Tag Archives: cookies

The Artful Baker: Extraordinary Desserts From an Obsessive Home Baker, by Cenk Sonmezsoy

15 Nov

34227715Format: e-ARC, 384 pages

Publisher: Abrams

Published: October 17, 2017

ISBN: 9781419726491

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: A collection of more than 100 extraordinary desserts—all with photos and meticulous instructions—by Cenk Sönmezsoy, creator of the internationally acclaimed blog Cafe Fernando.

Written, styled, photographed, and designed by Cenk Sönmezsoy, The Artful Baker shares the inspiring story of a passionate home baker, beginning with his years after graduate school in San Francisco and showcasing the fruits of a baking obsession he cultivated after returning home to İstanbul. Sönmezsoy’s stories and uniquely styled images, together with his original creations and fresh take on traditional recipes, offer a thoughtful and emotional window into the life of this luminary artist.

The Artful Baker is comprised of almost entirely new content, with a few updated versions of readers’ favorites from his blog, such as Brownie Wears Lace, his signature brownies topped with blond chocolate ganache and bittersweet chocolate lace (originally commissioned by Dolce & Gabbana and awarded “Best Original Baking and Desserts Recipe” by Saveur magazine); Raspberry Jewel Pluot Galette, a recipe inspired by Chez Panisse’s 40th year anniversary celebrations; and Devil Wears Chocolate, his magnificent devil’s food cake that graces the cover of the book.

Each chapter highlights a variety of indulgences, from cookies to cakes and tarts to ice creams, including recipes like Pistachio and Matcha Sablés; Tahini and Leblebi (double-roasted chickpeas) Swirl Brownies; Sakura Madeleines; Sourdough Simit, the beloved ring-shaped Turkish bread beaded with sesame seeds; Isabella Grape and Kefir Ice Cream; Pomegranate Jam; and Blanche, a berry tart named after the Golden Girl Blanche Devereaux.

Every recipe in The Artful Baker has gone through a meticulous development phase, tested by an army of home bakers having varying levels of skill, equipment, and access to ingredients, and revised to ensure that they will work flawlessly in any kitchen. Measurements of ingredients are provided in both volume and weight (grams). Where a volume measurement isn’t useful, weight measurements are provided in both ounces and grams.

My review: The gorgeous chocolate creation on the front immediately attracted me to this book, and the photographs inside are just as mouth-watering and quirky. The author has an engaging writing style which begins with his journey from childhood to food blogger, and gives great background and tips on all the recipes he has developed. He admits to judging other cooks on the quality of their chocolate chip cookies, and I don’t think that’s a bad gauge to go by. Although many of the recipes contain hard-to-come by or unusual ingredients, and some are quite involved and time-consuming, there are plenty of others here that pique my interest. Although the digital version is impressive, I think a hardcover would be fantastic on any kitchen bookshelf.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 4/5

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Sweet, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh

19 Oct

34063669

Format: e-ARC, 368 pages

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Published: October 3, 2017

ISBN: 9781607749141

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: ‘There’s nothing like a perfectly light sponge flavoured with spices and citrus or an icing-sugar-dusted cookie to raise the spirits and create a moment of pure joy.’

In his stunning new baking and desserts cookbook Yotam Ottolenghi and his long-time collaborator Helen Goh bring the Ottolenghi hallmarks of fresh, evocative ingredients, exotic spices and complex flavourings – including fig, rose petal, saffron, aniseed, orange blossom, pistachio and cardamom – to indulgent cakes, biscuits, tarts, puddings, cheesecakes and ice cream.

Sweet includes over 110 innovative recipes, from Blackberry and Star Anise Friands, Tahini and Halva Brownies, Persian Love Cakes, Middle Eastern Millionaire’s Shortbread, and Saffron, Orange and Honey Madeleines to Flourless Chocolate Layer Cake with Coffee, Walnut and Rosewater and Cinnamon Pavlova with Praline Cream and Fresh Figs.

There is something here to delight everyone – from simple mini-cakes and cookies that parents can make with their children to showstopping layer cakes and roulades that will reignite the imaginations of accomplished bakers.

My review: I’m a sucker for a cookbook about sugary treats, so I was like a moth to a flame with this gorgeous book by noted pastry chef Yotam Ottolenghi and his longtime collaborator Helen Goh. From the beginning, its chatty tone drew me in and made me feel like we were old friends who’d been discussing tips, tricks and ingredient substitutions for years. Any book that starts off with a recipe for yo-yos is a winner for me, and I loved the regular mentions of Helen’s Antipodean influences, although it came as news to me that New Zealanders love Louise Cake so much (I’ve never, ever had it). I’m pretty sure sticky date pudding is commonplace here, too, but that’s by the by.

As well as tasty recipes for all manner of sweet treat, this book is full of vibrant photos. I was particularly amazed by the vertical layers of the lemon and blackcurrant stripe cake. Although I doubt I’ll ever make it, there are plenty of other things here I will definitely try. If you love sweet things, this book is for you!

Quotes to live by: “It’s one of life’s great pleasures, we think, to know that, whatever else is going on in your day, you’re only ever about 14 minutes away from a perfectly baked chocolate chip cookie.”

and

“Confectionary is for life, though, not just for Christmas.”

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

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Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season, by Elisabet Der Nederlanden

9 Aug

33516768

Format: e-ARC, 168 pages

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

To Be Published: September 5, 2017

ISBN: 9780399580253

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: From Icebox Pinwheel Cookies to Red-and-White Meringue Kisses to Apple Cider Caramels, find new inspiration for the best of seasonal baking with Holiday Cookies.

This instant holiday classic is packed with 50 recipes, each gorgeously photographed and meticulously tested, along with dozens of decorating and packaging ideas. Filled with reimagined favorites like Giant Molasses Spice Cookies and Hazelnut Sandwich Cookies; confections like Peppermint Bark, Smoked Almond and Cacao Nib Brittle, and Dark Chocolate-Hazelnut Fudge; and detailed instructions for gorgeous gingerbread houses, cookie place cards, and edible ornaments, this is a cookie book like no other. Because the recipes are easy to scale up or down, Holiday Cookies is perfect for cookie exchanges, gift-giving, and just enjoying throughout the season. From a veteran baker and recipe developer, each cookie in this collection is guaranteed to be a stand-out, and destined to become your new Christmas classic.

My review: This is an absolutely gorgeous little book full of cookies and other sweet treats that I will definitely be trying out. It begins with handy tips and tricks, including packaging ideas for baked gifts and the concept of a cookie exchange. The author’s Swedish heritage appealed to me, as that is where my husband’s family is from, so those recipes were automatically bookmarked, but I also fancy trying the chocolate-peanut butter brownie sandwiches, red velvet crackle cookies, apple cider caramels, and dark chocolate-hazelnut fudge, just for starters. Everything is photographed beautifully, full of colour and festive spirit.

This book, and all its treats, would make a wonderful gift, and would certainly put you in the holiday spirit at any time of year.

***Disclaimer: This e-ARC was provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Huge thanks to them. ***

My rating: 5/5

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