Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Desserts 4 Today - Cookbook Review

By: Abigail Jhnson Dodge

This dessert cookbook has an interesting hook. Each recipe requires only 4 ingredients. There's little room for adjustment, though the author gives substitutions and additions in the 'switch-in' and 'gussy it up' sections of each recipe.

Basically this makes the recipes quick and easy - and surprisingly elegant.

The book is separated into 5 sections: cookies, creamy desserts, frozen desserts, fruit desserts and pastry desserts. I decided, for the purposes of review, to try one recipe from each section. Here are the results.

Crunchy Peanut Butter Buttons (Cookies)
(Sorry for the quality of the photo. I photographed a screen to get this rather than typing it out. I wanted to show the page layout, which I thought was well planned.)
The dough was quick and easy to make (I forwent the hand mixer and it still didn't take that long). The fact that there's no flour in these means they're safe for those with flour allergies. When they come out of the oven you have to wait a few minutes for them toharden enough to lift off the tray - but fresh from the oven they're the best peanut butter cookies you'll ever have. I also used smooth pb rather than crunchy, and added in mini m&ms.

Mini Bitter Chocolate Cheesecakes
With this recipe I subbed in milk chocolate (which I habitually keep at home) for the bittersweet called for by the recipe. As a result, I also had to lower the amount of sugar I used to compensate. The recipe makes 3 ramekins or 6 mini cheesecakes using muffin cups. The cheesecakes are VERY rich, so I'd go for the 6 cups in future. I found a ramekin was too much, with half being a good amount for one serving. And because they're smaller than a regular cheesecake, they don't take as long to bake.

For the frozen dessert, I picked Frozen Chocolate-Covered Banana Nuggets.
These tasted great and, with a little practice, would look quite elegant for a fancy party. The addition of butter to the chocolate made it easier to dip the banana pieces in and made the chocolate taste very creamy.

For the fruit dessert, Classic Baked Apples, I followed the recipe faithfully.
Be careful not to punch a hole in the bottom of the apple when you're coring it or you'll lose the sugary goodness in the apple. Recommended for eating with fork and knife.

Lastly, I chose the Raspberry-White Chocolate Tart for the pastry.
Here I cheated for time, using a pre-made graham crust and frozen blueberries for the topping. I wouldn't use frozen berries again for something like this (didn't have the right texture and leaked into the filling) but the crust and filling were fantastic. And once again it only took a few minutes to mix up the ingredients and prepare dessert.

Ultimately, this is a great dessert book, with recipes that look great for entertaining and are quick and easy to make. There are some more complicated recipes as well, should you get bored of the easy ones. :)

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