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1383831_open_book_2The librarian asked me to write a review for a novel a few months back. It was an author that I liked and she knew how much I might enjoy reading the book. It took me a couple of days to read the book but over 2 months to do the review.

Why? I truly believed that I could not come up with a hook that would make others want to read it. After submitting the piece to the librarian, and after she read it, she stated that others would definitely want to read it. It didn’t hurt that it was love story with all the emotions of how love can and will take you so high and bring you so low and high again and low….and on and on. A lovelorn, lovesick, love-struck kind of novel-just my kind.

What has this got to do with cooking? For me everything. I had all the tools I needed to write a “novel” review. It occurred to me that I write cookbook (15 or more to date) reviews, why not a novel? Writing this novel review and writing  cookbook reviews tells me this one thing-I have a mutual affection for love and cooking. A romance novel or cookbook, it matters not. What matters is that I love both of them-reading and cooking.

Coincidentally, did you know you can read cookbooks like a novel and never cook anything in it? I have lots of those books- sitting on my bookshelf or placed adoringly on my coffee table. My latest review is on a cupcake cookbook titled Hello Cupcake by Leila Holdham. I mentioned in an earlier post that cupcakes are hot items. My cupcake baked today is one called Sticky Upside Down Pecan Cupcakes.

Sticky Upside Down Walnut Cupcakes

I made two changes in the cupcake. Instead of using pecans, I substituted them for walnuts. One change that needs to happen is I would add a bit more sugar. The batter lacked a sweetness that perhaps the author felt the sweetness from the sticky syrup combined with the sugar in the batter would make it sweet enough. I accidentally left out the baking powder-and they might have been more fluffy, instead they were dense. I also made 24 mini cupcakes and I think one might have had a bigger flavor punch with the caramel syrup if they were made as directed-12 normal sized cupcakes. Regardless, the overall process of making them was amazingly smooth and not hard at all. I think a young teenager can carry out this very nicely. I recommend getting the book and see if you like it. Check out the pictures.

Mini Cupcakes brushed with butter

Mini Cupcakes Brushed wiht Melted ButterMelted Butter for Caramel process

ButterHoney to go with the Brown sugar and Butter for the Caramel

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Caramel Cooking

Carmelizing Brown Sugar and ButterCaramel in cupcake liner bottoms

Filling the cupcakes with carmelWalnuts in caramel Syrup

Placing Walnuts in NextBatter

Flour, egg, cinnamon, butter, milk batterBatter mixedBatterIn LinersReady to go in OvenDone!Done

Now a review for the baker-me. I like to bake but to be honest it is new and I am still learning the technique. Quite different from cooking. I have more cupcakes to bake and more reviews to give, but overall the book is easy to follow. It is true- we are harder on ourselves than others are. Here’s the thing I do have-passion. It will get better and check in with me next time for the review on the strawberry compote and brie I am working on.

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