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Sweet Miniatures: The Art of Making Bite-Size Desserts Paperback – August, 2000

3.9 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In Sweet Miniatures Flo Braker proves that it is a small world after all. But don't think of this IACP Award-winning cookbook as tiny. Rather, it's a comprehensive introduction to creating fabulous and impressive miniature desserts. Braker, a contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle and author of the much-loved Simple Art of Perfect Baking, offers step-by-step recipe directions, a complete list of baking needs, and helpful recommendations based on her own bakery and catering experience. Careful consideration is given to the basic art and science of baking, including sage advice on how to stock a kitchen with the necessary tools and ingredients. Novice and advanced bakers alike will find educational tips such as how to temper chocolate, how to use a pastry bag with tips and a coronet, and how to make simple yet elegant decorations. Braker's focus here, however, is the miniature presentation, and she brings together more than 125 recipes of sought-after minicakes, pastries, cookies, candies, and tarts. Popular favorites include Individual Lemon Meringue Tarts as well as traditional European favorites such as Shortbread Cameos, Viennese Triangles, Krumkake, Pistachio Petit Fours, Neapolitan Wedges, and the holiday favorite, Lebkuchen. Full-color illustrations complement the recipes. Braker even suggests storage ideas to protect the most fragile pastries and to maintain their even more delicate flavor. With such an inclusive, smart, and instructional book Flo Braker lends credibility to the phrase "bite-size." And it's a mouthful. --Teresa Simanton

From Publishers Weekly

You've seen them at tea parties and fancy bakeries--tiny cakes, cookies, and pastries that offer a tantalizing choice of colors, tastes and textures. Braker ( The Simple Art of Perfect Baking ) launched her cooking career creating these tidbits, and her enthusiasm for them is infectious. She makes an artful craft sound easy, and points out that providing family or guests with several such dessert selections is bound to surpass the unveiling of a single kind of cake or pie. Her directions are invaluable and explicit; her many time-saving or do-ahead steps will maximize time spent in the kitchen. The recipes are precise, but also allow for experimentation. Experience with handling pastry dough or chocolate will give some readers a slight edge, but even newcomers will be able to tackle much of what's here, baking their way up to the trickiest, airiest echelons. Ingredients are likely to be accessible, but readers will have to invest in miniature tart pans--a purchase well worth it for anyone quickly dazzled by Shreveshire tarts, chocolate galaxy peticakes or pistachio petits fours. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; Revised ed. edition (August 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811824462
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811824460
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #854,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I collect baking books. Most of them end up on a shelf. This is NOT one of those. I have made at least a dozen of these cookies and each one has been delicious, looked terrific, and been different from the typical cookie. Some are very easy to make - like Daddy Long Legs (a delicious hazelnut refrigerator cookie) and some are difficult (like the Buttercream "hedgehogs"), but all are lovely to place on your table. Some recipes call for odd ingredients like rice flour, but don't let that turn you away. There aren't too many of those.
The instructions are clear with a number of line drawings to help guide you through technique. This is a "must have" baking book for people tired of the same old same old same old.
At the end of the book, Ms. Braker offers great suggestions on preparing large quantities of baked goods. She talks about planning, how to freeze the cookies, how to present them, and how to decide which cookies to mix with others. This is a favorite of mine and will continue to be.
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Format: Paperback
Flo Braker's `Sweet Miniatures', just like her classic `The Simple Art of Perfect Baking' has been reissued with new material which validates the opinion of anyone who has read her works that Flo Braker knows a thing or two about baking. The introduction to this book also shows that unlike a lot of cookbook writers who do a volume on a particular subject such as fast cooking or Cuban cuisine or kosher empanadas because the subject is popular, Ms. Braker started her professional catering career baking miniatures and has specialized in them for over twenty years.

One very good thing is the fact that the book deals with exactly what you would expect from the title. The book is not about `petits fours', it is about small sweet foods for desserts or snacks, including cookies, pastries, and candies. It is also especially about baking technique rather than about fancy decorating. This is no craft book that happens to be about a baked product. This is a serious cookbook by a very serious writer on baking.

One of the very best things about the book is the introductory section on general baking technique, especially the essay on of the various types of mixing cookie doughs and their effects on the properties of the finished baked goods. This discussion starts with a theme common to her other books, which is that you should not discard mistakes. You can easily hit upon a different recipe by missing or overdoing a step. Her specific lesson came when she `overmixed' a sugar and butter creaming step when she left her mixer on to answer the telephone. The resulting batter produced cookies that were much lighter and higher and airier than usual.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here in the Bay Area, we are are fortunate to have some outstanding cooking teachers, but one of the finest I've ever taken classes from is Flo Braker. Flo's pastries are not only beautiful, but incredibly delicious. The great triumph of her books, however, is that they really do teach you to duplicate -- not just approximate -- her own ourstanding results. Bake just a few of her recipes and you'll learn such helpful technique along the way that all your baking will benefit. The miniature pastries in this book are stunning to look at and sophisticated to taste. A delightful -- and important --book.
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Format: Paperback
I like this "little" baking book very much. It is an entire book dedicated to the magic art of petit-fours, or small, french, bite-sized bits of desserts and sweets. There are some books on the subject, mostly professional. However, here is a simple, easy to follow book ideal for the home baker to make these wonderful little things.
The author has been a successful caterer for many years. She knows what is easy to make, and are also very popular things that people just love. Here is a collection of those recipes that meet both requirements. It is a baking book you will probably use very often. Be warned, however, that these wonderful little gems are very labor intensive. You will be slaving over the proverbial hot stove for rather long perions of time per recipe. Multiply that by three or four recipes, and it all adds up to a very long time. Fortunately, the author supplies proven, time-saving organizational tips in the last chapter. I also note that her hints and suggestions for decoration can be skimpy at times; decorating things this small is not an easy task.
My complaints are mostly organizational. Several basics, like cake or crust recipes, are used in multiple recipes, but are buried in the middle of chapters or embedded in one particular recipe. These should always be the first recipe in the relevant chapter on their own, or given a separate chapter by themselves. Also helpful would be a cross reference chart, so that one glance will tell you how many different petit-fours you can make with the same basic cake or crust recipe. It does have some charts at the end, but these are not organized by the base recipe. There are some pictures, and each one tells you what page the recipe is on; however, the reverse is not true: a recipe may have a picture, but you won't know it unless you check the pictures each time.
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