I should have put self-control on my list of New Year's resolutions, because I haven't been able to resist temptation this month, especially when it comes to nostalgic candies, dragées, or any charming confection. At least one publisher appealed to my weakness when I received a copy of Peter Greweling's Chocolates and Confections at Home With the Culinary Institute of America ($23), I think my heart actually skipped a beat. Did it let me down? Find out and read more.
- Endless resources include an equipment list with pictures, information on legal standards, step-by-step technique photos, and troubleshooting.
- Covers all candy from rock candy to candy-coated fruit to chocolate molds and fondant.
- Layout is visually stimulating, but not too busy.
- Alluring flavor combinations and confections — like honey-lavender truffles, PB&J bars, and honeycomb-like sponge candy.
- Book is large and bulky, which makes it more ideal as a coffee-table book than a kitchen cookbook.
- Navigation isn't the easiest. For instance, a primer on fondant provides everything but the recipe, which doesn't appear until more than 15 pages later.
Recipes: Everything from marzipan to meltaways, including:
- Rock candy
- Green tea truffles
- Cherry cordials
- Nougat torrone
- Turkish delight
Imagery: Detailed photography is a highlight of this book, and it's both enticing and educational. For example, one photo shows the close-up differences between correctly and incorrectly tempered chocolate. The book also contains diagrams and flow charts that are helpful for understanding various confection techniques.
Overall Rating: Although this large read may appear better suited for the coffee table, it's a wealth of information that truly belongs in any candy-maker's kitchen. Chocolates and Confections would be the perfect Valentine's Day gift for any aspiring pastry chef.