This review has been overdue since long. Those who have been reading my blog since long may know about my admiration for Jehanne, who is more known as “The Cooking Doctor”. She was one of my first guest bloggers when my blog was hardly anything and I also had the chance of being a guest on her space, not one but two times. Unfortunately, with time, she never resurrected her blog for reasons best known to her. I must say that I dearly miss her space but I respect her decision and wish her all the best.
Earlier, she had done four mini cookbooks, which I had reviewed it here. We would chat occasionally and have shared a lot of talks between us. I was aware that she was working on a cookbook and was having her own problems related to it. After having been with her through thick and thin, I was more relieved and then happy that finally her cookbook is live and published! I can only imagine Jehanne’s relief on the book coming out. I would always tell her that Allah definitely has better plans for her, and Alhamdulillah, it feels good to see that her dream called “Bake it Sweet” is doing absolutely well.
Despite me saying I would buy the book, she hastily posted it to me so that I don’t ask too many questions. After a little wait and confusion at the local post office, I finally landed up with the parcel in my hands and immediately did an IG post too, out of excitement! 😀 She included a personalized messaged and I was shocked to see my name mentioned in the acknowledgement too!! That was so sweet of her, though I still wonder what did I do for my name to appear there! 😀
It’s been more than four months now and I don’t want to say that I am not feeling guilty of such a late review. The book has been lying on my bedside ever since I got it. I kept flipping through, reading through all the recipes, gawking at the pictures, and getting more and more confused as to what all I should be trying. During that time, my kids weren’t there and I was really not in a mood to bake anything. Then my vacations came and went and once back, getting back to the cooking mode took me quite a while. I didn’t want to do a rushed up review so I chose an existing draft to do my cookbook review in September, and in October, I got the chance to do the cookie book review. This gave me time to explore her book a little further and try more recipes, so that I can post it on the blog with my verdicts.
Those who have known Jehanne would be aware that she is a practicing doctor with a penchant for baking. It comes as no surprise since she has grown up seeing her mother bake and definitely that has rubbed onto her, and at the moment, she seems to be doing the same thing with her daughter as well! When she used to be in Singapore, she has conducted successful bread and cake baking classes, that have always been well received by her batch of students. In between, she had launched “The Cooking Doctor” range of baking accessories like silicon mat, chocolate mould, silicon muffin holders and baking pans, which is still available in Singapore. She even did a small baking business in the name of “Mishelle” for sometime. I must say that her book was the amalgamation of all the entrepreneurial enthusiasm she has shown during all these years.
The book is divided into various sections – basics and then moves on to “masterclasses” – like “Cakes and Cupcakes”, “Cookies”, “Sweet Dough”, “Sweets” and “Cake Decoration” just to name a few! I like that it is in sections, so you know where to look for the recipes. The book is printed on amazing quality paper, that makes it a keepsake for generations to come, plus it is a hard bound book. Almost all recipes are accompanied by her signature style photographs – I have always been a fan of her photography! The book has more than 100 recipes covering mainly sweet bakes, just like the name of her books, along with some basics like lemon curd, salted caramel, etc. Her effort is to be seen in the book all throughout. The only disadvantage I found was the heaviness of the book but that is because of the quality at which it has been made.
Moving on to few of the recipes that I have tried from her book, the first one being Coconut Jammy Squares:
This was my first bake for all the right reasons – a small cake, coconut and coconut milk and the flavors sounded really interesting! It reminded me of the honey cake you get at Indian bakeries, but without the honey! The recipe was really easy to make and got done in very little time, and the slices disappeared from the rack also in very little time! It was delicious! I did find the bake a little more sweet for my taste buds but I guess it was more because of the jam topping. The cake is such that you can bake it as is without the jam and coconut topping and it is still delicious for a simple tea time treat.
My second bake were the Buttermilk Muffins…
I made these when I wanted to do something quick that could go into the girls’ lunchboxes as well as a munching treat for my afternoon tea at work. These muffins came together beautifully. I was initially skeptic as the batter was really thick but then didn’t do any messing up from my side! 😀 I just baked them as she had asked to bake – on high temperature for 5 minutes and the remaining time at a lower temperature. I didn’t get a brown top, since my oven tends to only brown more from the bottom and the sides, but I loved how cute the mushroom top looked, and even more how store-bought like it tasted!
The next trial was the Sugar Raisin Buns, which is something I have seen her bake numerous times on her social media profiles…
I was craving to bake something with yeast from the book and I decided to make these for a quick breakfast for a weekend. The only change I did was to replace a part of the all purpose flour with wholemeal flour and I followed the recipe exactly as per her book. My buns weren’t as mini as they appeared in the book, since I always tend to roll slightly big. Hehe… She had asked to sprinkle with granulated sugar, instead I pounded some kalkandam (cube sugar) and sprinkled it over, that’s why you can see nice big cubes. The buns weren’t sweet on its own but the biting into the raisins and the topped sugar bought out the sweetness in the buns. We enjoyed them with our cup of tea… They were absolutely delicious for a quick bake!
Now coming to the favorite bake from the book… it had to be something with chocolate. I was initially eyeing her Cappucino Cookies but my eyes finally fell on the Chocolate Biscotti, and that was what I baked!
I stuck very much to her recipe including the sugar amount, with some mild changes – used a part of wholemeal flour, used brown sugar instead of white sugar and added white chocolate chip instead of regular chocolate chips. The dough was pretty much sticky. I had a little difficulty managing to shape the dough and put it on my baking tray, but I didn’t want to do anything over it and let it be. I am glad I let it be! What came out was a beautifully domed loaf to cut and once cut and baked again, gave such amazing looking biscottis! The girls kept coming into the kitchen to pick up a piece. I shared a small quantity with Huma too. It was really good. I dunk them in my hot black coffee and what a combination it was! My biscottis were slightly soft, I wish I would have baked it a little more to harden it further, but otherwise, this was really delicious…
I would have loved to bake even more from the book but since I am on a “diet” (I hate that word!) or controlled eating (sounds better!), I didn’t want it to go overboard! Hehe… but from the recipes I have tried, I can vouch that they are mildly sweet, just like the way my family and I like it, so I didn’t have to do any major amends on the quantity of sugar in the bakes.
I am sorry, I wouldn’t be sharing any recipes from her book in my review today. Please do visit her Instagram handle to know more of how to book your own copy, plus see the feedback of hundreds of others who have already made a copy of this book theirs. Surely, they all are happy customers!
I hope you all loved reading through the review. It has been overwhelming to me too, since this book is from somebody I have known since the time I started blogging and it gives me so much sense of pride! I wish Jehanne the very best in all that she does in the future!