Cover image for Sweet stuff : Karen Barker's American desserts
Sweet stuff : Karen Barker's American desserts
Barker, Karen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chapel Hill : The University of North Carolina Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
372 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TX773 .B349 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Like many people, I believe that one should always save room for dessert," says Karen Barker. Inspired by this sumptuous collection of more than 160 easy-to-follow dessert recipes, you may decide to skip dinner altogether and head straight for the sweet stuff.

Drawing on years of professional experience as well as memories of cooking and baking from her New York 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.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

An award-winning pastry chef, Barker-coauthor (with her husband) of Not Afraid of Flavor, a cookbook from their restaurant, Magnolia Grill, in Durham, N.C.-presents a diverse and balanced selection of her favorite American desserts. She enthusiastically introduces home cooks to the basics of pies, fruit desserts, custards, ice cream, cookies, cakes, waffles and other breakfastlike desserts with clear, unintimidating directions and copious suggestions for variations. Every recipe includes a personal introduction, succinct directions, elaborate baker's notes with additional hints and advice, and serving suggestions that sometimes refer to other recipes in the book. By altering just a few ingredients or adding an unusual spice, Barker creates out-of-the-ordinary twists on classics, such as Apple Rhubarb Cardamom Crumb Pie, Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Custard Pie and Coffee Anise Creme Caramel, as well as more obscure tastes like Blackberry Slump with Sweet Potato Dumplings or Peanut Butter Cheesecake. Full-page photographs illustrate the dishes in mouth-watering detail. Although the book will satisfy any sweet tooth, lovers of fruit desserts will especially appreciate the abundance of recipes for pies, cobblers, crumbles, crunches, crisps, buckles, grunts, slumps and betties, as well as Barker's tutorial on how to tell the difference between them. (Apr. 19) Forecast: Although Barker's restaurant is in North Carolina and her book is being published by a university press, Sweet Stuff could have national appeal. Barker has received coverage in major magazines like More, Bon Appetit and Fine Cooking, and the publisher plans a 20,000-copy first printing and a national media campaign. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

"Sweets make people happy," Barker says, and this new collection of her delicious desserts is sure to bring joy to any home baker. Previously, Barker's treats were featured in her and chef-husband Ben's Not Afraid of Flavor, a collection of fare from their restaurant, the renowned Magnolia Grill in Durham, NC. This set, however, does not strictly feature restaurant desserts-some of the recipes are on the Magnolia Grill menu, but others are long-time family favorites or her own versions of all-American classics. She likes to "layer flavors and textures," and among the delectable results are Cherry Vanilla Turnovers, Dark Chocolate Peppermint Pattie Cake, and Key Lime Souffl? Pudding. Most recipes include invaluable "Baker's Notes," along with serving suggestions for dressing them up. With color photographs throughout, this is for all baking collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.