Saturday, April 28, 2007

Where's the Salt?

Over the past couple of days, I've bumped into two recipes that lacked an essential ingredient that bumps up the flavor of most baked goods: salt. After Karen and Claire got home from a spring-break Girl Scout trip to Savannah, Ga., I hauled out Paula Deen's The Lady & Sons Just Desserts. Although the girls enjoyed Paula's Gooey Butter Cake when they dined at The Lady & Sons, a different recipe caught my eye: Chocolate Cream Cheese Pound Cake. As I was assembling the ingredients, I pulled out the container of salt, then did a double-take when I saw that the recipe didn't call for it. Let's see: two sticks of butter, a block of cream cheese, 3 cups of sugar, 6 eggs, a bit of vanilla, 3 cups total of dry ingredients (flour and cocoa), some baking powder -- and no salt? I made a command decision and added 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Since I made this cake for PLTI, I didn't get to taste it, but I did sneak a small sample of the batter and think that the salt probably helped to enhance the chocolate flavor. (If any of the PLTI folks are lurking out there, let me know if this cake turned out OK.)

Meanwhile, on Thursday night, I needed to make something for the skaters to enjoy backstage at the skating club's spring show. Peanut-butter cookies sounded appealing as I browsed through The Greyston Bakery Cookbook by Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan. Again, assembling the ingredients, I was stunned to see no salt in the ingredient list. This time, I didn't add any salt. Big mistake. The cookies turned out fine, a nice, soft, chewy peanut-butter cookie. But they definitely lacked the rounded flavor that even a bit of salt brings, especially to something like a peanut-butter cookie. Karen and Claire each had a couple of the cookies. Karen said she enjoyed them; then, when I mentioned that they contained no salt and needed it, she paused a moment and agreed. Thumbs up for the recipe, I think, but I'll make a note in the book to add some salt next time.

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