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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Book Review: Bon Appetit Desserts

Bon Appetit Desserts: The Cookbook for All Things Sweet and Wonderful ($18.00 Kindle, $20.00 Hardcover), edited by Barbara Fairchild, is a massive cookbook from one of my favorite magazines. Since I reviewed an ebook version, I didn't realize just how large it was until I saw it recently in one of the local bookstores. Not only will it take up quite a bit of space on your counter when cooking, but it is quite heavy if you plan on reading it without having a place to prop it up. On the other hand, this is a book with page after page of gorgeous photographs, each one seducing you into adding just one more recipe to the list that you absolutely must try.

On the Kindle, the first 700 locations after the cover are just the linked table of contents alone and the photographs are not nearly so compelling in shades of gray (which might be better for your waistline, all things considered). I popped the Kindle sample onto my iPad though, and all the photographs are there and my mouth is watering once again. Not only that, but the sample I downloaded from the Hardcover page includes "the first chapter", which is a bit misleading. In fact, it has the first nineteen recipes from Cakes, which follows the (long) sections The Desserts Pantry, Equipment: The Basics and Techniques: The Basics, all of which are also included.

With over 2200 locations, the sample alone is worth picking up and keeping, even if you don't purchase the full book. You'll be missing out, though, as recipes such as the Double-Ginger Gingerbread with Orange-Ginger Sauce start only a few pages farther in, not to mention the final assembly instructions on that Poppy Seed Coffee Cake with Cardamom Streusel are missing from the sample (two more paragraphs would have finished that recipe). If cakes are not your thing, fear not. Future chapters continue with:
  • Cheesecakes
  • Pies, Tarts & Pastries
  • Custards & Puddings
  • Fruit Desserts
  • Frozen Desserts
  • Cookies
  • Bar Cookies & Brownies
  • Candy

Yes, there is fudge and and there are truffles (Dark Chocolate Truffles alone has two recipes, with completely different flavors). Fruit isn't limited to Pies and there are many types of Cobblers (complete with the Vanilla–Crème Fraîche Biscuits recipe that you serve separately with the Cherry-Lime Cobbler, if you are looking for something different). If you prefer your chocolate with coffee, be sure to check out the Chocolate-Espresso Puddings with Espresso Whipped Cream. For dead simple and quick to prepare, you can't beat the Mascarpone and Berry Parfaits. For a bit more elegance, try the make-ahead Cranberry and Lemon-Ginger Parfaits, which they show in a plain glass (see below), but should be equally at home in a nice cut-crystal stemmed glass.

As you can see from the above prices, which appear to be part of the Black Friday Book Deals, the books is being greatly discounted at Amazon right now. If you are a

The Hardcover edition also comes with a free subscription or renewal to Bon Apetit magazine, which separately sells for $12, with auto-renewal, or $15, without. In fact, you can get the hardcover to use in the kitchen and the Kindle version for browsing and checking in the store while shopping, for less than the retail price of the hardcover alone.

Book Description (Hardcover)
For more than 50 years, Bon Appetit magazine has been seducing readers with to-die-for desserts. From quick homestyle cookies to unforgettable special-occasion finales such as spiced chocolate torte wrapped in chocolate ribbons, Bon Appetit showcases meticulously tested recipes that turn out perfectly--every time. Now, culled from Bon Appetit's extensive archives and including never-before-published recipes, Bon Appetit Desserts promises to be the comprehensive guide to all things sweet and wonderful.

Authored by Bon Appetit editor-in-chief Barbara Fairchild, Bon Appetit Desserts features more than 600 recipes--from layer cakes to coffee cakes, tortes and cupcakes to pies, tarts, candies, puddings, souffles, ice cream, cookies, holiday desserts, and much, much more. Certain to inspire both experienced home cooks and those just starting out in the kitchen, each recipe is designed to ensure the dessert preparation process is as enjoyable as the finished result.

Includes a subscription (or renewal) to Bon Appetit Magazine

A limited time use, pre-publication, PDF galley of this book was provided by Netgalley and the publisher for this review.