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Sweet!: From Agave to Turbinado, Home Baking with Every Kind of Natural Sugar and Sweetener Paperback – October 7, 2008

10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Niall (Sweet & Natural Baking), expands the world of sweet to home bakers with his extensive knowledge of natural sweeteners and over 100 recipes. Raw sugar such as turbinado, moist brown sugars like demerara and muscovado, and nonsugarcane options like agave syrup and fruit juice concentrates are incorporated in an enticing selection of recipes for cakes, pies, cookies, entrées and more. Niall spans the culinary world with international choices like Thai sticky black rice and mangoes, dulce de leche sandwich cookies and Vietnamese caramel chicken. American favorites such as sweet potatoes with a sorghum glaze, Meyer Lemon Shaker Pi and caramel applesauce cake can also be found. An informative primer and side notes provide additional recipe options, technique tips and nutritional information. This is a unique addition to the baker's shelf. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Publishers Weekly, 11/3/08
“This is a unique addition to the baker’s shelf.”

Tampa Tribune, 11/30/08
"Offers lots of alternatives for bakers who avoid using processed granulated sugar…Should inspire cooks to experiment with more nutritious ingredients.”

South Bend Tribune, 12/14/08
"When it comes to the bottom line and the final delicious outcome, the trip to the organic food store proves well worth the effort."


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Product Details

  • Age Range: Baby and up
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Lifelong Books; Original edition (October 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600940048
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600940040
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,264,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By M. Bush on April 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
Mani Niall obviously knows a lot about sweeteners. I got this book to learn more about a variety of sugars, how different sugars react in recipes, etc, and for this, the book is excellent.

However, at least one of the recipes is lacking a key ingredient in the ingredient list. His "Melt-in-Your-Mouth Chocolate Cake with Dulce de Leche" on page 82 sounds delicious. I wanted to make it, so I read the recipe, only to find that he didn't actually list ANY chocolate in the ingredient list. In the instructions, you are told to melt the chocolate and then combine it with the wet ingredients. This is a chocolate cake! Leaving out the chocolate (amount? type?) from the ingredient list is a glaring omission.

Also, in the same recipe, the reader is directed to a Dulce de Leche recipe found later in the book, on page 221. Page 221 contains, not Dulce de Leche, but Sugar Cone Ice Cream Bowls. Those sound tasty, but they're not helpful in making Dulce de Leche. Ultimately I had to look up the Dulce de Leche recipe in the index. Ah-ha! It's on page 204, nowhere near page 221.

These types of errors make it hard to recommend the book as more than a reference tool. If you can't trust the recipes to be correct, there's no point in buying it as a cookbook.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful By C. Davis on November 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
I don't doubt that the recipes in this book result in tasty treats but the title is misleading - that is, the subtitle is misleading "From Agave to Turbinado, Home Baking with Every Kind of Natural Sugar and Sweetener." Yeah, I guess "granulated sugar" is "natural" so technically the subtitle is accurate, but I was looking for recipes that used _healthier_ alternatives to granulated sugar - like agave. The vast majority of recipes in this book include granulated sugar and/or brown sugar. Not at all what I was looking for - it's going back to Amazon.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Emily Howe on February 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
As an avid cookbook reader, healthy eater, and baking connoisseur, I confess, I am a cookbook skeptic, especially when it comes to baking. But "Sweet" delivered triplefold with down-to-earth clear recipes, seductive food photography, and the passionate writing of a true foodie and the deft of a sweetener guru. Academics and readerly types will praise the rich context he provides, such as "A Brief History of Sugar", which provides depth and context.

Unwilling to confine his recipes to the natural food sector of the grocery store and by no means keeping things in the white sugar family, the author navigates the entire sweetener spectrum by keenly choosing exactly the right sweetener for the job, whether molasses for a chewier snack or piloncillo for a more Mexican sweet.

Showcasing natural sweeteners and traditional sugars alike, "Sweet!" marries them tastefully, provocatively, and intriguingly while introducing readers to rarer ingredients with recipes like the Sorghum-glazed Sweet Potatoes or Orange and Fig Spelt Muffins. More common American favorite alternative sweeteners like applesauce represent in desserts like Applesauce Caramel Cake while agave nectar, the present day darling of alternative sweeteners figures heavily in recipes such as (dinner party guest fave) Hempseed-crusted Tofu with Agave-Mustard Sauce. My personal favorite? A flavor-hound's dream: Balsamic strawberry ice cream.

As a frequent dinner party hostess and head of a Bay Area cookbook club, I have already recommended this diverse, enchanting, Sweet(!) cookbook to friends and foodies of all eating preferences and levels of cooking talent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Polyn on March 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book has fantastic recipes... but only if you decide to make one that actually has the complete list of ingredients and all the steps.
there are tons of mistakes! somebody forgot to check for those 'details': for example, the "Melt-in-Your-Mouth Chocolate Cake" on page 82 is missing the chocolate in the list of ingredients, so you have no clue what type of chocolate to use, or the amount.
Nonetheless, I have made several recipes (making up missing ingredients or following the recipe) and they were really good. I like the intro where Niall explains everything about sugar (and I mean, EVERYTHING).
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mani Niall on February 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
With all due respect to C. Davis' review of my book, Sweet!, the subtitle clearly states both agave and turbinado, which technically are both sugars. This book represents a culmination of 25 years as a baker, travels to 4 continents, research, development, writing and testing of recipes over 4 years and is an homage to all things sweet. I traced the uses of sugars from the countries where sugar cane, palm sugar, honey, agave and maple syrup originate or have been cultivated and how each of these ethnic influences have contributed to our collective sweet tooth with recipes from banana upside down muffins to chai, agave chicken to panela ice cream. Southeast Asia, Central and South America, Hawaii, India...the list goes on.

Also, having written 2 previous books that call for extremely specific ingredients, this was my chance to write a more mainstream book that calls for ingredients easily found in most grocery stores and natural food stores. I build my case for organic and fair trade sugar in the first section of the book but do not call this out in each recipe as I did not want it to sound like the recipes would not work without them.

So for all of you home bakers and professional pastry chefs, there are many books all about cake or pie or puddings, but-- this is the only single-subject book that traces the history of the SWEET ingredient that all cookbooks and recipes have in common- and conveys in simple, easy to make recipes, the uses that indigenous people have made of sugar. These once exotic sweeteners are easier to find than ever. Plus I include mail order and websites to make them easier to find.

Bake on!
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