This is one of a series of slim volumes with large page format from Australian Women’s Weekly (see more here). This is a publisher whose books are prized by those who want books to cook from. The reason for that is quite simple: Australian Women’s Weekly cookbooks have recipes that work. They are triple-tested, which is more than can be said for recipes written by some celebrity chefs or celebs-turned-chefs.
When we were small we might have been enticed into the kitchen when an adult was baking. It’s hard to get kids enthused about making a casserole, but the prospect of a bowl to scrape, a wooden spoon to lick and a cupcake as the final product is often the first step to a love of baking.
Easy Baking – Australian Women’s Weekly presents 110 or so pages of bright and attractive baked goods, with additional pages of baking tips, advice on cake pans (yes, size does matter) and a glossary of ingredients. This would be a marvellous book for a novice cook as it doesn’t assume you already have the keen and practised eye of a professional baker. The recipes are clearly written and supportive. The more experienced cook will find lots of sweet treats and a couple of savoury ones to add to their repertoire.
The chapter titles hint at the style of this informal cookbook: Baking for the cake stall, for kids’ lunchboxes, for morning tea, with the kids, for afternoon tea, for celebrations. Everything is child-friendly, being either just the sort of baked goods that kids like to eat or that they would enjoy making. There are lots of small individual cakes as well as biscuits, muffins and slices. The larger cakes just cry out for little hands to drizzle, sprinkle or frost them.
I have several quick and easy favourites from this book. Pear Frangipane Galette takes only 45 minutes for both the preparation and the cooking time. It uses bought shortcrust pastry so this is a great standby dessert. Keep some pastry in the freezer for emergencies. I do and I don’t know why I feel guilty about doing it. Find a good quality pastry, though.
Chocolate Caramel Slice is a must-try. It’s a simple recipe in three stages. It needs refrigeration before eating so this is no instant snack. The recipe suggests that it serves 16 but I think that’s just the number of squares when cut. These won’t stay in the tin very long even in a household of 2.
Easy Baking – Australian Women’s Weekly is a good solid cookbook with recipes that you know you can trust. A couple of ingredients might be unfamiliar to cooks not hailing from the Antipodes but substitutions will be obvious. Terrific value for money.
Easy Baking – Australian Women’s Weekly
Author: Australian Women’s Weekly
Published by: ACP Books
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018