Tag Archives: Sugary goodness

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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Lomelino’s Pies: A Celebration of Pies, Galettes, and Tarts, by Linda Lomelino

10 Aug

32964138Format: e-ARC, 144 pages

Publisher: Roost Books

To Be Published: 7 November, 2017

ISBN: 9781611804560

Genre: Arts & Photography, Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: Perennially popular pies get a fresh and indulgent twist by social media superstar and cook, food stylist, and photographer Linda Lomelino.

***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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Toast and Jam: Modern Recipes for Rustic Baked Goods and Sweet and Savory Spreads, by Sarah Owens

27 Jul

33215775Format: e-ARC, 256 pages

Publisher: Roost Books

To Be Published: August 15, 2017

ISBN: 9781611803570

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: Rustic breads, scones, and biscuits paired with fruit-jams, jellies, nut butters, savory spreads, pickles, and more–from the James Beard award-winning author of Sourdough.
Bread and butter, toast and jam, scones and clotted cream–baked goods have a long tradition of being paired with spreads to make their flavors and textures sing. As a baker with a passion for plants, Sarah Owens, author of the James Beard award-winning Sourdough, takes these simple pairings in fresh new directions. Spread some Strawberry & Meyer Lemon Preserves on a piece of Buckwheat Milk Bread for a special springtime treat. Top a slice of Pain de Mie with Watermelon Jelly for a bright taste of summer. Lather some Gingered Sweet Potato Butter on a piece of Spiced Carrot Levain for a warming fall breakfast. Make a batch of Dipping Chips to serve with Preserved Lemon and Fava Bean Hummus for an inspired snack. Wow brunch guests with a spread of Sourdough Whole-Grain Bagels, Lemony Herb Chevre, and Beet-Cured Gravlax. The recipes here offer a thoroughly fresh sensibility for the comfort found in a simple slice of toast spread with jam.

My review: The simple title is deceiving, because this is book is far more than just one about toast and spreads. The breads are fancy, and the spreads include not only jam but also butters, pickles, and other preserves, plus how to make your own ricotta and creme fraiche. Every photograph is stunning, almost as if you could reach out and touch the grain of the bread or the sticky gloss of its topping.

I’d like to try the chocolate and orange sourdough, the peach and tea preserves, and the roasted banana and chocolate nut butter, but I’ll admit I’d never heard of some of the other ingredients. It’s definitely not a book for a beginner; more for the gourmets among us.

***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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When Only Cupcakes Will Do, by Daisy James

16 May

30357657Format: e-ARC, 210 pages

Publisher: Carina

Published: August 4, 2016

ISBN: 9780008206833

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Back cover blurb: The delightfully heartwarming romantic comedy from Daisy James!

When life gives you lemons, make lemon drizzle cupcakes…

Lucie thought that proposing to her boyfriend in Tiffany’s would be the best day of her life. Until he said no. In just a few seconds, her whole world is turned upside-down! And when she accidentally switches cocoa powder for chilli powder at work, she finds herself out of a job, too…

Baking has always made life better in the past, but can Lucie really bake her way to happiness? Starting her own company, selling cupcakes out of an old ice cream van might just be the second chance that Lucie needs!

Of course, she never expected to find love along the way…

My review: A light, by-the-numbers romance which was okay but just didn’t grab me. I liked Lucie and the way she turned a couple of disasters into a new life for herself, but never felt her connection to either of the men in her life. I know I wasn’t meant to like Alex, but Ed kept sounding like he was talking down to her. For example, I’m sure that since she went to Le Cordon Bleu school as well she knew how to make a custard. I just didn’t feel their connection – it felt oddly stiff. But if I was lying on a beach somewhere, this book would be an okay way to escape. Like candyfloss, it was sweet but doesn’t have a lot of substance.

***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: 3/5

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Food52 Ice Cream and Friends, by the Editors of Food52

4 Apr

33843312Format: e-ARC, 176 pages

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

To Be Published: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 9780399578021

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: A friendly collection of recipes, riffs, toppings, and serving ideas for ice creams of all styles.

In Ice Cream & Friends, the editors of Food52 unearth 60 recipes for everyday and special occasion frozen desserts—like coffee frozen custard, cinnamon roll ice cream, and grilled watermelon cremolada—and put their own spin on enduring favorites: spiced fudgesicles, cherry-mint snow cones, even a modern baked Alaska. There are also tips and tricks for reviving melted ice cream, getting even creamier scoops, and spiffing up the store-bought stuff, as well as homemade versions of cones, mochi, sprinkles, Magic Shell, and more.

My review: My daughter and I love making homemade no-churn ice cream, so this book was perfect to give us a few new flavour suggestions. As well as some old favourites, the editors of the Food52 blog have come up with some unusual combinations, including black pepper and feta or butternut squash and tahini ice creams, and tomato, peach and basil sorbet. I think we’ll definitely be trying the carrot cake ice cream, yummy baked alaskas, chocolate tacos, and the Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake, and will attempt to make our own Magic Shell, cones and sprinkles from their recipes. There’s even a genius tip for curing brain freeze, which will certainly come in handy!

The photographs are gorgeous and make your mouth water, and the instructions are clear and written in a chatty manner. I’m now keen to check out the authors’ other cookbooks and blog.

***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

4cupcakes

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Candy Is Magic: Real Ingredients, Modern Recipes, by Jami Curl

28 Mar

30780245Format: e-ARC, 288 pages

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Published: 14 March, 2017

ISBN: 9780399578397

Genre: Cooking, Food & Wine

Back cover blurb: This game-changing candy cookbook from the owner of Quin, a popular Portland-based candy company, offers more than 200 achievable recipes using real, natural ingredients for everything from flavor-packed fruit lollipops to light-as-air marshmallows.

Jami Curl, candy-maker extraordinaire and owner of the candy company Quin has been called the “new Willy Wonka” by Bon Appetit. Her debut book, This is Candy, includes the recipes that have made Quin a favorite with local and national media, foodies, chefs, and bloggers. But This is Candy is not just a candy book. Instead, Jami’s approach to candy forms the foundation for a world of other confections–from bacon glazed with maple and black pepper caramel to a clever Chocolate Magic Dust that can be turned into chocolate pudding, chocolate sauce, and even a chocolate lollipop. Packed with more than 200 recipes for totally original confections like Whole Roasted Strawberry Lollipops, Bergamot Caramels, Fig & Coffee Gumdrops, and Pinot Noir cotton candy, as well as serious tips and advice for making amazing candy at home.

My review: I never thought I would be bored by a book about sweets but, sadly, I was. This wasn’t the cookbook I was expecting. Instead, the first quarter is a comprehensive technical explanation of the methodology and equipment needed for candy making, and then there are a series of recipes for infusions and flavoured sugars before we get to any real recipes. Even then, these all seem to be very similar variations on a theme, covering lollipops, marshmallow, gum drops and caramels. The same flavours are repeated for each type of sweet. I really would have liked a bit more variation and something a bit more “out there.”

Maybe there weren’t enough photos. I found the hand drawings a bit amateurish. The rabbit cake was certainly underwhelming. I know I didn’t need several pages devoted to making cinnamon sugar or how to put together cocoa powder and sugar to make a hot chocolate mix.

***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: 3/5

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Layered: Baking, Building, and Styling Spectacular Cakes, by Tessa Huff

3 Mar

26240710Format: e-ARC, 288 pages

Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang

To Be Published: April 19, 2016

ISBN: 9781617691881

Genre: Cooking, Food and Wine

Back cover blurb: It’s time to venture beyond vanilla and chocolate and take your baking skills up a notch. We’re talking layers—two, three, four, or more!

Create sky-high, bakery-quality treats at home with Tessa Huff’s 150 innovative recipes, which combine new and exciting flavors of cake, fillings, and frostings—everything from pink peppercorn cherry to bourbon butterscotch, and pumpkin vanilla chai to riesling rhubarb and raspberry chocolate stout. Including contemporary baking methods and industry tips and tricks, Layered covers every decorating technique you’ll ever need with simple instructions and gorgeous step-by-step photos that speak to bakers of every skill level—and to anyone who wants to transform dessert into layer upon layer of edible art.

My review: It’s clear Tessa Huff is a food stylist and photographer as well as a pastry chef and blogger, because the photographs in this book are glorious. Not only do we get to see the sky-high creations with all their pretty icing and decorations, but there are also separate photos of each cake sliced up, giving us a glorious view of the magnificently layered interiors. If it were possible to gain weight by just looking at cakes, I would have gained at least five kilos reading his book!

Huff begins by outlining the basics: ingredients, tools, basic methods and tips for optimum results. Written for a North American audience, some of the brand names and shops referenced were not familiar to me, but I appreciated the thoroughness with which the author covered these topics. She even gives instructions on how to make homemade sprinkles.

Then came the cakes. Oh my! The flavour combinations were incredible, including fruits, teas, alcohol, and spices alongside the perennial favourites of chocolate, coffee, lemon, and vanilla. I’m definitely going to be trying her Lemon Supreme Cake, Rainbow Sprinkle Cake, Banoffee Tiramisu Cake, and Red Wine Blackberry Cake. Yum!

Making layered cakes is no easy feat – and I’m sure my efforts would look nowhere near as good as Huff’s – but the photographs alone make this book a worthy addition to your kitchen bookshelf. The author’s personal story and historical explanations for recipes are fun to read, and I guess my only qualm would be that very few of these recipes would be suitable for people with food allergies. They certainly weren’t any good for my diet!

***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

5cupcakes

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No-Bake Honeycomb Crunchie Cheesecake!

13 Oct

Source: No-Bake Honeycomb Crunchie Cheesecake!

Jane’s Patisserie strikes again! Think I’m going to have to try this. Looks so yummy!

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Writing for the Pop Culture Literate.

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