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home : features : book review April 28, 2016

11/27/2009 6:00:00 AM
Cookbooks add spice to your life

Clark Isaacs
KDM contributor

"The Bread Machine Bible" by Anne Sheasby; 978-1-84483-795-3; Pages: 176; $19.95; Publication Date: 2009; Hardcover Cookbook; Published by: Sterling Publishing Co.,Inc.

The Bread Machine Bible" by Anne Sheasby is a must-have for your dining pleasure at home. With more than 100 recipes of basic to exotic breads for the expert or novice, she has combined them into a comprehensive and well-illustrated guide for making bread.

Bakeries in many of the communities have been combined into supermarkets, and the local bakery is quickly fading into the past. Along with this has been the disappearance of specialty breads which many of us have enjoyed through the years.

With increasing prices for those being sold at the major chain stores and the lack of old-time texture, we are being pushed into creating our own alternatives.

One of the best gifts for your home this holiday season is a new bread machine and a copy of this book. Directions on how to make these breads are straight-forward and easy to follow. They not only taste good, but are good looking. Many of the breads are mixed in the bread machine on the dough cycle and then placed in the oven for baking. This adds to the fun of being able to show off your creation to company.

Anne Sheasby has written more than 15 cookbooks, is an accomplished authority on cooking and is able to tell others how to make healthy foods at home. Anne is well-known throughout the United Kingdom, where she resides, and her books are esteemed world-over as being authoritative and practical.

"Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero; 978-1-60094-048-4; Pages 252; $17.95; Publication Date Nov. 15, 2009; Paperback Cookbook; Published by Lifelong Books, Da Capo Press.

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar" is a delicious sequel to "Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World" and "Veganomicon" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. These best-selling authors have compiled recipes which would whet any appetite and still be healthy.

Acceptance of vegan eating habits has become more than just the fancy of "yuppies"; they are finding their way to the palettes of ordinary folks who are concerned about eating heart-healthy.

Cookies are the mainstay of snacking, dessert or just a treat at anytime. When you see the beautiful pictures, you can just about taste them.

Holiday time started with Thanksgiving Day yesterday and continues through New Year's. What better way to entertain at home than with a favorite beverage and a cookie which is easy to make.

When you have friends over or decide to share a snack at work, here is an exceptional recipe:

Caramel Pecan Bars

For the crust:

• 2 cups all-purpose flour

• 1/3 cup dark brown sugar

• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

• 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

• A big pinch of salt

• 3/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine,

slightly softened

For the pecan topping:

• 3 tablespoons cornstarch

• 1/3 cup nondairy milk

• 1-½ cups dark brown sugar

• 2⁄3 cup brown rice syrup

• 2 tablespoons melted non-hydrogenated margarine

• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13x2-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, making sure the foil completely covers the sides of the pan, with about 2 inches folded outside over the edges. Spray the bottom and sides of the pan generously with nonstick cooking spray.

Prepare the crust:

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Use a pastry cutter or two knives held together to cut in the margarine until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Pour crumbs into the prepared baking pan and press down evenly and very firmly, making sure to press the mixture all the way to the edges of the pan. Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes until firm and very lightly browned. Remove the pan from the oven and set it aside.

Prepare the topping:

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and nondairy milk until foamy. Stir in the dark brown sugar, brown rice syrup, melted margarine, vanilla and salt until smooth. Fold in the pecans and pour the mixture onto the crust, using a spatula to spread the topping evenly.

2. Return the pan to the oven and bake for 28 to 30 minutes, or until the filling is rapidly bubbling. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes, then move it to the refrigerator to finish cooling and setting. Chill for at least 2 hours or, even better, overnight.

3. To slice completely cooled bars, grab ahold of the foil and carefully lift the whole thing out of the pan and onto a heavy cutting board. Peel away the foil and cut bars with a heavy, sharp knife.


Salted Caramel Pecan Bars: Right after the bars are out of the oven and the topping is still hot, sprinkle the surface very sparingly with your favorite coarse-grained gourmet salt. Cool and slice as directed.

Publisher's Weekly Best-Selling Books

Week of Nov. 16


1. Under the Dome. Stephen King; Scribner; $35; 978-1-4391-4850-1.

2. The Lost Symbol; Dan Brown; Doubleday; $29.95; 978-0-385-50422-5.

3. Ford County; John Grisham; Doubleday; $24; 978-0-385-53245-7.

4. The Gathering Storm; Robert Jordan; Tor; $29.99; 978-0-765-30230-4.

5. The Help; Kathryn Stockett; Putnam/Amy Einhorn; $24.95; 9780399155345.


1. Open; Agassi, Martine;

Knopf; $28.95; 978-0-307-26819-8.

2. Have a Little Faith; Mitch Albom; Hyperion; $23.99; 978-0-7868-6872-8.

3. Divine Soul Mind Body Healing and Transmission System; Zhi Gang Sha; Atria; $27.99; 978-1-4391-7766-2.

4. It's Your Time; Joel Osteen; Free Press; $25; 978-1-4391-0011-0.

5. A Simple Christmas; Mike Huckabee; Sentinel; $19.95; 978-1-5952-3062-1.

Clark Isaacs is an accomplished book critic who is published in local newspapers and national book review lists. Visit Clark at http://clarkisaacs.ning.com.

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