour, such as chocolate-chip cookies, you'll end up with runny, flowing batter after a minute or two in the oven.

    People forget the flour is a plant (wheat!) and that wheat varieties differ all over the world (like apple, plums, pineapples, etc...). Most flour is rated by it's protein content, although most home cooks don't need to think about that, professionals do. In the US, all-purpose King Arthur flour is stronger than all-purpose Gold Medal flour, for example.

    The butter here in France has less water and more fat, so it's runnier as well and I use about 15% less in US recipes (but it makes much better for puff pastry and pastry in general.) It makes 'shorter' pastry and since there's less water, the pastry is crisper and flakier.

    In fact, US flour varies depending on where you are in the US, a flour company rep told me. In the south, where people tend to make biscuits, the flour is lighter (less protein, less gluten) and makes better biscuits.

    Many good foreign-based cookbooks (such as those by Dorie Greenspan) are tested with American ingredients. But sometimes someone just sits down with a converter guide and changes the recipes for the American market, which doesn't work for baking.

     
  • At 28/7/05 01:20, Anonymous keiko said…

    Sam - these look so good, I must try it out (with your tips) as soon as I get the winter issue (David's tips are very useful too). Your pictures are really gorgeous, as I've said lots of times before!

     
  • At 28/7/05 07:18, Blogger Sam said…

    David - thank you for taking the time to explain. SOmething I need to experiment with further. I think i was using King Arthur for these cookies.

    Keiko - to have a compliment from you about my phots is about the best I could get. thanks.

    Aargh - keiko - I just noticed you've somehow fallen off my blogroll. I have no idea how that happened. I'll fix it in a tick...

     
  • At 28/7/05 07:35, Blogger Niki said…

    I agree entirely with David's comments about some person from a publishing company just sitting down with a conversion guide for baking books. I have a very strong and passionate belief that this is what causes the problems with Nigella's Domestic Goddess recipes. I've noticed that 99% of people who complain about the innacuracy of the recipe and how it didn't work out for them are those using the American edition. Baking recipes cannot just be converted from metric/weight measures to cup/volume measures. It just can't work; baking by it's very nature requires precision and accuracy, and instructions like 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of flour, or 12 tablespoons of butter (that one really gets me! How do you do *that& accurately??) cannot be as accurate as 125g flour, 75g butter etc. I've learnt by my mistakes, and I tend to avoid US baking recipes now, after too many failures.
    Also, I just love using my funky red Italian kitchen scales too much. :-)

     
  • At 28/7/05 16:49, Blogger Helen (AugustusGloop) said…

    I'm quite astounded at the overtures on Donna Hay! Who knew foodies from afar would be waxing lyrical about Our Donna? =)

    We saw her Live show last year and since then I've slowly become enamoured with her baking recipes. Her Modern Classics 2 is a favourite bedtime read which concentrates on yummy-licious classic desserts. Mmm... The Instant Cook has pretty pictures but I confess I haven't used it that much.

    I'm very intrigued by the US vs Aus flour / butter discussion too!

     
  • At 28/7/05 16:52, Blogger deborah said…

    Sam - I don't have any of her cook books. I sometimes cheat and get a copy from the magazine or just do an online search. Thse days cookbooks seem to all look the same to me. I need to hot-step it to a local bookshop which dedicates it's whole range to culinary magic!

     
  • At 28/7/05 21:44, Anonymous Barbara said…

    I don't know the US tablespoon measurement but in Australai it is 20 grams where here in NZ it is 15 grams - something you need to consider when using a Aust/NZ recipe.

     
  • At 29/7/05 07:44, Blogger J said…

    donna hay is a true goddess - your cookies look divine too...cheers,j

     
  • At 30/7/05 10:18, Blogger Nic said…

    Sam, I quite like the look of the half dome cookies. I think it's a bit more interesting than the piped ones, which I associate with the often rather uninteresting flavor of store bought cookies.

     

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