Where to start?...I was sent a copy of 'Short and Sweet' by Dan Lepard quite a few weeks ago now...and I have to admit that I just be in awe of the whole book, chapter by chapter and page by page, its taken me so long to write this review because I keep getting distracted by a) making another recipe and b) looking and drooling over what other food bloggers are making from this book (more on that later).
Short and Sweet is one of those recipe books you will have forever, and will wonder how you ever baked without it, I for one wish I'd had this book years ago, if I had I would have been a much better baker than I am now. Short and Sweet is packed full of recipes, its not packed with photographs but this is not to the detriment of what his book is offering. Its not so much a recipe book or a recipe book giving baking instructions or advice on 'how to get the best of', its more like a baking recipe reference book, its been called a 'baking bible' and I could not describe it better.
There are more than 280 recipes in this book and its one that any home baker/cake maker/pastry cook/bread lover will turn to time and time again, both for new and inspirational recipes, for traditional favourites and for advice on such things as how to get the best cake crumb, loaf or rise. The chapters cover everything from bread, cakes, small things, biscuits and cookies, doughnuts, batters and baba's, sugar, sugar (sweets), desserts and supper.
I have given this book quite a road test and so far I have made...
Ginger root cake with turnip (pictured above)
Cinnamon cake with blackberries
Dark chocolate chunk cookies (pictured above)
Basic white loaf
Shortcrust pastry (pictured above)
All of these were a triumph, some were eaten so greedily they didn't even get to be pictured on this blog! These are the most recipes I have made from any one book this year.
The bread was so good, a lovely open texture, a nice crust...that two of us scoffed the whole loaf the same evening I made it...was "too nice to spoil with jam" according to chief taster. I think it was the best loaf I ever made, we raved about it so much my mother asked me if she can borrow MY Short and Sweet to "have a go at that lovely bread that looks easy" (please note readers my mother has not made bread for over 20 years!!).
The Ginger root cake (yes it had turnip in it) was the springiest cake ever, and had a remarkable keeping time, it seemed to get better and better each day it lasted. The chocolate cookies were easy to make and a delight. The shortcrust pastry rose like puff pastry and melted in the mouth (just ask my brother and sister in law).
If you know someone that loves to bake then do consider buying this book for them for Christmas, they will repay you back a thousand fold with some lovely baking (out of sheer gratitude) AND...they will love you for giving them a baking bible they will treasure forever (trust me!). This book would suit a cook new to baking and a more experienced baker alike, its THE baking book to own and I know a lot of people who are already wishing for this for Christmas.
Short and Sweet is published by Fourth Estate. Dan Lepard is reknowned in many ways as a genius baking master, baking teacher, frequent recipe writer for the Guardian and amazing author.