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Cookbook Review: Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O'Connor

Must-Read: Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey


Party recently polled you about dessert preferences, and it came as no surprise that most of you love dessert in any form. Many of you, however, singled out gooey, sticky sweets as your preference. Naturally, I had this in mind when I came across Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth ($15.61) by pastry chef Jill O'Connor. To find out what I thought of this collection of puddings, cookies, cakes, and sweet pies, read more.

Pros:

  • Helpful primer explains everything from the differences between types of cocoa powder to the best bristles for a pastry brush.
  • Desserts strive to be complex, with innovative, sophisticated flavor pairings.
  • Whimsical, vintage-inspired graphic design makes for an aesthetically pleasing book.
  • O'Connell adds plenty of personal flourish, telling amusing anecdotes, explaining the story behind every recipe, and sprinkling poignant quips about desserts along the way.

Cons:

  • Some recipes, like Cap-n Crunch Crispy Treats, are basic, but others — such as a three-page recipe for Coconut Cream Puffs — are tricky and complex.
  • Unless you're cooking for a party of eight, you may need to cut the recipes in half.
  • As pretty as the typography is, the ingredient list is written in such small font that it can be difficult to read quickly.
  • Rather than being easily numbered, the steps are written in paragraph form.


Recipes: The recipes cover just about everything. A few that left my mouth watering:

  • Chocolate Mascarpone Cheesecake Pots With Shortbread Spoons
  • Coconut Milk-Cream Cheese Flan
  • Milky Way Tempura-on-a-Stick
  • White Trash Panini
  • Gingersnap Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Dark Chocolate Soup With Cinnamon-Toasted Pound Cake Croutons
  • Double-Crumble Hot Apple Pies
  • Sweet Pink Grapefruit-Tangerine Mousse With Phyllo Ruffles

Imagery: Although only a third of the recipes have pictures, the photographs are vivid, lush, and beautifully arranged.

Overall Rating: If you're a dessert fanatic looking to experiment with creative recipes, this would be the perfect cookbook to turn to. It would also make a gracious hostess gift.

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