I like that the Everyday Baking Almanac includes tips and tricks for better baking, like why the best way to use eggs is at room temperature (cool eggs affect the consistency of butter and other room-temperature ingredients in the dough).
I do wish that the book was more substantial in appearance; it has the look and feel of a magazine, rather than a book. While the amount of recipes is great (118), I wish it was available in hardcover or was spiral bound for posterity. The photography is excellent, and unlike the Everyday Cookbook, most recipes have a photo to go along with them, which is something I appreciate.
There are so many tempting recipes in this book, like the Chocolate Mud Bars. They might be great with a teaspoon of peppermint extract and some crushed candy canes to make them more festive for the Christmas season.
CHOCOLATE MUD PIE BARSFrom The Everyday Baking Cookbook, page 54
CRUST:1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
FILLING:½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
¼ cup cake flour
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
DIRECTIONS:Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.
For crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well with your hands. Add the melted butter, stir well with a fork, then rub the ingredients together well with your fingers until thoroughly mixed. Press the mixture evenly in the prepared pan to form a level layer on the bottom with a lip extending about ¼ inch up the sides of the pan. (Do not prebake the crust).
For filling: Combine the butter and chocolate in the top of a double boiler over not-quite-simmering water. When melted, whisk to smooth, then remove the pan from the heat. Scrape the chocolate into a medium bowl and cool to lukewarm. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Whisk the sugar, eggs, and vanilla into the lukewarm chocolate. Stir in the cake flour, mixing until smooth. Stir in the walnuts. Scrape the batter over the crust and smooth with a spoon. Bake on the center oven rack for 35 minutes only - no longer. Cool on a rack. Refrigerate an hour or so before slicing. Serve at room temperature. Makes 16 bars.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of the Everyday Baking Almanac for review. All opinions are my own.