Cookbook Review – Sweet Miniatures by Flo Braker

by Robyn on January 5, 2011

Cover of the Sweet Miniatures cookbook showing small pastries one can make.Cookbook Review – Sweet Miniatures by Flo Braker
First Published in 1991 by William and Morrow Company
In 2000 Chronicles Books published the Soft cover version
Sweet Miniatures
The Art of Making Bite-Size Desserts
By Flo Braker
Chronicle Books, 2000
Paperback, $22.95
384 pages with over 60 color photos

Publishers summary: The best things come in small packages and no one knows this better than acclaimed baking expert and award-winning author Flo Braker. Now, Chronicle Books is pleased to publish a completely revised and expanded edition of her beloved and best selling Sweet Miniatures. Winner of the IACP Single-Subject Cookbook Award, Sweet Miniatures now offers rich, all-new color photography, an appealing design, and step-by-step instructions for making all kinds of delectable desserts scaled down to an irresistible one-bite size.

Miniature chewy Panforte di Siena, crispy Florentine Squares, and tangy Shreveshire Tarts will whisk family and friends away on an exciting mouthwatering journey. Little sweet somethings — Candied Almond Clusters, Golden Caramels, and Toffee Butter Crunch—make thoughtful gifts during the holidays. Welcome the coming of Spring with a tempting bouquet of gorgeous Lemon Sunflowers, exquisite Chocolate Tulips, and a delicate sprig of White Blossom Circles. From cheerful Chocolate Hedgehogs to a set of Midas Cups for adding that golden touch to a festive soirée, Sweet Miniatures has all the right ingredients for creating the perfect bite-size morsel to suit any occasion.

Jam-packed with more than 125 delicious treats and luscious full-color photos, this award-winning cookbook explains, step-by-step, the methods, tricks, and techniques for ensuring a perfect batch of little pastries, cookies, cakes, or candies every time.

Learn to bake these delectable diminutives and become the hit of the party and the star of your household time and time again.

Copy of Sweet Miniatures cookbook updated cover. Flo Braker is best known as the author of The Simple Art of Perfect Baking. However, I was first introduced to Ms. Braker through the purchase of Sweet Miniatures, The Art of Making Bite -Size Desserts. In my first review of this book on my blog Food Chronicles I mentioned that this book, and Ms. Braker, helped me realize I was an artist. I could create, color outside the lines and create artful desserts for everyone to enjoy. It was an awakening. I count her as a tried and true old friend. But first, she was my teacher.

Sweet Miniatures is a textbook of sorts. Flo Braker not only introduces you to a myriad of sweet, small desserts, she teaches you the chemistry of baking. She walks you through the difficult parts of mixing butter with sugar, and explains why you beat them together and how they should look when they’re ready to use. She cautions you about over mixing and what happens when you have over mixed a dough. She is careful in her instruction, lending a gentle hand that guides you from one success to the next.

Part I of the book explains the essential tools you’ll need, the ingredients you become familiar with when creating these little desserts and the essentials of obtaining wonderful tasting miniatures. You’ll moves through the other parts of the book building a foundation with cookies, move on to pastries, then cakes and finish with make ahead miniatures.

You’ll learn pastry creams, ganaches, giandujas, meringues, macarons, using fruits and phyllo doughs. It is an exhaustive tour of the pastry kitchen one that with the right passion will fill hours and hours of kitchen time for yourself and the enjoyment of those you bake for. My love for the miniature tartlettes is renowned by my family and friends. They’ve been at almost every family wedding. My first book purchased in 1991 has been worn out from use. I purchased a second copy from Chronicle Books some years ago and have a third just as a back-up just in case!

Some of my favorites are the Little Jems, butter cookies with a jam filling and a pecan top. The Pecan Diamonds with their chewy texture. The Meringue Bubbles combine meringue with shortbread a crowd pleasing combination. You’ll learn to work with chocolate and dried fruits.Each tiny dessert you make will instruct and inspire you to begin to build from them and come up with your own creations using the base knowledge you’ve gained from Ms. Braker and her pastry skill training she shares with you.

I recommend this cookbook for anyone. When carefully studied and employed, using the instruction given in the book, you should find great success with your chosen desserts. As I said in my first review, Ms. Braker taught me that once I knew the basics I could color outside the lines and create beautiful art work with pastry. I think you’ll be singing her praises to someday too!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: