Review, Part One: Desserts 4 Today
When I first heard about Abby Dodge’s new book, Desserts 4 Today, I was skeptical. The 4 means that all of the recipes have only 4 ingredients. I thought it was just a gimmick, like all those books and shows that promise 30 minutes or less until dinner. (I did a little exposé on Rachael Ray on my old blog and decided most of her 30 minute meals only really would come together in just 30 minutes if you have a staff of minions in your kitchen.) I figured there were probably a lot of store-bought pre-made things that just got gussied up. How wrong I was!
I’d like to echo the sentiments of some of the other bloggers who have reviewed this book and say that this book appeals on two different levels. First, this is a great book for a cooking and baking newbie. Only four ingredients means that the recipes aren’t intimidating. But for those of us who love cooking and baking, this book is a revelation. Abby uses great, real ingredients and applies them in simple yet ingenious ways. I loved how fast these recipes came together and how quick and easy the clean up was. But most importantly, they tasted great!
I’m a big cookie girl so of course I had to dive into the cookie recipes first. I was so intrigued – cookies with just four ingredients? How is that even possible?? I started with the Sparkling Cocoa Drops – just flour, cocoa powder, granulated sugar, and butter. No eggs, no baking powder or baking soda in very specific and mysterious proportions? No. None of that. Weird, huh? But they work anyway! And aren’t they pretty? Sometimes the four ingredients are used more than once in a recipe, like here the sugar is in the dough and then the cookies are also rolled in it. Clever.
Another cool thing about this book is that Abby suggests “switch-ins” for every recipe. If you don’t have one of the 4 ingredients on hand, maybe you have one of the switch-ins instead. I did just that with the Toasted Pistachio Crisps which became Toasted Pecan Crisps at my house. This was one recipe that turned out to be slightly tricky for me. I, of course, was greedy and impatient for cookies, so instead of refrigerating the dough, I went for the freezer instead. I am not sure if that was the issue, or maybe one of those environmental/humidity/regional difference things with the flour, but I found it very difficult to cut the dough into slices without it crumbling.
I plunged ahead anyway and in some cases just smashed bits of dough together into cookie-like shapes and it all worked out anyway. These were fantastic – so buttery and rich! My husband inhaled them at warp speed. (Okay, maybe I did too!)
Peanut butter cookies are always a favorite in my house so I had to try Abby’s Peanut Butter Buttons. I was really skeptical about this one – just peanut butter, butter, an egg, and sugar. No flour, no dry ingredients really at all. But, sure enough, the dough whipped right up into a scoop-able consistency.
They did get really flat when cooking, but look how pretty they are with the nice browned edges! There was lots of rich, creamy peanut butter flavor and even my gluten-free friends can enjoy this one.
I’ve made so much from this book and enjoyed all of the recipes so I am making you wait for the rest in a separate post, coming soon. Look forward to it – I’ll be sharing Abby’s recipe for Mini Chocolate Cheesecakes! And yes, only 4 ingredients, and yes, ridiculously rich and decadent.
(Note: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing. The opinions expressed here are my own and I was not compensated beyond the book itself. )