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Posted February 27, 2013
This is a very good cookbook. The overall product is very pleasi
This is a very good cookbook. The overall product is very pleasing, from its size and shape to the quality of the paper and printing, the fonts, drawing and photography styling, merit alone a mention for their quality. They do introduce the reader to a world of homey pleasures and whimsical tastes, and make this book a beautiful present for bakers and design enthusiasts alike.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The quality of the writing and recipes is remarkably good too. The baking process is always clear and explained in detail, as well as little tips to avoid disasters and basic troubleshooting, and there's also a very handy table of equivalences, a glossary of technical terms and a list of essential equipment. It's all written in a very friendly tone but there's serious knowledge behind it, and recipe instructions show there's a deep understanding of ingredients and their combinations.
This book got the seal of approval when I shared a few of its cookies with an elderly know-it-all relative and she asked for the secret ingredient, which shows the flavors are subtly complex and very well achieved (they were the animal and the crinkles, btw).
The recipes contained cover both the simple and complex (and challenging!) in terms of making and in terms of taste, from pedestrian snickerdoodles to high brow macarons, from incredibly sweet alfajores to intriguing salt and pepper cookies. They have an interesting categorization, though about 90% of the cookies perfectly fit in the "Buttery" section. The only cookie I can think of that's not included is the Anzac biscuit, though my copy does (I wrote it in one of the "Notes" pages), and nothing with yeast is covered, I think, but it's alright.
While it's not exactly a book geared toward a young audience I think most of the recipes contained can be made by children with minimum adult supervision, and many of the recipes are great for crowds of children - the thumbprints were a success at my daughter's school.
I believe this book would be better if it explained how to achieve similar results with less equipment, particularly without a food processor. I think it should also take a page or two to explain basic ingredients as flour, butter and oatmeal, because these days there are so many varieties to choose from and it's good to know how to choose or what to do with what one has. It should also suggest more ingredient substitutions, as some are quite hard to find where I live (maple syrup, golden syrup, pecan nuts, matcha tea), and to make the recipes more friendly to people with food allergies or other dietary restrictions. I detected just two typos, and none were in the ingredient list so they don't matter. I think it would be a nice addition to have more information on icing and decoration.
In spite of the last comments I think this is an excellent book and I wholeheartedly recommend it to any home baker. If you're looking for one definite cookie book, as a gift to yourself or someone else, for cooks young or old, newcomer or experienced, this could well be your choice, and it's one of the few American cookbooks I would love to see translated into Spanish.