Saturday, December 20, 2014

Blue Ribbon Baking from a Redneck Kitchen - Cookbook Review

Last summer I didn't miss an episode of the American Baking Competition.  I loved the format, loved the judges, I loved the job Jeff Foxworthy did hosting and I loved seeing what the various contestants would come up with to deal with the challenge of the week.  While Francine might not have been my absolute favorite she was probably a close second and she was one that was always entertaining to watch.  Between her flavor combinations or what she said you never knew what to expect.  So when I came across her cookbook on Blogging for Books I didn't hesitate.  And I"m not disappointed!  It's no secret that I enjoy baking and that I love cookbooks and this one was a treat.  There are a lot of classic (classic - not basic) recipes like Carrot Cake, Banana Pudding, Catch-a-Husband Blackberry Cobbler, Lemon Bars, and Nana's Iced Pound Cake.  There's a nice choice of unusual recipes like Cheesecake Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars, Pretzel Pie, Chocolate Whoopie Cake, Honey Bun Cake, and Francine's World-Famous Chocolate Bacon Peanut Butter Pie.  This was the pie that on the show that British baking purist Paul Hollywood thought sounded awful only to admit upon tasting that he had been wrong and it was absolutely delicious.
In the week that I've had this book I've made two recipes.  I made the Cheesecake Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars and they've won over everyone.  I followed her instructions to the letter and they were clear and precise. I think they'd be easy for a baking novice to follow but I didn't feel like anything was over-explained.  The cookie bars have been a hit though I think when I make them again I'll bake them for about 5 minutes less than called for as the crust dried out a little.  That hasn't stopped everyone from scarfing them down - including the extremely picky Tornado.

Next up were these Cheese Muffins -
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the pans
1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 large eggs
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cubed Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350.  Grease 12 muffin cups.
In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and butter.  Add the flour, baking powder, salt and cheese and mix, stirring with a wooden spoon, until just combined.  Do not overmix.  Spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cups.
Bake until golden brown on top and a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes in the pans, before turning out onto wire racks to cool at least slightly.

If you slather a little honey on these I could inhale them.  The texture is almost like a biscuit and they little cubes of cheese give little cheesey explosions though grating the cheese would work as well.  I did end up with more than 12 - more like 16 - but I'm not complaining.  These would be great served with breakfast or alongside a soup for lunch or dinner.

I'm looking forward to trying out more of Francine's recipes!  The hard part will be deciding which one to try next!

I'm linking up with Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth Fish Reads.

*This book was provided by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful selection of decadent recipes!

  2. Next time I can get a book at blogging for books I will look for this one. I am curious about the pretzel pie!

  3. Oh wow. Those recipes sound like true indulgence.

  4. This cookbook sounds like a winner!

  5. I so looked at that one. Those sound incredible. Gah now I'm hungry. lol

  6. Oh my, this book sounds divine. Baking and reading are two of my favorite things as well. Thanks for the post!