Review of Little Flower Baking by Christine Moore

Little Flower BakingA queue of eager patrons line the sidewalks that lead to the doors of Christine Moore's bakeries and cafés in Los Angeles. Moore, the pastry chef and mastermind behind the food and scrumptious baked goods served at both Little Flower and Lincoln, honed her craft in Paris. Her first book, Little Flower: Recipes from the Café, is a favorite of mine and garnered great reviews from multiple critics.

In this title, Little Flower Baking, she shares the bakery recipes which have been tested for the home kitchen. When bakery recipes are tested for home kitchens, it is a plus as sometimes those recipes do not translate well in a non-commercial kitchen. A stunning photograph of each tempting offering is shared and provides inspiration to any level of home baker.

The book is well thought out and organized as follows: For the Love of Baking, Mise en Place, Pastries, Cakes, Tarts & Pies, Cookies, Savories, Sweets with two indexes one for Gluten-Free and Vegan Recipes and then a complete index. The Mise En Place chapter is extremely helpful as it details techniques such as Egg Wash, Ribbon Stage, When to Sift Flour and more. This chapter covers the basics: Brisée Dough (which was very easy and quite delicious), Quick Puff Pastry, Basic Cakes through Buttercream Frostings. One page in this chapter is an index to other basic recipes contained throughout the book such as purées, compotes, a wide variety of glazes and more.

There is a wonderland of scone recipes in Little Flower Baking: Maple Oat, CurryMaple oat scones Pineapple, Strawberry Rose, Strawberry Basil, Honey Lavender, Plum Ginger and Peach Ricotta Scones as well as several savory varieties: Bacon Cheddar and Onion Swiss. The book is worth its price for the Maple Oat Scone recipe alone. A famous coffee shop made a maple scone that was my weakness and I've tried a few scone recipes that were allegedly copycats. I made these scones one afternoon and they put the scones from that coffee shop to shame - they tasted very similar but somehow better. One note: I confess to not having freezer space - so I refrigerated my scones overnight instead of freezing them. They were done after 20 minutes in the oven. I recommend refrigerating them for as long as you can before baking if you lack freezer room as well. I baked half of the scones after 30 minutes in the fridge and they spread a little more but still were delicious. The scones baked after refrigerating overnight were tall and kept their shape. I had to give them away as rapidly as possible because I couldn't keep my hands off them.

Potato tartOver the weekend, I made the Potato Tart - I served it with a green salad. It was delicious and beautiful and I almost didn't want to cut it - but how could I not - potatoes, garlic cream, pastry crust…heaven.

I have numerous tabs on recipes that require my undivided attention - the Brioche Ring, Royal Biscuit Cake, Lemon Semolina Cakes, Fennel Blondies, Pink Peppercorn Hibiscus Shortbread, Raspberry Foley Bars, Fennel Morning Buns and the list goes on. This book is truly a baker's dream.

There are some basic dishes covered such as Sticky Buns and the gorgeous Lemon Meringue Pie on the cover, but truthfully Moore's creations are anything but basic. She somehow makes everything look delectable and high-end. While there are some typical recipes covered, there are plenty of noteworthy recipes to excite us including those mentioned above we have Turmeric Orange Cake, Michelle's Tomato Ricotta Cake (with Tomato Cream Cheese Frosting) and Buttermilk Five-Spice Crackers as well.

Photos for tested recipes by Jenny Hartin.

Jenny Hartin is an enthusiastic home cook who lives in Colorado, owns the website The Cookbook Junkies and runs the Facebook group also called The Cookbook Junkies. The Facebook group is a closed group of 30,000 cookbook fans - new members are welcome.

Potato Bacon Herb Biscuits

Potato, bacon, and biscuits...all together!
 This is a great way to used leftover bacon and potatoes-just add a scrambled egg and you've got breakfast. These keep well in the freezer, too. 

Makes 15 2½ inch biscuitsPotato herb bacon biscuits

2 cups (400g) Yukon gold potatoes
Olive or grapeseed oil for roasting potatoes
4½ cups (540g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sea salt
½ cup (30g) chopped dill, packed
¼ cup (12g) chopped chives, packed
¼ cup (24g) chopped parsley, packed
1½ cups (342g) butter, cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces and chilled

4 large eggs
¾ cup + 1 tablespoon (188g) heavy whipping or manufacturing cream
5 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 egg, whisked, for wash

1 tablespoon Maldon sea salt

Preheat oven to 375°. Rub potatoes with oil and roast until fork-tender, about 25 minutes. Smash with a large spoon or fork and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine flour, baking powder, salt, dill, chives, and parsley on lowest speed. Gradually add butter and mix at the lowest speed until butter is well coated with flour and pea-size lumps form, about 2 minutes.

Add eggs and cream. Mix until just incorporated, but no longer. Add potatoes and bacon and mix on low speed until just incorporated. Dough should be shaggy with some dry bits.

Transfer dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat into 1-inch-thick rectangle. Use a chef's knife to cut dough into 15 2½ inch squares. Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet pan, spacing biscuits ½ inch apart. Use a pastry brush to apply egg wash. Sprinkle biscuits with Maldon salt and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour, or overnight. They will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.

Bake, rotating halfway through, until golden, about 30 minutes. 

Sample recipe photo by Staci Valentine. Special thanks to Prospect Park Books for sharing this recipe.

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