Another problem is that some of the recipes don't actually look like their corresponding pictures. For example, the thumbprint cookie recipe said to roll slices of dough into balls, and then to press down in the centers of the balls. This produced a much plumper cookie than the ones pictured. I would bet that the cookies made for the photo shoot were left in slices before thumbprinting. A minor detail, perhaps, but considering a course as presentation-oriented as dessert, I felt misled.
Finally, I was surprised at how difficult and/or complicated some of these recipes were. Whisking hot cream into egg yolks without scrambling the eggs takes luck or practice, if not instruction. I would have expected at least a caution against this common mistake in the pots de cr me recipe. Harder recipes are not prefaced with any sort of warning, and since the prep times are so misleading, I couldn't tell before making the recipes how challenging they would be. I wanted this cookbook to be more user-friendly since it was coming from an organization dedicated to helping "busy women create the best possible lives for themselves and their families."
I am thankful, though, that all the recipes in this book work. The cake was a little drier than I expected, but all three of the recipes that I made pleased my nine average-palated taste-testers. I'm not sure that these recipes are "perfected," "ultimate" or "flawless," but they are creative and fun. So for that purpose, I recommend Family Circle's Best Ever Cakes and Cookies to you.
Good Cooking likes the following recipe
for its simple preparation method and the final results. Try
dusting each slice with powdered sugar before serving.
Apple Caramel Cake
Butter and brown sugar pair up with apples and pecans for a gooey topping; go over-the-top and serve with a scoop of vanilla or butter pecan ice cream.
Makes 8 servings
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/3 cups packed light, or dark-brown sugar
1 3 /4 teaspoons pumpkin-pie spice or ground cinnamon
1 cup pecan halves
2 medium-size Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced into thin wedges
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup water
1. Heat oven to 375 .
2. Coat sides of a 9-inch round or 9 x 9 x 2-inch-square cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place 3 tablespoons butter in bottom of pan; swirl to coat bottom. Sprinkle 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon pie spice over butter. Arrange 12 pecan halves, flat side up, around edge of bottom of pan. Arrange apple slices in pan. Chop remaining pecans.
3. Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons pie spice in a medium-size bowl until combined.
4. In a second medium-size bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat together remaining melted butter and remaining 1 cup brown sugar until smooth. Stir in water. Stir in flour mixture and chopped nuts just until combined. Spoon batter evenly over apples in pan.
5. Bake in heated 375 oven 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes. Invert cake onto a serving plate and remove pan. Replace any nuts or apples that have fallen off. Serve warm.