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A Passion for Ice Cream: 95 Recipes for Fabulous Desserts Hardcover – April 20, 2006
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My biggest disappointment, though, is the organization of the book: ice cream recipes are "bundled" with their accompanying cookies, garnishes, and the like; instead of a group of recipes for chocolate ice cream, for example, we have a group of recipes for ice cream sandwiches, with ice cream of any of several different flavor families. One has to dig around in the index at the back of the book to find, say, recipes for chocolate ice cream. I would much prefer to have an index or table of ice cream recipes, by flavor and page number, right up front -- I don't want to spend so much time looking for the flavor I want.
My next disappointment is that the text is printed in a graphically attractive and most stylish but virtually illegible size and color. My middle-aged eyes struggle desperately to read the book, even with my reading glasses on, and I surely can't prop the book 18-20" back from my utensils, to read as I work without changing position, as I like to do with my cookbooks. This is a case in which the author and editorial team seemed to have chosen (admittedly very attractive) style over function. The book IS very attractive, and the photographs are lovely -- but I would gladly sacrifice some beauty in favor of being able to read the recipes and discussions more easily.
My final disappointment is in the complexity and elaborateness of most of the "dessert packages," for lack of a better word. Making the ice cream or sorbet and its accoutrements is, in most cases, a tremendously labor-intensive exercise. I have opted for using some of the creative and delicious ice cream recipes and figuring out my own much simpler and easier garnishes and accompaniments. I work a demanding job and have a house to run. I love to cook, but can't devote as much time to making an ice cream sandwich, for example, as these recipes require. So I use less of the book than I'd wish.
Over all, Ms. Luchetti's sense of style and taste are impressive, and she seems superbly knowledgeable about frozen desserts. And many of the ice cream recipes are lovely. But I had hoped that this would be a book I would pull from the shelf much more often than I will, in fact, because the book is so difficult to use.
When it comes to actual performance, the recipes exhibited the quality of testing I'm accustomed to from Chronicle Books. I never found a confusing set of directions or obvious error. Two of the recipes from this book found immediate places in our stable of favorites--the brown sugar ice cream in its chocolate cake roulade (with warm coffee caramel sauce!) is a bit messy, but so incredibly delicious that no one will care. The white chocolate ice cream (destined to float in espresso according to the recipe, but I enjoy it plain, or in coffee or hot chocolate...) is one of the best white chocolate ice creams I've ever had. The only sour note was a Cafe Viennese frozen yogurt shake; it was so tart we had to add sweetened cocoa powder in noticeable quantities to make it enjoyable. And while it's good enough that we finished it, I don't think we'd make it again.
Ultimately, while you'll want to make sure you're up to the kind of in-depth recipes in this book before buying it, it's a high-quality cookbook that produces delicious results. I look forward to making yet more recipes out of it!