Monday, September 20, 2010

the elusive mazurka bar

I just finished The Baker's Apprentice by Judith Ryan Hendricks. Wynter Morrison makes a return, and now she's co-owner of the Queen Street Bakery, still mixing up delicious-sounding loaves.

Into the mix this time around is thrown a disappearing boyfriend, a mysterious and annoying cake decorator, a bereft apprentice, a foot-dragging ex-husband, and a lovelorn landlord.

The story skips and jumps around a bit, and there are characters I would love to read about in spin-off novels. But the real star, as before, is the bakery. At least for me.

And this time round I was determined to bake a Mazurka bar, the cookie Ellen, the bakery's original owner, is famous for. Turns out the recipe is elusive; according to the blogs and reviews I found, even Hendricks doesn't have one.

So I intend to have a good time trying...I started with this one: from, and while it doesn't feature the light, flaky pastry mentioned in the book, it is indeed delicious, especially warmed, with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream. The apricots cut the sweetness of the crust just the perfect little amount, and I shamelessly scrape the almost caramelized bits of butter off the bottom of the pan and pop them into my mouth when no one else is in the kitchen.

However, this one also tantalizes: from Yulinka Cooks. Although there's no oatmeal, and I am pretty sure the mazurka bars in Bread Alone contained oatmeal, I am willing to try them. I am a sucker for dried fruit and nuts.

This recipe, from Feathered Nest, is more similar to the first than the second, but the fruit is fresh and goes on top of the crust rather than between. I have a bowlful of prune plums that might be put to work in this recipe someday soon.

I am still Googling and searching my stash of cookbooks and cooking magazines, to round up more contestants. Anyone want to come help me taste test?


Janet said...

You keep going with all that and have it perfected by...let's March :)

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