The New Sugar and Spice Cookbook Review

The New Sugar and Spice Cookbook Review

Title: The New Sugar and Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking
Author: Samantha Seneviratne
Published: 2015, Ten Speed
No. of Pages: 240
Cover Price: $27.50 Hardcover, $11.99 Kindle

Most dessert cookbooks contain recipes for cakes, cookies, pies, puddings, and tarts. Samantha Seneviratne's dessert cookbook, The New Sugar and Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking contains recipes for cakes, cookies, pies, puddings, and tarts. However, Seneviratne's recipes are not those traditional same-old, same-old tried and true recipes handed down from our Grandmothers. These recipes call for spices, flavorings, ground nuts, and herbs to take the desserts to a much higher level. In fact, the entire emphasis of the book is the spices, flavorings, ground nuts, and herbs. There is an excellent introduction with helpful tips on ingredients and equipment, and the chapters are divided into flavors rather than specific types of dishes, i.e., Peppercorn & Chile, Cinnamon Vanilla, Ginger, etc.

Seneviratne goes into detail as to the history, how to use, and how to store the spices, flavorings, and herbs. There are beautiful photographs of many of the desserts, as well as stories from the author's life, which make the cookbook readable as well as a tool to create incredible and unique desserts. Who could resist a Chile-Chocolate Truffle (made spicy with Thai bird chilies), or Salted Cashew Caramels? Blackberry-peach hand pies are gorgeous, and the Orange-Clove pull-apart bread is luscious, made with cloves and fresh oranges (I took a shortcut on that one and prepared the dough in my automatic bread machine). On a recent trip to Amsterdam, I tasted a yummy spekkoek as an end to an incredible Indonesian Rijsttafell, and was delighted that this book contains a recipe which the author calls Indonesian Spiced Layer Cake; this one turned out perfectly (and even better than my restaurant version).

There is a detailed index, beautiful pictures, and the recipes are easy to follow. This is a book that not only teaches us how to cook, but also about cultures. There are recipes for desserts from around the world, including shortbread, baklava, Swedish Cream Buns, and more.

Although the book is available for an e-reader, this is one that should sit on the shelf waiting to be perused; it is well-worth the cover price, but is generally discounted on Amazon. While some of the recipes are quite easy, some are a little more involved and time consuming. Inexperienced cooks may find a few of the recipes intimidating, but that is, after all, how cooks become experienced. This is definitely a book to check out.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying an advanced review copy.

This book may be purchased at Amazon:
The New Sugar and Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking, Hardcover
The New Sugar and Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking
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