My introduction into the world of food blogging came several years ago when I discovered a beautiful site called Smitten Kitchen, written by Deb Perelman. I was initially drawn to the aesthetic of the site — it was, and still is, simple and clean, without distracting elements on the pages. The food photography is consistent and nearly prop-free, with the focus where it should be — on the food. Deb’s posts are witty and engaging, and even before I met her last year, her conversational writing style made it feel as though I knew her already.
When Deb announced her cookbook a couple of years ago or so, I wasn’t surprised. If anyone deserved to have a published cookbook, if anyone should write a cookbook, it was Deb Perelman. And when she announced that her book was available for advance orders, I bought it. Immediately. In April.
The wait was awful, I must tell you.
However, the several month-long wait was worth it. The book arrived on my doorstep at the end of October, and the 322-page, hardback beauty is all it’s cracked up to be.
Each recipe is accompanied by an extensive headnote explaining the backstory of the recipe with tips on preparation, and the headnotes are written in the clever and humorous style that Deb’s blog posts are known for. She’s taken all the photos herself, and they do each recipe justice.
The best part of the Smitten Kitchen recipes is that they’re well-tested in a home kitchen. I always know her recipes will work for me. And they’ll work for you too.
One of the first recipes from the cookbook on my list to make was for a flourless chocolate cake, the “tiny but intense chocolate cake” in the Sweets section.
Following Deb’s advice, I bought a 6-inch cake pan, but not the springform cake pan she used. Instead, I used this Fat Daddio cheesecake pan, with a removable bottom. Instead of having to deal with the latch on the springform outer band, I just had to push the cake right out of the pan. Easy, peasy, chicken-squeezy, as my children would say.
(I have since bought more of those Fat Daddio pans — they’re brilliant.)
I prepared and baked this cake in under an hour and with only the aid of a hand mixer, not the stand mixer. Now, I love my stand mixer, but I’m not always thrilled with having to clean it up after. Cleaning up the beaters of a hand mixer? Easy.
The cake was dense, almost like a brownie, and with the right amount of sweetness. I find that many flourless chocolate cakes are too bitter, but Deb’s recipe calls for semi-sweet chocolate and just the right amount of sugar. The cake was indeed tiny but intense, but not overly intense.
I can’t share the recipe with you, but you can find it on page 250 of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. See? There’s one sweet reason to go buy this book.
For those of you who can’t wait until the holidays, buy this as a gift for yourself now. You’ll love it. If you have patience, unlike me, ask for it for the holidays this year. Or if you’re feeling generous, which I know you are, buy it for someone you love.
~ Wait! There’s a Giveaway! ~
The good folks at the Alfred A. Knopf publishing company were gracious enough to allow me to give a copy of Deb’s book to one of my readers, so here’s your chance to get a copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook for free.
It’s very simple to enter — no hoops to jump through. Just leave me a comment below – tell me something you’ve been smitten with lately. A new book? A song? A great nail polish? A favorite slow cooker recipe? Do tell!
the fine print:
I’ll close comments on Wednesday, November 21 at 12 noon EST, and I’ll randomly select a winner from the comments. Please, only one comment per person, and you must live in the US or Canada to win the giveaway.
** update! **
Here’s the winner!
Congratulations, Nicole! You’re going to love this book so much.