I bought this book several months ago, and my wife and I have been baking our way through it ever since. Let me say right up front that the folks at King Arthur do a great job of creating and testing their recipes. Everything we have made from this book has turned out great the very first time. The recipes are well written and easy to follow, and the ingredients in the recipes are specified by weight as well as volume, which is the only way for measuring flours in my opinion.
When I first got the book, I really expected to be baking mostly the bread recipes. But I have found that while the bread recipes are good, it’s the recipes in other areas that are really tempting me to try them out.
Like the Pineapple Upside Down Bread Pudding. Now, I don’t make bread pudding at home a lot. Even though I love to eat it, I usually consider it to be full of empty calories. But when you make it with whole grain bread, it suddenly moves into the healthy category, at least in my book.
When I got ready to make this bread pudding, I had plenty of whole grain bread in the freezer, but I thought this was a good excuse to try one of the whole wheat bread recipes. I chose the 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread, and I was not disappointed. All too often, 100% whole grain breads are heavy and strong tasting. Not this loaf! It had a moist, tender crumb and a fine, soft texture. I will be making this bread again. It’s ideal for sandwiches and croutons, though I admit it was also pretty tasty with just a little butter slathered on it. We refrained from eating it all, and saved enough of it to use some in the bread pudding, along with the other breads from the freezer.
If you like the flavor of pineapple upside down cake, you’ll love this bread pudding. With a topping made from butter, brown sugar and pineapple, and still more pineapple mixed with the bread cubes, this pudding was moist and full of flavor. I took most of it into the soup kitchen where I volunteer and everyone there loved it. They did everything but lick the plate clean. Actually, we may have even done that, now that I think of it! At 241 calories per serving it’s not diet food, but it also has 3g of fiber. All the recipes in this book include the nutritional information per serving, which is something I like to see in all cookbooks.
My wife joined in the recipe testing and made a batch of scones using the Oat and Currant Scones recipe. She made the Cherry Almond variation, which substitutes dried cherries for the currants and adds almonds. They turned out yummy. This recipe uses whole wheat flour, oat flour and rolled oats for the whole grains. We stuffed ourselves on these for a couple of days then froze the rest. We found out they are even good straight from the freezer.
And since biscotti is one of her specialties, she had to try out the Triple Cinnamon-Pecan Biscotti recipe. With cinnamon powder, cinnamon flavored chips and cinnamon sugar on top these were a real treat for a cinnamon-lover like me. These were lighter and more cakey than her usual Italian-style dunking biscotti, and we both gave them a two-thumbs up rating.
I was intrigued by their version of Chocolate Crinkle cookies, which called for whole spelt flour. I’m always looking for more ways to use spelt in baking, because I love its delicate, nutty flavor. And what’s not to like about chocolate cookies? With cocoa and semi-sweet chocolate chips, these dark treats were amazingly light textured. They were a big hit with the soup kitchen crowd too.
I’ve also tried the recipes for Cornbread, Easy Banana-Walnut Bread, and the Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffins. All turned out to be delicious. I’ve shared these goodies with a lot of different people, and they were all well received. People are always surprised to find out they are made with whole grains.
So if you are interested in adding more whole grains to your diet, like I am, I would recommend you give this cookbook a try. There’s something in here for everyone, from pancakes and quickbreads, to yeasted loaves, flatbreads and sourdough breads and waffles.
As for me, I’m looking forward to trying more of the recipes in the months ahead, like the Ciabatta Integrale (a whole grain version of the classic ‘slipper’ bread), the Toasted Sesame and Sunflower Loaf, and their whole grain version of Morning Glory muffins. With slightly over 600 pages in this book, I’ll likely be trying the recipes for several years to come!
DISCLAIMER: I did not receive a copy of this book for reviewing. I bought it at full price and was under no obligation to review it favorably, or review it at all.