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BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts Hardcover – August 15, 2017
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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“Few recipe writers are as precise as Stella Parks, a former pastry chef whose instructions always fill me with a sense of clearheaded confidence.”
- Tejal Rao, New York Times Magazine
“One of the most engaging baking books to be published in years… Parks adds a remarkable new voice to the world of baking books. Combine smarts with whimsy and you get delicious results.”
- Washington Post
“As if it’s not impressive enough that Stella Parks whips up her own Twinkies and animal crackers, Snickers and sprinkles, she can also tell us who invented them, when, why and how.”
- Food & Wine
“Parks uses [food science] to give people new tools to become better bakers, a better understanding of baking, and an emphatic reminder of why every one loved these cookies, cakes, and other sweets in the first place.”
“Lushly illustrated recipes. . . Parks is a serious cook, interested in the history of how those desserts became iconic, and one who applies her serious culinary education to what others might consider frivolous ends.”
- The Atlantic
“Wonderful fun to read. A coveted gift for anyone whose ears prick up at the jingle of an ice cream truck.”
- Bon Appétit
“Astonishing. . . . A deep dive into sweet, sweet Americana―from Boston cream pie to that southeastern beach staple, key lime pie, to the best carrot cake I’ve tried. Ever wondered how to make your own Heath-like chocolate toffee or even a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup? Parks has you covered.”
- Mother Jones
“Intelligent, engaging, inquiring, instructive, and joyous: as befits its subtitle, this is destined, deservedly, to become a truly iconic book.”
- Nigella Lawson, chef and author of How to Be a Domestic Goddess and Simply Nigella
“A smart no-nonsense education in baking with a good measure of attitude, loads of encouragement, and plenty of details to ensure success.”
- Alice Medrich, author of Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies
“[Bravetart] will join the ranks of the timeless and transformative. Stella Park’s knowledge is formidable and her baked goods are brilliant, exactly the type of things we crave.”
- Southern Living
About the Author
Stella Parks is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and a James Beard Award nominated writer for Serious Eats. She was named one of America’s Best New Pastry Chefs by Food & Wine. When not at home in Lexington, Kentucky, Stella can be found at the Serious Eats test kitchen in Brooklyn, New York.
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The chapters are:
* Classic American Desserts: 1. Cookies & Candy, 2. Cakes, 3. Pies, and 4. Doughnuts
* Classic American Brands: 5. Cookies & Snacks, 6. Puddings, 7. Breakfast Treats, and 8. Candies & Candy Bars
* Classic American Ice Cream: 9. Scoops & Fountain Specials
1) Homemade Oreos with Homemade Cream Filling – p 212&215. Haha! They are spot on, and were a lot easier to make than I expected. Nice bonus – environmentalist friends will be thrilled that there’s no palm oil in sight. Here’s the embossed rolling pin, if you want yours to be fancy looking, too. PAISLEY rolling pin. Engraved rolling pin with paisley for embossed cookies. Embossing rolling pin.
2) Homemade Pop-Tarts – p 274. Yum! They’re not supposed to be blue, but my little one asked, and kids are cute, so…. These have to cool after you bake them, and the icing has to set for 12 hours after, so these need a little pre-planning. These are a little more effort-y than the Oreos, but they are beyond worth it. I’m shocked by how much fruit is actually crammed in these. Niiice. I purchased sprinkles, but she has a recipe for those, too, if you’re feeling it.
3) Peanut Butter Cups – p 299. Tempering the chocolate takes a little patience waiting for the chocolate to hit the exact temps, but these were easy and the kids were thrilled.
4) Red Wine Velvet Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting - p 130 & 132. *That* is an amazing cake! Outstanding flavor and not terribly sweet. There's no artificial coloring in it, just dark zinfandel and raw cocoa powder.
5) Double Vanilla Ice Cream – p 334 with Cookie Dough Nuggets – p 346. I did the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough variation. Divine. The vanilla flavor is nice and strong and the ice cream's texture is perfectly creamy.
Some others I have flagged to try: Chocolate Covered S’mores – p 63 * Souffleed Cheesecake – p 80 * Buttermilk Biscuits with Strawberries and Cream – p 86 * Pineapple Cutout Cake – p 93 * Lemon Meringue Pie with Marshmallow Meringue – p 153 * Fried Cake Donettes – p 186 * Homemade Thin Mints – p 228 * Homemade Twinkies – p 244 * Homemade 3 Musketeers – p 304 * Homemade Snickers – p 308 * Homemade Cracker Jack – p 311
I’ll update this as I play in the book more.
I will admit I foolishly thought this was going to be a book of tarts and pies with new twists. Instead it is a creative re-creation of American traditional treats such as McDonald's Apple Turnover, Nutter Butter Cookies, Fig Newtons, Homemade Wonder Bread.
I have no doubt that just like the recipe for Twinkies upscaled with Tres Leche filling, these recipes will remind our tastebuds of comfort food and then amaze us with stellar taste.
I do agree with the reviewer who commented about being surprised measurements are not in grams, especially after 2 1/4 large pages of exhortation to use a scale to measure accurately. I understand the sight of the word "grams" can scare off some home cooks but experienced bakers use metric. Would have been nice to include both metric/volume measurements.
And it would be nice to have photos for each recipe but I do know publishers call the shots. But the full-page photos included are mouth-watering deliciousness that persuade you to rush to the kitchen to bake.
I must confess I am debating whether BraveTart is the cookbook for me. Yes, I ate many of these American classic baked goods but have not hankered for a Nila Wafer or a Pop-Tart for decades. The pie section and the pudding was very hum-drum in my opinion.
No offense to the author, but my taste runs more towards the innovative twist on classics found in the cookbook "Baked" or last year's great baking book by Irvin Lin, "Marbled, Swirled, Layered".
However, I am sure many will find this book the bee's knees because it genuinely offers the first chance to make these American classics at home in ways even better than imagined. In fact, my friend just texted me after checking out Stella's book, "OMG, she has a recipe for chocolate sprinkles!" My world is not decorated with sprinkles but your's might be so start dancing and order this book.
The information about how baked goods came to be is very interesting, but there is no way I am going to spend over 3 hours making a fudge frosting that has to be a particular temperature in order for it to work. Or if I do not use a specific pan (brand and all) then the recipe will not work.