Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cookbook Corner: Small Batch Baking

I've mentioned it before, but I am a cookbook fiend. I have zillions of them lying around and I really believe that you can never have too many. It's just not possible.

I also think it's not always fair to judge a book by its cover. If that were the case, the scary lady with the tiny cakes on the cover of Small Batch Baking would have scared me off for sure. But I'm glad I didn't let her get in my way because this book fits a niche.

I live in a two person household and I love to bake. What I don't love, however, is having dozens of cookies, pounds of cake, or tons of muffins to eat. With just two people, we never get through a full batch of anything and that means I'm giving stuff away or throwing stuff away. Not cool.

What to expect: The first part of the book gives hints for baking for less than an army. Debby Maugans Nakos has a technique for baking cakes in recycled tin cans, which is both frightening and frugal. The rest of the book is broken down into the following chapters:
  • Beautiful Small Cakes
  • Pies and Tarts
  • Cookies and Bars
  • Crumbly, Sweet and Fruity: Cobblers, Crisps, Crumbles, and Shortcakes
  • Baked Puddings
  • Sweet and Savory Muffins and Breads
  • Valentine Specials
  • Holiday Goodies You Can't Live Without
Best recipes:
  • Chocolate Birthday Cake with Double Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting, page 16
  • Bake Sale Lemon Meringue Pie, page 130
  • Flaky Cherry Cobbler, page 220
  • Rustic Bacon Biscuits, page 318
  • Peanut Butter Tarts, page 374
  • Southern Pecan Pie, page 430
Complaints: Apart from the scary lady on the cover? I don't love the cookie section of this book. The recipes yield less than half a dozen cookies and that seems, well, like a waste of time. There are no photos in this book, which doesn't really bother me, though it would be nice to see some of these things in their final form.

Deliciousness Scale: 3 spoonfuls of yum out of five. Like I said, this really is a niche book, but it works for me and my family.

Details: This review is based on the 2004 edition of Small Batch Baking by Debby Maugans Nakos, ISBN 9780761130352.

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