On the Bookshelf

Start your engines! Here we go into the holiday season. The first one is many people’s fun favorite, Halloween. With bags or candy flying off the shelf and pumpkins being carved, homes decorated and a general air of scare running, kids and adults alike are excited. With the run into Thanksgiving and then Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we have much to be excited about. Of course, every day is a holiday if we are living right.

Today we will be thinking about food (we always are really!), and we will begin with the best part of any meal, dessert. It has been a long time practiced behavior for this writer to have dessert before dinner, so as not to get to the stuffed point and thereby miss dessert. That is never a good place to be. While not being too crazy about this pattern, eating some sweet treats early in the meal is no crime.

Our cookbook for this article is Delish Insane Sweets. Just the title gets us up and aware for what might be held inside. The authors Joanna Saltz and a host of other editors from Delish magazine got together to bring us some fun sweet foods to prepare and eat ourselves or share with others at parties this year. This book does have some pretty fascinating recipes and some classics too. It is distributed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and was put together in 2019. This is a second sweets book by this company. 

What is it about sugar that captivates us? Many people probably could agree that sugar was the first potential habit forming substance we may have ingested. Of course it is food, so we do not look at it with much derision. Equally important though is to remember that too much sugar is not good for us. The body can only naturally process so much sugar, and the processed sugar is more difficult for the body to absorb. This being said, sometimes we just have to chuck the rule book and chow down on some yummies.

Do you have a favorite dessert item? Cookies are always fun. Cakes can be, too. Today’s book has a large section dedicated to cookie cakes. Well is that not just fantastic? Combining two of our favorites into on bomber of a dessert. There are plenty of cookie and cakes represented individually in the over one hundred recipes in Delish Insane Sweets. 

It is always fun to try to run down the history of food reciped we commonly consume. Cookies, at least the name and some of the early American recipes came here with the Dutch. Baking and the use of sugar in baking has deep European roots for some of our favorite desserts. They in turn found their influence from the Persian Empire, supposedly around the 700s with various Muslim contacts. 

Butter cookies, sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookie, peanut butter cookies (drooling yet?), almond cookies, cream filled cookies, mint cookies and so many more cookies have been a treat for years. They travel nicely, are easily made for the most part and are always welcome. Perhaps coming back as a cookie would be a nice rebirth for those who go for that concept.

If you are excited for the Holiday season, and you are looking for some new recipes that will thrill your hosts or guests, perhaps Delish Insane Sweets might be a book for you. There are thousands of other dessert books out there, as well. It might be fun to show the young ones in your life a little baking skill this year, and keep the fire burning for the goodies we always enjoyed. Recalling grandmother’s chocolate chip cookies, Indian pudding and tapioca always bring a smile to this face. We hope you find time to have dessert before dinner once in a while and have a great experience during this lovely time of year.

Enjoy and read on!

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