Book Club Tuesday: Baking with Dorie


This is my fourteenth cookbook, and it arrives exactly thirty years after my first. A lot has changed over those decades, but not the joy I get from baking. That’s constant and unfailing. If you’re a baker, you know exactly how I feel. If you’re not, the sweetest thing I can wish you is that you become one. Bake something and share it. It might change your life. It changed mine. (3)

People who adore Dorie Greenspan have a favourite Dorie book. I came to my favourite Dorie book when my (then) baby daughter was becoming acquainted with food. The mealtimes Katie enjoyed the most were the ones when I made pancakes or waffles. This is where Dorie comes in: Dorie’s fourth book, Waffles: From Morning to Night, is full of flavourful and beautiful waffle recipes that I loved (and love!) making. The most cherished of all the recipes from this book is the recipe for Tutti-Frutti Waffles! Full of chopped apples, pears, and bananas, with a splash of orange juice, these waffles are the embodiment of a fruit salad! And, if I was feeling fancy, I would make the Banana-Berry Sauce topping too. Cooking or Baking from any of Dorie’s books makes you feel like you’ve got a trusted friend in the kitchen because she offers clear instructions with the right number of tips and notes to ensure your success!

Baking with Dorie is no different — her latest cookbook is full of accessible recipes that make you feel like you’re baking recipes shared by a friend. The cookbook is organized into 7 main chapters: 1) Breakfast: Great Starts to Every Day, 2) Cakes: Big and Small, Fancy and Simple, 3) Cookies: All Kinds for All Times, 4) Two Perfect Little Pastries: Cream Puffs and Meringues, 5) Pies, Tarts, Cobblers and Crisps, 6) Salty Side Up: Satisfying Suppers, Sides and More, and 7) Basics, Must-Knows and Fillips. She also takes the time to set the home baker up for success at the beginning of the book in the Just So You Know: Weights and Measures, Dos, Don’ts and Preferences section.

This book arrived at just the right moment as I had family visiting for the first time in years which meant I had people to cook and bake for and nourish in that soulful way when you make something with love and then share it. And so, it went on that first Saturday my sister and her partner were with us, I baked the Iced Honey-Apple Scones with Spelt. The scones were then iced with a simple icing (powdered sugar and milk) and topped with bee pollen. The pollen has a lovely texture and an earthy sweetness that goes so well with the apples. Katie is accustomed to enjoying fresh baking on Saturday mornings, so it felt good to initiate my family into our routine. The following Saturday my mom and dad arrived, and I baked the recipe for Morning Bundt Cake, which was full of nuts, dried fruit, muesli, chopped oranges, and spices. Once removed from the oven, the still warm Bundt was brushed with a citrusy simple syrup.  I served it along side creamy yogurt and fruit salad. Between us, I have never been so glad to wash dishes in all my life because when I saw the pile sitting in the sink, I knew it was because all my people had enjoyed a meal I made.

Baking for breakfast is such a pleasure and with the first chapter dedicated to this activity, I knew I’d find many recipes to love. While I baked for my visiting family, my first bake of the book occurred just before they arrived. Impatient to get baking, I decided to bake Dorie’s Buttermilk Scones and from the “Playing Around” side note I made them Lemon-Poppy Seed. Since there is a small amount of sugar in the dough, I felt free to add a glaze made from lemon juice and powdered sugar. They were delightful and I really appreciated that this scone recipe is so customizable! Another citrusy breakfast bake is the Breakfast-in-Rome Lemon Cake. Full of lemon zest and juice, this cake is light-as-air (in part due to the whipped egg whites that are folded into the batter). Baked in a tube pan, this cake is served with a nice dusting of powdered sugar. I served the cake with fruit, and the airy-light texture reminded me of a chiffon cake. Dorie suggests lightly toasting slices of cake should it become a bit stale but, in truth, I couldn’t say if this was a good suggestion because the cake wasn’t around long enough for us to find out.

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Miso-Maple Loaf, p. 69-70 (baked in a ring cake pan)

I’ve also baked many treats for after school and play dates too. Dorie’s Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies are a classic for a reason — they’re wonderful. When Katie had a friend over to play, I baked up a big batch and sent some home with her friend. The next day when Katie came home from school, she told me that she spied Dorie’s cookies in her friend’s lunchbox! I love these cookies because they remind me of the chocolate chippers I ate as a child. Dorie’s version has chips and chopped nuts (although I left those out for a nut-free cookie), and she gives many suggestions for different add-ins in the recipe notes. What she says about this cookie is correct: “The sign of a true classic is its ability to accept change yet keep its character. This one can do that, so play away.”(151) Another popular after school bake are the Brown-Sugar Oat Squares — which remind me of a chewy and buttery shortbread. Rolled oats, flour, spices, along with butter and brown sugar are whirred up in a food processor then pressed into a buttered 8″ square baking pan. Probably one of the easiest things I’ve ever baked, it was just the thing to enjoy with an afternoon coffee. Salty with hints of caramel, I baked a batch for a neighbour.

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Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies, p. 151

Baking with Dorie is full of all types of baking recipes depending on your mood or the occasion — as you can see from the generous half-dozen recipes that I’ve baked from Dorie’s book; my selections lean towards breakfast and snack time. With over 150 recipes, I can’t wait to bake more from Dorie’s book! (As an end note, I suggest that you watch a few of the Food52 cooking videos where Dorie shares some recipes from Baking with Dorie. She is kind and encouraging and I feel like I could bake pretty much anything after watching her tutorials!)

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Raincoast Books and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion/Mariner) for providing me with a free, review copy of this book. I did not receive monetary compensation for my post, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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Brown Sugar-Oat Squares, p. 210

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