KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Dessert by the Book
Bay Area Bites: culinary rants & raves from bay area foodies and professionals
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Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Dessert by the Book

Has your baking kicked into high gear yet? This season there are cookbooks for just about every kind of baker or wannabe baker. These three each have an unusual twist or two that caught our eye...

One Cake, One Hundred Desserts
The subtitle of this book is "Learn One Foolproof Cake Recipe and Make One Hundred Desserts". This is a twist on the "Cake Doctor" books where you mess with a cake mix. Here one simple cake recipe, which is printed on the flap, can be tranformed into practically infinite variations. There are pan cakes, upside-down cakes, cupcakes, layer cakes, roulades, you name it. There are classics like Boston Cream Pie, Tart Tatin, German Chocolate Cake, and Lemon Poppyseed Cake, then there are wacky cakes like Peanut Butter and Jelly Upside Down Cake, Milky Way Cupcakes, Ouzo Fig Cakes and more. This is such a great idea it's hard to imagine no one has come up with a cookbook like this before.

Sweets Soul Food Desserts & Memories
The South is known for its desserts and now soul food gets its turn. Author Patty Pinner grew up in her family's restaurant, but her recipes are more about family than restaurant. The recipes range from Mama's Sweet Potato Pie, Lillie Bea's Cherry Cobbler, Grammaw Mariah's Deep-Dish Apple Pie and My My's Pound Cake to more unusual offerings such as Aint Pinky's Cantaloupe Pie, Aint Millie's Graham Cracker Cake and Miss Milie's Little of Nothing Cake. Each recipe comes with a story about the family member it is named after. This down home cookbook is just plain sweet.

The Sweet Life
While this is a restaurant cookbook, the recipes are easy to follow and never overly complicated. Author Kate Zuckerman is a pastry chef at Chanterelle in New York but earlier in her career worked at Firefly in San Franciso. Her style is friendly yet knowledgeable. This a great book if you want to try to make something of restaurant caliber. There are lots of classics here like Chocolate Souffle, Creme Caramel and Crispy, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies, but then there are innovative recipes with some creative flair like Goat Cheese and Purple Basil Souffle, White Chocolate and Grapefruit Truffles with Hazelnuts, Brioche Pudding with Truffle Honey and Pineapple Soup with Mango and Passionfruit. The sweet life indeed! This book features plenty of gorgeous photos and essays on ingredients and techniques.
 
 

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