Monday, March 19, 2007

Lean on Me

Every baker has that one book they turn to in a time of need. For example, when she needs to bring dessert to a friend's house for book club, or when she's visiting Fork's parents and wants something tasty but not too, well, froufrou. Or, sometimes she just needs a good ol' oatmeal-raisin cookie or blueberry muffin.

For me (and quite possibly my mom, sister, cousin Kathy and my Aunt Betty), that book is Kathleen's Bake Shop Cookbook, by Kathleen King. Aunt Betty gave me my copy at least seven years ago and my edition is plastered with her Post-It notes. These missives have proved invaluable over the years; the "Chunkies," for instance, carry a note saying "Easy, yummy--delicious. I use mini choco chip and currants--then make smaller w/cookie scoop." I cannot tell you how many friends my sister and I made when we used to bring these cookies, created as per Aunt Betty's amended instructions, to parties.

King, who once owned the Hamptons bakery Kathleen's and now owns Tate's, has penned my go-to baking book, with a little extra editorial help from Aunt Betty, of course. I've tried recipes for everything from Banana Muffins (which I mailed to Sarah last year for her birthday, with a jar of almond butter--the perfect accompaniment) to Peanut Butter Squares (essentially a homemade version of the Reese's peanut butter cup). All winners.

The book has only failed me once, when I attempted the lemon bars. They were so sticky we had to eat them frozen. Fork maintains they weren't a real failure and that eating them out of the freezer made them a great treat for a hot summer night. He's so loyal. I should add that Aunt Betty did not append a note to this recipe. I should've known.

This weekend I made Kathleen's Chocolate Chip Cookies. "One of her specialty cookies," AB says. "Should be crisp." What do you know? Right again.--S

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