Authors: Liz Gutman and Jen King
Publisher: Workman Publishing (2012)
Do you have a sweet tooth? While I was never a die-hard candy fanatic, I’m definitely guilty of polishing off a box of truffles or a giant slab of chocolate fudge cake – with a scoop of ice cream for good measure. Making confectionery was always something that seemed otherworldly, beyond my non-professional skills as a home cook. Then, I started seeing other self-professed home cooks taking on the task and I was sparked to try my luck at it. When I received The Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook by Liz Gutman and Jen King to review, it seemed like the planets had aligned.
I spent hours combing through Liddabit, flagging treat after treat I would die to gorge myself on. With seven chapters ranging from gummies to caramels, lollipops and even my beloved chocolate, the 75 recipes each tempted and delighted me. With the December holidays approaching, Liddabit was also the perfect way to save a little money by making a few gifts rather than buying them. Now with Valentine’s Day around the corner, this book is a wonderful opportunity to best the box of chocolates and show your love how much you really care – or host an anti-Valentine’s party with a gaggle of single friends.
On the topic of romance, the authors cleverly included a “Speed Date the Candies” chart (p. xiii), which was invaluable in my selection process. This chart lets the reader spot at a glance just which candy is ideal for your tastes, time and mood – be it boozy (like the Cherry Cordials, p. 85), gluten free (Agar Fruit Jellies, p. 109), shippable (Salty Peanut Taffy, p. 152) or quick to assemble (Five Minute Marzipan, p. 175). Information and tips critical for new candy-creators are covered in a thorough, friendly introduction. Each chapter also has a respectable amount of information and technique threading through it, but in no way does Liddabit read like a pastry school textbook. The authors include a wealth of photography (courtesy of Rachel Been) that illustrates the detail and beauty of candy production without in any way being gratuitous.
|"Dough" for Salted Soft Chocolates (p.67)|
|Classic European Nougat (p. 145)|
While I can’t say for sure that Liz Gutman and Jen King will make candy as easy as flipping a switch with Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook, this book is definitely a stellar primer for the candy-curious. There is enough variety in the pages to allow both complete neophytes and experienced cooks to make professional looking confections with a little sugar, heat and elbow grease. I can’t wait to get the sweet kitchen back up and running – there are still 73 recipes I need to savour!
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