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The All-American Dessert Book

"Elegant and inspiring, this volume has something for every cook." — Publishers Weekly

About the Book

Nancy Baggett set out to find the best homemade desserts in America, and she knew just where to look. She turned to small-town cooks who are locally famous for their specialties, innkeepers and bakers whose treats lure guests back year after year, and church and bake-sale ladies whose creations are always snapped up. Many of Nancy's finds have never before been published, or even written down. The All-American Dessert Book (Houghton Mifflin, October 2005), is a luscious collection of 150 truly American favorites — each one with its own little morsel of history.

Nancy traveled to Vermont, where she tracked down a buttery blueberry buckle from a bed and breakfast. In Virginia she persuaded an apple grower to part with his secret for making the best deep-dish apple pie. A home cook in the Ozarks shared an amazing peach cobbler (the best Nancy has ever tasted) she had learned from her mother. Nancy dug up a particularly rich frozen chocolate mud cake in Mississippi. She went down to New Orleans for a famous whiskey bread pudding, and then over to California, where she struck gold with an innkeeper's lemon filling for shortbread sandwich cookies. Nancy also rummaged through her grandmother's and mother's recipe files and her own. She backtracked through history to resurrect all kinds of wonderful desserts, from strawberry shortcakes to pumpkin cheesecake and apple pandowdy.

With her recipe box bursting, Nancy then began the testing in her home kitchen. She reworked every recipe she found, testing each one several times and having other cooks cross-test for perfection. She baked her way through 370 pounds of sugar, 130 pounds of butter, and 1,100 eggs, to get the pies and tarts, cakes, cobblers and crisps, puddings and custards, and ice creams, along with newly discovered cookies, candies, and confections, just right.

This user-friendly volume also includes 10 pages of tips and techniques and a whole chapter on "family fun" — edible gifts you can make with your kids.

The All-American Dessert Book doesn't appeal only to your sweet tooth but also to your curiosity about our country's baking roots. You'll learn the difference between a crisp and a betty, and how pandowdy got its name. You'll discover why New York cream cheese–makers named cream cheese after the city of Philadelphia and find out who invented the banana split. This collection is a treasure trove of fascinating information about our heritage and the rich, ever-changing American culture.

The All-American Dessert Book is a co-main selection of The Good Cook, a division of the Book of the Month Club.

About the Author

Nancy Baggett, a leading authority on American desserts, is renowned for her clearly written, easy-to-follow recipes. She is the author of the best-selling All-American Cookie Book, The International Chocolate Cookbook, which was named the best dessert cookbook by the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and The International Cookie Book.

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