In this week’s cookbook review, we are back with another sweet treat. A New York Times bestseller, and named Best Baking Book of the Year, Bravetart Cookbook, brings together an incredible collection of iconic American desserts.
From One-Bowl Devil’s Food Layer Cake to a flawless Cherry Pie, BraveTart is a celebration of classic American desserts. Whether down-home delights like Blueberry Muffins and Glossy Fudge Brownies or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream, your favorites are all here. These meticulously tested recipes bring an award-winning pastry chef’s expertise into your kitchen, along with advice on how to “mix it up” with over 200 customizable variations.
Once we start flipping through the first pages, we realize that Breavetart is much more than a cookbook, as Stella Parks delves into the surprising stories of how our favorite desserts came to be.
What Stella has managed to accomplish in the 350 pages of Breavetart is pretty remarkable. After five years, spent finessing recipes, developing variations, clarifying techniques, and looking for potential missteps and addressing them, Parks was able to produce one of the best pastry cookbooks ever made.
Must of us know Stella Parks, through its famous baking column at Serious Eats. But this book goes way beyond the homemade Oreos on the cover. Because Parks is not only teaching us the American baking canon, she is interpreting it, evolving it.
The history of classic baked goods is the foundation of the BraveTart philosophy. Using pudding as an example, she explains: “There’s real magic in a box of instant Jell-O, one that can’t be matched with egg yolks and butter, and you’ve got to respect your roots more than your training to admit it.”
The book pays homage to classic homemade desserts like peanut butter cookies, apple pie, and red velvet cake. But here you will also find classics like Twinkies, Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies, and Oreos. A Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup will never taste the same after you read this book, and you’ll realize there is only one Philadelphia cream cheese to rule them all.
The vintage ads for Swans Down cake flour and Karo corn syrup will transport you back in time, while the close-up photos of whipped cream dollops and gooey melted chocolate will shove you into the kitchen. Parks loves dessert so much she dedicated her book to midnight snacks. And so we’re happy to dedicate this week’s review to her fantastic cookbook.
Bravetart is our favorite pastry cookbook, and probably the best we had the opportunity to review. Where Willy Wonka relied on magic to bring his creations to life, Stella relies on science, history, and fanatical testing and devotion to her craft. You have to be born with magic, but science, history, and technique are lessons we can all learn.
With recipes that work and writing that makes the book a baker’s version of a summertime beach read, BraveTart is an indispensable pastry cookbook.
BraveTart is one of the best pastry cookbooks ever written. If you really want to take your baking skills to another level, to have the ability to create your own favorite brownie recipe, and much more this is the cookbook you will need.