Ever since I started living on my own five months ago, one of the household tasks I enjoy the most is cooking. Sure, the dishes I cook are mostly basic but I find the activity therapeutic. And there’s something to be said about preparing the food you eat, especially if it ends up delicious and filling. There’s plenty of things I want to do in the kitchen but there’s one thing that intimidates me: baking.
People say that cooking is an art and baking is a science. There’s all this talk about precision that you’d think bakers are talking about building a spaceship instead of a batch of oatmeal cookies. But I got to read RV Manabat’s More Baking Secrets, the sequel to the bestselling Baking Secrets, and my fears have somewhat minimized.
More Baking Secrets is a recipe book brimming with sinful recipes, from Filipino treats like ensaymada, mamon, and puto, to other pastries like red velvet cupcakes, triple chocolate cake, and chewy chocolate chip cookies.
The procedure is the same across all recipes (there’s no easy way to baking superstardom), but what sets this recipe book apart is the list of actual secrets that Manabat shares in most ofhis recipes. Yes, it’s not just a title!
For example, for his special banana bread, he advises using overripe, almost-rotten lakatan bananas. For his caramel bars, he says that he uses a generous amount of condensed milk since reducing it will make the bars less moist and chewy. To make it less “umay,” he shares that you should add a teaspoon of finely-grated lime or dayap (Filipino lime).
Apart from the actual secrets, each recipe tells a story, whether it’s a personal one relating to Manabat’s experience, a history lesson, or a brief background in creating it. And each chapter (divided into kinds of pastries) have descriptions on mixing, baking, and storing. Every question is answered in this little book.
I’m still afraid to bake, but Manabat’s More Baking Secrets encourages me to start with something small, like special chocolate crinkles. I know that with the recipes and the secrets, I’ll come up with something delicious and unique.
This story is in partnership with Anvil Publishing. RV Manabat’s More Baking Secrets is available at National Book Store and Powerbooks branches. You may also buy the book online on Anvil’s website. You may also follow Anvil on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.