I came across this site in my ever renewed search to find an answer to the following dilemma.
All my classic American baking recipes--cookies, muffins, biscuits, cakes--are practically inedible when I try to make them here in Holland. They just turn into little dense bricks.
The consistency of the butter here is obviously different (and it is delicious--lower water content). But because of this, my cookies tend to deflate or even melt as they are baking. There is obviously something quite different about the flour here as well, you can buy it by percentages of milled wheat. I have been told 70% is the best for baking.
I have never had a cake or batch of muffins turn out correctly here. They just fail to inflate during baking.
The powdered sugar here has no starch in it, so in making traditional icing or frosting--I have resorted to having powdered sugar shipped to me from the States. The dutch don't put icing on their cakes. They use whipped cream.
For almost four years now I have been looking for that magic person or document that can explain how to restore my baking to its original splendor using european ingredients. I'm not disciplined or patient enough to turn my kitchen into a chemistry lab. Hopefully there is someone out there on CHOW who is! :-)
All the best,