First and foremost, thank you to Anna Balasi from Hachette Book Group for sending us a review copy of Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook! For those of you who are already drooling over the cover photo, the cookbook is available today in stores and online.
Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook
Written by DeDe Lahman and Neil Kleinberg
Photographs by Michael Harlan Turkell
ISBN 13: 978-0316083379
ISBN 10: 0316083372
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Hardcover: 224 pages
While I am very sad that we didn't visit Clinton St. Baking Company the last time we were in New York, we have made it a priority for our next trip. However, if you would like to see some more fabulous photos of their food, here is une-deux senses' breakfast visit during her trip. Scrumptious! And from the look of her photos, it isn't a greasy breakfast joint (yes I'm thinking of Denny's) with oily puddles on the plate.
It was quite the coincidence as I had just gotten the book in the mail when I saw Michelle's blog post appear! Now I really can't wait to try the place out. Howard's also agreed (and he's a meat and potato kind of guy) after looking through the cookbook. Yes!! Just look at some of their acclaims:
This is a beautifully designed book, yes I noticed the copyright and dedication page photos and love them. The introduction begins with "Love & Butter" and if that's not enough, there's a photo of a big pot of melting butter beside it. Here, DeDe chronicles how she met Neil and how their mom-and-pop shop came to be and grew to something bigger.
The cookbook covers biscuits, muffins, scones, eggs, pancakes, soups, sandwiches, fried chicken, sides, condiments, desserts, and drinks. A pretty thorough selection from their restaurant. For those who wonder how I can "read" a cookbook, you just can. Good cookbooks don't just list recipe after recipe. They share stories with the recipes. They include notes and tricks to help you recreate their food. They offer suggestions in which you can make variations of their food that are simple enough that you don't need a new recipe written out for you.
So yes, I read the stories and the sidebars because I like the insight to how their restaurant does things. I like knowing which recipe is a customer's favourite. You can read this cookbook as if you are reading your favourite food blog. Each recipe starts with an introduction before you go into the step-by-steps.
The gorgeous photos by Michael Turkell make breakfast food look appealing for all three meals of the day.
Clinton St. Baking Company is known for their delicious brunch, a cross between breakfast and lunch. Since a "brookie" is a cross between a brownie and a cookie. Is it not fitting that I test this recipe first? I know that the restaurant is more well known for their pancakes, biscuits, and delicious brunch items, but the brookie really stood out to me. I mean, just look at that page:
These brookies come from Ernie Rich (formally at Clinton St. Baking Company and is now an executive pastry chef in his own right). You will have a hard time eating just one!
From Clinton St. Baking Company Cookbook
(Makes about 18-20)
1 tablespoon of canola oil
1 teaspoon of unsalted butter
2 cups of semisweet chocolate chunks (52-62% cacao)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup of light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
- Have all your ingredients ready! I found that having prepared three bowls of ingredients made this all very manageable.
- Melt the oil, butter, and 2 cups of the chocolate together in a stainless-steel bowl of a double boiler. The cookbook also suggests that you can use a microwave for 2.5 to 3 minutes (at 1 minute intervals) to melt the mixture. I used the double boiler method - it is such a satisfying feeling of accomplishment when your chocolate is evenly melted! I felt very chef like at the stove. Let the mixture cool.
- In another bowl, whisk the eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla together until combined.
- Fold the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
- In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until combined. Please note that I opted out of using my stand mixer for this recipe. I did it all using a rubber spatula to avoid over beating the batter. I've learned that if the batter is over mixed, you still get a cake-like result instead of a brownie texture. Your batter should look like this:
- Freeze the batter in a shallow pan (for example, a pie plate) for 6 to 8 minutes until the batter sets and hardens slightly. I left it in for 15 minutes as I washed all the bowls and tools. Here is the chilled batter when I took it out of the freezer:
- I would recommend that you stick to their recommended freezer time. The batter became quite frozen near the edges of the bowl and made it harder to scoop. Also, you can preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F) at this time.
- Coat 2 cookie sheets with nonstick cookie spray or line your tray with parchment paper. I used two ice cream scoop sizes. I had eight 2 tablespoon brookies on one tray and twelve 1 tablespoon brookies on the other.
- Bake for 11 to 12 minutes until the tops look dry and cracked. I found them still quite soft so I baked it for a longer time. I found that you can't really over bake these brookies, they remained very soft and moist inside!
- Cool completely for a soft and chewy Brookie. Absolute heaven when they're fresh out of the oven and still great the day after (and that was it, they were all gobbled up).
PS: Remember in a few posts back I asked about finding better ice-cream scoops? Well, the plastic one I picked up was NO good at all and didn't release the batter. My darling Howard surprised me with metal one. This one did the trick. Not only will it not crack or break when scooping frozen batter, it also did a great job releasing the batter.