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Showing 1-9 of 9 reviews(4 star).Show all reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2011
The difference between cooking and baking, and why many don't like to bake is that with cooking, all you need is a saucepan and a skillet and you can turn out an excellent and well-presented meal. On the other hand, the presentation and quality of the goods you bake are correlated to the quality and variety of equipment you have. If you have a very small kitchen, or don't have space/money to store various pans and baking equipment (like many in NYC), this book may only serve as food porn. However, if you can afford to buy and store a long list of baking equipment, as well as have sufficient surface space and a well-callibrated oven to turn out these recipes, this book will be one that you will go back to for years.

I've been a fan of Sarabeth's products and restaurants for a long time and I'm thrilled that I can make her buttermilk biscuits and currant scones at home. In fact, these two recipes are the easiest in the book, provided you have good biscuit cutters and a baking sheet, neither of which I had before. I have a very minimalist kitchen and don't believe in buying a lot of tools and equipment, but this book has inspired me to bake more so I've invested in a few things. If you are a baking enthusiast this book is indispensable. However, if you don't bake that often and when you do you prefer baking freeform tarts and eyeballing measurements, this may not be your cup of tea.

The ingredients are not terribly exotic (except for the rum-soaked vanilla beans, which although in theory is not difficult to make, it can be rather expensive to buy in bulk, especially when you're not baking all the time) but the techniques are not exactly for beginners. However, they are clearly explained and shown in photographs. If you have the same tools and equipment Sarabeth uses in the book, I'd say that the recipes are not that hard. It's when you don't have entremet rings in various sizes, a rotating cake stand, and 3 different kinds of cookie scoops that may turn you off some of them. Again, these tools are not that expensive so it's really up to each person whether they want to invest in them to get the results promised in the book but the results are very good.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2011
This book is not for those who like baking chocolate chip cookies on the weekend, but more so for those that have a real passion for baking or appreciate all that a great baker like Sarabeth can offer to the home cook. The photo's and recipes in this book are stunning and visually satisfying - I think if anything, Sarabeth's recipes would wake up the inner pastry chef in all of us.

Baking snobs who have criticized the book here will blabber on about the author's "ultimate sin" of not providing weights in any of her recipes. Their issue is that a baking cookbook can't possibly be great with such a huge oversight - how shortsighted is that? Limited, one dimensional bakers are everywhere. Those who are so obsessed with "their way is the only way" are a dime a dozen. And isn't it interesting that these so called expert bakers don't have THEIR own cookbooks? All I can say is that the decision to ignore this book based on this issue is their loss - the world is filled with baking snobs and my experience has been if you're not able to be flexible, you're probably not that great of a baker in the first place. Sarah's book includes a conversion chart and at the end of the day, it's not the ultimate sin if you must use a measuring cup! Don't let this detail deter you... the formulas in this book are that good!

My only personal criticism of the book is that Sarabeth makes a great deal out of her marmalade recipe, yet she doesn't share it in the book. If you're looking for it, then you will be disappointed. I totally understand and support her but it's a shame - I've often thought back to the first time I tasted it. I was once lucky enough to receive a gorgeous jar of her Marmalade and it's a taste I will never forget. However, she more than makes up for the loss with all sorts of incredible joys like killer Brioche and puff pastry or gorgeous glazes like Apricot and Lemon.

Throughout the book, her recipes are easy to follow, instructions are precise and easy to follow. Some recipes require special equipment and pans, but that's to be expected in any baking book. Try a few and see what you like.. we're not huge sweet eaters at my place, so many of her recipes are for special occasions, but so far I've tried several and none have disappointed.

Excellent book for those bakers who are not intimidated by one who has raised the bar somewhat. Beginner bakers may have some frustration, but don't give up.. experience doesn't come from a cookbook. It comes from practice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 2014
I've had this book for years and have tried many recipes in it, including the regular croissants (good, but I think there's better out there), puff pastry (perfect!), pumpkin muffins (okay), challah (fantastic!), pan de mie (still my favorite white bread), Ruby cake (good, but not as amazing as she was hyping it to be), buttermilk biscuits (not as good as my standby recipe), her chocolate bundt cake (forget the name, but it's my favorite everyday chocolate snack cake - not overly sweet with a dense enough crumb to not need a plate and fork), and oatmeal bread (meh), off the top of my head. Almost everything I've tried has been good at worst, but mostly they've been great. The instructions are clear and detailed, and the results are delicious. I have two problems with the book, though: 1. The binding cracked with regular, even light, use. Not acceptable. 2. Sarabeth's introductory prose to each recipe sort of makes me want to shake her a little. It's pretentious and annoying. Others probably haven't noticed this, but I'm the kind of person who likes to read a cookbook cover to cover initially, and the strong concentration of her "My ____ taste so much better than everyone else's because I do this" really got on my nerves after a while. Skip her intros and just use the recipes and you'll love it!
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 26, 2010
This cookbook was meant for those in love with baking -- you must be willing to spend the time, complete the numerous steps, and purchase the right ingredients. I don't have that much time to bake (or get frustrated after the first hour), so when I first opened Sarabeth's cookbook I was a bit disappointed.

That being said, the recipes are absolutely delicious (my weekend favorite is buttermilk biscuits). The book has clear directions and gorgeous photographs, and features tips and suggestions. Perhaps Sarabeth will make an avid baker out of me!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2011
I bought this book after seeing the author on Martha Stewart. the recipes were exactly what I was looking for but I was missing her orange marmalade recipe. the book came missing a whole chapter so I called Amazon and they sent a new one that arrived after one day. I love their costumer service. I tried one recipe so far, I made cookies, i think they were call chubbies. Everybody loved them, the recipe called for so many kinds of chocolate but fortunately I had them all. I get the feeling that it is not a book that you would use without reading ahead of time the list of ingredients but I think that the recipes are good. although her recipes said that it would yield to more cookies than I ended p with although I followed the recipe to the T.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 6, 2015
Really good recipes. They're warm and inviting, like a hug. I've gotten some really good, really enjoyable recipes from this book. The croissant, danish, and pain aux raisin in particular are superstars. If you've already some experience baking patisserie or viennoiserie, this book will work well for you. Sarabeth's Cherry Plum jam has been my favorite for years, the recipe in the book works aces. The additional stories are charming and engaging.
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on October 14, 2013
This book is beautiful! The font, layout, and images are a work of art. For pastries, there are only a couple core recipes at the front of the book, and most of the pastry recipes are variations of the core recipes. There are some great ideas in here. The language is pretty clear-cut and easy to follow.

I didn't like how the dough recipes measure by volume instead of weight.
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on April 8, 2013
If you want to go beyond the common recipes and really want to try better tasting recipes, although some of them a little bit harder than the common ones, then this is the book, offering more in depth and expert tips from an apparently very successful bakery. Just, it doesn't contain the orange -apricot marmalade recipe.... sigh...
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on April 1, 2013
I love eating at Sarabeth's for brunch and when I learned they have a book, I immediately bought one. Now I get to make some of the breads at home, which I order from the restaurant.
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