Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey Treats for Kids

The introduction from the author makes me instantly love her. She seems totally neurotic about her kitchen and prefers her baked goods to turn out a certain way - just like me! And yet she wrote this cookbook for kids, understanding her kitchen would be under fire and making peace with the situation. If she can let her kitchen become subject to sticky, messy and gooey, any of us can.

Jill's introduction: I have a secret. Baking with children isn't always easy. I realized this a long time ago when I tried to make chocolate cupcakes with my daughter Sophia, an activity that ended badly with her running crying from the kitchen when I took the icing spatula away from her. My older daughter, Olivia, in all her teenage wisdom, like to call me "mean chef." My husband sometimes pretends an invisible time clock is ticking (sound effects included) while I am trying to teach one of them to cook, to see just how many seconds I can stand it before I snatch the whisk from their fingers. Is it just another case of the cobbler's children having no shoes, or am I really just a big kitchen ogre?

Just like the title promises, this book is chock full of wonderfully gooey treats that children will fall head over heels in love with. Armed with recipes such as Flufftastic Fudge, Curiously Sticky Caramel Monkey Bread and Butterscotch French Toast, it's a certainty that parents will be in hog heaven as well. It's surprising to me that these desserts lean a bit upscale, but I guess if you let kids loose in your kitchen with chocolate sprinkles, the knowledge that you will be nibbling on Peanut Butter-Pretzel Bonbons will probably take the edge off. Should the kids get suspicious, you can always wow them with the Ghostly Meringues.

It's important to note that the format of this book is as lovely as the recipes. The page edges are cut into a scalloped design with sweet gingham and flower patterns running the length of each page, almost like using the prettiest recipes cards imaginable. Drool-worthy photos accompanying several of the recipes, and notes are scattered about on white and pastel colored doilies. All of those details come together to make this a cookbook that has a lot of visual appeal and personality.

I really like that each page includes a short paragraph on why that particular recipe was chosen, giving us a little insight into the author's thoughts. It's not just a bunch of recipes stuck together, but rather good explanations on when and where these dishes might be appropriate, or suggestions on how to further adapt them.

Jill also writes "When I was growing up there was often a homemade treat waiting for my brothers and me when we came home from school." I really want my kids to have those kinds of warm memories. It helps to remember there will be plenty of years after your kids are grown to keep your counters fingerprint free and the floors swept clean. With the help of this book, you can allow those sticky little hands to invade your space and help turn out wonderful treats for the whole family.

Jill also lays claim to Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth, which has gotten excellent reviews!


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