Wednesday, October 2, 2013

REVIEW: Mini Treats & Hand-Held Sweets: 100 Delicious Desserts to Pick Up and Eat by Abigail Johnson Dodge


Forgo the fork—and spoon! These delectable desserts are fun to make and easy to pick up and devour: the 100 recipes in Mini Treats & Hand-Held Sweets will have sweet lovers sneaking seconds . . . and thirds. In these pages, expert baker Abby Dodge whisks together step-by-step baking instructions, for a sweet-shop sampler of treats—from cookies, mini tarts, and hand pies, to ice cream sandwiches and candy. No-fail recipes for sugary delights (along with delicious drizzles and favorite toppings ) abound in this collection of perfectly sized, perfectly portable desserts.

Paperback, 224 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by Taunton Press
ISBN 1600854672 (ISBN13: 9781600854675)

My Thoughts

As someone who is always watching her weight, but who also has a big sweet tooth, I'm always looking for a way to get my dessert while cutting calories. And this book is a great way to do just that.

The book includes things like "Baking Wisdom", with pointers like "Get to know your oven" and "Measure carefully". It talks about common ingredients in baking, like flour, unsalted butter and eggs. Then the recipes are divided up into chapters: "Cookies", "Mini Pies & Slab Pies", "Whoopie Pies, Cake Bites & Mini Cakes", "Bite-Sized Treats", "Frozen Treats" and "Candies". It ends with chapters on "Essential Equipment" and "Metric Equivalents", and a handy index of recipes and ingredients.

The book is filled with beautiful pictures of snacks and desserts that you just want to dive into. I decided to try my hand at making Chunky, Chewy Brownie Drops.

Chunky, Chewy Brownie Drops
Makes 32 cookies

8 tbs (4 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/3 cup (1 oz) unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) firmly packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (1 3/4 oz) granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups (5 1/2 oz) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp table salt
1 large egg, at room temperature
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line three cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick liners.
  2. Put the butter in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until melted. Slide the pan from the heat and add the cocoa powder, brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Whisk until no lumps remain. Set aside to cool, about 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt until well blended. Once the butter mixture has cooled, add the egg and vanilla and whisk until blended. Pour in the flour mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until blended. Stir in the chopped chocolate.
  3. Using a 1 tbs mini scoop, shape into balls and arrange about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using slightly dampened fingers, flatten each dough mound slightly, re-wetting your fingers as needed. Bake, one sheet at a time, until the tops look a bit dry but still glisten with moisture, 9 to 11 minutes (if the cookies are overbaked, they won't come out chewy). Move the sheet to a wire rack and let the cookies sit for 10 minutes and then transfer them to a rack to cool completely.

  • Add 1/2 cup (2 oz) chopped walnuts or pecans along with the chopped chocolate.
  • Instead of using semi or bittersweet chocolate, sub in the same amount of white chocolate, butterscotch, milk chocolate, or peanut butter chips, or use a combination of some or all of them and pair the nuts accordingly.
Do Ahead:

Layer the baked and cooled cookies between parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container. They can be stowed for up to 5 days at room temperature or for up to 3 months in the freezer. There's almost no thawing necessary-- they're delicious even when very cold.

The cookies had pretty good flavor. However mine were not "chewy" at all. I probably cooked them for too long. I thought that my cookies were a little bigger than they were supposed to be (more like 1 1/2-2 tbs rather than 1), so I went ahead and cooked 2 batches for 10 minutes, and the last batch for only 9 minutes. Yet even the 9 minute cookies were a little dry. So I probably should have done 7-8 minutes on them.

My final word: This book is full of temptation. However what disappointed me was the fact that most of the recipes seemed too complicated and time-consuming for me. I don't generally have much patience when it comes to dessert. It would be a great addition to a baker's cookbook collection, but baking is something I am not overly fond of. I would rather make custards and puddings and the like, and this book is light on that sort of thing. Still it does what it does well.

Buy Now:

Barnes and Noble

My Rating:


I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.

No comments: