Sugar Baby: Confections, Candies, Cakes, & Other Delicious Recipes for Cooking with Sugar Hardcover – Apr 1 2011
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About the Author
Gesine Bullock-Prado, founder of the Gesine Confectionary product line and author of My Life from Scratch, has been featured in People, on the Food Network, and in many other national publications. She lives in Vermont.
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Top Customer Reviews
As Gesine Bullock-Prado (yes, she's Sandra Bullock's sister!) asserts in her introduction, "Cooking with sugar goes far beyond candy." Indeed, her recipes range from sea salt caramels to peanut butter fudge to cotton candy to a green tea crepe cake. And she organizes the book simply but brilliantly: each chapter corresponds to a stage in sugar cooking (dissolve, soft-ball, firm-ball, hard-ball, soft-crack, hard-crack). The final "put it all together" chapter combines elements from the first six to create cakes, scones and cookies.
Perhaps the most refreshing and surprising aspect of this book is the author's voice. She writes with an honest humour that comes across as neither pedantic nor forced, no mean feat in a world of over-the-top and personality-lacking cookbook commentary. While I may not feel ready to try my hand at making pulled maple taffy and barley malt skulls, Bullock-Prado has certainly inspired my creative dessert juices.
"Sugar Baby" contains numerous stunning photos though perhaps not enough. To augment the visual experience, readers can find more pictures and how-to video's on the book's website [...]
1.Lack of pictures- I bought the book aware that it had few pictures, but it was still disappointing to see for myself just how few.
2. Swearing - When choosing a movie, or a novel, I realize that language might be a concern, but in a cook book? It seems uncalled for. I feel I could never recommend, or lend this book to a friend, even if the recipes turn out to be fantastic.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
So I was delighted when sugarbaby showed up in my Amazon recommendations, and ordered it right away. I was hoping for a modern take on confectionery, and I was sure from other reviews that the book would be pretty. It's both of those things, and the two recipes I've tried so far (the matcha pastry cream and marshmallow fondant) were get-in-the-bowl-and-walk-around delicious.
What I didn't expect was the author's voice. She's funny. Actually laugh-out-loud funny. And very, very real. Just wonderful. I'm ordering her other book right now, just because I want to spend some more time with this amazing woman.
If you like to read cookbooks, buy this book!
The first recipe I attempted was the dreaded and difficult to master Parisian Macaron. With this book in my hand (and the wonderful online video tutorial available the companion site [...] I knocked this recipe out of the park! Thanks Gesine!!
I would recommend this book to anyone really- it's great for the absolute beginner, and even seasoned cooks will get some fabulous new techniques and recipes out of it.
I would whole heartedly recommend this book to any foodie. Your friends and family will think you are a culinary genious! This book should in all sincerity win many awards, it is that good!!!!
The approach is original but overly ambitious. The author attempts to go over all the stages of cooked sugar; and since that is no small task,some recipes had to suffer. There are some recipes in which she is very thorough (macarons is one of them, you can also check out her demo on Vimeo)and others in which you wish she had elaborate a good deal more, like the praline recipe. Her one paragraph instructions simply doesn't cut it. If you are interested in confections (candy, chocolate et.al.) you can check out the volume on confections by the Culinary Institute of America (from the "at Home" Series), there you'll learn the technique, and it doesn't take that much space, but it definitely takes longer than a couple of paragraphs. The gummies are another example of a recipe that lacks detail(she also mentions gelatine gummies in the text but only gives a recipe for pectin gummies), again you can find better instruction in the CIA's volume.
At some point the author mentions that listing a "number" of eggs as opposed to a weight in the ingredients list is very inaccurate (I believe there is no debate on that)but then she uses "number" on her recipes. One other thing is that the author mentions the Sugarbaby website for pictures of the candies not illustrated in the book (and more demos) but the illustrations there are not very different from what you can find in the book and I find that the website is very neglected, very few posts throughout the year.
In short, I have found inspiration for preparing many confections from this book, but the actual baking procedures I have found elsewhere. If you want good instruction in the art of "cooking with sugar" and do not care for the stories and photography this is not a book for you. And anyway, if you like stories and eye candy you can have plenty from her blog Confections of a Closet Master Baker, the recipes I have tried from the there are good and creative and many of the stories there are recycled stories from her books.
Some people recommend this book because you laugh out loud and get interesting stories (and you might laugh out loud by the coffee table) but if you want to laugh out loud you can buy a novel, not a cookbook. You want a cookbook to work, you will not be laughing out loud when the recipes fail to deliver (in the kitchen, where it matters).