Read this cookbook: “Sweet & Simple: Dessert for Two” by Christina Lane (The Countryman Press, $27.95)
By Wendell Brock
Yeah, we know Valentine’s Day was last week. We also think making dessert for someone you love is as timeless as the sonnets of Shakespeare.
Whispering sweet nothings into your lover’s ear is fine and dandy. But wouldn’t you rather have a sweet something spooned into your mouth? Le doh.
Dallas blogger Christina Lane has made her mark by developing desserts for two, though she allows in her introduction that having an infant and two dogs means there are always more mouths to feed. (As in visitors who drop by to see the baby.)
So you’ll pardon her if she slips in some recipes for 8-inch pans.
When baking small, you see, size is everything. And Lane would be nowhere without her mini baking sheet, loaf pan, muffin pan, ramekins, small jars, and 6-inch cake pans. (The chapters are divided accordingly.)
Cookies, from peanut butter-chocolate to sugar-sprinkled, she concocts in batches of 6 or 12. The loaf pan she uses for bars and brownies, and even an angel food jam cake. (Get out the electric knife and slice that loaf into three layers, will ya?)
Her twee brulees, cobblers, bread puddings, cheesecakes and whatnots are darling. Writing and organization is not her strong suit, however. But hey, what’s a little subject-verb disagreement (“you who doesn’t want tempting leftovers”) and saccharine language when you can have Chocolate Truffle Cake and Mini Moon Pies?
It’s wise to bake in small quantities so leftovers don’t go stale or you don’t overindulge. Yet even with 100 recipes, “Sweet & Simple” feels a little lightweight, as it were. Perhaps it’s the perfect book for people more into Pinterest posts than serious baking.
Wendell Brock is an Atlanta food and culture writer, frequent AJC contributor and winner of a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award for journalism. Follow him on Twitter (@MrBrock) and Instagram (@WendellDavidBrock).