For those who are on a diet (or should be!) and who might find it hard to resist a sweet thing, or two, or ten, turn away now. Really, yes. Turn Away, Shoo!
Here with this book you can start to make your way to heaven. Candy heaven. This relatively slim book contains all you need to know to easily make caramels, fudges, hard candies, toffees and oodles of other delicious sweets in the comfort of your own kitchen. With this book and a bit of inspiration the world is your metaphorical oyster and your waistline is at danger.
The book itself is a "hard" softback, dedicated to "Jason, the Sweetest Thing In My Life". Sadly, this is printed in the book and this reviewer is not called Jason, so we can only presume that Jason is something special to the author. A bit of a pun no doubt, but a fairly obvious, innocuous one. Two introductory chapters get you going, looking at the various ingredients, equipment and basic techniques that will be core to your candy making. Full colour photography conspires to throw you off balance and make you think about food as you are reading it (or is it just this reviewer, with a slightly larger-than-desired waistline, who has 'this problem' at times)?
Then nine relatively compact chapters reveal the art of the candy maker with a number of great recipes. Split into sugar candies, fondant, caramels, toffee, fudge, truffles, chocolate candies, marshmallows and finally fruit and nut candies, it is fairly confidently said that you will find many things of interest here.
One particularly liked feature of this book is the troubleshooting section that starts each chapter, allowing you to preempt any problems and concerns and learn how to resolve them before you become disheartened, frustrated or disinclined to try again. This is something more recipe books could do. An SOS section, as it were. My chocolate cake is too dry? Do this... My candy isn't setting, do that and so on. So this troubleshooting section is a greatly-appreciated, well thought out feature.
This is one of those books that you would be well advised to read sequentially, at least once, even though you absolutely do not need to do so. It is just that the quality of the various instructions and their accompanied text means that you could get a very good overview and education about the art of candy making whilst you are generally reading about the various types of candies and their own individual making requirements. This will be additionally of benefit when it comes to making your own experiments in the future.
Things are then rounded off by looking at decoration and presentation issues, such as how to present your candy in its best possible light, decoration, and other finishing techniques.
This is probably not a book for the more accomplished candy maker, but through no fault of the author. Although you will get a fair few good recipes and possibly, if you let it, the book might still yield a few unknown hints and tips that could complement your existing knowledge. The beginner, on the other hand, should snap this up!