Sweet Wednesday: The Perfect Scoop

If you are on a diet or lack a sweet tooth,  this week’s Cookbook Roundup is SO not for you.   I  remember when I was a small child, every summer when peaches were in season my maternal grandfather would drive over from his home in Alabama to visit us in New Orleans and bring us two big bushel baskets of the sweetest, juiciest peaches.   And always my mother and my Aunt Katherine would make homemade peach ice cream.   I have no idea what recipe they used or how they made it turn out so good without using an ice cream machine (they would blend the ingredients with a mixer or blender and pour it into ice cube trays and just stick it in the freezer overnight).   But all these years later,  David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop called up memories of icy, peachy goodness that have me practically salivating over the keyboard.

Lebovitz, a professional chef and food blogger starts with the basics– the equipment you will need and the basic techniques of preparing frozen desserts then moves on to exotic and improbable flavors and combinations as well as recipes for mix-ins, cookies and other accompaniments to The Perfect Scoop.    If you, like me, have fond memories of old fashioned home made ice cream do yourself a favor and buy an inexpensive ice cream maker, check out Lebovitz’s book and get set for a summer of  icy, creamy goodness.   Recommended.

Where the Lebovitz book is geared to the beginner or intermediate cook,  Ann Amernick’s  The Art of the Dessert is much more for the Advanced class.  Amernick, a highly accomplished and respected pastry chef has assembled a collection of recipes for elaborate and impressive desserts that look truly mouth-watering in the pictures.  If you are an experienced baker and willing to invest significant time and shell out for top-of-the-line ingredients, Amernick can show you how to make truly amazing cakes, tarts and other pastries.  But this one is definitely  not suitable for the beginner.   Recommended.


If you are not up to the task of baking Amernick’s elaborate pastries and don’t want to invest in an ice cream maker, Lisa Adams’  S’Mores–Gourmet Treats for Every Occasion offers a low budget, no special skills required alternative.   I confess that I have only been camping a couple of  times in my life and was pretty miserable on both occasions.  Nonetheless I do quite like the quintessential graham cracker, chocolate and roasted marshmallow treat and Adams has concocted an impressive array of variations.   She also includes specific and helpful advice for preparing these treats under most any conceivable conditions from the classic campfire to the kitchen microwave.   This one is an ideal choice for anyone who has fond memories of s’mores and wants an easy but impressive choice for the perfect dessert.   Recommended.