Saturday, September 27, 2014
Ovenly - Cookbook Review
Ovenly: Sweet and Salty Recipes from New York's Creative Bakery by Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin
I love cookbooks. One of my favorite ways to relax is to put a TV show on and sit back with a new cookbook and a pack of Post-It tabs tagging the recipes I want to try. If I had Ovenly in a hard copy it would be bristling with tabs.
Baking books can be kind of repetitive. Cookies, bar cookies, breakfast muffins, quick breads and maybe yeast breads. There isn't a huge difference in recipes. This is not the case with Ovenly. Flipping through the book the chapter titles are pretty similar to any baking book - Quick Breads and Coffee Cakes, Muffins, Cookies and Shortbreads, Pies and Tarts, Brownies and Bars and Cakes and Cupcakes. There's a chapter on scones and bar snacks which are a little different than the norm which is kind of the first hint that this isn't your ordinary baking book.
The flavor combinations throughout the book are tantalizing - Strawberry Basil Loaf Bread, Salted Apple Bread, Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies with Tarragon, Caramel Bacon Hot Tarts, Nectarine, Blueberry and Vanilla Bean Tarts and Black Chocolate Stoutcake with Salted Caramel Cream Cheese Butter Cream and their famous Bloody Mary Scones. How can you not want to make these? I liked that they recipes look unique but not so odd that I couldn't imagine making them. These are flavor combinations that I never would have thought of but not flavor combinations that I can't imagine. Once I've imagined them it's hard not to run to the grocery store to pick up any necessary ingredients with my mouth watering. The majority of the recipes are sweet but there are some savory muffins, scones and breads and a quiche or two. While the recipes are definitely unique I think for the most part they're not so out there that my non-adventurous family wouldn't be willing to try them.
There are several recipes that are illustrated by step by step picture instructions which is really useful for finicky things like scones and pie crust. There are also a decent number of finished product pictures. There are so many yummy recipes I had a hard time deciding which one I wanted to test. I decided to go with the buttery shortbread for 3 reasons - 1. I like shortbread, 2. It calls for 4 ingredients all of which I had, 3. The very simplicity of the recipe is a good test of all the recipes. You can hide a recipe that isn't amazing when it has 9 different spices but it's a lot more difficult when the main ingredients are butter and flour.
The results: Amazing! So good I can't believe I made this kind of amazing. I ended up eating half the pan in one sitting and then immediately taking the rest to my mother's just to get it out of my house.
Conclusion: I will be buying this book - possibly as soon as it's released. If you enjoy baking and like experimenting I think you should buy it too. Now I can't wait to try the scones!