Pros: Great flavor; lots of well-made standards; a few innovations
Cons: Poor layout; rampant cuteness; mostly standard recipes
Rating: 4 out of 5
First posted 9/22/2000
This cookbook was put out by the owner of Rosie’s Bakery. You know you’re in for a wild ride just from the title: “All-Butter Fresh Cream Sugar-Packed No-Holds-Barred…”
First you’ll find some sections on things like pantry contents, equipment, notes on ingredients, etc. Most of this stuff is old news to cooks with any experience. Reading the equipment list, however, is a good way to be sure you have what you’ll need for these recipes.
Each chapter starts off with some of the things Judy Rosenberg learned along the way, and her explanations for how to make these things work. Little things like lining cake pans with parchment paper, cooling cake layers in pans, etc. If you’re a relatively new cook it’ll be very useful. If you’re an experienced cook it’s worth a glance through to see if there are any tricks you haven’t picked up yet. For instance, there are some nice hints on what to do if your cake comes out badly and you need to salvage it.
There are some truly decadent treats in here: this is not a cookbook you should use while dieting! You’ll find Rosie’s Famous Chocolate Sour-Cream Cake Layers, Queen Raspberry Cake, Texas Ruby Red Cake, and one of our favorites, Cold Fudge Sundae Cake, which involves whipped cream and raspberries. There’s a Chocolate Mousse Cake, a Snow Queen Cake (more raspberry!), and the Harvard Mocha Cake (quoth Judy: “I’m not sure why I named it after Harvard”).
In the fruit arena you’ll find a Bittersweet Orange Cake with a Lemon Glaze, an Applesauce Raisin Cake, Mustard Gingerbread, Fresh Blueberry-Muffin Breakfast Cake, Lemon-Glazed Orange Chiffon Cake, Lemon-Strawberry Sponge Roll, Lemon Pudding Cake, and Lemon Icebox Cake with Fresh Strawberries.
There are even cheesecakes in here: Pumpkin Cheesecake, Caramel-Topped Pecan Cheesecake.
Next come the frostings and fillings, from traditional favorites like Fudge Frosting and Marshmallow Frosting to Cream Cheese Frosting and Rosie’s Buttercream. There’s a Mocha Buttercream, Vanilla Custard Filling, and Lemon Custard Filling. I think a little more variety would have been nice, but the things that are here are quite good.
Next come the cookies
I’m not entirely sure why there’s a cookie chapter here since there’s an entirely separate Rosie’s Bakery “Cookie Book.” It seems a bit redundant, particularly for those people interested in buying both.
You’ll find the usual tips, tricks, and helpful hints section, including discourses on the different types of cookies (traditional drop cookies, cakelike drop cookies, log cookies, shortbread cookies, rolled cookies, and filled pastry cookies).
There are old standards here, including of course the Chocolate Chip Cookie. There are delicious variations, like the Orange Pecan Chocolate-Chip Cookie. There are some unusual things, like Soho Globs. There are peanut butter cookies called Sunken Kisses, and there are Ginger-snappers. You’ll also find Crispy Orange-Oatmeal Wafers, Lemon Cake Cookies, and Butterscotch-Cinnamon Icebox Cookies.
Squares and bars
This chapter is cutely named “Harvard Squares.” (For those of you not from the Boston area, “Harvard Square” is a very popular area to live, work, and play in Cambridge.) Again you’ll find several pages on various types of bar cookies.
Then you’ll find Mint Brownies, Chocolate Orgasms, and Extra Extra Fudgy Brownies (slight digression: truth be told, the fudgiest brownies I’ve ever had are the “No Pudge” no-fat brownies, and they beat even Rosie’s out for yummy fudginess. Oh yeah, you can find them at www.nopudge.com, and no, I have no connection to them other than being a customer).
One of my favorite Rosie’s treats, however, and something that No Pudge has yet to duplicate, are the White Chocolate Brownies. They’re buttery and chewy and so yummy.
Then there are Orange Birthday Cake Bars, Cherry Cheesecake Bars, Lemon Cream Cheese Squares, and Tart Lemon Squares. Whitecaps are “a sweet, buttery shortbread topped with jam and meringue,” but while they were good, they weren’t great. Apple Crumb Bars, on the other hand, are wonderful – tart apple layered in between two layers of crumb mixture and baked.
Pies, tarts, baked fruit desserts, and a word on presentation
To be honest, I’m not overly fond of the layout of this book. The little hearts all over the place and the pink chapter intro pages are a bit much. Chapter titles like “Cutie Pies” come off as saccharine. Titles are often puns. The layout isn’t very user-friendly, and recipes just come one after the other, even if this means that they end up on the front and back of the same page, so you can’t just lay out the book and go.
Okay. Now that we have that out of the way…There’s a good section on handling pie crusts, for those people who fear them. (Although there’s an even better episode of the Food Network show “Good Eats” that covers the same subject.) This is probably the longest of the intro/tip chapter sections. There are two different pie crusts, two different tart crusts, and a Cookie Crumb Crust.
You’ll find the standard All-American Apple Pie, a nifty Sour Cream Apple Pie, Apple Tart, and Apple-Cranberry Tart. There’s a Blueberry-Plum Crumb Pie, Nectarine Synergy, Lemon-Raisin Pie, Deep-Dish Pumpkin Pie, Florida Lime Pie, Raspberry Chiffon Pie, Chocolate Berry Tart, Strawberry Cream-Cheese Tart, and Caramel Apple Casserole. There are few surprises here, but lots of good solid recipes for old favorites.
Custards, puddings and confections
This chapter starts off strange with Daddy’s Oedipal Chocolate Pudding. It moves on to a few standards like Butterscotch Pudding and Rice Pudding. Then you’ll find a Baked Chocolate Custard, a Peaches ‘n’ Cream Custard, and a Pumpkin Caramel Custard. And then…a Truffle Souffle? Oh my. Don’t forget to try the Bourbon Bread Pudding or the Apple Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce. Or the Chocolate Cream Cheese Mousse. Or the Orange Cream-Cheese Bavarian. All in all, I think this chapter rolls my socks down the most, with some unusual and delectable treats.
This book tempts me to give it a 5, but I’m going to stick with a 4. The layout bugs me, as does the rampant cuteness. The recipes, however, are almost entirely first-rate.
I’m surprised to hear that you taste shortening in the goods at Rosie’s. I haven’t been there in years, so I have no way of knowing whether or not this is true, but I can say that when I worked there (a long time ago, granted) it really was all butter, fresh cream and sugar packed. Yes, the layout of the book is a bit precious– though first published in 2000, it definitely reflects the decade in which Rosie’s came of age– the ’80s.
I have been using Rosie’s book for a long, long time- over 20 years – and since I’ve been using it so long, I hardly even notice the layout anymore!! 🙂 The pie crust recipes are absolutely, hands-down the BEST!!! I’ve been baking all my pies with these pie crust recipes and family and friends always rave about them. Have fun Rosie’s book!!