If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you'll already be aware I'm a Maida Heatter fan from way back. I have every cookbook she's ever published......my mother gave me most of them, hot of the presses. So this post is a particular pleasure for me.
Briefly, here's the skinny on Maida:
Does the name Heatter ring a bell? That’s because she's the daughter of radio commentator Gabriel Heatter who became famous during World War II broadcasts with his: “There is good news tonight.” catch phrase.
Maida never started out to be a chef – she didn’t even attend a culinary school - but she credits her great baking talent to her mother, trial and error and her love of good cookbooks. Maida actually has a degree in fashion illustration and was designing and making jewelry as a hobby- which soon turned into a business. She married pilot Ralph Daniels in the late 40’s and in the 60’s when her father became ill, she and her husband came up with the idea of opening a coffee shop in a chic Miami Beach neighborhood.
The coffee shop was named Inside and Maida made all the pastries served there. It was quickly a hit and soon grew into a full scale restaurant. Ms. Heatter also taught baking classes; I remember my mother always regretted she had not driven the 45 minutes to Burdine's in Miami to take them. One day Craig Claiborne (who was then food editor of the New York Times) tasted Maida’s desserts and talked her into writing a cookbook. Her first was titled Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts and was published in 1974- the same year she and her husband sold the restaurant. She has since been the recipient of the following James Beard awards:
1998 Cookbook Hall of Fame "Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts"
1988 Who's Who of Food & Beverage in America
1981 Single Subject Book "MAIDA HEATTERS BOOK OF GREAT CHOCOLATE DESSERTS"
1978 Speciaty Book "MAIDA HEATTERS BOOK OF GREAT COOKIES"
Now in her 80’s, she is still baking away in her Miami Beach kitchen, as energetic as ever. Oh...and did I mention she is a famous chocoholic? She's also been inducted into the Chocolatier Magazine Hall of Fame. :) She has one cookbook with nothing but chocolate recipes!
Aside from the fabulous recipes, what you'll love best about Ms. Heatter's books are her instructions. They leave nothing to the imagination and the veriest novice can create a spectacular dessert. At the end of this post, I've listed links to some of Ms. Heatter's recipes I've posted.
My daughter was still home when I mentioned I was doing the 50 Women Game Changers and that Maida was on the list. What should I make? There was no question in her mind...Chocolate Cracks. I had forgotten how much my kids loved this cookie. They are crisp on the outside and brownie-like on the inside. I am not a chocoholic so don't make the recipe very often now they're gone. But Tracy wanted to take some back to New York with her and they travel well, so that's what I baked. After all, what better way to introduce you to Ms. Heatter than something made with chocolate?
From Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts
3 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed
6 ounces (3/4 cup) butter
2 tablespoons water
12 ounces (2 cups) semisweet chocolate morsels or 12 ounces (squares) semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large, heavy saucepan over moderate heat, cook the sugar, butter and water, stirring over heat until they are partially melted. Remove from heat and stir until chocolate is completely melted. Transfer to large bowl of electric mixer and let stand for about 5 minutes to cool slightly.
On high speed, beat in the eggs one at a time. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the sifted dry ingredients, scraping bowl with a rubber spatula and beating only until dry ingredients are absorbed. Let dough stand for about 10 minutes or longer until it can be handled easily.
Adjust oven rack high in the oven. Preheat oven to 350. Cut aluminum foil to fit the cookie sheets. ( I use parchment paper)
Using a heaping teaspoonful of dough for each cookie, roll between your hands into shiny and moist looking balls. Place two inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet.
Bake 12 to 13 minutes, reversing position of the pan during baking if necessary to insure even baking. Tops will feel dry but not firm. Do not overbake. Cookies will crisp as they cool. With a wide metal spatula, transfer to racks to cool.
Maida Heatter recipes I've posted:
Palm Beach Orange Ice Cream
Indian River Sweet Orange Bread
Frozen Grand Marnier Mousse
Cranberry Ice Cream
Pumpkin Ice Cream
Southern Nut Cake
Blueberry Ice Cream
Date Espresso Loaf
Join Mary from One Perfect Bite and all the other participants in this fun series.
Val - More Than Burnt Toast
Joanne - Eats Well With Others
Taryn - Have Kitchen Will Feed
Susan - The Spice Garden
Claudia - A Seasonal Cook in Turkey
Heather - girlichef
Miranda - Mangoes and Chutney
Jeanette - Healthy Living
April - Abby Sweets
Katie - Making Michael Pollan Proud
Mary - One Perfect Bite
Kathleen -Bake Away with Me
Viola - The Life is Good Kitchen
Sue - The View from Great Island
Kathleen - Gonna Want Seconds
Amy - Beloved Green
Linda - Ciao Chow Linda
Nancy - Picadillo