Baking With Dorie Greenspan

Nov 09, 2016

Beloved cookbook author Dorie Greenspan ("Baking Chez Moi," "Baking: From My Home To Yours," "Around My French Table" and more) answers your questions about baking, her "Everyday Dorie" column and everything else she's cooking.
This week's column: Bake someone happy: How to use homemade cookies as a force for good
This week's recipe: Dorie Greenspan's Peanut Butter Change-Ups

Hello and thanks for being here.

After so many tumultuous months, I find myself doing today what I did almost every day of the campaign: baking.  

Today, to help you bake along with me, I'll be giving away a signed copy of my new book, Dorie's Cookies, to someone at the end of this chat.

Send in your questions and good luck - let's chat!

 

When cookies are somewhat fragile while warm, I just slide the parchment onto the rack to cool. I haven't seen any difference in results, but often wonder if I shouldn't do this? Thanks.

Actually, what you're doing is similar to what is often done in professional bakeries, where the cookies are left to cool on the baking sheets.  You will get crisper cookie bottoms if you transfer the cookies - without parchment - to racks, but if you're happy with the cookies cooled on paper, don't change your method.

I have improvised with Ball canning lids for Jammers but the cookies are too big. Where can I purchase the 2-3" rings you used at Buerre & Sel (bonus points for the "Buerre & Sel" engraved versions!)?

The best substitute for baking rings are regular-size muffin tins.  It's what I suggest in my latest book, Dorie's Cookies. You don't get sides that are as precise and militarily straight as you do with rings, but you get great texture and adorable looks.

Ateco makes 2-inch baking rings (I think they're called dessert or entremet rings).  Sadly, the rings engraved with Beurre & Sel are not available.

I would like to email Dorie a question. The "About Me" page on her own website says to email her at "contact@doriegreenspan.com." But all I get is an error message that says, "No such mailbox exists." Can she please provide a working email address on her website? http://doriegreenspan.com/about-me/

I'm sorry, that email address hasn't been activated yet. The easiest way to reach me is to write to me at food@washpost.com. The message will be sent to me.

we cooked your recipe tonight and it was delicious, but we had a question when cooking. after adding the honey to the meat should we remove it from the pan before adding the vinegar, water and mustard? we couldn't whisk the mustard with the meat in the pan. my son thought the sauce should be thicker so added cornstarch, I thought it should be loose. Thanks.

I'm so glad you liked the Honey-Mustard Pork - thank you.  If it's easier for you to whisk the mustard into the sauce by first removing the pork, then do it.  As for the thickness of the sauce - I had a jus or loose pan sauce in mind when I created the recipe, but once I've sent the recipe out into the world it's yours - and your son's - to tinker with and prepare as you like.  Enjoy!

Dorie Greenspan's Quick-Cook Honey-Mustard Pork

RECIPE: Dorie Greenspan's Quick-Cook Honey-Mustard Pork

I've had success using the wide-mouth canning jar rings as forms for crumpets.

Canning-jar rings are an ingenious tool, but they might be too big for the Jammers our other chatter was referring to.

Nice to know that they'r good for crumpets - thanks.

In some of your recipes (Celebration Cake with lemon buttercream, coconut, and raspberry), you suggest buttermilk as an option to whole milk. The cake doesn't rise as it should. What adjustment should be made to the baking powder/baking soda when using buttermilk?

I have never added additional leavening to the recipe when I've used buttermilk, but you could add 1/4 teaspoon baking soda to the dry ingredients.

Question: What kind of cake flour are you using? If you're using self-rising, that might be the issue.

Do you think I could substitute sunflower seed butter for peanut butter in your cookies? It doesn't fit the non-separating standard, but I could put them in my kiddo's lunchbox at least... Sunbutter is too expensive to experiment with without some hope of it maybe working...

I don't have experience baking with sunflower seed butter.

A Post Food staffer just told me that she's used sunflower butter for PB cookies and been happy with the results.  However, she did say that some brands seem to be runnier than others, so that might be an issue.

Any chatters with experience? Please chime in.

Dorie, I just got your new cookie book and can't wait to dig in and start baking. I've recently purchased a new oven with "true convection" and am wondering how I should modify baking temps and times for your recipes (if at all). For example, a number call for rotating cooking sheets, but is that still necessary with the hot air being circulated by convection? Alternatively, the oven has a non-convection setting - should I just continue to bake without convection?

I test all my recipes in a still (ie, non-convection oven).  

I'd play around with the new oven and see how it bakes and how you like the convection feature.

You could start by baking the cookies at the prescribed (non-convection) temperature, but baking them for less time (no need to rotate, unless you discover that your oven has hot spots).  Then I'd try baking them with convection, but reducing the oven temperature by 25 degrees F.

Keep notes on temperature and time and see which version of the recipe you like best.

Have fun with your new tool!

I've already baked 5 recipes out of Dorie's Cookies and they've all been winners. It seemed that the chocolate and vanilla versions of Do Almost Anything cookie doughs baked up differently and had different textures. Have you tried baking these doughs together into pinwheels or checkerboard cookies? Do you think it would work? Separately, for your next book, if you'd try to re-create Nabisco's chocolate snaps (the cookies in the little brown and white box), I'd really appreciate it:)

Oh, those Nabisco Chocolate Snaps - I remember them well.  You know, if you roll out the dough for the Chocolate Creme Sandwiches (in Dorie's Cookies) very, very thin, you might achieve snappishness.

As for the Do-Almost-Anything doughs - I'm thrilled that you're having fun with them and liking them. 

You're right that they do bake up differently, but I think they might work well as pinwheels and/or checkerboards. It's a nice idea.  Take a picture if you do them - I'd love to see it.

Dorie, Thank you so much for taking my question and for your wonderful chats each week! I tried making your World Peace cookies Monday night in anticipation for Election Day. I followed the recipe but when I baked the cookies they fell flat and spread all over the pan... And unfortunately ended up throwing them away-- the taste was good but they would not have stayed together in transit from home to office. Any idea what happened or where I messed up? Thanks so much!

Oh dear, oh dear. I can't be sure what happened, but clearly something did.

It sounds like the culprit might have been temperature.

Was the dough thoroughly chilled before you cut and baked them?  I usually freeze the logs and cut and bake them directly from the freezer.

The dough needs to be rolled into tight logs and it must be seriously chilled.

Was your oven at 325degrees F? These cookies are fussy about temperature and if you bake them at too high a temperature there's always a problem.

I think the problem was the temperature of your dough, but it's hard to be sure.

I hope you'll try again - they're really great cookies!

Hi Dorie, I was told you were the person who's know Paris. I will be in Paris over the Christmas holiday. I am wondering if you could recommend a special place to eat that isn't over the top expensive. I would prefer good food to haute cuisine. ( Lunch ideas too ;~) Thanks

My trustiest resource for restaurants in Paris is parisbymouth.com. It will be yours too, since many restaurants close between Christmas and New Year's and Paris By Mouth always has an up-to-date list. They also have a great arrondissement-by-arrondissement list of recommended restaurants, bistros, wine bars and shops.

I am a fan of Bistrot Paul-Bert for both lunch and dinner.  The food is (slightly modernized) traditional, the wine list exceptional, the welcome warm and the look perfect. I never miss a meal there when I'm in Paris.

Have a wonderful time - Christmas in Paris is lovely.

Could you please link to some yeast dough recipes that require lots of hard kneading? (I need it for emotional therapy).

I understand.

How about making brioche by hand. It's a work-out!

Cookies make everything better :) My sisters and I recently made some hermits for our grandma's 93rd birthday and chocolate chip cookies for my cousin who broke her nose.

It sounds like you are a full-fledged member of the #cookiesandkindness project, which encourages bakers to do just what you did: bake and share. 

The next time you do something wonderful like that, would you post a picture with the hashtag #cookiesandkindness and tag me @doriegreenspan and/or @wapofood , so I can find you.

For anyone who wants to learn more about #cookiesandkindness , my sweet revolution, you can see me with Food Editor, Joe Yonan, on our Facebook Live - it's on my Facebook page as well as Washington Post Food's.

Hi Dorie-- My sister's birthday is coming up and since I won't be nearby to bake her a cake, I was planning to send her cookies instead. She recently posted a pumpkin-chocolate cake recipe on Facebook (but will never make it herself), so I'm wondering if I can convert this into a cake-like pumpkin cookie recipe and add chocolate chips to substitute for the frosting. Do you have any guidelines for trying to revise this recipe? I'm pretty sure I need to reduce the number of eggs so it won't be as cake-like, but I'm not sure what other ingredient proportions affect cake vs. cookies. Thank you!

I don't have any specific formula for this kind of conversion and, since I don't have the recipe, it's even harder.

Reducing the eggs or maybe increasing the flour might help cookie-ize the recipe.  I wonder if you shouldn't try to make the recipe in muffin tins, just putting a tablespoon of batter in each muffin cup and then sandwhiching the little cakelettes with a filling - you could call them whoopie pies; or not,  just, as you suggested, adding chocolate chips to replace the frosting (or filling).

Visiting Paris in March, but on a strict budget. What are some of the best ways to eat frugally there, while staying in a low-cost hotel (i.e., no possibility of cooking)? I'm thinking of buying small amounts of bread, meat, cheese, fresh fruit, dessert... Any other ideas?

Putting together meals from ingredients that you pick up at small specialty shops is a wonderful way to eat in Paris. The cheese, charcuterie, bread and pastry shops are so wonderful that, no matter how long you're there, you'll never have to eat the same thing twice.

When you want to go out, try going to a cafe or one of the growing number of wine bars - it's fun to have a small plate and a glass of something delicious. Less costly than a meal, for sure, but you get all the atmosphere and buzz of being out and about in the city.

Is there a standard conversion process for converting quick-bread recipes to yeast-breads? Husband doesn't like quick-breads, but some recipes sound delicious if made with yeast dough.

I've never heard of a conversion for quick-to-yeast bread.

Anyone know?

It's that time of year where I start thinking about what cookies I'm going to bake. I think about my favorites and I make a list, adding and subtracting recipes as my whim changes. I enjoy the planning process at least as much as the actual baking. Do you do anything like that?

Oh, if only I were as organized as you!

I don't make lists - although I tell myself that I should and that I will -  but I do make dough, lots of dough.

I'll roll out dough for cut-out cookies and freeze the slabs between sheets of parchment paper, so I can cut-and-bake when I'm ready.

I scoop out balls of dough for drop cookies, freeze the balls, then pack them airtight and keep them in the freezer until needed.

And I make bunches of logs of dough for slice-and-bake cookies.

 

I am channeling you at the moment Dorie(at least as far as campaign things go)! I made my roommate birthday brownies before I left to work at the polls yesterday and I'm working out a list of what I can bake tonight based on the groceries I have! I will probably keep this up until all of my friends have full cookie jars. As such, if I swap nutella for peanut butter and use a standard peanut butter cookie recipe that should work right? They will just be nutella flavored instead?

I love what you're doing - #cookiesandkindness in full swing!

I think you'll be fine substituting Nutella for peanut butter - the consistencies are so similar.

Hi Dorie, I wrote in a few weeks ago and asked about making pie crusts from scratch. You gave a really nice and helpful answer... to someone who has a food processor. I don't have one (I have a Vitamix, but I know that won't work), and I just gave away mine because I never used it, so I don't plan on getting one any time soon. I was hoping for tips to make crusts like mom (and grandma, etc.) did... by hand. I know I should keep it all cold, and maybe the size of the bits (peas? crumbs? beans?) isn't all that vital. Anything else?

You can make pie crust by hand, cutting and mixing the ingredients together with your fingertips (it's what I did for many, many years) or using a pastry blending tool.

Yes, the ingredients should be very cold, especially the butter and/or shortening and the water.  I think the size of the butter bits is important - I like to have a variety of sizes from flakes to crumbs.

Make sure the dough is well hydrated - better to have a moist dough than one that's too dry.

This is a recipe/technique that takes practice, so get a couple of crusts done in quick succession, so that you'll build up muscle memory.  And enjoy the process!

I loved your video with Joe. It was charming the way you got him to admit he talks to his food.

Thank you - I loved doing that Facebook with Joe!

It has been a long time for me, but the grilled pannini (mostly with ham and cheese) got me through a lot of late evenings when I was in Paris. Followed by a crepe with Nutelle!

That could get anyone through!

Several of your cookie recipes ask me to roll the dough between two pieces of parchment. I've had trouble with the rolling pin slipping instead of rolling. If I use enough pressure to get the rolling pin to turn, the dough isn't even. Tips? FWIW, I have the wood French rolling pin you recommend, from Dehillerin no less!

Pat the dough into a disk before you put it between the parchment. Start at the center of the disk and roll out to almost the edge (don't roll over the edge). Roll with even, but not heavy pressure.  Turn the dough an 1/8 of turn and repeat.  Peel away the parchment (top and bottom) from time to time and turn the dough over so that you're rolling on both sides. Keep working in a circle until you have the size and thickness you need.

You don't want to use heavy pressure and, if you work with just-made dough, you won't have to.  Go easy and go slowly until you get the hang of it.

Enjoy working with that Dehillerin pin!

I've made sunflower seed butter cookies instead of peanut butter and had them turn out delicious... the chatter may also want to try using it instead of tahini in, say, tahini shortbread cookies if texture is similar.

Thanks so much for this - good info!

So many good questions today. So many. I'm sorry that I didn't get to all of them, but I'll be back with you Wednesday, November 23, just a day before T-giving.

The signed copy of Dorie's Cookies is going to the chatter who wrote about baking cookies for her grandmother's 93rd birthday and her cousin with a broken nose.

Kindness wins - always!

Please send your mailing info to 

kara.elder@washpost.com

and she'll send you the book.

In the meantime, cook, bake, share and enjoy - xoDorie 

In This Chat
Dorie Greenspan
Dorie Greenspan is the award-winning author of 11 cookbooks, the most recent of which is "Baking Chez Moi." Read more on her Web site, doriegreenspan.com, and follow her on Twitter: @doriegreenspan.
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