Book Review: Sweet by the Editors of Food Network Magazine

9780804137683Disclosure: This book was provided free of charge by Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Anyone who bakes as a hobby or professionally knows that baking is an exact science. No ifs, ands, or buts. If you add too little, too much, or subtract ingredients here and there, the outcome of your recipe will be completely different.

As a way to ease the fears of those new to baking and desserts, the editors of Food Network Magazine and the chefs of the Food Network Kitchens came together to create a cookbook which brings simplicity to baking. Visually appealing desserts, uncomplicated techniques, and simple ingredients are the building blocks of Secret: Our Best Cupcakes, Cookies, Candy and More.

If you’re an addict of amazing food photography, then you will be completely smitten by the pictures the way I am. I wanted to make everything I saw because it appealed to every reason why I love making desserts.

Not only are the desserts simple to make, they are also desserts you can make throughout the week. The best thing about this book is there is a chapter for every baker which are accompanied with picture tutorials. I like baking any and everything so I utilized every chapter.

For the past week I have had a strong desire to make a pineapple upside-down cake–both from scratch and a box mix. As I was flipping through Sweet trying to find my first recipe to make, I came across a recipe called Grilled Pineapple Upside-Down cake. It was the best shortcut, no fuss recipe I have made thus far. All I needed was pound cake from my local grocery store, brown sugar, butter, maraschino cherries, pineapple rings, and aluminum foil. Grill for 12 minutes. The recipe also works well in an oven.

If you’re a Food Network Magazine reader, you will be equally pleased, if not more, with Sweet: Our Best Cupcakes, Cookies, Candy and More. If you’ve never picked up a copy of their magazine but enjoy the network, you will be just as pleased.

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Book Review: Treat Yourself by Jennifer Steinhauer

9780385345200Disclosure: This book was provided free of charge by Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Treat Yourself by Jennifer Steinhauer is one of those baking books that reminds you what was great about being a kid: junk food favorites. Not only does Steinhauer share her most beloved snacks as a kid, she also teaches you how to prepare them.

The introduction gives you the gensis of how the author’s love for snacks and the initial concept for this book. The book, in her words, is not about emulating famous name brand snacks, but how to successfully make them as your own; by developing her own recipes, Steinhauer does just that.

With this book, I was able to walk down memory lane of my favorite childhood snacks, and some of which, to my dismay for quite some time, are no longer in production. I was able to make my own frosted oatmeal cookies which are practically on their last legs on store shelves, as well as my favorite oatmeal pies. For those who lack the heart for sweets, there are plenty of savory recipes included balancing the book out nicely.

If you like a little history about your food, you’ll enjoy the introductions to all the chapters, and the anecdotes above each recipe are a must-read. The recipes are especially made for the home baker: they are easy to read and follow, and the ingredients can be found in any grocery store including Wal-Mart.

My one piece of advice for buying this book is to buy it for both the recipes and nostalgia it brings. I can’t even tell you how long my mom and I reminisced over all our favorite snacks from when we were kids until now, and how our tastebuds remain trapped in our childhoods.