It must have been about thirteen years ago that I caught a ride to a family wedding with some cousins. I remember that the wedding was lovely and that the band consisted of over a dozen pieces, but what sticks in my mind most about that wedding was that we had to leave before dessert, which was something called “Chocolate Volcano.” Had my better half been with me, I would have been able to convince him to stay long enough for me to get the dessert whose name alone had me salivating, but when someone else is driving, you don’t have the same options. So here I am, over a dozen years later, still dreaming about that chocolatey slice of heaven that I never got to taste.
I love dessert. I dream about baked goods and I firmly believe that dessert is the best part of every meal. Keep your steaks. Enjoy your sushi. For me, it is all about that last course where chocolate and carbs reign, making the world a far better place, even if it means I have to spend the rest of my life dieting. So, of course, you can imagine that I was thrilled to hear that one of my favorite bloggers, Miriam Pascal, was coming out with a book titled Something Sweet. Yup, a whole book dedicated to the yummy stuff, created by someone whose blog, Overtime Cook, gifts us all with one consistently good recipe after another. What could be better than that?
Something Sweet is a truly beautiful book, with Pascal’s talents as a photographer, as well as a foodie, jumping off of practically all 208 pages. Let me issue a warning to you right now. As you read this, you will get hungry and find yourself craving food that is totally going to ruin your diet. And you will also find yourself possessed by the need to go out and buy this book immediately. If you can’t handle either of those, then I suggest you stop reading this article right now.
Still with me? Prepare to drool.
What makes Pascal such a success is that she stays in close contact with followers on her blog and on social media, giving her a greater understanding of what her readers want and, as a result, her recipes are as appealing as they are doable. We have all seen the stunning pictures of recipes in cookbooks and magazines but then you read through them and realize they are ridiculously complicated and take forever to prepare. Overtime Cook is full of recipes that will impress without making you invest hours and hours that you don’t have to create the perfect dish and Something Sweet is no different. Sure, there are recipes that are more time consuming and intricate, but there are plenty of others that are dazzling in both their simplicity and taste. Best of all, there is a wide variety here, with something to appeal to every palate.
It starts off with the equivalent of Baking 101 so that even newbies will have confidence in their ability to turn out great desserts. Pascal gives a quick intro, explaining the difference between regular and Dutch process cocoa powder, demystifying baking powder and baking soda and explaining the importance of using real vanilla versus artificial. Other enlightening entries include recipe substitutions, the difference between wet and dry measuring cups, the best way to freeze desserts and how to melt chocolate without having it seize up or burn. In addition to Pascal scattering useful notes and tips for variations throughout the book, every recipe has a detailed description letting readers know if the recipe is freezer friendly and what other preparations can be done in advance. Something Sweet is broken down into eight chapters: Cookies and Bars, Cakes and Cupcakes, Muffins and Pastries, Pies and Tarts, Desserts and Party Treats, Candy and Chocolate and Drinks and Frozen Treats. A final chapter, Frostings and Toppings, includes icing, frosting, sauces and eleven different glazes to add a distinctive finishing touch to your baked goods.