cover image How to Cook That: Crazy Sweet Creations

How to Cook That: Crazy Sweet Creations

Ann Reardon. Mango, $27.95 (202p) ISBN 978-1-64250-578-8

Edible engineering meets wow-factor whimsy in this debut dessert guide from Aussie YouTube baker Reardon. Her food science background brings depth to just about every recipe, noting things such as how different fats affect a cake’s flavor and what the addition of gelatin does for its structure (promoting aeration and a soft crumb). “Desserts,” Reardon writes, “are like a playground when it comes to our senses,” explaining her fondness for assembling mousses that look like small potted plants and luscious red apples, and piping heart-shaped fillings into vanilla cupcakes. Stacked toppings for milkshakes seem to defy gravity (one shake, for instance, features a slice of red velvet cake atop chocolate ganache), while ice creams are infused with surprising flavors and bedecked with gold leaf. Because “some of [her] biggest crowd-pleasers involve heaps of the stuff,” chocolate commands its own chapter, which is chock-full of temptations shaped into domes, balls, and melting flower petals. The process of tempering is thoroughly explained, and templates for the many shapes she calls on are provided. Handily, the multipart recipes that look the most challenging are accompanied by links to the author’s online video tutorials. The lessons and engaging spirit of this work are as much a treat as their results. (June)