BraveTart
From One-Bowl Devil’s Food Layer Cake to a flawless Cherry Pie that’s crisp even on the very bottom, BraveTart is a celebration of classic American desserts. Whether down-home delights like Blueberry Muffins and Glossy Fudge Brownies or supermarket mainstays such as Vanilla Wafers and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream, your favorites are all here. These meticulously tested recipes bring an award-winning pastry chef’s expertise into your kitchen, along with advice on how to “mix it up” with over 200 customizable variations—in short, exactly what you’d expect from a cookbook penned by a senior editor at Serious Eats. Yet BraveTart is much more than a cookbook, as Stella Parks delves into the surprising stories of how our favorite desserts came to be, from chocolate chip cookies that predate the Tollhouse Inn to the prohibition-era origins of ice cream sodas and floats. With a foreword by The Food Lab’s J. Kenji López-Alt, vintage advertisements for these historical desserts, and breathtaking photography from Penny De Los Santos, BraveTart is sure to become an American classic.

BraveTart Details

TitleBraveTart
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 15th, 2017
PublisherW. W. Norton Company
ISBN-139780393239867
Rating
GenreFood and Drink, Cookbooks, Cooking, Food, Nonfiction

BraveTart Review

  • Jenny
    January 1, 1970
    I don't usually read cookbooks, I just skim through for recipes I might like to try. This one is full of history, and the reasoning and science behind the recipes. I learned, for example, why certain flours work better than others, and why using a kitchen scale is better than a measuring cup in a lot of instances. The author also just has an engaging way of writing. I made the Apple cider variation of the white cake, with bourbon marshmallow buttercream frosting. The recipe was easy to follow, w I don't usually read cookbooks, I just skim through for recipes I might like to try. This one is full of history, and the reasoning and science behind the recipes. I learned, for example, why certain flours work better than others, and why using a kitchen scale is better than a measuring cup in a lot of instances. The author also just has an engaging way of writing. I made the Apple cider variation of the white cake, with bourbon marshmallow buttercream frosting. The recipe was easy to follow, with the potential pitfalls spelled out in advance, along with how to troubleshoot problems. This made me confident in trying it, and the result was way too good. Thank goodness cake freezes, or I would be adding five pounds in a couple of days.I recommend this for new and experienced bakers, or anyone who just wants to make their own Oreo cookies or Snickers bars. Next recipe for me is the one for English muffins.
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  • Molly
    January 1, 1970
    I love Parks' writing and how much thought she puts into her recipes. I'm also convinced we could be friends :)
  • LAPL Reads
    January 1, 1970
    It is that time of year when many of us want to serve up homemade sweets for family and friends, but the clock is ticking, and what are you going to do? Is it too late? No, it is not and you can trust CIA-trained, award-winning pastry chef, Stella Parks, who is Senior Editor at SeriousEats.com. She loves desserts and is here to help all of us make good tasting ones from scratch, and have fun doing it: "And that's my deal--I love American dessert, in all its cozy splendor, every messy, unpretenti It is that time of year when many of us want to serve up homemade sweets for family and friends, but the clock is ticking, and what are you going to do? Is it too late? No, it is not and you can trust CIA-trained, award-winning pastry chef, Stella Parks, who is Senior Editor at SeriousEats.com. She loves desserts and is here to help all of us make good tasting ones from scratch, and have fun doing it: "And that's my deal--I love American dessert, in all its cozy splendor, every messy, unpretentious bite." She wants us to enjoy the process and the product. There are recipes for classic American desserts, many of them commercially produced, name-brand products that we remember tasting oh-so-good years ago. Parks' recipes revive the wonderful flavor, texture and aroma.Chapters cover the following: Cookies & Candy; Pies; Doughnuts; Classic American Brands (commercially produced, but these recipes produce a better tasting product) that cover cookies, snacks, puddings, breakfast treats, candies & candy bars; an entire section on Classic American Ice Cream. Each dessert has the basic recipe, with several variations added, and gluten-free versions where applicable.There is a section on professional baking techniques, ingredients and equipment. She adds her advice on how to measure, sift, incorporate ingredients and prepare baking pans. The book includes a notable bibliography, an index, and is illustrated with color photographs.This is a cookbook and a history about classic American desserts. Parks is as passionate about food history as she is about baking. S'mores may be fun around a campfire, however "the chocolate never fully melts." There is a simple solution for making them especially yummy at home, and not that difficult. Perfect fudge? In the book. She pooh-poohs the idea about the history of cheesecake going back to ancient Greece, and roots it in19th century America. Red Velvet Cake, Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies and Cracker Jack are among the commercial products for which she has developed her own recipes. The book can be read sequentially or at random. The writing is humorous and serious, and the recipes have been tested many times over by Parks. This book is a must for those who love to bake and for foodies.If all copies of the book are checked out, and you are in a pinch for some recipes, there are many other recipes on this website: BraveTart's Recipe Box. Stella Parks says, "I hope you bake like crazy."Reviewed by Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library
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  • Steph Granillo
    January 1, 1970
    I discovered Stella Parks through Serious Eats after realizing that every single one of my favorite recipes was created by her. I then started following her on Instagram after seeing her photos of the creation process behind the most drool-inducing desserts. I then received this cookbook for my birthday and proceeded to drool and squeal with excitement at every recipe I saw.Stella Parks didn't write just a typical recipe book with beautiful photos and perfect American desserts(from cherry pie to I discovered Stella Parks through Serious Eats after realizing that every single one of my favorite recipes was created by her. I then started following her on Instagram after seeing her photos of the creation process behind the most drool-inducing desserts. I then received this cookbook for my birthday and proceeded to drool and squeal with excitement at every recipe I saw.Stella Parks didn't write just a typical recipe book with beautiful photos and perfect American desserts(from cherry pie to Little Debbie's oatmeal cookies!). Stella Parks wrote a book complete with the histories of said desserts (I didn't even know banana pudding had a history), variations of these desserts (gingerbread graham crackers... brown butter and sage marshmallows?!?!), and troubleshooting tips in case your desserts don't come out as perfectly as Stella's.This is the ultimate bakebook, and you should stop reading this immediately and go buy it!
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  • KC
    January 1, 1970
    A great book! Even vegan options.
  • Julie Davis
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed slowly reading my way through this cookbook, especially the carefully researched introductions and histories of each item in American cooking. Stella Parks is a personable writer who holds your attention. I know a lot of food history but she dug deeper and considered history more broadly than a lot of what I'd read before so there was a lot of new info for me. I didn't get a chance to try any of the recipes even there were several techniques and recipes that looked interesting. I really enjoyed slowly reading my way through this cookbook, especially the carefully researched introductions and histories of each item in American cooking. Stella Parks is a personable writer who holds your attention. I know a lot of food history but she dug deeper and considered history more broadly than a lot of what I'd read before so there was a lot of new info for me. I didn't get a chance to try any of the recipes even there were several techniques and recipes that looked interesting. Possibly because it is deep summer right now, I am also not really in the mood for a lot of baking. This book is also popular enough that it is due back with no renewals since there's a request line for it. I will check this out again though — at the very least I want to give the homemade Nestle's Crunch Bars a try!
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  • Lara (luellabella✂️)
    January 1, 1970
    4 delicious stars. Disclaimer: I am not American. This meant that the imperial measurements irked me, the brands of many of the ingredients are not available, and many of the recipes are things I’d never heard of like Cracker Jack, Nutter Butter Cookies, Animal Crackers, to name just a few (because of this reason, I would have liked more photos). Nevertheless, Americans are renowned for their sweet treats and this book did not disappoint. Unlike your typical cookbook, this book invites you to re 4 delicious stars. Disclaimer: I am not American. This meant that the imperial measurements irked me, the brands of many of the ingredients are not available, and many of the recipes are things I’d never heard of like Cracker Jack, Nutter Butter Cookies, Animal Crackers, to name just a few (because of this reason, I would have liked more photos). Nevertheless, Americans are renowned for their sweet treats and this book did not disappoint. Unlike your typical cookbook, this book invites you to read it from cover to cover, with fascinating histories of many of the desserts featured obviously painstakingly researched. Parks explains WHY you must (or must not) use a certain type of ingredient, follow a certain method, use a particular type of utensil, and then follows many of the recipes with customisable variations. I loved that everything is made from scratch, including marshmallows, condensed milk, rainbow sprinkles and even Oreos! And who knew that ‘Graham’ as in Graham Crackers is just another way to say whole wheat! Well I never. A brilliant book with a wealth of baking knowledge and delicious recipes.
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  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve only had a 50% success rate with these recipes. Three other friends and I have compared notes and shared problems with Oreos/thin mints burning long before the suggested cooking time, brownies and blondies that were the consistency of ganache at the end of their cooking time, and a sage marshmallows addition that doesn’t include the entire recipe. For aiming to be so precise, I am disappointed with these issues. Maybe she will post recipe updates to her website?
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    My husband is absolutely beside himself that he didn't know about this one in time to buy it for me for Christmas. Selfish... but kind of sweet, don't you think? I was most interested in her cookie and cake recipes; he was gaga over the reinvented American classics. There's something for everyone. I *really* need to try toasting sugar...
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  • Nostalgia Reader
    January 1, 1970
    A fun look at the history of iconic American desserts, from traditional cakes and cookies, to brand name sweets and ice creams (many of which seem to have started out as pseudo-health foods!). I mainly read the historical parts, not the recipes themselves. The histories were, for the most part, well written, but I felt like the book would have worked just as well if it were split up into the all-history section, allowing for easier weaving of company tales and history across desserts, with the r A fun look at the history of iconic American desserts, from traditional cakes and cookies, to brand name sweets and ice creams (many of which seem to have started out as pseudo-health foods!). I mainly read the historical parts, not the recipes themselves. The histories were, for the most part, well written, but I felt like the book would have worked just as well if it were split up into the all-history section, allowing for easier weaving of company tales and history across desserts, with the recipes following later.Parks adapts and adjusts recipes to reflect the history of the dessert, not just trying to replicate that brand-name taste. She has done plenty of deep dives into recipe history, weaseling out the true first references to and recipes of classic desserts, shooting down the many myths about food inventions that we've come to take as fact today. By delving deep into the historical roots, she has created recipes that harken back to the original late 1800s or early 1900s recipes, while still incorporating the flavors we know now, but eliminating the processed ingredients (in a ways, also adding to the "harkening back" aspect) and adding very specific (one might say quirky) ingredients that mimic the processed flavors we know and love.Much of the explanation as to why certain ingredients are used over others can get a bit complicated for the uninitiated baker, but there's enough history to captive those like me who just like to learn about food. Parks provides tons of flavor variations for many of the recipes, and applicable recipes have gluten free options as well; she's also hip on adding a bit of Southern flair to a few of the recipes (e.g. Strawberry Shortcake being made with biscuits instead of cake). Not only are recipes included for the main dessert, but many essential components have recipes too, such as chocolate syrup, marshmallows, buttercream frosting, nougat, and caramel--even homemade condensed milk!The pictures that there were included were lovely and simple, but I really wanted to see more. I know cookbooks can't include pictures of every recipe, but this felt like a narrow enough focus to warrant pictures of all the goodies.It just struck me, as I was proofreading this, that there is no recipe for homemade waffle cones. There are vanilla wafers and graham crackers, but no cones, despite the chapter on ice cream! (It focuses on floats, sodas, sandwiches, and sundaes.)(view spoiler)[There is something about this book that makes me long for it deeply. The inevitable sugar high, of course, but also the history introduction it looks like each recipe has. OH EMM GEE, MUCH NERD. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Whitney
    January 1, 1970
    Get this cookbook nowThis is the dessert cookbook I have been searching for all my life. I want to cook everything in the book!
  • Tiamat_the_red
    January 1, 1970
    It's not every cookbook that comes with 16 pages of citations. I have only baked one thing out of the cookbook despite having read it cover to cover; I was in this for the food history discussions. I enjoyed her voice and the precision of the recipes gives me high hopes. Plus using weight as measurements (there are volume measurements, too, if you need them) means fewer dishes.That said, I'm giving it four stars because I baked a recommended variant of her chopped chocolate cookies (chocolate ch It's not every cookbook that comes with 16 pages of citations. I have only baked one thing out of the cookbook despite having read it cover to cover; I was in this for the food history discussions. I enjoyed her voice and the precision of the recipes gives me high hopes. Plus using weight as measurements (there are volume measurements, too, if you need them) means fewer dishes.That said, I'm giving it four stars because I baked a recommended variant of her chopped chocolate cookies (chocolate chip cookies) and they came out flat. I'm not quite sure what went wrong. A number of her other recipes have troubleshooting sections but not this one, alas. I'll have to try the normal recipe and see if it was the recipe or maybe just me. The flavor was fantastic and the bake time seemed spot on. It could be that the variant wasn't tested. Or it could be something I did. Ah, baking. The hungry science.
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  • Ellen
    January 1, 1970
    I don't normally read cookbooks, although I have browsed my fair share of them and own way more than I need. This book is different. Yes, it is filled with hundreds of baking recipes and gorgeous photos but it is all the in-between stuff that piqued my interest. Parks delves into the rich histories of America's well-loved deserts and some of them are quite surprising. Included are many store-bought treats as well: Pop tarts, oreos, milky way bars and fig newtons to name just a few. The author ha I don't normally read cookbooks, although I have browsed my fair share of them and own way more than I need. This book is different. Yes, it is filled with hundreds of baking recipes and gorgeous photos but it is all the in-between stuff that piqued my interest. Parks delves into the rich histories of America's well-loved deserts and some of them are quite surprising. Included are many store-bought treats as well: Pop tarts, oreos, milky way bars and fig newtons to name just a few. The author has painstakingly recreated recipes for all of these goodies promising that anyone can bake them to perfection. Unfortunately for me there seem to be many ingredients that are both difficult to find or outlandishly expensive, and the recipes are a bit labor-intensive. I admire the author and anyone who tackles this amazing baking project.
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  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't know that a cookbook could be and do so much more than show me some cooking tips or in this case baking tips and recipes.Parks is a true lover of desserts as she gives readers the history behind some of the best and most iconic brands and treats at the beginning of every chapter before giving me the goods on the recipes and alternatives!This is definitely a book that I recommend to read in a physical format vs. an ebook and not just because of the gorgeous pictures within but because th I didn't know that a cookbook could be and do so much more than show me some cooking tips or in this case baking tips and recipes.Parks is a true lover of desserts as she gives readers the history behind some of the best and most iconic brands and treats at the beginning of every chapter before giving me the goods on the recipes and alternatives!This is definitely a book that I recommend to read in a physical format vs. an ebook and not just because of the gorgeous pictures within but because this is something that I could totally see myself wanting to flip through on repeat.Parks has completely bewitched me with baked goods and history!
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  • Jessica Furtado
    January 1, 1970
    Yuuummmm! Definitely going to try a few of these recipes when I'm feeling more ambitious. The chocolate chip cookies, glossy fudge brownies, Baltimore fudge, and Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies are just a few of the recipes I've set my sights on. I love that this book offers recipes for homemade versions of some of America's favorite junk foods and desserts. While not exactly "healthy," these homemade versions can be baked up without many of the artificial ingredients and preservatives so often foun Yuuummmm! Definitely going to try a few of these recipes when I'm feeling more ambitious. The chocolate chip cookies, glossy fudge brownies, Baltimore fudge, and Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies are just a few of the recipes I've set my sights on. I love that this book offers recipes for homemade versions of some of America's favorite junk foods and desserts. While not exactly "healthy," these homemade versions can be baked up without many of the artificial ingredients and preservatives so often found in processed foods. Why not take a bit of the guilt out of guilty pleasures?
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  • Dominika
    January 1, 1970
    I can see how this book has become an instant classic of sorts. It has some good basic recipes for classics, variations that you can implement, and a touch of history as well. Admittedly, I prefer more European desserts (less sweet, different textures) and this is not the best book to buy when you've just declared that you're on a diet (lol), but this is a joy to look through and should be great for parties/celebrations.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    Stella Parks' research of the history of iconic American desserts is on par with some of the best historians out there. I'm incredibly impressed with the amount of care she took in researching each recipe. I haven't had a chance to make any of her recipes but if her research is any indication her recipes are going to be AH-MAZING.
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  • Sandra
    January 1, 1970
    Took this out from the library. A lot of the recipes look delicious and the historical background details are interesting. Tempted to buy a copy, but I did find it annoying that the weights are not given in metric. She explains this as a "cultural quirk" in her essay about the benefits of baking by weight.
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    There are amazing cakes and cookies in this book, as well as interesting bits of culinary history. Before I return the book I will probably read it again, and copy a recipe or two. Most of the recipes are beyond my skill level, but I’d like to give them a try.
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  • Priya
    January 1, 1970
    Hands down my favorite baking cookbook so far! Whenever I want to make dessert I always check to see if Bravetart has a recipe for it since I've never gone wrong with any of hers from her website or Serious Eats. It's one of the few cookbooks I own that I actually use regularly.
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  • Laura Lewakowski
    January 1, 1970
    Yes I read cookbooks and I've been hearing a lot about this one. If you like to bake, don't miss this one!
  • Nikki
    January 1, 1970
    3.5
  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    This is quickly becoming one of my favorite cookbooks. I love having the ability to make name-brand treats without all the added ingredients.
  • Vicki
    January 1, 1970
    Aaron wanted to give me a treat, and this cookbook really was that. Reading about the history of US desserts was entertaining, informative, and the recipes look amazing. Such a great cookbook!
  • Kimberlee
    January 1, 1970
    Made both the Oreos and chocolate chip cookies so far. Super satisfied with both!
  • Cara
    January 1, 1970
    Meticulously researched and written in easily-digestible language, this delicious desserts cookbook is highly recommended for everyone from the casual home baker to the career pastry chef. The recipes reflect this range, as they provide both standard and weight measurements.
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  • Sandra Snook
    January 1, 1970
    I allow myself to count cookbooks in my reading challenge if I read them cover to cover - and this one qualifies. Wowsers does it. I am restraining myself from buying new cookbooks and have set a rule that I first must review a copy from the library and if I feel I will repeatedly make more than 10 recipes from the book I may consider buying it. Otherwise, I can enjoy a recipe or two and return the book. This is good, because every March I follow Food52.com’s Piglet cookbook tournement which I f I allow myself to count cookbooks in my reading challenge if I read them cover to cover - and this one qualifies. Wowsers does it. I am restraining myself from buying new cookbooks and have set a rule that I first must review a copy from the library and if I feel I will repeatedly make more than 10 recipes from the book I may consider buying it. Otherwise, I can enjoy a recipe or two and return the book. This is good, because every March I follow Food52.com’s Piglet cookbook tournement which I find more compelling than my NCAA bracket (certainly the case THIS year). Now, this book is special. You can read the summary at the book vendors, but I’ll tell you why it is wonderful. I am a pretty good cook and a reasonable baker, but I learned a lot reading this book:I am actually convinced that I should try a new technique for my chocolate chip cookies.I learned how snickerdoodles got their name.I may make the best blondies ever after reading Stella’s riff.I learned about the history of strawberries and pineapples and how these fruits became staples in our baked goods.I learned the real history behind red velvet and carrot cakes - both compelling.I found a great new frosting recipe and am eager to bake a cake.Stella keeps things simple, yet home made. She explains the science behind techniques in an accessible and understandable manner. I love the credit she gives to home economists, both at universities (yes, the rice crispy treat can be traced back to a home economics professor at Iowa State U) as well as those at the large food manufacturing companies particularly during the 1900’s. These largely women scientists (because they were scientists who found their niche in a world that would not employ them elsewhere) made such a large impact yet were rarely identified by name. If you read this book you will gain a much better understanding of this history. Stella’s narratives before each recipe are full of information and history, but never drag on. I am now well versed on pumpkin pie trivia, know the secrets behind key lime pies, and why Wonderbread is so delicious. I may make some today. Of course the bougie types will call it milk bread and pretend it isn’t the staple they grew up with. I love the sluething Stella did; she even figured out how Oreo’s got their name - And I bet she is correct. She is one smart cookie. I had only one gripe or disagreement with Stella and that is with the technique she uses for peanut brittle. First she describes the wonderful foaming reaction one gets with the addition of baking soda, then she tells the cook to spread out the brittle and shows it thin and rock hard. Well I grew up making peanut brittle in Iowa and learned from my grandmother and mother (and the regional cookbooks I have with family recipes have all agree) that the KEY to peanut brittle is to stir the soda in gently, let the reaction foam up and gently pour out the brittle onto a greased cookie sheet - never spreading or touching it, but letting it retaing the foam. It is then light and airy and very easy to eat. Everyone loves this peanut brittle, even anti-brittle people, because it doesn’t destroy one’s teeth. That said, climate is also important and good peanut brittle need a very cold dry day - think squeaky snow cold in the midwest. I have struggled to make a good batch since moving to San Diego and could sure use some advice if anyone has some. While I doubt I will venture into tempering chocolate and making the candybar treats, I will likely make 20-30 of the recipes in the book’s other sections. But I may just chug my way through the entire book I think it is that wonderful. Oh - and it has GLUTEN FREE options when possible. I am not gluten avoidant but I know many are. It also has a great discussion on dairy - organic/nonorganic; pasteurized, utra/low temp/not - that satisfied me and I am very hard on the scientific rigor of these discussions in cookbooks. This is a classic - for the recipes, for the history, for the beauty of the illustrations and the accessability of the recipees. I hope it wins the Piglet, but it has won a spot on my book shelf for sure.
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  • Mary
    January 1, 1970
    Parks, chef, blogger and avid classic dessert researcher, creates a cookbook that brings together her research and practice with a dash of nostalgia in the way of brand name products that she mimics, emphasizes and just generally riffs on to make something better. Parks defines the cookbook as making homey desserts from scratch because it’s fun, and that philosophy underlies her recipes. The book is divided into two parts: old classics and classic american brands.Parks has a lively voice with a Parks, chef, blogger and avid classic dessert researcher, creates a cookbook that brings together her research and practice with a dash of nostalgia in the way of brand name products that she mimics, emphasizes and just generally riffs on to make something better. Parks defines the cookbook as making homey desserts from scratch because it’s fun, and that philosophy underlies her recipes. The book is divided into two parts: old classics and classic american brands.Parks has a lively voice with a strong sense of humor, so it’s fun just to read her writing, the pictures and the food are just icing on the proverbial cake. Flip to her essay on chocolate chip cookies and you’ll get a quick intro to her voice and to a history of the cookie. Engaging essays like this are found throughout the book (making this fun reading even for non-bakers).She begins with a description of essential ingredients that is uniquely informative. I’ve read probably 100 baking books, no joke, and yet this section is still worth reading for both its humor and its wisdom ( I had no idea unbleached cake flour will not work like bleached cake flour, and I appreciate knowing that! And I’d never heard of freeze dried fruit or kinako flour. And, organic powdered sugar has more flavor than old school non-organic. . . ).Recipes are introduced with an essay about the recipe history and context, then the clearly written recipe, which often includes hints and then options for variations. These variations are great and often will include how to make the cookie softer or firmer or more chocolate. They also might include how to make the recipe like a name brand version and what brand of chocolate to use (generally prefers endangered species chocolate). Most foundation recipes in part 1 are common baked goods but both the variations and additional ideas go far beyond what might be found in other cookbooks. For example, Parks provides a recipe for caramelized white chocolate, which sounds amazing and for roasted sugar, which also includes a chemical explanation for why it doesn’t turn into caramel.In part 2, Parks has put a lot of research and attention into getting the brand mimics right. It’s amazing to read how she developed the Oreo filling to not only not squish out of the cookies but also didn’t soften the wafers. These are wonderful for nostalgic eaters though the recipes do not actually recreate the actual preservative filled baked good. I’ve never been particularly fond of packaged baked goods (with the exception of Oreos), so this section was less appealing for me. The amount of work required to create these nostalgic treats does not seem worth the outcome. But what makes these recipes most worthwhile is Park’s versions are without the preservatives.
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  • Dani
    January 1, 1970
    Have you ever made a "copycat" recipe of your favorite store-bought treat, only to say, "This is a good *copycat*, but it just doesn't taste quite the same..." or bemoan the fact that the flavor just isn't quite spot on? This book is true to flavors and childhood memories, making delicious quality homemade treats without changing them or missing the point. Sound too gourmet for you? Yes, everything is made-from-scratch using quality ingredients for excellent flavor, but it's not all high-brow de Have you ever made a "copycat" recipe of your favorite store-bought treat, only to say, "This is a good *copycat*, but it just doesn't taste quite the same..." or bemoan the fact that the flavor just isn't quite spot on? This book is true to flavors and childhood memories, making delicious quality homemade treats without changing them or missing the point. Sound too gourmet for you? Yes, everything is made-from-scratch using quality ingredients for excellent flavor, but it's not all high-brow desserts--it's all the Iconic American Desserts (just like the subtitle of the book). For example: how does McDonald's get that specific texture and consistency in their apple pies? With both fresh and freeze-dried apples. Why doesn't homemade pudding taste like stuff from a box your grandmother made? Try using a Tahitian vanilla bean, which has more of the compound artificial vanillin is trying to mimic.However, this book is not just "copycat" recipes of iconic brands. Oh no no no. No, this book sweeps across American history covering every uniquely American treat--snickerdoodle cookies, Boston cream pie, red velvet cake, key lime pie, homemade Wonder bread, DIY banana pudding, cinnamon rolls, English muffins, and so much more. One of the best parts is that each recipe is preceded by a page or two about its history and creation, making this not just a cookbook but a deeply fascinating (and delicious!) read. The history is well-written and well-researched, and the author's writing style is both informative and engaging. The recipes are top-notch and all come with variations--there are flavor variations, but also most of the recipes have gluten-free variations. Additionally, pretty much every recipe has a full-page color picture, and even looking at the pictures is enough to make you drool. Please note: many recipes require some time, a bit of skill, and decent tools for cooking. Again, everything is made from scratch, and each recipe has descriptions, explanations, and history. This book is different from other cookbooks you may know, and it is by far one of my most favorite cookbooks.
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    Stella Parks's eagerly awaited Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts offers a bounty of classic and fondly remembered desserts that can be replicated at home. Parks, senior editor at Serious Eats, develops recipes that, as J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Food Lab writes in his enthusiastic introduction, "strike a balance between comfort and quality." BraveTart was the nickname for a collaboration Parks had with a friend, which turned into a successful food and writing blog. She developed the cookbook out of Stella Parks's eagerly awaited Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts offers a bounty of classic and fondly remembered desserts that can be replicated at home. Parks, senior editor at Serious Eats, develops recipes that, as J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Food Lab writes in his enthusiastic introduction, "strike a balance between comfort and quality." BraveTart was the nickname for a collaboration Parks had with a friend, which turned into a successful food and writing blog. She developed the cookbook out of the blog with the goal of creating a repository and history of these distinctly American recipes. BraveTart collects more than 75 recipes, along with color photography from Penny De Los Santos and vintage advertisements, in three main sections: classic American desserts, brands (such as homemade Fig Newtons) and ice cream. While the ingredient lists may seem lengthy, Parks is known for making every element of her desserts by hand. True to form, she includes recipes for such things as chocolate sprinkles and homemade Heath toffee bits so that home bakers can try their hand at these iconic flourishes as well. Parks has strong opinions on a few elements: weighing ingredients, for example, is something she stresses--but she also encourages bakers to "mix it up" and try variations at home. Stella Parks offers a master lesson in baking techniques and a lively guide to some little known food history.-reviewed for Shelf Awareness 9/1/17
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