Monday, November 7, 2011

Book Review: The Happy Baker

Ah, it is cooling down and now I can get back to baking and candy making, Sisters and Brothers.  This means more cookbook reviews and perhaps recipe sharing with all of you.  I received Erin Bolger's "The Happy Baker: A Girl's Guide To Emotional Baking" from the Amazon Vine Program; your Chocolate Priestess is one of the top reviewers on Amazon and has been for years.  As always I looked beyond the cover and just reading the cookbook (something I find most cookbook reviews only do) and tried out three recipes.  Two of these were chocolate and one was not but I wanted some variety.

The first two recipes I made on the same day as a gift for a friend for her birthday party.  She hadn't thought about a cake or anything sweet and so I volunteered.  Given that she had been going through a challenging year emotionally, I thought using this cookbook seemed appropriate.  The first recipe was for "For the Love of Toffee Cracker Goodness" (p 34).  I had never made a toffee or bark in my life so I thought this was be a good challenge to how well the instructions in the cookbook were.  The only problems I had was that Bolger's baking sheet must be a different size than mine because the crackers did not fit neatly in rows; the second was my lack of patience as I waited for them to cool enough to break apart.  No one could tell at the party that the bottom was simply saline crackers and everything turned out well.

While the above cooled I made "Match Made in Heaven, Dark Chocolate Cookies" (p 101) and by the recipe, these seemed a bit dry but that might be a reflection of the weather, too, so if you are a notice cook, if it looks or feels too dry, add some moisture, if it looks or feels to wet, add more of the dry ingredients.  These were three layers of chocolate -- cocoa, semisweet, and white chocolate chips.  I used a darker cocoa so I did adjust the moisture level a bit. The result was enjoyed by everyone who tried them while I was at the party and the birthday girl like both goodies so I felt I'd been a good friend.

Finally I tried something non-chocolate so I won't waste your time on the photo.  These were the "Jumbo Banana Pancakes for Two" (p 39) that was perfect this past weekend when our household of three was two since the hubby was at a camp getaway with friends for a week.  Easy to make but I had to cheat a bit and not make just two big pancakes because I knew turning them was not going to work for me -- trust me, I know me and pancakes.   We still really liked them though ad this will be a recipe I turn to again and play with in the future.

As for the emotional biography in the book... frankly that didn't interest me much and I didn't think it was well-integrated with the recipes at all.  Get it for the 65 recipes not for the love search tales and you'll be fine.  If you buy the book from the links provided in this review, you'll help support The Chocolate Cult, too!


Christine's Pantry said...

It's not cooling down yet her in DFW. It feels like spring here. I'm still running my ac. The treats look good. Another great review.

Jen at The Three Little Piglets said...

I haven't seen that one yet. I'll have to take a look at it the next time I'm at the bookstore. I definitely spend more time in the kitchen once it cools off as well...

TheChocolatePriestess said...

We had some great days in the 50s, perfect for baking I think plus no need to run the heater then. Now it's back into the low 70s again.


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