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Sugar Baby: Confections, Candies, Cakes & Other Delicious Recipes for Cooking with Sugar Hardcover – April 1, 2011
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She mentions swapping out one invert sugar for another when in truth just because two substances are invert sugars doesn't mean they have the same make-up and therefore function the same way. It is corn syrup's make-up that aids in preventing crystallization.
Her choux recipe is puzzling. Never have I needed nor seen a recipe of that size for choux that could take ten eggs. Six is on the higher end for that amount of flour. I'm not surprised it failed a previous reviewer because I don't see how it could even work.
She refers to buttercream made with custard as French/American buttercream, when that is actually German buttercream, or mousseline buttercream. French buttercream is made with a pate a bombe, which is how mousses are often started. American buttercream is made with just butter/shortening and icing sugar or sometimes a syrup.
She also mentions that creme brûlée is made with whole eggs when creme brûlée is the richest in the custard family and should be made with all yolks, with a lone whole egg added sometimes for body.
So there are a lot of inaccuracies.
Also check out her recipe for candied peel. The editing for this book is terrible. She instructs you to bring syrup to a boil, then cook for 20-30 minutes to 200 degrees. If you brought syrup to a boil, it's already over 200 degrees! That's just a terrible bit of recipe-writing. Then you would add the peel and BOIL for 40 minutes. Do you know what you would get? A pot of burnt caramel.
It's too bad because the method she uses for candied peel is a favorite for making really tender, not too bitter peel, but other writers do a much better job of instructing.
On the positive side, you have Gesine's great flavor combinations, beautiful presentations, and she has a lot of useful tips and a lighthearted approach.
I also appreciate the classic recipes where now it can take a long time to find recipes for things like fudge that don't include marshmallows and other cheats.
If you have heard noises from Angry Birds, you might understand what I'm going to write. Yesterday I screamed like a winning bird - the only difference is that instead of killing those snorting pigs, I have decided to kill all other parisian macarons books that I have purchased in the past. I have achieved 100% SUCCESS RATE baking macarons using Gesine's recipe! No messy puddles, no sticky cookies, no collapsing tops, no fatty dots on the cookies, all beautiful ruffled feet, and successful separation of cookies from parchment paper. 100%. one. hundred. percent. I hear the angels sing.
When I started perusing this book, I felt I was listening to someone conversing with me teaching me step-by-careful-step cooking. Yes, cooking - there are only a couple items that were baked, the rest of the items in this book are cooked. Not only there are instructions on how to cook sugar correctly for variable stages, but there are also precautionary reminders what to expect when something goes wrong. If you like imagining having a very lovable relative cooking along with you, please get this book. However, if you think you are very independent and cook with hard rock music blaring in the background to drown all sounds, start looking for a different hobby and hunting for a confectionery.
With that in mind, this is a GREAT cookbook.
First, it's beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous. The pictures are stunning but the cookbook isn't crammed full of them. They're scattered here and there, enough to be titillating. The layout of the book, however, is just a confection: lovely colors and quirky fonts.
Second, it's arranged sensibly. If you've ever made candy before, you know that the candy hardens in stages - those are duly noted on the candy thermometer. That's how the book is arranged from soft to hard, a celebration of sugar.
Third, it's entertaining. I love Gesine's stories interwoven with the recipes. I like knowing the history and culture of a particular dessert, as well as why it matters to the author (why this recipe as opposed to another). I love the bit of human-ness that she brings to cooking.
Finally, I think it's practical. I suspect that there are some folks who might quibble at that characterization since some of the desserts require a certain amount of technique. But Gesine is very frank about which desserts may require some extra skill (or extra tools) and I find that refreshing rather than daunting. It makes me want to try the recipes rather than just flip by them.
My 7yo and I flipped through the book the first day that I got it and she begged me to make practically everything - and she wanted to help. Later, I read through many of the recipes by myself and decided that it would be a great resource for making memories with my own family. A really great purchase.
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Cooking With Sugar
Author: Gesine Bullock-Prado