BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts

BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts

From One-Bowl Devil’s Food Layer Cake to a flawless Cherry Pie that’s crisp even on the very bottom, BraveTart is a celebration of classic American desserts. Whether down-home delights like Blueberry Muffins and Glossy Fudge Brownies or supermarket mainstays such as Vanilla Wafers and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream, your favorites are all here. These meticulously tested reci...

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Title:BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts
Author:Stella Parks
Rating:
Edition Language:English

BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts Reviews

  • Molly

    I love Parks' writing and how much thought she puts into her recipes. I'm also convinced we could be friends :)

  • Jenny

    I don't usually read cookbooks, I just skim through for recipes I might like to try. This one is full of history, and the reasoning and science behind the recipes. I learned, for example, why certain flours work better than others, and why using a kitchen scale is better than a measuring cup in a lot of instances. The author also just has an engaging way of writing.

    I made the Apple cider variation of the white cake, with bourbon marshmallow buttercream frosting. The recipe was easy to follow, w

    I don't usually read cookbooks, I just skim through for recipes I might like to try. This one is full of history, and the reasoning and science behind the recipes. I learned, for example, why certain flours work better than others, and why using a kitchen scale is better than a measuring cup in a lot of instances. The author also just has an engaging way of writing.

    I made the Apple cider variation of the white cake, with bourbon marshmallow buttercream frosting. The recipe was easy to follow, with the potential pitfalls spelled out in advance, along with how to troubleshoot problems. This made me confident in trying it, and the result was way too good. Thank goodness cake freezes, or I would be adding five pounds in a couple of days.

    I recommend this for new and experienced bakers, or anyone who just wants to make their own Oreo cookies or Snickers bars. Next recipe for me is the one for English muffins.

  • Steph Granillo

    I discovered Stella Parks through Serious Eats after realizing that every single one of my favorite recipes was created by her. I then started following her on Instagram after seeing her photos of the creation process behind the most drool-inducing desserts. I then received this cookbook for my birthday and proceeded to drool and squeal with excitement at every recipe I saw.

    Stella Parks didn't write just a typical recipe book with beautiful photos and perfect American desserts(from c

    I discovered Stella Parks through Serious Eats after realizing that every single one of my favorite recipes was created by her. I then started following her on Instagram after seeing her photos of the creation process behind the most drool-inducing desserts. I then received this cookbook for my birthday and proceeded to drool and squeal with excitement at every recipe I saw.

    Stella Parks didn't write just a typical recipe book with beautiful photos and perfect American desserts(from cherry pie to Little Debbie's oatmeal cookies!). Stella Parks wrote a book complete with the histories of said desserts (I didn't even know banana pudding had a history), variations of these desserts (gingerbread graham crackers... brown butter and sage marshmallows?!?!), and troubleshooting tips in case your desserts don't come out as perfectly as Stella's.

    This is the ultimate bakebook, and you should stop reading this immediately and go buy it!

  • KC

    A great book! Even vegan options.

  • Julie Davis

    I really enjoyed slowly reading my way through this cookbook, especially the carefully researched introductions and histories of each item in American cooking. Stella Parks is a personable writer who holds your attention. I know a lot of food history but she dug deeper and considered history more broadly than a lot of what I'd read before so there was a lot of new info for me.

    I didn't get a chance to try any of the recipes even there were several techniques and recipes that looked interesting.

    I really enjoyed slowly reading my way through this cookbook, especially the carefully researched introductions and histories of each item in American cooking. Stella Parks is a personable writer who holds your attention. I know a lot of food history but she dug deeper and considered history more broadly than a lot of what I'd read before so there was a lot of new info for me.

    I didn't get a chance to try any of the recipes even there were several techniques and recipes that looked interesting. Possibly because it is deep summer right now, I am also not really in the mood for a lot of baking. This book is also popular enough that it is due back with no renewals since there's a request line for it. I will check this out again though — at the very least I want to give the homemade Nestle's Crunch Bars a try!

  • LAPL Reads

    It is that time of year when many of us want to serve up homemade sweets for family and friends, but the clock is ticking, and what are you going to do? Is it too late? No, it is not and you can trust CIA-trained, award-winning pastry chef, Stella Parks, who is Senior Editor at SeriousEats.com. She loves desserts and is here to help all of us make good tasting ones from scratch, and have fun doing it: "And that's my deal--I love American dessert, in all its cozy splendor, every messy, unpretenti

    It is that time of year when many of us want to serve up homemade sweets for family and friends, but the clock is ticking, and what are you going to do? Is it too late? No, it is not and you can trust CIA-trained, award-winning pastry chef, Stella Parks, who is Senior Editor at SeriousEats.com. She loves desserts and is here to help all of us make good tasting ones from scratch, and have fun doing it: "And that's my deal--I love American dessert, in all its cozy splendor, every messy, unpretentious bite." She wants us to enjoy the process and the product. There are recipes for classic American desserts, many of them commercially produced, name-brand products that we remember tasting oh-so-good years ago. Parks' recipes revive the wonderful flavor, texture and aroma.

    Chapters cover the following: Cookies & Candy; Pies; Doughnuts; Classic American Brands (commercially produced, but these recipes produce a better tasting product) that cover cookies, snacks, puddings, breakfast treats, candies & candy bars; an entire section on Classic American Ice Cream. Each dessert has the basic recipe, with several variations added, and gluten-free versions where applicable.There is a section on professional baking techniques, ingredients and equipment. She adds her advice on how to measure, sift, incorporate ingredients and prepare baking pans. The book includes a notable bibliography, an index, and is illustrated with color photographs.

    This is a cookbook and a history about classic American desserts. Parks is as passionate about food history as she is about baking. S'mores may be fun around a campfire, however "the chocolate never fully melts." There is a simple solution for making them especially yummy at home, and not that difficult. Perfect fudge? In the book. She pooh-poohs the idea about the history of cheesecake going back to ancient Greece, and roots it in19th century America. Red Velvet Cake, Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies and Cracker Jack are among the commercial products for which she has developed her own recipes. The book can be read sequentially or at random. The writing is humorous and serious, and the recipes have been tested many times over by Parks. This book is a must for those who love to bake and for foodies.

    If all copies of the book are checked out, and you are in a pinch for some recipes, there are many other recipes on this website: BraveTart's Recipe Box. Stella Parks says, "I hope you bake like crazy."

    Reviewed by Sheryn Morris, Librarian, Central Library

  • Sarah

    My husband is absolutely beside himself that he didn't know about this one in time to buy it for me for Christmas. Selfish... but kind of sweet, don't you think? I was most interested in her cookie and cake recipes; he was gaga over the reinvented American classics. There's something for everyone. I *really* need to try toasting sugar...

  • Lara (luellabella✂️)

    4 delicious stars. Disclaimer: I am not American. This meant that the imperial measurements irked me, the brands of many of the ingredients are not available, and many of the recipes are things I’d never heard of like Cracker Jack, Nutter Butter Cookies, Animal Crackers, to name just a few (because of this reason, I would have liked more photos). Nevertheless, Americans are renowned for their sweet treats and this book did not disappoint.

    Unlike your typical cookbook, this book invites you to re

    4 delicious stars. Disclaimer: I am not American. This meant that the imperial measurements irked me, the brands of many of the ingredients are not available, and many of the recipes are things I’d never heard of like Cracker Jack, Nutter Butter Cookies, Animal Crackers, to name just a few (because of this reason, I would have liked more photos). Nevertheless, Americans are renowned for their sweet treats and this book did not disappoint.

    Unlike your typical cookbook, this book invites you to read it from cover to cover, with fascinating histories of many of the desserts featured obviously painstakingly researched. Parks explains WHY you must (or must not) use a certain type of ingredient, follow a certain method, use a particular type of utensil, and then follows many of the recipes with customisable variations.

    I loved that everything is made from scratch, including marshmallows, condensed milk, rainbow sprinkles and even Oreos! And who knew that ‘Graham’ as in Graham Crackers is just another way to say whole wheat! Well I never. A brilliant book with a wealth of baking knowledge and delicious recipes.

  • Allison

    I’ve only had a 50% success rate with these recipes. Three other friends and I have compared notes and shared problems with Oreos/thin mints burning long before the suggested cooking time, brownies and blondies that were the consistency of ganache at the end of their cooking time, and a sage marshmallows addition that doesn’t include the entire recipe. For aiming to be so precise, I am disappointed with these issues. Maybe she will post recipe updates to her website?

  • Nostalgia Reader

    A fun look at the history of iconic American desserts, from traditional cakes and cookies, to brand name sweets and ice creams (many of which seem to have started out as pseudo-health foods!). I mainly read the historical parts, not the recipes themselves. The histories were, for the most part, well written, but I felt like the book would have worked just as well if it were split up into the all-history section, allowing for easier weaving of company tales and history across desserts, with the r

    A fun look at the history of iconic American desserts, from traditional cakes and cookies, to brand name sweets and ice creams (many of which seem to have started out as pseudo-health foods!). I mainly read the historical parts, not the recipes themselves. The histories were, for the most part, well written, but I felt like the book would have worked just as well if it were split up into the all-history section, allowing for easier weaving of company tales and history across desserts, with the recipes following later.

    Parks adapts and adjusts recipes to reflect the history of the dessert, not just trying to replicate that brand-name taste. She has done plenty of deep dives into recipe history, weaseling out the true first references to and recipes of classic desserts, shooting down the many myths about food inventions that we've come to take as fact today. By delving deep into the historical roots, she has created recipes that harken back to the original late 1800s or early 1900s recipes, while still incorporating the flavors we know now, but eliminating the processed ingredients (in a ways, also adding to the "harkening back" aspect) and adding very specific (one might say quirky) ingredients that mimic the processed flavors we know and love.

    Much of the explanation as to why certain ingredients are used over others can get a bit complicated for the uninitiated baker, but there's enough history to captive those like me who just like to learn about food. Parks provides tons of flavor variations for many of the recipes, and applicable recipes have gluten free options as well; she's also hip on adding a bit of Southern flair to a few of the recipes (e.g. Strawberry Shortcake being made with biscuits instead of cake). Not only are recipes included for the main dessert, but many essential components have recipes too, such as chocolate syrup, marshmallows, buttercream frosting, nougat, and caramel--even homemade condensed milk!

    The pictures that there were included were lovely and simple, but I really wanted to see more. I know cookbooks can't include pictures of every recipe, but this felt like a narrow enough focus to warrant pictures of all the goodies.

    It just struck me, as I was proofreading this, that there is no recipe for homemade waffle cones. There are vanilla wafers and graham crackers, but no cones, despite the chapter on ice cream! (It focuses on floats, sodas, sandwiches, and sundaes.)

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