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Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours Hardcover – October 19, 2010

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Editorial Reviews Review

Fall into Cooking Featured Recipe from Sarabeth Levine's Sarabeth's Bakery: Chocolate Chubbies

I have been making this cookie for close to 30 years, and not a day goes by that we don’t make them and sell every last one. It’s the most asked for recipe in the book. What I love about these cookies is that if you eat them soon after they come out of the oven the chocolate chips are so meltingly delicious, it’s like being in chocolate heaven. --Sarabeth Levine

Makes about 2 dozen cookies


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
9 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (no more than 62% cacao), finely chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ¼ cups superfine sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1 ½ cups (5 ½ ounces) coarsely chopped pecans
1 ¼ cups (4 ½ ounces) coarsely chopped walnuts

Position racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper.

Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan over low heat. Put the butter in a wide, heatproof bowl, and melt the butter over the hot water in the saucepan. Add the semisweet and unsweetened chocolate, stirring often, until melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and let stand, stirring occasionally, until cooled slightly but still warm, about 5 minutes.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl. Whip the eggs in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until the eggs are foamy and lightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to high and gradually add the sugar, then the vanilla. Whip until the eggs are very thick and pale yellow, about 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to medium and beat in the tepid chocolate, making sure it is completely incorporated. Change to the paddle attachment and reduce the mixer speed to low. Gradually add the flour mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate chips, pecans, and walnuts, making sure the chunky ingredients are evenly distributed at the bottom of the bowl.The dough will be somewhat soft.

Using a 2-inch ice-cream scoop, portion the batter onto the prepared pans, placing the cookies about 1 ½ inches apart. Bake the cookies immediately—if you wait, they won’t be shiny after baking. Bake, switching the position of the pans from top to bottom and front to back about halfway through baking, until the cookies are set around the edges (if you lift a cookie from the pan, the edges should release easily, even if the center of the cookie seems underdone), 17 to 20 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool completely on the baking pans. (The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature, with the layers separated by parchment paper, for up to 3 days.)

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. From her modest beginnings selling fruit spreads, jams, and preserves in specialty shops and opening a bakery café "on what was then a distinctly inelegant Amsterdam Avenue on Manhattan's Upper West Side," the James Beard Award-winning pastry chef's star, like her dough, continues to rise. These days, Levine focuses on growing her brand and expanding into a number of other New York neighborhoods and Key West, Fla. Now, in her first cookbook, she gives a historical overview of Sarabeth's and offers scrumptious descriptions of the baked treats she and her staff regularly make. Chapters cover morning pastries, muffins, breads, pies, cakes, and cookies in great detail. Though recipes calling for homemade puff pastry or croissant dough may prove too complicated for the average home cook, they provide a challenge to the ambitious. Sections on spoon desserts like Crème Brûlée, chocolate and bread puddings, ice creams and sorbets, and spreadable fruits (the item that helped Levine launch Sarabeth's three decades ago) add to the appeal of this handsome volume. Photos.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli (October 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847834085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847834082
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 1.4 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

165 of 165 people found the following review helpful By lapis VINE VOICE on November 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I live in Chicago and had never heard of Sarabeth before this cookbook, but the preview on Amazon looked great so I tried it. All I can say is it is AMAZING. I am not a baker -- I have baked, and enjoy cooking, but I'm not remotely proficient at baking. With this book, I feel like the real thing. As others have said, her descriptions are very-very detailed and the pictures are wonderful. They are especially important for the dough. I made the Raspberry-Lemon Cake for a birthday party, and it is not an exaggeration to say people thought they were eating a professional wedding cake. It was the best cake I've ever made by a long way. The blueberry preserves are also out this world. Next, I'm going to tackle the croissants. I think I might actually be able to do it.

Word of warning, this book is not for the faint of heart. Some of the recipes are wonderfully simple (e.g., the preserves, cookies), but many of them have a number of steps. At least, the ones I've tried do. She is excellent at explaining which steps can be done ahead, which is a godsend. And you really do feel great when your recipe turns out. She does not shy away from listing the materials that are ideal for a recipe, but as someone who does not plan to turn into a baking machine, I make do with the materials I have on hand. My substitutions have been fine (e.g., one kind of rolling pin, not two or three; regular round cake pans, not special cake rings for layering). I don't skimp on the ingredients, but there is nothing exotic listed -- cake flour, bread flour, butter, sugar, etc. She has a great tip for working with vanilla beans, btw, but she also tells you when pure vanilla extract will do.

If you feel like taking a shot at baking, this book is very worth your effort.
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82 of 82 people found the following review helpful By sccerb on November 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I don't write reviews on here. I am a 40 something male that likes to cook and trying to learn baking, however with no formal training. Own about 75 cookbooks, and usually read them for technique and go through some of the recipes to learn. All books seem to have somewhat similar recipes for pies, cakes ect. What this one has is GREAT PHOTOS OF TECHNIQUE. The first part of the book has dough which you will go back to. I have tried both and understand that I will have to try them a couple times to get things totally right, however without photos I am almost always lost and I have been able to make a croissant dough which I wanted to after seeing a Food Network show, however thought it was way over my pay grade.

I have made two of the cookies, taken them to the office and been told that they are fabulous. None of the ingredients are tough to find (I live in Central Illinois with Kroger and Wal-Mart as the food stores, not Fox and Obel or any of the like) like some books.

If your looking for a cookbook for someone who is interested in getting better and making really good tasting baked goods from scratch, buy this book.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Cosmosplace on March 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The high standards and attention to detail that are hallmarks of Sarabeth's products, bakery and restaurants are dazzlingly evident in this cookbook. This book is a winner. It renews my faith in baking and in cookbooks, which over the years I'd become so discouraged by (it just takes one recipe to not quite come out right for me to give up on an entire book). Sarabeth's mission of excellence extends to her role as author and teacher. You feel that she really wants you to get these recipes right! The book is written extremely clearly. Nothing goes over the reader's head. For example, where most cookbooks would tell the reader to use granulated sugar because it's the easy and straightforward thing to do, Sarabeth specifies superfine sugar, adds that this is difficult for the everyday baker to purchase (kudos to Sarabeth for her candor). Then she tells you how you can have superfine sugar yourself in a pinch, by running it through a blender for a few minutes. A mixing instruction specifies blending at the highest speed for 15 seconds "but not a second over". These are little details make the difference between creating something vaguely similar to the muffin or jam in the photo, and in getting the recipe right. I cannot tell you the thrill of following her recipe for pumpkin muffins and watching them turn out beautifully and taste incredibly! Or, making scones so perfect, they look like they could be photographed for a glossy magazine. (Her best tip on scones: brush the tops with beaten egg but "be sure not to let egg drip down the sides--which would inhibit a good rise"). I want to make everything in this cookbook now! To respond to an earlier review from a reader: some of the recipes are advanced, but don't be put off. There is an entry point for every baker (I am a beginner).Read more ›
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A reader on November 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have been to Sarabeth's a few times and have never been unhappy with the bakery or the restaurant (which is always busy). There is an elegant but homey feel to the place, and you can see that in the baked goods (as well as packaging). This book is filled with wonderful recipes and instructions that don't wear you down and make you crazy. I really appreciated Sarabeth's tips on certain baking equipment and her thoughts on fresh yeast. This is the first book I bought that prefers fresh yeast, and I like the introduction. Sarabeth has clearly found what works for her and I enjoyed reading how she got there. This is a great gift book, but only for those who really like to bake. If you don't have the patience or don't love it, another choice might be better.
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