Books for cooks



"The Best of Better," By Marcy Goldman and Yvan Huneault (Ten Speed Press, 2002, $24.95)


Web devotees requested
a cookbook

Finding an audience for her cookbook is not a concern for Marcy Goldman, a pastry chef who lives in Montreal. Her Web site reports 7 million visitors a year, and it was cyberspace devotees who asked Goldman to publish her favorite recipes.

The result, "The Best of," contains 175 masterful recipes created for the home chef. Here you will find Goldman's delightfully unique concoctions for a variety of breads, muffins, scones, cookies, brownies, cakes, cheesecakes and pizzas.

Helpful test-kitchen notes are scattered throughout, on topics ranging from delaying the rising of yeast dough in a bread machine to the secret ingredient for making great muffins.

This cookbook is inviting, easy to read and understand, and full of practical advice.

When I discovered a typo in the cookbook while writing this review, a correction was immediately posted on the Web site.

Have a question about one of Goldman's recipes or about baking or cooking in general? Go to, send an e-mail, and Goldman will personally respond, at no charge. Now, that's the aloha spirit!

The author developed the following low-fat, multigrain quick bread about four years ago after a reader sent her an overnight shipment of health bars from a Hawaii Starbucks. How close is this recipe to Starbucks' popular low-fat oat cake? You'll have to try it and see.

Honolulu Health Scones

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice or water
1/3 cup applesauce
1 egg
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2-1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
2-1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
1 cup EACH dried cranberries and raisins, plumped
(see note)
1-1/2 cups dates, plumped and chopped (see note)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stack 2 baking sheets together, and line the top one with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine sugar, honey, oil and orange juice. Beat until blended. Stir in applesauce, egg, egg whites and vanilla.

In another bowl, combine flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, oats and coconut. Add to wet ingredients and stir until smooth. Stir in dried fruit. Mixture will be sticky.

Turn dough onto a generously floured surface. Knead gently to make a smooth ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 20 minutes.

Return dough to floured surface and divide in half. Form each half into a disk about 1 inch thick. Cut into squares with a knife or into rounds using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter. Transfer to baking sheets.

Bake 18 to 22 minutes, until light brown. Cool on wire racks. Makes 8 to 12 scones.

Note: To plump dried fruit, cover with boiling or simmering water and let stand 5 to 10 minutes. Drain, then blot dry with a paper towel.

Approximate nutritional information, per serving (12 scones per recipe): 500 calories, 13 g total fat, 7 g saturated fat, 20 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium, 8 g protein, 91 g carbohydrate.

Rating Scale: StarStarStarStar Best in its class / StarStarStar Highly recommended / StarStar Recommended / Star Not recommended

Barbara Burke is a Hawaii-Pacific University instructor who teaches and writes about food and nutrition. Contact her at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813; or e-mail her at:

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