Hachette Book Group Canada sent me Happiness is Baking in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
“Years ago I heard a doctor talking on television about the dangers of stress. It can kill you. It can cause a heart attack or a stroke. The doctor listed ways of coping with stress. Exercise. Diet. Do Yoga. Take a walk. I yelled, ‘Bake cookies.’ I often talk to the television. I yelled it again and again. The doctor went on with his list of 12 ways to reduce stress…and he never once mentioned my surefire treatment. Baking is a great escape. It’s happiness. It’s creative. It’s good for your heath. It reduces stress.” — Maida Heatter, Happiness is Baking
If baking is the secret to a long and happy life, I’m all for it. 🙋♀️ And maybe it is — American pastry chef and cookbook author Maida Heatter spent a lifetime inspiring bakers with her classic, foolproof desserts and she’s 102! Surely one must have something to do with the other. Now more than 100 of her cookies, cakes, muffins, pies and other sweets are collected in this week’s new release, Happiness is Baking.
The book opens with a chapter called Before You Bake, which includes a glossary of ingredients and equipment used throughout the book and notes on how to use them. A few techniques are also explained (folding, freezing cookies, preparing a cake plate, etc.).
The recipes that follow are organized in these chapters:
- Everyday Cakes (Sour-Cream Black-Fudge Loaf Cake, California Carrot Cake, The Best Damn Lemon Cake, Budapest Coffee Cake)
- Special Occasion Cakes (Coconut Layer Cake, Boston Cream Pie, Polka Dot Cheesecake, Queen Mother’s Cake)
- Cookies (Positively-the-Absolutely-Best-Chocolate-Chip Cookies, Pennies from Heaven, Peanut Butter Pillows, Mushroom Meringues)
- Pies, Tarts, Brownies, Bars, and More (Palm Beach Brownies with Chocolate-Covered Mints, Strawberry Tart, Key Lime Pie, Plain Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding)
It’s not the kind of cookbook you read for the stories, ‘tho almost every recipe begins with a gem: a little something about how it came about or who likes it best, a tip on how to serve it or a snappy description (“moist, tender, juicy, irresistible” Maida says of a pound cake) that’ll have you licking your lips.
“This [Budapest Coffee Cake] is one of the most popular recipes in all of my books. I have received love letters and a variety of proposals and propositions all because of this cake. Watch out.” — Maida Heatter, Happiness is Baking
The book is illustrated by Australian artist Alice Oehr. Her images are colourful and unfussy — joyful! that’s the word — and they make the book unique in its category. (I love poring over beautifully photographed cookbooks too, but Alice’s illustrations were refreshing.)
So what did we try? Two sure-to-be favourites: Maida’s Big Sur Chocolate Chip Cookies and Blueberry Muffins (above) and two small Polka Dot Cheesecakes (that’s one of them below). All three recipes were easy and tasted deelish, ‘tho my polka dotting of the cheesecake left much to be desired.
I couldn’t even bring myself to post a picture of the inside here, it looks so terrible. (But if you want to see, take a peek.) Part of the problem was my piping. I squeezed too much of the pink chocolate batter into the vanilla so my dots looked more oblong than round. And letting the cheesecake chill longer than I did would have made for cleaner slices. Ah well. All you can do is try, try again. Which I might do tomorrow. Because happiness is baking!
Thanks to Hachette Book Group Canada, I’ve got a copy of Happiness is Baking for one of you! To enter to win, tell me two recipes mentioned in this post you’d like to try or a couple things you love to bake. Put your answer in the comments below, svp. This entry is mandatory.
For another entry, follow try small things on Facebook, share this post (you’ll see the share buttons below) and tell me your Facebook name in the comments below.
And feel free to tweet the following once per day and leave the url for your tweet in the comments below (one entry per tweet). Make sure you’re following try small things and Hachette Canada for your entry to count.
More than 100 recipes from the Queen of Cake! #Win Maida Heatter’s “Happiness is Baking” from @trysmallthings https://wp.me/p4xBed-7kf CAN 5/10 #happinessisbaking
The contest is open to Canadian (excluding Quebec) residents 18+ and ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on May 10, 2019. The potential winner (chosen at random) must respond to prize notification within 48 hours and provide the correct answer to a skill-testing question, otherwise another winner will be selected.
Good luck, everybody!
Update May 11, 2019: Congratulations Debra P!