Cookbook Review: Petite Sweets

Today I was lucky enough to receive this book in the mail. I was super-excited because I am a huge fan of Beatrice Ojakangas-and not just because she too is Minnesotan but because her recipes are unique without being too far-fetched. I like that her recipes use simple ingredients that allow certain flavors to shine through. Petite Sweets: Bite-Size Desserts to Satisfy Every Sweet Tooth
is a solid collection of recipes. Whatever you choose to make from this book is sure to impress your guests.

Here is what I liked about this cookbook:

-This size dessert is perfect for my family since we like to have a little something every now and then but don’t like to have a lot of junk in the house all the time! You could easily take one of these recipes, halve it, and then have enough for 6 servings or 2 evenings. Then you don’t have a whole half a chocolate cake sitting on your counter all week saying “Eat me!” (You never know if you should eat it or waste it!). We hate to eat too much in this house or waste anything so “petite sweets” is the way to go for us.

-The book includes a good mix of difficulty levels. There are recipes that are for those just starting out baking or cooking, there are some for those that are seriously advanced and there are plenty for those like me that are in between. I like to have cookbooks like this because you don’t have to worry about not being able to cook anything from it and you don’t have to worry that you are going to get bored with it right away.

-There are some very unique recipes in this book including a recipe for an espresso gelatin which I cannot WAIT to make next! I have never seen anything like this before and so I was pleased to find that I would definitely be expanding my gastronomical horizon with this book!

-The photography is really good. For me, cookbooks are feasts for the eye- some as enjoyable as my old art history textbooks. When the photography is mediocre, I’m disappointed. But these pictures are first rate- Roger LePage is a talented man. Here is one of the photos from the book:

My only concern with this book is that you do need to have some specialty equipment to complete and present all of the recipes the way they are in the photos- a krumkake iron, several ramekins of different sizes, shot glasses, etc. I suppose if I had a little extra space in my kitchen and a little extra disposable income it wouldn’t be that big of an issue.

I had a hard time choosing which recipe to make first but I finally decided on the Whoopie Pies (mostly because I wanted to try marshmallow fluff which I have never had before!) They were easy to make and turned out REALLY good. If you eat them right away, the shells are a little crispy on the bottom still- reminiscent of a macaron. If you wait a few hours and eat them later they taste more like a chocolatey cream cupcake. We had 5 taste-testers here tonight and everyone agreed that they were definitely two thumbs up!

Here are my shells after baking:

And here they are filled:

I probably made these a little bigger than I was supposed to. I used rounded tablespoon sized drops of batter on the cookie sheet and next time will definitely do rounded teaspoon size for a more petite bite.

Here is the recipe:

Whoopie Pies

Cookies:

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
Marshmallow Filling (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 2 large cookie sheets.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until combined. In a separate small
bowl, stir together buttermilk and vanilla.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat together butter and sugar at medium-high speed until
mixture is pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes in a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand mixer).
Add egg, beating until combined. Reduce speed to low and alternately mix in flour mixture and
buttermilk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, scraping down side of bowl after each
flour addition, and mixing until smooth.

Spoon 1-tablespoon mounds of batter onto 2 large buttered cookie sheets. Bake until tops are puffed and cookies spring back when touched, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Marshmallow Filling:

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

2 cups marshmallow cream such as Marshmallow Fluff

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the filling, beat together butter, powdered sugar, marshmallow cream, and vanilla in a bowl with electric mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes.

To assemble the pies, spread a rounded teaspoonful of filling on flat side of half of the cookies and top with remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container, can be well wrapped and frozen for up to 2 months. Bring frozen Whoopie Pies to room temperature before serving.

Makes 30