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Entenmann’s Big Book of Baking
Over 140 Recipes Inspired by Your Favorite Entenmann’s Products
Kathleen Robbins

Parragon Books Ltd.
September 2011 / 978-1-4454-4930-4
Cooking / Food
Amazon

Reviewed by Leslie Halpern

This book offers 40 recipes using variations on Entenmann’s products, plus more than 100 more original recipes inspired by the Entenmann’s line of desserts. Each recipe is beautifully photographed in its final state, often accompanied by attractive garnishes. Contents include chapters titled: “Almost Homemade,” “Donuts,” “Danish and Puffs,” “Crumb Cakes,” “Muffins,” “Loaf Cakes,” “Brownies and Bars,” “Cookies,” “Pies,” “Indulgent Cakes and Desserts,” “Party Cakes,” and an index.

These recipes are clearly not for the health conscious. Some recipes call for eight eggs, four sticks of butter, whole milk, and other rich ingredients to enhance the flavor and texture. Lower fat or lower calorie options are not provided, presumably because they would adversely affect the outcome. The chapter on “Almost Homemade” provides the most adaptable recipes, where Entenmann’s products can be matched with fruits, puddings, creams, and other ingredients to make quicker, easier, and more nutritious options, if that’s the baker’s intention. For busy, nutrition-conscious cooks like myself, this chapter offers the most creative and useful recipes in the book.

I selected three recipes to sample: Blueberry Muffin Supreme (Muffins, page 128), Banana & Cranberry Loaf Cake (“Loaf Cakes,” page 158), and Chocolate Oat Bars (“Brownies and Bars,” page 214). The blueberry muffins (also provided as a loaf cake recipe in a different chapter) turned out well without much preparation required and with plenty of berries in each muffin. The texture and appearance were very appetizing, and the taste was pleasant without being too sweet.

The banana & cranberry loaf had mixed reviews among my selected taste testers. The tangy citrus flavor mixed with cranberry and banana delighted one taster and displeased another, who complained of too many flavors competing for attention. The drizzled glaze on top added to the cake’s attractiveness and provided just the right touch of extra sweetness. Preparation required more time and utensils than I would have liked.

The Chocolate Oat Bars were my final experiment. These delicious bars were simple to make and used common ingredients that I already had in my pantry. This dessert pleased all my taste testers, who raved about the mixture of textures and sweet combination of flavors. I couldn’t help but notice the similarity between this recipe and the age-old favorites, Seven-Layer Bars and Congo Bars, which I’ve been baking since I was a child. The welcome addition of quick cooking oats to this new recipe adds a little extra flavor, texture, and health benefit to recipes for similar bars.

In terms of holiday baking, the “Party Cakes” chapter features Chocolate Spider Cake for Halloween and Daisy Cake for Easter, but otherwise focuses primarily on cakes for birthday parties and other special occasions, rather than specific holidays. Holiday-oriented desserts appear throughout the book in other chapters, such as Spiced Pumpkin Pie, Chocolate Pumpkin Pie, and Candied Sweet Potato Pie (Pies pages 241-269).

Reviewer Notes: The reviewer baked a cake, muffins, and bars using recipes from this book.

Reviewer Leslie Halpern is the author of Passionate About Their Work: 151 Celebrities, Artists, and Experts on Creativity.
Reviewed 2011
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