For the past month, I have been participating in the Joy the Baker Cookbook Cook Off and Spotlight hosted by Heather at Girlichef. Each week, along with 20-odd other bloggers, I made a recipe from the book.
I've made chocolate fudge browines:
Flax seed crackers:
Chamomile mini cakes:
lavender lemon bars:
On this, the fourth week, we've all been tasked with writing a review:
But I couldn't resist also making just one more thing - these pecan pralines:
You didn't think I would pass up the chance to make a New Orleans treat, now did you? In fact, I surprised Poppa Trix with these, and he said he would put them up against any praline he's had in NOLA. Pretty high praise, that.
I have to agree with him - except for one teeny, tiny thing. The pralines that I cooled on the foil hardened up perfectly; while the ones I cooled on parchment paper never quite set. Both methods are given as options in the recipe, so I'm not sure what went wrong there. To be honest, I think they look much more photogenic before they've hardened:
But there's a problem ... you can't pick them up. Ever. Not a problem with the less attractive, yet perfectly hardened, pralines that I cooled on the foil:
This is not a book filled with difficult pastry techniques and concepts. That has its place to be sure, but so does a book with practical, every day tips such as how to make your own buttermilk, how to get the bundt out of the pan, and how to soften butter in a jiffy. These aren't the sort of recipes that you will need to attempt over and over until you get it right - there are no macarons here, no Swiss meringues or puff pastry or things that will collapse.
What you will find are sweets (and some savory dishes) divided into categories that likely speak to some aspect of your life: cakes and milkshakes for celebrations, single lady chocolate cakes for those me-time moments, pancakes and waffles to ring in the weekend, brownies to comfort and soothe the soul, crowd-pleasing desserts to take to a party. And each recipe has an introduction or anecdote in Joy's signature down-to-earth voice. It's like your best girl friend wrote a cookbook and invited you to share in the fun.
I've had a great time participating in the Cook Off, and I've even learned to embrace my sweet side a little bit. And as for the recipe for those pralines? It's on page 206.
*This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*