For Food Network Canada with Nicole Basacco
Availability: Major retailers
Jenny Keller is a self-taught baker who has built an empire on sugar cookies and beautifully crafted desserts. Her passion for baking began in her grandmother’s kitchen as a tot, but wasn’t reignited until she had had children of her own. Seeking a creative outlet after choosing to stay home with her kids, Jenny realized that she was finding any excuse to throw a party and arrange elaborately themed dessert tables. Scouring flea markets and testing sugar cookie recipes had become a consistent pastime, and Jenny’s dessert tables were attracting some seriously sweet attention. Jenny quickly garnered a following from celebrities like Tori Spelling, and she began to gain a reputation as the authority for dessert tables at celeb-filled Hollywood soirees.
Keller’s Eat More Dessert is a beautiful and light-hearted book, focusing on the design of a perfect dessert table. It features stunning photos, and simple recipes and food arrangements that are actually easy to recreate. Recipes range from just-assemble-and-decorate, to over-the-top cakes that require a little more patience and finesse. But even the most complicated recipe is simple enough for a beginner with little knowledge of baking methods and techniques. Most recipes only require a handful of ingredients, and can be replicated somewhat inexpensively. If you don’t feel like making Jenny’s butter cream or doughnut holes from scratch, the recipe suggests using store-bought mixes, icings and coffee shop doughnut holes instead. Oreo cookies, Ritz crackers, Fluff and Cake Mix also make an appearance. Aside from the how-to baking basics, Jenny gives tips on styling the perfect dessert table.
Chapters are divided into the following themes:
- Princess Tea Party
- Ice Cream Shop
- Spring Garden
- Love is Sweet
- Vintage baby
- Fall Bounty
- Down on the Farm
- North Pole Bakery
I chose to make Jenny’s Cake Pops (page 20) and Strawberry Sweetheart Cookies (page 63).
I am not a baker. There is something about careful measuring and floured surfaces that scares me. Creative decorating, however, I adore. So while I am usually pretty intimidated by baking, these recipes were a breeze. Both were surprisingly easy and my baking companion and I used store-bought mix and icing to keep it simple. Jenny emphasizes that any of her basic recipes can be modified to suit your event, so we decided to mix it up and create a chocolate version of the Strawberry Sweetheart Cookies as well. It took a couple of tries to find just the right sized scoop for the cookies to bake right, but in the end we were really pleased. These cookies were definitely an acceptable macaroon substitute. The cake pops were lovely, fun to make, and they created a lot of smiles around the office. In the end, we made dozens of goodies for under $30. This is a wonderful book, and I will be using it again.
This book is meant for: People who like to entertain, party planners, wedding shower hostesses, and parents looking for creative activities to do with their kids. It is great for anyone that wants to see an impressive result, without a ton of effort or cost.