Monday, July 19, 2010

Fresh reviews - Anyone can Bake

It's strange writing a review for Annabel Langbein's Anyone can Bake when I told you on Friday that I'm giving up sugar, but I've been meaning to post this review for a while, so here it is. (Note: Anyone can Bake is the companion to Anyone can Cook, which I've reviewed here.)

What I liked about it

Helpful hints. As indicated by the title, this book does more than list recipes, it teaches you how to bake. I picked up many tips to help me out in the kitchen and had lots of 'Ohhh' moments, when I realised where I had been going wrong all these years.

I got to try lots of yummy recipes. My favourite was the Peanut crunch, but I also made delicious Apple Cinnamon Pinwheels, Crispy Bran Biscuits, Ricie Balls, Lemon Poppy-seed Cake and One-bowl Chocolate Cake.

Variations. Many of the recipes had instructions on how to swap ingredients out to get a different result.

A photo of every recipe. I just love that in recipe books, as it's the best indication of whether my baking has turned out as it should.

Look and layout. A nice crisp design makes the photos pop out and the recipes easy to follow.

What I didn't like about it

The recipes weren't as innovative as I had hoped. This is Annabel Langbein, so I was expecting groundbreaking stuff to wow my friends with, but I got more of the recipes my Nana would serve up. Nice, comforting, always welcome, but just missing that restaurant pizazz I've come to expect from Annabel.

Some confusion with building block recipes. When I was making the Apple Cinnamon Pinwheels I had to keep flicking between the basic scone recipe and the Apple Cinnamon add-on recipe. I was trying to think of a way to improve this but couldn't, other than just repeating the basic scone recipe with the Apple Cinnamon recipe - and that would take up lots of extra space.

All in all, I'm glad to have it. It has added some nice recipes into the mix for me and I've learned ways to improve how I bake. Now I've just got to figure out how to make Peanut Crunch without sugar.

Where you'll find it
You'll get the best deal for Anyone can Bake at Annabel's website, although it's also available at good New Zealand bookstores if you want to check it out first.

Disclosure: Annabel Langbein provided me with a copy of Anyone can Bake for review purposes. I was not compensated in any other way. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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