Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mommy's Summer Reading List -- Grace's Sweet Grace Massa Langlois

May 2012
$14.95 US
Trade Paper
7 1/2 x 9 1/4
168 pages
Buy Now for Only $12.21 at Amazon.


Mouth-Watering Recipes That Bring The Most Delicious Italian Desserts To Your Own Oven

No one loves food more than the Italians. Every meal is a celebration, but the highlight of every dinner is that moment when grandma brings out one of her famously delicious desserts. Now author Grace Massa-Langlois shows you how to make classic homemade Italian treats just like grandma. From espresso-rich tiramisu, cannoli overflowing with ricotta or rich and creamy tartufo, Grace’s Sweet Life presents the 75 most popular, reader-tested recipes from the author’s popular website. The easy-to-follow recipes break down each traditional technique into simple steps so even the most complex Italian treat can be made perfectly. This cute little package also includes mouth-watering full-color photos of a wide range of treats from well-known favorites like biscotti and panforte to little-known foodie delights such as sfogliatelle and zeppole.

My Thoughts:

If you follow my blog, then you know that I read cookbooks like novels.  I also have a separate closet dedicated to my extensive cookbook collection.  So, it is only fitting to include a handful of new releases as part of my Mommy's Summer Reading List.  Today, I wanted to share my thoughts on Grace's Sweet Life by Grace Massa Langlois.  With the recent heat wave we have been having here in New England, I was getting antsy, as I wanted to get into the kitchen and bake some of the tasty treats I had marked to try.  You would laugh if you saw the book sitting here on the end table, as half of the book as yellow sticky tabs, denoting a recipe I want to try.  I think it will be Christmas by the time I try all of them.  But, don't worry -- I will. :-)

But, the weather has improved, and I was able to get into the kitchen and bake this past week.  I didn't want to wait for the weekend, when I would have had more time in the kitchen to taken more complex recipes, so I ended up trying three recipes in the evening, after the girls had gone to bed.  If only they offered an app where I could capture the sweet smells that filled my first floor. :-)  I was surprised that I didn't wait the girls.  Usually, my husband doesn't like to snack after 9PM, but made an exception this past week, as he was drawn in by how good the kitchen smelled, as well as drooling over the baked goods cooling.

I ended up making zeppole, biscottis and Paradise Cake.  Coming from an Italian background, I have grown up enjoying homeade zeppole for the holidays, and biscottis served with tea and coffee each time we would visit my grandmother.  She was pro in the kitchen and made Italian pastries and desserts look so effortless.  But, when it came to getting the recipes from her -- she would always say, "I don't have them written down.  I can only show you how I make them."  Time and time again, my mother and I would spend a day baking with her, and trying to write down recipes for some of her family favorites.  We would see her throwing in a pinch here and there, using the inside of her hand as a measuring cup, or quickly adding in drops of vanilla extract.  So, our mission to document these recipes failed each time. :-(  And, then, last year she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and had to be placed in a nursing home for 24/7 care.  This was tough on everyone, especially her, as she had to give up her kitchen -- which, was her favorite place in the house.  Like any Italian, she enjoyed baking/cooking and having family and friends enjoy her meals.

Now that we are left to find recipes to create these traditional Italian treats, like Nana used to make, I was excited to get my hands on a copy of this book, and try out some of the recipes.  So, how did these recipes compare to my Nana's homemade Italian treats?  Even though my Nana's were made with love and tasted oh so good, so did the few recipes I tried out.  The Zeppole recipe was almost identical to how my Nana used to make them.  As I bit into the first Zeppole, I began reminiscing about holidays at my Nana's, and sitting around her kitchen table, waiting for the Zeppole to be done.  Oh, how I loved these little Italian donuts. Mmm. :-)

I can't wait to get back into the kitchen and try out more of the recipes from Grace's Sweet Life.  Hopefully, I will be able to instill the love of baking with my daughters, and create lasting memories with them in the kitchen. :-)  If you are a fan of Italian treats, or looking for a cookbook to check out this summer, why not pick up a copy of Grace's Sweet Life. You will not be disappointed.  And, your belly will thank you for it! :-)

About the Author:

Image of Grace Massa-Langlois

Grace Massa Langlois was born in Maasmechelen, Belgium to Italian parents and grew up in London, Canada. Grace lives with her two children, Liana and Matthew.

With an education in Business, Grace began a career in Finance at one of the largest banks in Canada. Grace took her experience and moved to the Automotive Industry where she spent many years as a Financial Services Manager. Much to her dismay, Grace had to retire early because of an injury she sustained in 2003. Unfortunately shortly after her injury, her husband, Maurice suddenly passed. With some encouragement from her children Grace decided to share her love of good food and launched her website, Grace's Sweet Life, in 2010. Graces shares recipes, stories about her Italian heritage, and the joy of growing up in a large, close-knit Italian family.

Grace's recipes show her talent for taking complicated desserts and breaking them down so they're accessible by the every-day cook. She shares the importance of baking with fresh ingredients and strives to share her message that by learning the basics, home cooks can enjoy restaurant-style desserts at home.

Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.

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