Drawing on years of professional experience as well as memories of cooking and baking from her Brooklyn childhood, Barker gives us the benefit of cooking alongside an experienced mentor. Starting with the fundamentals, she offers advice on selecting key ingredients, suggestions for essential kitchen equipment, and even tips on ways to fit dessert-making into the busiest of schedules.
Her recipes begin with pastry doughs, sauces, and special toppings that serve as building blocks for other desserts and provide a foundation for home cooks eager to improve their skills. Chapters on pies, fruit desserts, custards, cakes, ice creams, cookies, and breakfast-like desserts feature familiar favorites with a twist, such as key lime coconut pie with rum cream, deep-dish brown sugar plum cobbler, dark chocolate Peppermint Pattie cake, and cornmeal vanilla bean shortbreads. Sweet Stuff offers something irresistible for everyone.
Karen Barker is the 2003 winner of the Best Pastry Chef Award from the James Beard Foundation and 1999 winner of Bon AppÃ©tit's American Food and Entertaining Award for Best Pastry Chef. She and husband Ben Barker own and operate Magnolia Grill in Durham, North Carolina, and are coauthors of Not Afraid of Flavor: Recipes from Magnolia Grill.