The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

September 11, 2013

Sweet September means it's time to bake

The yellow school buses are on the road; the first curled leaves litter the ground — it’s proof that summer soon will end.

Admit it: Those weeks and months of light fruit desserts and frozen confections were starting to drive you nuts. You want to bake. September gives you all the permission you need.

After months of slicing watermelon, the multi-step butter-sugar-egg thing can be a bit overwhelming. Best to ease into the baking season. Or perhaps you may be just learning to bake. Just as you wouldn’t start jogging with a 10-mile run, you shouldn’t start your home baking experiment by tackling, say, a napoleon.

“One Bowl Baking” by Yvonne Ruperti is an excellent introduction to the world of, as the subtitle says, “simple, from scratch recipes for delicious desserts.”

Ruperti, who worked on the cooking show “America’s Test Kitchen,” has serious baking chops. She could probably whip up a napoleon without breaking a sweat, but is happy to introduce such simple fare as cookies, cupcakes, muffins, and snack and pudding cakes. Ruperti’s crisp shortbread is a low-stress recipe to start your baking season. It travels well in a lunchbox, and keeps well, too. Ruperti describes it as one of the simplest recipes in the book, but also one of her favorites. Make it, and you’ll see why. Ladies and gentlemen, start your ovens!

Crispy brown sugar shortbread

Yield: 12 servings

8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened, plus a bit more for greasing the pan

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (2¾ ounces) packed light brown sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on top (optional; turbinado sugar -a type of brown sugar -can be found in the baking aisle of some supermarkets and in specialty stores)

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