Introducing my favorite recipe book: Flour by Joanne Chang.
Other than the amazing, diverse recipes the book contains, there’s a distinguishing feature that brings it to the top of my list. Joanne Chang knows what she’s talking about, and she shares the knowledge she has accumulated from experience with all of her readers.
I love how she explains the science behind her techniques, like how creaming together butter and sugar creates millions of air pockets that expand in the heat of the oven, helping cookies and cakes to rise.
Which brings me to the science of these sticky buns. The bread part of the famous bun is Chang’s recipe for buttery, eggy brioche. It sounds fancy, it tastes heavenly, and, it can be a tiny bit difficult to make. With all the butter in the dough, it’s hard for the gluten to form bonds that give the dough elasticity, because the butter coats the gluten molecules in the flour. This elasticity is crucial, because it keeps the air bubbles from the yeast inside the bread, so that the end result is fluffy.
My family liked it a lot, even my little brother who won’t eat anything with green, even zucchini bread. I tricked him by cutting off the crust’s edge, so he couldn’t see the green—just the red of the sauce and yellow of the cheese. He asked me if it was made of meatballs, because I guess the cheese in the crust gave it a sort of meaty texture/flavor and the herbs reminded him of meatballs.
Besides the cheese, the herbs give the crust a nice flavor, and you can’t taste the zucchini at all. The veggie’s just there for the vitamins and fiber.
These cookies will make you reminiscent of elementary school. At least for me, they transported me to the green fields behind the school that I ran around on during recess and the colorful classrooms where we read stories and grew bean plants.
So many memories (food memories, at the least) are tied to these cookies, so I decided to call them “memory box cookies,” after the shoe boxes that I store some mementos in (for example: an old coupon from a frozen yogurt place that’s now closed, birthday cards, and rubber wrist bands that I got for free at some event).