Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Book Review: You Made That Dessert?

Yesterday was the official release date for Beth's (Cookie Pie) baking book You Made That Dessert?, and I was thrilled to be asked to be a part of her online book tour! (Check out the list of other bloggers who are taking part - near the bottom of this post above the recipe.) The book is meant for people who aren't too familiar with baking and don't want to have to buy tons of fancy tools and seek out hard to find ingredients. Every recipe includes a list of required tools (in addition to the ingredients), the prep time, and cooking time. And there are lots of helpful tips throughout the recipes (as you'll see in the coconut rice pudding recipe below), as well as chapters on the tools, the ingredients, the lingo (cut in, fold), and the how-tos (whipping egg whites).

But I think this book appeals to people of all baking levels. I was pleasantly surprised to see that in addition to some staple baking recipes (brownies, gingersnaps), Beth has also included lots of other interesting ones like S'mores Bars, Salty-Sweet Caramel Nut Bars, Rosemary Biscotti, Tres Leches Cake (something I've always wanted to make!), Caramelized Banana Bread Pudding (anyone else completely drawn into food when it says caramelized?), Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie and "New Wave" Lemon Meringue Pie (where you spoon lemon curd into a cup and then put a meringue and a piece of shortbread in it - yum)!

I love the style of the book and I really think there's something to be said for style, font choices and layout of a cookbook. I love that it lists weights for the flour and sugar (as well as saying how many cups). I love all the photos! When my boyfriend saw me flipping through it he said "Ohh that's a nice cookbook". I'm okay with cookbooks that don't have any or many photos but hey I'll admit I'm a sucker for gorgeous food photos! ;) I also love the emergency dessert section.

The recipes I wanted to try out were the coconut rice pudding and the peanut butter and jelly bars. Both were easy to make and yummy! I love how the peanut butter and jelly bars look, and they of course reminded me of a peanut butter and jam sandwich. The cookie part is so yummy and soft. As for the rice pudding, I didn't used to like rice pudding actually but after having it at a local Indian restaurant, I've changed my mind. So I couldn't wait to try out this pudding with my favourite coconut as the star. And it definitely didn't disappoint. Though I think I might have cooked it a bit long because once I cooled it it was really thick. This did not at all interfere with its deliciousness though.

Ahh I'm really tired and forgot to include links to all the other bloggers who are part of this online book tour. =) Check out:

Recipe Girl for cookies and cream cheesecake bars
Culinary Concoctions by Peabody for chocolate-chocolate chip cupcakes
Cookie Baker Lynn for banana snack cake
Two Peas and Their Pod for sour cream coffee cake
The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch for cappuccino biscotti
Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy
Baking Bites

Bunny's Warm Oven for cherry clafouti

Coconut Rice Pudding
You Made That Dessert?

1 cup sweetened flake coconut
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup uncooked jasmine rice
1/3 cup (2.3 ounces) sugar
zest of 1 small lemon (Ashley note: I omitted this because I wanted pure coconut!)
2 14-ounce cans unsweetened coconut milk (shake cans before opening them)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp dark rum or 1 tbsp vanilla extract (Ashley note: I went for the vanilla.)

1. Put 1/2 cup coconut in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped (or spread it on a cutting board and chop it as finely as you can with a chef's knife). In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the rice and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon or flexible spatula, for 1 minute. Stir in the chopped coconut, sugar, lemon zest, coconut milk, and salt and bring to a simmer, about 5 minutes (tiny bubbles will form along the edges and the mixture may steam a little bit, but don't let it boil).

2. Turn the heat down to low and cook, stirring often, until the pudding has thickened (it will be about the same consistency as runny oatmeal; it will firm up as it cools), about 25 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, pour the pudding into a large bowl, and stir in the rum or vanilla. Cover the pudding with plastic wrap, pressing down carefully so that the plastic lightly touches the whole surface of the pudding. Let the pudding cool for 15 minutes to serve it warm, or let it cool to room temperature and then refrigerate it to serve cold.

3. While the pudding is cooling, toast the remaining coconut: Preheat the oven to 350F. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup coconut in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet (no need to grease the baking sheet or line it). Bake it for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes, until the coconut is golden brown (be careful - the coconut can get too dark very quickly if you don't stir it often and keep an eye on it). Pour the toasted coconut into a small bowl to cool.

4. Spoon the pudding into individual dessert bowls, top with toasted coconut, and serve.


VeggieGirl said...

Awesome book review!! I can't wait for my copy to arrive - I love that it appeals to all baking levels.

Lovely bars and pudding!!

HoneyB said...

I love this rice pudding too! I also made the Chocolate Date Cake and Banana Bars...so yummy!

Pam Walter said...

This sounds like the ideal book for me! http://blog.sweetservices.com/sweetscandyblog/

Maria said...

Great review! I love what you made! Adding your link now:)

Grace said...

it seems like EVERYONE has this book and EVERYONE is making awesome treats! coconut rice pudding definitely qualifies as an awesome treat--lovely presentation!

The Duo Dishes said...

This book sounds great for the avid baker...like you. And all of the desserts look tasty.

Teanna said...

The book sounds like a fantastic resource! Those peanut butter and jelly bars sound AWESOME!

Helene said...

You did an amazing review. I would like that book.

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Both the bars and pudding look delicious. Wasn't it tough to pick just one from all the choices?

Anonymous said...

I love the title of the book, along with its subtext! I can't wait for the book to be available here in Singapore. You did a great review :)

lisa said...

Sounds like a delicious book! Your peanut butter and jelly bars look incredible.

Pam said...

I love anything with coconut - this rice pudding looks AMAZING.

Hilary said...

Sounds like a great book. And I agree - style, tone and layout are so important in a cookbook!

Phoo-D said...

Both of these recipes look delicious! It sounds like a great book to have on hand.

kimberleyblue said...

Sounds like a really good book...you have me convinced! I'm always looking for a good dessert book to buy.

Your selection sounds simply amazing!