Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gale Gand's Brunch! A Review and Some Delicious Cranberry Angel-Food Muffins

Is there a better meal than brunch? A little bit breakfast, a little bit lunch, it conjures up sleeping in, hanging out with friends, reading the paper, relaxing and all at a leisurely pace. You can grab a quick bite for breakfast or stop and jam a quick lunch, but brunch is all about lingering and enjoying the food and the company. I tend to go out to eat brunch rather than attempting to make it myself, but the new cookbook, Gail Gand's Bunch: 100 Fantastic Recipes for the Weekend's Best Meal may change that. Gale Gand loves brunch and her new cookbook, covers the subject well, with scrumptious recipes and beautiful photos, all drool inducing. I was lucky enough to receive an early book to review and cook a dish from for the Cookbook Spotlight event hosted by Stephanie and Cath

In Brunch!, Gale has a little something for everyone with sections on brunch classics like Drinks, Brunch Basics, More Eggs, Pancakes, Waffles, French Toast & Other Sweets. There are plenty of Gale's famous baked goods in The Bakery section. For those who like little plates she offers mini Brunch Bites. For the non-sweet lover there are More Savories & Some Sides, and Salad & Soups for those who like their brunch closer to lunchtime. She even added sections on Fruits & Condiments, Menus  and lists and explanations of the necessary 
Equipment & Ingredients. Since Gale is a James Beard award-winning pastry chef and experienced restaurateur, I was worried that her recipes might be beyond my limited baking and brunch making skills but the recipes all look easy enough and very "do-able" even for for non-experts. In the Brunch Basics section, Gale has some mini "tutorials" on making omelets, stratas, frittatas, quiches and crepes and loads of variations that are very helpful to neophytes like me. 

With so many great recipes, it was difficult to chose one to make; Sweet Peach Crepes, Torta Rustica, Poached Salmon with Cucumber Yogurt, Peanut Butter and Jelly Turnovers, Pineapple Noodle Kugel, to name a few. I ended up going back to the Bakery section and a recipe for Cranberry Angel-Food Muffins, partially because they were fat free and also because I have been craving angel-food cake. 

Gale says "These muffins--which happen to be fat-free--have a wonderful light texture.  It's worth the effort to sift the flour three times to get the right consistency. Tart cranberries punctuate the airy cake and make for a festive treat around the holidays--but I like these so much that I keep cranberries in my freezer all year so I can make them anytime."

The muffins go together easily, your biggest effort is sifting the flour and making sure the batter is whipped until it forms soft peaks. Gale doesn't specify a size for the muffin pans and I used the standard-sized ones I have. In the Equipment & Ingredients section in the back of the book she mentions that she has "muffin pans in a range of sizes, from mini to extra-large" and that she likes to mix up the size of her muffins. I have a feeling she must have used her extra large tins when developing these because the recipes says that it makes 12 muffins and I ended up with double that. I ended up making 18 regular size muffins and two pans (24 total) mini muffins with my batter. They were so delicious, I didn't mind the extras--light, fluffy, the sweetness of the orange was perfect with the tangy bites of the cranberry. They were wonderful with a cup of tea. The downside? They are so light that you feel like you can eat way more muffins than you normally would. Luckily, I saw my neighbor walking by and was able to hand off some to her. She loved them and her kids were happy with their "baby muffins" too. A definite make again recipe!

Bright, visually appealing with a huge variety of recipes, this is a great book for any brunch lover. It is perfect for today's economy, since you can create your favorite restaurant brunch orders more economically at home for family and friends. I look forward to cooking more dishes from it and to seeing what recipes the other Cookbook Spotlight participants prepared.  


  1. I can see the delicate texture you got in the muffins - beautiful!
    I love a delicate muffin, so nice and light. I guess you have enough left to send me some!

  2. These look great...I love angel food! (deb...just remembered about this book...i gave u my old address since i didn't know i was moving yet!? think i'll still get it?)

  3. those muffins look so good! I think this cookbook is a must have!

  4. Hey Deb!
    I love Gale Gand! I miss her show on Food Network! Is her bakery in Chicago? That's where I'm from originally! I must try these muffins!


  5. I must not know the right people, because both you and Natashya got to review Gale's new book.

    I'm just going to sit here and be green-eyed with envy.

  6. I would definitely be overeating! those look so good!

  7. These look more like cupcakes than muffins! What a treat. I made a peanut butter pie of Gale Gand's not so long ago which was so easy and a HUGE hit. I'm a brunch lover so I may have to check out this book.


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