I have had a blast working through Anna Olson‘s cookbook Bake With Anna Olson. From getting the cookbook signed in person by her through the trials and tribulations of making her focaccia, bagel bites and her Indian naan bread… I have enjoyed this baking journey and will continue to work through her cookbook and learn a ton.
For my final recipe test I choose her chocolate-dipped ladyfingers. I was surprised to discover that so often when I went through her recipes I did not have a key ingredient to make a recipe such as brown rice flour, pastry flour, whole wheat flour, meringue powder… I know, I have to go shopping! But I did have the basic ingredients for these cookies, although please note you will need cream of tartar—which I had!
You need 1/2 cup flour, 5 tbsp cornstarch, 3 room temperature eggs (separated), 9 tbsp sugar, 1/2 tsp cream of tartar and 5 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate.
Making The Dough
Sieve the flour and cornstarch together.
Whip the egg yolks and 3 tbsp sugar together until thick and pale.
In another bowl whip the egg white with the cream of tartar until foamy.
Slowly and gradually add the remaining 6 tbsp of sugar as you whip.
Continue until the egg whites hold a medium peak.
Fold the whites into the yolk mixture. She recommends using a whisk but I forgot and used a spatula!
Then fold in the flour mixture until just incorporated.
Shaping The Dough
I looked everywhere but my pastry bags have disappeared! So instead I filled a Ziplock bag with the batter and cut a small hole.
Pipe 4″ long ladyfingers onto parchment-lined baking trays. Place them 1″ space apart.
Baking The Cookies
Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 8 minutes, until fingers are evenly golden brown. Cool completely on trays on cooling racks before removing them.
Dipping The Cookies
Melt chocolate in metal bowl over a sauce pan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth. Dip each lady finger one-third of the way into the chocolate.
Place on parchment-lined baking sheets until set. Chill if necessary.
Because the chocolate is not tempered, it will get that dull look to it so to avoid that problem…
I added decorative sprinkles.
These cookies are light and airy and with the chocolate, quite the treat! They take a little time and effort to make but are worth it. I baked the cookies one day and then dipped and decorated the next. Everyone loved them in class and many people enjoyed more than one.
Bake With Anna Olson is a stunning and impressive cookbook. Hardcover with beautiful photographs and over 300 pages long, I will be learning all about baking for years to come thanks to Anna Olson. That said, it is not for the novice baker. I would recommend it for someone who really wants to invest in learning who has a grasp of the basics.
I did have some serious disappointments with the book. The naan was quite flat and flimsy and I attempted her brownies which were an absolute failure. Completely raw inside despite having a beautiful brown crust on the outside but I seem to be cursed when it comes to brownies. I was also sick that day which is why I did not include it on my site but still, I was hoping her Fudge Brownies would break my curse. Sadly, they did not.
Every recipe has a note from Anna telling the reader about the treat and giving heads up about what is involved in the recipe. There are even 19 gluten-free recipes. The layout is easy-to-read and the cookbook stayed open in my cookbook holder and was a joy to work from.
Despite having a few disappointments, I love this cookbook and will treasure it always. I give Bake With Anna Olson four and a half out of five wooden spoons.