8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Great baking book!,
This review is from: Popina Book of Baking (Hardcover)
I love baking, and when I buy a book about baking, it's usually based on the photos and originality of recipes.
Okay, so judging a book by its photos might be misleading (as is the case in the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook which is the worst cookbook I have ever used but has beautiful photos) but the Popina Book of Baking doesn't disappoint! I made 3 recipes from the book as part of a 2 day baking binge in preparation for a big family meal.
The first recipe I tried was the "Walnut Shortbreads" on p26. These wonderful little biscuits were delicate and light with a definitive walnut taste. I baked them for a little longer than the recommended 30 minutes, but that may be because my oven temperature was slightly out (I should invest in an oven thermometer!). Everyone loved them and they keep for 2 weeks which is great if you can resist them for that long.
I used another biscuit-y type recipe on p93 - "Gouda and Hazelnut Bites" which was so simple to make and yielded great results! I made 2 batches of this recipe, the first time I followed the recipe by the letter and the biscuits were far too salty. So with the next batch I left out the 1 teaspoon of salt and the biscuits were perfect. They're not too crisp but not soft either. The cheese taste is subtle at first but develops in your mouth which is good if you don't like an overpowering cheese taste, or if you are eating the bites with cheese or other foods (we ate them with Italian meats and strong cheese). The great thing with this recipe is that you can use alternative cheeses to vary the taste. Next time I will try it with Parmesan or Pecorino as I prefer a stronger cheese flavour to eat the bites by themselves.
The third recipe I used was the "Chocolate Truffle Brownies" on p84 which again, is a simple recipe with just basic ingredients which means you can pretty much whip this up at short notice. I didn't have to change a thing with this recipe and having tried many a failed brownie recipe before, I think I will be sticking to the Popina version from now on! I used chocolate with 84% cocoa which produced a very rich brownie which meant you only needed a small square to satisfy your sweet tooth. I cut the brownies into 12 smaller squares as opposed to the suggested 9 squares. I was afraid that the recipe would produce a brownie that was TOO "truffley" that would appear undercooked, but it wasn't at all. It was soft and just gooey enough to ensure people knew it was a brownie and not a cake.
I can't wait to work my way through this book and would even go as far as saying that it's on par with Rachel Allen's "Bake" book as it's THAT good!