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Desserts Book Reviews


The Art of Cookies: Easy to Elegant Cookie Decoration
by Noga Hitron & Natasha Haimovich

A colorful guiude to the art of cookie decoration features an imaginative array of decorating ideas and designs for tasty treats for a wide variety of special occasions, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, weddings, birthdays, and baby showers, accompanied by step-by-step photographs and tips.




The Baker's Dozen Cookbook: Become a Better Baker with 125 Foolproof Recipes and Tried-and-True Techniques
by The Baker's Dozen

Now you can share the collective experiences and favorite recipes of The Baker's Dozen (a group that meets in Northern California to exchange ideas) in The Baker's Dozen Cookbook, with recipes selected and tested by some of the most respected and most accomplished bakers in the business.Lindsey Shere, co-founder and pastry chef of Chez Panisse, shares the secrets of tarts. Authors Carol Field and Fran Gage and baker Peter Reinhart offer their collective wisdom on yeast breads and flatbreads. John Phillip Carroll teaches about easy quick breads, coffee cakes, and muffins. Renowned author and baker Flo Braker and her team share their years of cake-baking experience. Carolyn Weil and her group offer the ultimate advice and techniques for pies and piecrusts. Robert Morocco and Julia Cookenboo divulge their trade secrets of making foolproof cookies equal to those of any quality bakeshop.The Baker's Dozen Cookbook goes far beyond recipes. It puts four hundred of America's best bakers and everything they know right by your side.


All About Chocolate: The Ultimate Resource for the World's Favorite Food
by Carole Bloom

Americans eat an average of 11 pounds of chocolate per person a year. More than a cookbook, All About Chocolate is an enlightening compendium covering the entire world of chocolate. Highlights include an A-to-Z listing of terms relating to chocolate--including types of chocolate and chocolate products; well-known desserts and treats; techniques and tools for working with chocolate; and the chocolate industry's leading lights and famous innovators. Also included is a Chocolate History, which traces the origin and evolution of chocolate from the earliest cacao plantations in 7th-century Mexico through the British Parliament's outlawing of the drinking of chocolate without a license in 1690, to recent corporate shake-ups among chocolate giants, such as Nestle, Perugina and Ghiradelli. Learn how chocolate is made, read expert tips on judging chocolate quality; and then make and sample 25 of the author's personal favorite recipes. Chocolate lovers will savor every morsel.

America's Best Cheesecakes
by Joyce Ryan

This book offers a "practical approach" to this sometimes elusive dessert item. Joyce Ryan has created over 150 scrumptuous recipes for everything from classic creamy dreamy to the unique and flavor-packed fruity or marbled varieties. America's Best Cheesecakes is the perfect title -- it's what your guests will be saying about your own creations!


An Alphabet of Sweets
by Marcel Desaulniers

It's hard to top Desaulniers Death By Chocolate, but the Trellis Restaurant owner has changed gears and offers the most fanciful, humorous and captivating gift book around. The illustrations are a combination of Chagall and Matisse, brilliantly colored and so full of life they seem to jump off the page. Not to be outdone, Desaulniers offers tongue-in-cheek names for quite legitimately wonderful desserts from Angel of Anglais, a white chocolate temptation, to Zombie of Zabaglione, a "whine free" lemon dessert. This one fills you up with smiles while cultivating your appetite for these superb desserts.


Bake and Freeze Desserts
by Elinor Klivans

Why do we need cookbooks? Is it for extraordinary recipes, or to expand our knowledge of culinary techniques? Perhaps, but these tend to be of secondary concern -- certainly compared with the desire to make a stunning impression on everybody we know, from a spouse's best friend, business associates or a catty sister-in-law, right down to our gracious and unassuming children. To get a handle on a broad range of cooking styles and ingredients, does one really need to look much further than The Joy of Cooking or the Fanny Farmer cookbook? But if the idea is to look good at a moment's notice, a cookbook such as Elinor Klivans' Bake and Freeze Desserts is essential. Bake and Freeze Desserts provides 130 made-ahead recipes for cakes, pies, cookies, brownies, bars, ice creams, terrines and sorbets. Yummies like Maple Apple Walnut Crunch Pie, Toffee Fudge Brownie Sundae with Warm Caramel Sauce and Chocolate Raspberry Mousse Cake draw you in. But the fact is, there are hundreds of cookbooks with terrific dessert recipes. What makes this one special is that one can produce these wonders from days to months in advance. In most cases all that's required to serve them is a few hours of thawing. Some may be served directly from the freezer. Klivans, a seasoned pastry chef, explains why certain ingredients and desserts do not freeze well, how to wrap desserts for freezing and how to double a recipe, a crucial aspect of efficient advance preparation. I was especially impressed by the inclusion of fruit-filled recipes, such as apple crisp, which tend to have high water content and are therefore poor candidates for freezing.


Best-Ever Cookies
By Nestle Toll House

This book is Nestle's answer to requests for its most popular desserts and its simple, sometimes life-sized, color photos of Nestle's favorites will easily make your mouth water. All 200 cookies, brownies, bars, pies, cakes, flans, etc. in its 240 pages are very easy to bake, making this a perfect first dessert cookbook for someone just beginning to cook on their own, or as a tool to use when teaching a child the joy of creating something delightfully yummy to share.


Book of Tarts
by Maury Rubin

This is not just a book about making indescribable tarts, this is an art book with images of food that goes way beyond typical cookbook design. Stunning, dramatic and modern, Chris Callis's photographs due justice to Maury Rubin's artistry of combining French patisserie tarts with an economy of American aesthetic, and, they work. Who else would "stuff" fresh raspberries with chocolate to gild the tart--or combine Earl Grey tea into a pastry cream in an already decadent chocolate tart shell, or top pastry tarts with shaved honeydew with blackberries or add Zinfandel to marinated cherries with cocoa. If art weren't enough, function is evident with good how-to instructions in the basics, and an ample mail order source in the back. A book, you should pardon the expression, to drool over.


Bread and Chocolate
by Fran Gage

Gage's wonderfully enchanting and fascinating book reveals "My Food Life In & Around San Francisco." Her 60 carefully chosen recipes offer warm personal stories and an insight into the San Francisco food community. Gage shares culinary tales, her deep knowledge of baking and recipes such as: goat cheese souffle, sugar plum cakes, meyer lemon pound cake, puree of cooked quinces and celery root, and water-cured olives.

Chocolate and the Art of Low-Fat Desserts
by Alice Medrich

Chocolate desserts which are rich, indulgent -- and low in fat? In the capable hands of Alice Medrich, this one-time fantasy is now reality. Ms. Medrich will show you how to use simple, wholesome ingredients to create some of the lightest and divinest desserts in the world. She'll even give you a nutritional count. Try the Black Bottom Banana Napoleon first.


Chocolate: A Sweet Indulgence
by Sara Slavin & Karl Petzke

This is a richly illustrated celebration of life's most seductive treat. From the simple pleasures of a cup of cocoa to the concentrated decadence of a souffle, chocolate is one of the most treasured culinary contributions to the New World. Along with more than twenty recipes and surprising savories, this lavish volume features evocative images and an inviting design that create a feast for the eyes as well as the palette. Chocolate delves into the historical and practical aspects of the production and quality of chocolate, as well as suggestions and preparation techniques that no gourmet should be without. Complete with literary excerpts from an array of writers, a timeline of chocolateís rich history, a glossary of specialized terms, and a host of fascinating facts and antecdotes, this cookbook treats the cacao seed in the beautiful and sophisticated style it deserves.


by Alice Medrich

They don't call her Madam Cocolat for nothing. The founder of the Cocolat dessert shops takes us on a delectable tour of the land of chocolate. Ms. Medrich is a fan of the sophisticated desserts of Vienna and Paris, and here she will teach us by taking complex techniques and breaking them down to easy-to-follow steps. Chocolate truffles and ruffles will soon be yours. A James Beard and Julia Child cookbook award winner.


Cookies for Christmas
By Jennifer Dorland Darling

Just in time for the Christmas tradition of creating treasures to share, this 240-page cookie book divides itself into cutout cookies, rolled, pressed, piped, spritzed, twisted and waffle-baked cookies, sliced and dropped cookies, bars and brownies, Old-World favorites. To make the reader even smarter about cookies, Darling gives shortcuts for making cookies, decorating ideas with cookies, and several patterns to choose from for your own gingerbread house. This book is not only timely, it's resplendent with lovely illustrations of beautiful cookies, both traditional and unusual.


Crepes: Sweet & Savory Recipes for the Home Cook
by Lou Seibert Pappas

Presenting more than forty innovative and delicious recipes, Crepes is a terrific way to expand any cooking repertoire and discover new favorite dishes. Based on succulent blends of herbs, cheeses, vegetables, and other fresh ingredients, crepes are the answer to the high-speed, health conscious gourmet dilemma. These wafer-thin pancakes with dramatic French flair are a great idea for any appetizer, side dish, or light lunch or dinner, and everyone enjoys succulent dessert crepes with their silky texture and delectable fillings. This 106 page book contains easy-to-follow recipes and color photographs.


Dessert Circus: Extraordinary Desserts You Can Make at Home
by Jacques Torres

Dessert Circus isn't just a stunning collection of a hundred astonishing desserts, it's a primer in the basics of dessert chemistry. Learn from Jacques Torres about ingredients and how they react when mixed, kneaded,
chilled or heated. Be taught the red flags of warning--the signs that something is not going right--and what you might be able to do to save the situation. Included are recipes of all of Jacques' signature desserts, like The Manhattan, a chocolate cake layered with a bittersweet chocolate cream constructed in the shape of a skyscraper, or The Snowman, a little man made not out of snow but snowy white meringue and filled with tart
lemon curd. These desserts are designed to amaze your guests or loved ones on that special occasion.


Desserts to Die For
by Marcel Desaulniers

Desaulniers, best known for his Death by Chocolate cookbook and public television series, is a master of pastry and other sweet delights. Go out of your way to attempt recipes that are over two pages long and you'll be rewarded with a spectacular Butterscotch Walnut Pumpkin Cake, Chocolate Caramel Hazelnut Damnation and Cherry Bomb with Cherries and Berries. Each recipe is accompanied by a sidebar entitled "The Chef's Touch" where Desaulniers gives hints and techniques. This makes recipes easy to follow, a snap to prepare (when combined with the "Equipment" listed at the beginning of each recipe).


Fat Free Junk Food Cookbook
by J. Kevin Wolfe

From Scorching Nachos to Crunch Caramel Corn, here are more than 100 recipes for snacks that look, sound and taste like indulgences - but aren't! In chapters like Concession Stand Snacks, Sweet Treats, Fresh From the Bakery, and Yes, You Can Have dessert, dubious dieters will find such reassuring recipes as Cream-Puffed Chocolate Cupcakes, Blue Cheese Potato Salad, and miraculously Fat-Free-Drippin' Burgers. With helpful tips on making no-fat substitutions, coping with periods of weight loss backsliding, and dealing with all those leftover egg yolks, The Fat Free Junk Food Cookbook makes fat-free fabulous!


Festive Tarts, Splendid Fare for Fun and Fanciful Occasions
by Sylvia Thompson

This is both art book and cookbook, with Scudder's brilliantly colored watercolors that shout live it up! Have a great tasting tart! Tarts are great for all day long! The fun of these recipes is based on easy-to-follow directions, and the variety of both the savory and the sweet, carving out a place for tarts in both the patisserie and the dining room for lunch, tea or dinner. A gorgeous book.


Four-Star Desserts
by Emily Luchetti

Luchetti, the former pastry chef of Stars/San Francisco, and author of Stars Desserts, has scored again with this imaginative yet classic collection of superb desserts. To begin, she has created twenty-two chocolate desserts; the woman has her priorities right. Next she covers summer berry and summer fruit specialties, then moves on to fall fresh and dried fruits and nuts; citrus and tropical fruit delicacies and ends with cookies and candies. She adds a section on sauces and creams to round out these incredible finales for anyone's meal. The current chairperson of the International Association of Women Chefs and Restaurateurs, Luchetti has her hands full, but we're grateful she took the time to discuss her tips and techniques to make these "four-star" desserts.


Grand Finales, The Art of The Plated Dessert
by Tish Boyle and Timothy Moriarty

This big book of professional recipes is a great read and a marvel of how pastry art can be more readily described as sculpture, blending shape, color and taste for each "grand finale." Uher's photos are beautiful. The profiles of the pastry chefs who created these outstanding works of edible art are intriguing and revealing, and it's nice to see the face behind the "finales."


Great Gingerbread
by Sara Perry

The spicy aroma of gingerbread immediately brings to mind festive winter holidays. It s true that gingerbread embodies the holidays like no other treat and that's all the more reason to enjoy it all year round. This cookbook will change the way you think about the age-old favorite. The beloved combination of ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg that creates the distinctive flavor can be used in a wide assortment of unexpected and delectable ways. For a modern take on the classic cookie, try Chocolate-Dipped Gingerbread Biscotti with tea on a spring afternoon. Illustrated with ravishing full-color photographs, Great Gingerbread is brimming with classic recipes, both old and new. Inside you'll discover that there's gingerbread for every taste, and a gingerbread treat to brighten any day of the year.


How To Bake:
A Complete Guide to Perfect Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Tarts, Breads, Pizzas, Muffins, Sweet and Savory

by Nick Malgieri

How to Bake is a comprehensive cookbook combining lively and bright instructional prose, clear, concise technique drawings and 32 pages of luscious photographs--with all this help you can't miss making the perfect baked goods all the time. Nick Malgieri uses his international influences to create over 400 recipes that are entertaining as well as informative.


The International Dictionary of Desserts, Pastries, and Confections
by Carole Bloom

What a marvelous job she's done with a huge topic! It's a great reference tool for bakers with its more than 800 intelligent definitions and 86 classic recipes. She does not limit herself to a purely European lexicography, as though the western world were the only area to enjoy sweets. Instead, she includes Latin America, Asia, the Pacific Rim and Africa, making it an extremely useful book.


Gooey Desserts
by Elaine Corn

Your hands might start to feel sticky just from reading this book! Face it, we all need a dose of goo every now and then. That's the idea behind this book: gooey desserts which are pleasurable and sensual, and always soft, rich and sweet. No dry cakes and hard cookies here -- dig into the Big Banana Cream Pie or the Better-than-Sex cake and lick those fingers, please.


James McNair's Custards, Mousses and Puddings
by James McNair

More fun with McNair, as he leads us through a hot dessert trend, pudding, the new American comfort food. It's a collection that includes everything from simple cottage custards to elegant pots de creme. Some of these desserts are a snap to prepare, while others will require time and patience. Hey, a fine Bavarian cream is worth the wait. The photos are mouth-watering.


Joy of Cooking Christmas Cookies
by Ethan Becker

Seventy-five reasons to make anyone smile during Christmas time. Joy of Cooking Christmas Cookies serves up 75 scrumptious cookies, fun for the whole family.

Maida Heatter's Brand-New Book of Great Cookies
by Maida Heatter

Nothing charges the competitive spirit like an old-fashioned cookie exchange. Who doesn't love hearing those sighs of pleasure over one's own superior batch of chocolate chippers? And aren't those snickers of contempt over a chief rival's snickerdoodles perversely gratifying? For the secret ingredient that gives you an edge in the heat of a confectionery contest, look no further than Maida Heatter's Brand-New Book of Great Cookies. With more than 80 recipes from the author of six other dessert books, you'll be showing up the competition for years to come. And an introductory chapter that covers parchment paper, cookie cutters, oven thermometers and pastry bags and cloths practically ensures the success of your efforts. There's something for every taste on your guest list. Let's start with the crowd-pleasers -- a choice of seven recipes calling for chocolate chips: almond biscotti, skinny peanut bars, peanut butter bars, Napa Valley almond cookies, sour cream cookies and what Heatter calls Positively-the-Absolutely-Best chocolate chip cookies. Picking up on the scuttlebutt (or does it qualify as an urban myth?) there's also the infamous Neiman-Marcus cookie recipe for which a woman in Dallas claimed she was duped into paying $250. I'm looking forward to serving friend and foe (I mean this only in the culinary sense) Heatter's simple yet elegant Cornmeal Shortbread Fingers, dry, crunchy cookies that go with wine as well as tea and coffee. With Heatter on your side, no sweet tooth will go unsatisfied. There's even a biscuit recipe for man's best friend.


Making Your Own Biscotti And Dunking Delights
by Dona Z. Meilach

Coffeehouses are the new American refuge and everything that goes along with them, like biscotti. Now you will find out how easy it is to make them at home with a bread machine, food processor, food mixer, or just a spoon. This book includes 50 recipes for dunking, cookies, appetizers, toppings, icings, and much more.


Phyllo: Easy Recipes for Sweet and Savory Treats
by Jill O'Conner

Experienced pastry chef Jill O'Conner says there is one pastry dough that is easy to use, versatile, and accessible to every cook: phyllo. In Phyllo, O'Conner presents more than forty easy-to-prepare, sumptuous recipes perfect for a grand social event, a simple rustic supper and everything inbetween. With a useful guide to working with phyllo, accompanied with beautiful photographs, Phyllo is a delightful homage to this most versatile of pastries.


Pillsbury Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook

No corporation has parlayed the all-American image of Mom and apple pie more successfully than Pillsbury and its nearly half-century-old Pillsbury Bake-off cooking contest.

Home cooks across the nation have been vying for lucrative contest prizes (currently up to $ 1 million) since 1949, and, in the process, creating some of the best-known recipes this side of a church bake sale. Chances are one of your favorite comfort foods is a Bake-off winner. What person alive in America today hasn't tasted a Peanut Blossom, that's a peanut butter cookie with a chocolate kiss at its center, from the 1957 contest, or munched on a slice of Tunnel of Fudge Cake, a Bundt cake prepared with Pillsbury frosting mix, from the 1966 contest?

You may write to request the individual recipes from Pillsbury, or, better yet, pony up the $24.95 for the new Pillsbury Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook, which features 350 contest winners, including all Grand Prize winners. The advantage of purchasing the book is that you get to bask in the unabashed sentimentality that this fat slice of culinary Americana evokes to the tune of "When the Saints Go Marching In," the Bakeoff contest theme.

Sorbets and Ice Creams and Other Frozen Desserts
by Lou Seibert Pappas

To this day, ice cream remains a top favorite for youngsters and grown-ups alike. Making homemade ice cream is a wonderful tradition whose time has come again. Now, in Sorbets And Ice Creams, Lou Seibert Pappas treats readers to a sensational array of homemade ice creams, sorbets, frozen yogurts, gelatos, mousses, and parfaits. This book offers fifty recipes for simple and sophisticated frozen desserts, from pure Vanilla bean ice cream to a stunning Raspberry-Amaretto Bombe. Many of these fabulous homemade confections are fat-free and will be a joy for friends and family alike. The book also features seductively beautiful photographs by Frankie Frankeny.


Totally Chocolate
by Helene Siegel
Sink your teeth into breads, cakes, pies, tarts, candies, cocoa, cookies, frostings, toppings, mousses, puddings, and terrines, all--and here's the clincher-laden with chocolate. This small book will satisfy any craving for chocolate, no matter how huge! Can life possible get any sweeter?

The True History of Chocolate
by Sophie D. Coe and Michael D. Coe

A history of chocolate by anthropologists? Sounds dry and raspy as a stale Kit Kat bar, but this encyclopedic history travels through time, culture and fashion to bring us a tale gracefully told with no small amount of scholarship and the rigor of academic training of the authors. This is also a monument to Sophie, in a way, as Michael completed this book following her death. She was responsible for the bulk of the research and development of the book, and it is a testament to her academic and research skill that her husband was able to complete this project so well. 97 illustrations, including 13 in color add much to make this historical tome interesting to the max.

Ultimate Chocolate
by Patricia Lousada

From brownies to gateaux and melt-in-the-mouth mousses, this is a mouthwatering collection of more than 100 delicious chocolate recipes from around the world. Perhaps Lousada's finest contribution to cooks who love to create chocolate concoctions is her section photographically demonstrating how to create amazing chocolate decorations for embellishing desserts. This is a beautiful book. Soft cover, 140 pages.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the businesses in question before making your plans.

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