Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cookbook Review: Petite Treats

By: Michelle Hershman

I wanted to like this cookbook. I mean it. I really wanted to like it. It’s a petite cookbook filled with yummy-sounding petite desserts and sweet snacks. Like Apple Pie Cookies and Mini Olive Oil Cake. Food is just so much more fun when it’s miniature.

BUT I cannot possibly like this cookbook. Want to know why? I made not one, but two recipes from this cookbook, and both times, something went wrong. Screw me once cookbook, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me.

First, I tried the F.U. Brownies. According to the authors, Christy Beaver and Morgan Greenseth, reviews of these brownies are so good they’re laced with profanity. I followed the directions exactly, looking down the ingredients list (which included sugar) as I went along. Then I got to the part of the directions where I was supposed to mix the wet and dry ingredients. I did a quick scan of rest of the directions. Nowhere does it mention what to do with the sugar that’s listed in the ingredients. Listed at the end, I might add, like an afterthought. I’m not a brownie virgin so I knew good and well that I was supposed to mix the sugar in with the dry ingredients. So I did. However, if I was new to making brownies and trying to follow these directions, I may not have known what to do with the sugar. I may have left it out or incorporated it at the wrong time, ruining the brownies. Maybe that’s where the name comes from… But seriously, a cookbook is one place where you do NOT want to make a typo. I do have to say that the brownies were good. Not good enough to curse, but good enough to make again – with the correct directions.

I should have known better then to continue forward at that point, but I was making these petite treats for a holiday party later that night, and I was pressed for time. So, I started making the Whiskey Maple Bacon Mini Cupcakes. The name is amazing, and I figured that the cupcakes had to be amazing. You can’t go wrong when you add maple and bacon. Well, you can go wrong. Once again, I followed the recipe exactly. I didn’t notice any typos, but this time, my cupcake batter turned out like dough - sticky hard dough. I panicked and added some more liquid, but at that point, it was too late and the dough wouldn’t absorb the liquid correctly. I had to throw out the entire batch! I was devastated. Not only because I had been dying to try these cupcakes, but also because I just wasted all those ingredients. (In full disclosure, I substituted Bourbon for Whiskey but that shouldn’t impact the recipe.)

After that I got mad at the book.

And then, I got revenge and made these delicious Bourbon Chocolate Cookies with a Salted Caramel Drizzle with my leftover ingredients.

I could go into whether the cookbook is easy to use and whether it has pretty pictures (it does, but not nearly enough as I’m a food photo addict), but I don’t see the point. If the recipes aren’t correct, then it’s useless to a lot of people. However, if you’re a seasoned baker who knows the ins out and outs of flour/sugar proportions, and you’re tired of the usual chocolate chip cookies, the book does have some interesting ideas.  For example, Blueberry-Lavender Scookies, which are a cross between scones and cookies. Or a Piecaken – which is like Turducken in dessert form.  But, I’m sure there are other books out there that have adorably mini recipes AND don’t include typos…

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