On first glance, this book is a slightly smaller than the average
glossy cookbook, you know the kind - almost ready to feature as
a coffee table book, rather than a cookbook that goes on your shelf.
That kind of cookbook has really become a standard trend.
Unlike allot of other cookbooks, The Sweet Melissa Baking Book gets right to the point. There is no lengthy forward, just a few pages mentioning Melissa
Murphy's schooling and where she has gotten her restruant experience.
She explains her love of baking and why she bakes certain items at her bake shop - Sweet Melissa Patissarie in New York, which has been going strong for 10 yrs .
Reading the forward is enough to make you love this cookbook even more. The forward really sets the tone, and you began to see Melissa's thoughtfulness shine through in each and every recipe she features in this book. The recipes are all easy to follow and have detailed instructions from the procedure, through baking of the final product.
When it comes to cookbooks the trend is to have a glossy full size picture on every other page. This sometimes can deter the purpose of a cookbook - to showcase the recipe it's self. The Sweet Melissa Baking Book is mainly recipes, with a short insert of assorted glossy pictures, but the pictures in noway detract from the main purpose of this cookbook.
As for skill level, I would say that this book is great for all skill levels --- just pack a love of baking and an attention to details, so your recipes will come out just as yummy as they sound in this book.
As you start to delve into the contents, you will notice throughout the book Melissa offers her commentary with personal antidotes on how she feels about the baked goods, she features in each chapter. Also throughout the book there are special notations with instructions to "do it like the pros".
Highlights of this cookbook by Chapter:
01 The first section offers a fine selection of Quick breads, muffins, scones and other breakfast fare.
"...I've realized that it may seem odd to some of you to to eat dessert for breakfast...so I disguised it. But who are we kidding? You love sticky buns first thing in the morning just as much as I do!" - Melissa Murphy on Dessert for Breakfast.
My favorite recipes from this section include: Hot Pepper Muffins with Orange Maple Butter ; Guinness Gingerbread; and Raised Waffles with warm brown sugar bananas.
01a Prefaced with a story of her childhood involving her older brothers tricking her into eating creme donuts that had the least amount of creme, and her disappointment in the lack there of . She devoted this section to creme filled sweet buns - spawned from her love of donuts, but lack of equipment in her bake shop to fry them, she ingeniously created a great formula to bake in the oven.
" I Love the resulting compromise - sweet tender brioche style buns filled with pastry cream then dipped in honey caramel...Mm-mm-mm-yummy!" - Melissa Murphy on Bee Stings.
She outlines the formula for both the sweet buns and the pastry creme.
02 Devoted to yummy after school treats cookies and brownies - such as Double Dark Chocolate Cherry Cookies, Black Bottom Brownies, and Pistachio Linzer Thumbprints.
"..The highlight of my day I remember was ...just baked batch of my favorite cookies. "- Melissa Murphy on After School Snack
03 Features a Step by step guide to assemble, crumb coat and frost a layer cake. Filled with tantalizing layer cakes , complete with lovely frostings and the fillings to accompany them.
"..one thing is for sure: You have to start with a great cake. This is essential, and to me, the best part." - Melissa Murphy on Special Layer Cakes
These recipes can all be used for wedding cakes, without any special formulation, just double or triple the recipes for more layers.
04 This section has many crust recipes. Your mouth will water when you read the titles of these recipes for various pies, tarts and and a master recipe for preserves. Examples are: Pear Cranberry Pie with Ginger Snap Crust, Strawberry-Ruby Grapefruit preserves.
05 Luscious recipes for puddings, Specialty Pies, Cheesecakes and more. Just read some of the titles : Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie, Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake with Cornmeal Crumble Crust, Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake with Blackberry Glaze, Pumkin Bread Pudding with Caramel-Rum Glaze.
"My mom made dessert to end our meal, but she always made it on Sundays...you could smell it at the end of the driveway...she knew how to get her children to the..table" - Melissa Murphy on Sunday Suppers Grand Finale
06 The Last section deals with gifting of homemade candies, brittles and truffles.
" ..recipes in this chapter are even more special for gift giving because these are things people rarely make themselves. Honey Cream Caramels, Butterscotch Pralines, Peanut butter Truffles, Chocolate Peppermint Meringues---You can't buy these presents." - Melissa Murphy on Favorite Gifts
I think that The Sweet Melissa Baking Book is a purchase well spent. It will become a favorite addition to any cookbook or baking library.
24 April 2008
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