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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Review: Salty Sweets by Christie Matheson (Excerpt)

Salty Sweets: Delectable Desserts and Tempting Treats with a Sublime Kiss of Salt
by Christie Matheson
Harvard Common Press (August 15, 2009) ~ 144 pages
Non-Fiction / Cooking / Desserts

Edition Reviewed / Special Thanks: Hardback - I received this book from the Amazon Vine review program.

Perfect for : Personal Use, Hostess Gift, Great book for the dessert-lover in your life

In a nutshell: I am one of those people, that if given the choice between a savory appetizer or a decadent dessert I will definitely choose the dessert! And right now, I want nothing more than to make a few of the desserts from Salty Sweets by Christie Matheson. In this book, she has created a collection of 75 classic recipes with a twist of salt. . . many with full page, full color photographs.
Some of the scrumptious recipe titles that I can't wait to try: Salty-Sweet S'mores, Old-Fashioned Kettle Corn, Lemon Sugar Cookies with Zesty Lime Salt, Lavender Fleur de Sel Shortbread (see excerpt below for picture and recipe), Mini Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream Frosting, Maple Creme Brule, Watermelon Sorbet, Bittersweet Chocolate Ice Cream

Extended Review:
Content: Acknowledgements, Prelude to a Kiss (of Salt), Salt Primer, Little Treats, Cookies and Bars, Cakes and Cupcakes, Puddings and More, Fruits, Ice Creams and Sorbets, Sauces and Other Good Stuff, Measurement Equivalents, Index
I found some of the notes on techniques and salt types to be very helpful (tempering eggs, fleur de sel, smoked sea salt, etc).

Format: Each section of the book starts with a listing of the recipes and page numbers, as well as a full-page color photograph of one of the recipes. Then, each recipe has a title with how many servings/pieces the recipe makes. This is followed by a description, the ingredients, and the directions. Many of the recipes include full page/color photographs, and some include extra tips at the end of the recipe.

Readability: These recipes are easy to follow, and are often similar to the classic recipes with a few small changes or tweaks to enhance the flavor.

Overall: A very nice book for the dessert lover who likes to create scrumptious and tempting things right in their own kitchen. This would also be a great book for a person who likes to entertain as many of the desserts are elegant in appearance.

About the Book ~ From the Back Cover:
Do opposites really attract? In the case of salty and sweet, you bet they do! Like peanut butter and jelly—itself a classic salty-sweet duo—these tastes were made for each other. Salt helps balance and heighten sweets, transforming ordinary cookies, cakes, and candies into truly special confections. It brings out the complexities of chocolate, highlights the subtleties of fruit, makes nuts really pop, and turns caramel and butterscotch into pure ambrosia. The salty-sweet combination has swept the nation, with chefs, candy makers, and retailers all offering tantalizing sweets complemented with salt.

Salty Sweets is the first cookbook to bring the phenomenon home. Christie Matheson offers 75 delectable ways to enjoy this tasty twosome, proving along the way that salty sweets are not the sole province of fancy chefs and trendy chocolatiers. Seven recipe chapters cover every sort of treat, from little bites to cookies, bars, cakes, puddings, fruit desserts, and even ice creams. Readers can make their own version of those salted caramels found in upscale boutiques, along with such sophisticated fare as Maple Crème Brûlée, Lavender Fleur de Sel Shortbread, Fig and Ricotta Pizza, and Nantucket Sea Salt Ice Cream. Or how about the homey goodness of Old-Fashioned Kettle Corn and Decadent Hot Cocoa? And who could resist Dark Chocolate–Covered Pretzels, Butterscotch Brownies, Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting, or Caramel-Fudge Sauce? Tempting color photos will send cooks straight to the kitchen to try these treats for themselves.

An introductory chapter outlines the basics—equipment, ingredients, and techniques—of successful sweet making. The author discusses all kinds of salts—from fleur de sel to Maldon to Hawaiian pink to smoked and more, each with its own distinctive flavor and texture; Matheson encourages readers to sample the wealth of exotic and rare salts available today.

Celebrate the happy marriage of sweet and salt with these irresistible creations. It’s a match made in dessert heaven!

About the Author: (From the publisher's site)

Christie Matheson is the author of Green Chic: Saving the Earth in Style and the coauthor of Wine Mondays, The Confetti Cakes Cookbook, Confetti Cakes for Kids, Tea Party, and Vineyard Harvest. She is a regular contributor to publications including The Boston Globe Magazine, Cooking Light, Boston, Yankee, Body + Soul, Yoga Journal, Continental, San Francisco, and DailyCandy.com. For two years she hosted a weekly television segment called “Trend Tracker” on the UPN Morning Show, and she is a frequent guest on the television show Chronicle as well as on Martha Stewart Radio. Matheson lives in San Francisco, California, and Boston, Massachusetts.

If you have reviewed this book and would like me to add a link to your review, please include a link in your comment!


Alice said...

Wow, Wendi! Look at all the yummy sweets! The preview is lovely and I had to restrain myself from licking the monitor...

Anna said...

This looks like a good one to satisfy my sweet tooth. Thanks for the review.

Diary of an Eccentric

bermudaonion said...

This book looks fantastic! I love to create desserts. I want some of those toffee cookies with the dark chocolate glaze!

Kristen said...

Since some of my favorite indulgences combine the sweet and salty (chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels anyone?!) I should probably steer very, very clear of this cookbook unless I intend to moonlight at the circus as the fattest woman in the world! If I could trust myself otherwise, it sounds fabulous.

Booklogged said...

Oh, boy! What could be better than salty sweets. This book looks delicious.

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