Pity the books in the 641.8654 Dewey Decimal classification system - the books on baking. They languish through the sweltering Tucson summer without as much as a passing glance but the cooler temperatures and upcoming holiday season will soon propel them off the shelves and into Pima County kitchens. Here are four titles to entice you, your family, and holiday guests.
Brownies To Die For! The Complete Guide For Brownie Lovers begins with a childhood memory. While visiting a friend, Bev Shaffer, a food writer and culinary instructor tasted a wonderful chocolate, cake-like creation called a "brownie square". Bev raced home and asked her mother to bake the same delicious treat but her mother never would. Childhood brownie denial led to adult brownie obsession and Brownies To Die For! includes history, baking basics, classic creations plus every flavor and combination in-between and on-top. Recipes include Chubby Cheesecake Brownies, Walnut Fudge Brownie with Ganache and Caramel Sauce and - for a taste of the Southwest - Chipolte Brownies.
Lucy Baker, author of The Boozy Baker states that "we bake with booze because ... it imparts subtle sumptuous warmth that deepens the flavors of desserts and make them taste more decadent, luxurious and sinful." Baker offers 100 foolproof recipes for spirited sweets and cocktails. Try the Red Wine Caramel Tart on a cold winter night or serve tea with an Apricot Brandy Bar on the side.
Bite-Size Desserts: Creating Mini Sweet Treats, From Cupcakes And Cobblers To Custards And Cookies by professional pastry chef and confectioner Carole Bloom provides the home baker with big flavors in small sized portions - perfect for counting calories while satisfying your sweet tooth. Indulge your dessert cravings with petite cupcakes, mousses, custard, cookies, sorbets and candies. The author includes suggestions on when to serve the dessert as well as variations, streamlining (do-ahead) and troubleshooting.
But enough blogging. Please excuse me; I'm about ready for a bittersweet chocolate and hazelnut tartlet or a petite cheesecake with raspberry sauce.