Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Review: Pure Vanilla

Pure Vanilla
by Shauna Sever
Quirk Books, October 2012
ISBN: 978-1-59474-596-6
Hardcover, $22.95

I believe that vanilla has gotten an unfair reputation as the wallflower of the flavoring sisters. Poor vanilla, she's not as spicy as cinnamon, as bright as citrus, or as sexy as chocolate. But to me, there's no such thing as "plain vanilla." Never domineering, acrid, or bitter (unlike those more volatile sisters), vanilla plays well with others, complementing and enhancing the flavors of her fellow ingredients. (Why do you think we add a bit of vanilla extract to everything from brownies to pumpkin pie?)

Shauna Sever's wonderful Pure Vanilla features eighty recipes and loads of luscious full-color photos to help you enjoy vanilla's solo act. Whether you're a longtime fan of vanilla's subtle grace notes or a diehard chocolate addict willing to explore the paler side of the dessert tray, you'll find plenty to drool over. From nice (Vanilla Stewed Fruit) to naughty (Twinkie Bundt Cake) to super sexy (Vanilla Martini), there are recipes for a wide range of tastes.
Vanilla Cloud Cake

Sever includes lots of info on her subject in Pure Vanilla, including a history of vanilla, tasting notes, and a really interesting look at how our favorite spice goes from orchid pod to extract bottle. The book begins with an introduction and ends with a resources sections, and the chapters are broken down thusly:
  1. Breakfasts
  2. Cakes and Pies
  3. Cookies and Bars
  4. Candies and Confections
  5. Custards and Creams
  6. Drinks
The Scoop:
*Good for gifting.
*Good for cookshelf.

Thanks to the ever-awesome Quirk Books for providing photos and a review copy. 

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