Saturday, April 28, 2012

Weekend cooking - PT 2, Cookies and Sweets

Just to review, I haven't done a weekend cooking post in a while but I got a cookbook to review, I bought another one thinking I was getting a specific recipe and I grabbed a third one from the library just because ....(I'll explain later). I reviewed the first one Naked Foods Cookbook ( no preservatives, no artificial anything, no empty calories (aka sugar) on the previous Weekend Cooking Post .  So now we get to look at two purely fun cookbooks. And all I will say is that our souls, memory banks, and psyches sometimes need nourishment as much as our bodies.

If you've been reading Tutu for any length of time, you know that periodically I read an episode of Joanne Fluke's series The Hannah Swenson mysteries. In the books, when she's not helping the local police solve murders, Hannah is running a tea shop/cafe/bookstore known as "The Cookie Jar". Throughout her stories, Hannah shares the recipes for the yummy treats she serves up to her customers. Alas, the last three of these I've read, I've enjoyed in the audio format and it's a little difficult to jot down the recipes while I'm swimming or driving, so I was thrilled to see this one on the shelves at the local library and picked it up to thumb through. In it Fluke gives us not only the recipes, but the hints that Hannah gives us along the way.  I'm especially grateful when she says DON"T PREHEAT THE OVEN, or tells you just where to position the racks in the oven.  She also gives great hints about substitutions that are acceptable and what one can expect if one uses ingredient "a" instead of "b".

The book includes new - never before published- recipes as well as those we are all familiar with from reading the mysteries.  There's a great table of conversions and  a section on substitutions.  Each chapter opens with an excerpt from one of the mysteries.  I was finally able to get the recipe for Rhubarb Custard Cake (our rhubarb should be ready to harvest in about a month), and for Hannah's famous Doll Face cookies.  I even did the "Points" on these for us Weight Watchers, and these molasses beauties come out to only 1 point per cookie.  WOOT WOOT.

And for those of us who need a little extra potassium, there's always Hannah's Bananas...small rolled cookies that freeze well, use up those over-ripe nanas in the bowl, and come in at only 3 points for 2 cookies.  There are so many good recipes and such good advice in this book, I'm probably going to get one for myself.

And the biggest bonus is the absolutely  fabulous map of Lake Eden on the end papers of the book.  If you're a Hannah Swensen fan, or if you love cookies and treats, this one's for you.

Now my final "cookbook" is one I just got the other day on my NOOK....if you grew up anyplace where Entemann's Baked goods were (or still are) sold, you can relate to this one.  I was looking for the original lemon crunch cake for a friend who could not find it on the West coast.  So I went online, and found that it wasn't available within 150 miles of where I lived either.  (It is still available in my home town down in Baltimore).  But then I noticed that there was a cookbook available electronically, so I downloaded the sample, where I could see that the Table of Contents listed "crunch cakes" as one of the chapters.  HOT DOG thought I, I can at least get the recipe and make one myself.  And the book was only $5 and change so I hit the "buy" button.   WHAT A BUMMER.  When I finally got the book, and paged all the way through to the index in the back of the book, there were four different lemon recipes, but no lemon crumb cake.  There were five crumb cakes but none was close to what I was looking for.

I guess for the price it's still a good book...I did see some recipes that looked interesting and tasty, but the layout of the book drove me nuts (and I'm not talking pistachios here).  There is a table of contents, but is just says for example, Indulgent Cakes and Desserts.  It does not list anyplace what is included in that chapter.  You have to page through each recipe to find the five or six different ones. There is an alphabetical index in the back of the book, but those entries are not tied to chapter headings.  It's got beautiful pictures, clear, easy to follow recipes and I didn't see any exotic ingredients.  It even had notes about substitutions, or using the recipe as a basis for other concoctions.  But it's was not user friendly in finding anything and that's a shame.  Entemann's has a well-deserved reputation for delicious "like your grandma used to make" baked goods, and if they're going to publish a "Big Book of Baking" it ought to be easier to navigate.

So now I just have to figure out what Mr. and Mrs. Tutu are having for Sunday Brunch tomorrow.  I went to the farm today and picked up my week's bucket of fresh eggs, so I know it will be some kind of omelet, and there are plenty of fresh veggies in the bin, and I still have a few blueberries in the freezer from last fall, so maybe some of Hannah's Blue Blueberry muffins, The Naked's  Florentine Omelet, and a plate of oranges, kiwi and bananas.....I'll try to remember to take a picture.

Beth Fish Reads sponsors this weekly meme where we foodies can chat about cookbooks, cooking gadgets, recipes, or anything else gustatory. Be sure to stop over there to find other terrific weekend cooking posts.

1 comment:

  1. we live in a magical region where Entemann's and Tastycake compete..must look for lemon crunch cake...


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