Valerie Gordon, a baker and confectioner well known to sugar-crazed Angelenos, makes her cookbook debut with a book simply titled Sweet.
Gordon is a student of all things sweet. The first chapter is devoted to recreating some desserts which had been consigned to history. But don't get scared by the showstopper nature of these first chapter desserts, there are other simpler treats in other chapters. Her simple instructions make even elaborate desserts such as petit fours seem possible to pull off with flair.
This is a book by a special talent, similar to Christina Tosi's Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook in terms of passion and talent but Gordon's style is classic, elegant, and traditional compared to Tosi's zany inventiveness. Gordon showcases the basics providing recipes for foundation items such as cakes and pie crusts which can be enlivened with fillings, sauces, toppings, and ganaches. The tone of the book is comforting, Gordon gently inches the reader toward trying out more inventive ingredients such as matcha powder, dried raspberry powder, and smoked sea salt.
Gordon's business was built on chocolates and she includes techniques for making your own confections from scratch. She creates toffees, truffles, caramels, and even marshmallows. The resulting candies make excellent gifts or can just be enjoyed at home.
The book's tempting photography and understated design also make this a real treasure but it is definitely not meant to just be flipped through, this is a book to use and enjoy.