cover image Sweet Enough: A Baking Book

Sweet Enough: A Baking Book

Alison Roman. Clarkson Potter, $35 (304p) ISBN 978-1-984826-39-8

Roman (Nothing Fancy) exhibits her signature style in her brassy if unfocused latest, which aims to prove that “desserts, baking, whatever we want to call it here... should be for anyone, at any time, requiring little more than two hands and a modicum of patience.” Often rejecting standardized recipes in favor of meandering essays, Roman brazenly declares meringue no good and provides a list of baking loves/hates with the subtlety of a middle schooler’s slam book. Recipes for tried-and-true items such as pineapple upside down cake and banana bread are hardly novelties, but Roman’s quirky voice is the real draw. Ginger cake, for example, has “a pleasant mustiness, like finding yourself alone in the back halls of a museum,” while a chapter titled “I’ve Got All This Fruit, Now What?” suggests sugaring raspberries and swirling them with sour cream. There are some baffling choices, however: Roman includes Nora Ephron’s bread pudding from Heartburn, then notes that she found the results merely passable. Confusingly, given the title, the book includes a chapter on savory items, such as a mushroom pot pie with buttery double crust. It’s not purely a baking book, either, with instructions for making frozen yogurt and coffee granita. The haphazardness of it all makes this feel like it’s more about Roman than the recipes. (Mar.)