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on September 4, 2012
I own the previous two Baked Books and still drool over the glossy photos as much as I did on the days that I purchased them. I couldn't wait to pick up a copy of Baked Elements. How can anyone resist a book by the guys who brought us the Baked brownie?

Baked Elements is a collection of about 75 recipes based on the top ten favorite ingredients of Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. So what are those top ten ingredients? Nothing short of decadent destruction for your waistline, I fear. They chose peanut butter; lemon and lime; caramel; booze; pumpkin; malted milk powder; cinnamon; cheese (think savory and sweet recipes, folks); chocolate; and banana. All of their luscious twists on great American desserts showcase the aforementioned ingredients beautifully and prominently!

The authors open with some pointers on basic equipment as well as ingredients and techniques you'll need to work your magic with their recipes and then they immediately head into the good stuff, the recipes. Every chapter is headlined by a neat page of applicable clip art-like pics with cool facts regarding the ingredient. For example, you'll learn that peanut butter in the U.S. has to contain at least 90% peanuts.

However, despite the cuteness of design here, the substance of the book is in the glorious recipes and the full page photo spreads of the finished product. You won't get a photo for every recipe but I don't see that as a flaw in this book although I'll never turn down a picture of something these guys baked.

After a week long adventure of gourging myself on pumpkin desserts from a different book, I decided to reset the palate by trying their Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Scones. Oh my! It was the embodiment of everything a scone should be: tender, crumbly, moist, rich with chocolate studs, no less, and the beguiling afternote (and pleasant texture)of crunchy peanut butter. I won't say how many I ate in a sitting, but the authors would be pleased...or mildly disgusted.

I think anyone will enjoy the food in this book at any time of year, but fall is in the air and many of the chapters are especially appropriate for this time of year. So if you were thinking of purchasing it, I heartily encourage it and I'll add that this book would make a welcome Christmas gift for the serious baker in the family.
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on September 16, 2012
Great book. I made the peanut butter oatmeal scones and the whole family loved them. There is not one recipe that does not look like something I would want to make. RARE in a book for sure. The layout of photos are lovely. I need to buy the first two books asap!
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on October 5, 2012
First thing you'll notice, this book is gorgeous. It is a pleasure to browse through and get inspired by all the wonderful things they've put together. Their favorite flavors...are awesome. I pretty much love them all. The Brooksters...oohhh yeah. The best of both worlds...brownies...cookies...what more could I want in a dessert. Maybe the pumpkin cinnamon rolls...yes please. The reason I've given it 4 stars though, is I think the recipes are a bit fiddly for the home baker. But for the most part, this cook book will be treasured by anyone who buys it.
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on November 25, 2012
I love Baked Explorations, so I decided I'd get this one. The 10 ingredients all sounded like things I typically like, especially since I LOVE the salted caramel brownie recipe from BE.

The styling of this book is fantastic, I love the intro page for each ingredient. They are nicely done and filled with neat little bits of information and trivia on the ingredients.

So far, I have only made the pumpkin cheesecake bars, which were good, but the recipe felt poorly done to me. There was a lot of prep work for the crust of the bars, and it made directions like preheating the oven for baking the crust very out of place. There's at least 90 minutes of wait time before they ever make it to the oven, excluding the prep work. And the note about cracks meaning you overbaked the cheesecake seemed absolutely silly for something topped with frosting! This may be nitpicky but both these things just seemed odd to me.

Other than that, I find myself struggling to find anything that really stands out as worthy to make, especially compared to Baked Explorations. I was actually considering returning the book to Amazon after my first read through but the pumpkin cheesecake bars changed my mind.

The booze chapter is highly disappointing because it is nearly entirely whiskey. I would have liked to see at least one recipe involving beer and one involving wine, both are great for baking too. Instead it's a very small section that is dominated by whiskey and bourbon.

But I am giving it three stars, because there is a lot in here, and it might be better suited to other people's tastes. Perhaps you do a better job managing time and remembering what a recipe says, or boozy baking is irrelevant to you. All the Baked books have been fantastic, so even if this one ends up my least favorite, it's still got to have a few gems in it.
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on September 17, 2012
Received this book last week and it is stellar. I made the 'Brooksters' and they came out amazing. It's like a chocolate chip cookie smooshed on top of a brownie and the two are baked together. Though I've never been to the Brooklyn bakery I am a huge fan of the Baked cookbooks. The authors love of desserts is expressed on every page, and the recipe photography is mouthwatering. Baked Elements in particular caught my eye because is is divided into ten sections based on the authors favorite ingredients, booze, pumpkin, chocolate, cinnamon...I can't wait to try more of these desserts.
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on December 28, 2012
If you make the Tunnel of Hazelnut Fudge cake, you will find instructions for how to toast the nuts but not how to skin them. Ignore the instructions in the book for a moment. Before you do anything else to your shelled hazelnuts, boil them for three minutes in 2 cups water with 2 T. baking soda. Rinse thoroughly in cold water and pat dry, then pinch off the skins. Now you may toast them following the instructions in the book, although since they are slightly cooked now it may take a little less time.
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on December 19, 2012
I like this book a lot. The recipes are clearly defined and easy to follow, and I everything (5-6 items) I've made has turned out great. I wish I could give 4 3/4 stars.

The only issue is the lack of pictures. It has a number of them, but not every item has one and I like that when dealing with food.

I am a beginner-intermediate baker, and nothing in this book is too complicated for me to do.
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on December 21, 2012
The third Baked book I have bought. A sophisticated and beautifully produced book with excellent comments, lovely photos and superb recipes.
When looking to gift a good baker and share a unique compendium of recipes, this is the book to choose.A great addition to a personal library! Worth every cent!
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on November 27, 2012
I felt a little bit silly at first buying this book, since I have the other two. I figured that this would all just be variations on a theme, and I was right about that - nothing in here is outside their themes of homey ingredients like bananas, chocolate, peanut butter, caramel. But frankly, I just love having more recipes from these guys! I appreciate that they organized the book by main ingredient instead of by the type of recipe - I think I prefer it the normal way, but it is interesting nonetheless. I will be making two of the recipes in this book over the next week for the holidays.
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on September 3, 2012
I've made the Pumpkin Dunking cookies (a pumpkin-oatmeal-cranberry-chocolate kitchen sink variety of cookie) and found them difficult to resist and the Brookster recipe, well, who can resist those? There are a number of recipes I can't wait to try and add to my book of standard recipes like their Pumpkin Whoopie Pie recipe that my family demands each and every year at Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I love their cookbooks as, though there are a few recipes that seem a bit over the top, most of them are inviting and accessible. My gratitude to the authors for sharing these recipes. :)
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