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Petite Sweets:
Bite-Size Desserts to Satisfy Every Sweet Tooth
By Beatrice Ojakangas; Photos by Roger LePage
ISBN: 1416207732
Publisher: Sellers Publishing
Publication date: Sept. 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Number of recipes: 54
List price: $18.95
Type: Desserts
Sample recipe: Mini Cheesecakes with Berries and Fruit;  Creamy Pumpkin Mini Mousses
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive encyclopedia coffee-table
Meal part: all breakfast/brunch lunch dinner dessert
Competition: outclassed a bit behind in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: airfare required online specialty store supermarket pantry
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose minimal complete educational
Time conscious: not conscious bald lies white lies realistic scout's honor
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant ample generous
Photos/drawings: none drawings b&w photos occasional color all/mostly color
Art contribution: disappointing distracting decorative beautiful glorious
Recipe results: ≤dorm food casual food family meals fancy food fit for royalty
Nutritional info: none overwhelming hit or miss adequate comprehensive
Result: guilt-inducing heavy-handed balanced encouraging inspiring
Format/Ease of Use
Layout: ugh cluttered fine kind work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging ok clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy delicate years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: hard-to-find spotty sufficient most pages every page
Table of contents: missing frustrating minimal helpful excellent
Index: none confusing adequate nice a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writing history: beginner writer/journalist food writer writing cook personality
Cooking heritage: unknown self-taught teacher chef celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short satisfactory successful exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward good friend mom
Value: ouch! a little pricey worth splurging on the money a deal
Overall rating: skip it good very good excellent Ochef Top 100

Comments: As suckers for hors d'œuvre, how are we not going to be smitten with dessert recipes that essentially produce sweet hors d'œuvre?

This book of tiny treats can go in several directions. You can make several dishes and provide all the desserts for a pot-luck or a fancy party. You can just participate in the trend of making and serving bite-size desserts. Or perhaps you're the kind of person who only "wants a bite anyway." (Our leaning is to think up reasons to make several desserts at once and find a way to share them with lots of friends.)

Beatrice Ojakangas, who has written about half the cookbooks that are currently on the market, has turned her attention to more than 50 desserts that can be produced in one-, two-, or three-bite servings. The recipes are clustered in several categories – little cakes; little pies and tarts (we're going to dispense with the word "little" now – you get it, they're all small); fruit and berry desserts; mousses and chilled desserts; creams, custards, and frozen desserts; and pastries and sweets.

The recipes are mostly simple – many are very simple – and most of the ingredients are also easy to find. Some desserts are not especially fancy (to us, blueberry pancakes barely fit into the dessert category), but overall, there's a good mix of fancy and humble.

Ojakangas says downsizing desserts is a simple matter, just a function of using smaller dishes, cutting down the cooking time, and often, she says, also cutting the original recipe in half. She has done all the calculations for you in this case. She says her favorite approach to planning a multi-dish dessert party is serving something chocolate, something "pale or white," and something with fruit.

By far the greatest challenge in using this book and pursuing this approach on your own is finding enough small baking dishes. Ojakangas says she has been collecting small cups, ramekins, muffin tins, and even shot glasses for years. Fortunately, there is a boatload of miniature muffin pans on the market these days to get you headed in the right direction.

The index is fine, but the type is very small (too small).


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