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The Brown Betty Cookbook: Modern Vintage Desserts and Stories from Philadelphia's Best Bakery

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The first cookbook from Philadelphia's phenomenal Brown Betty Dessert Boutique When three generations of African-American women decided to open a bakery in Philadelphia, they had no idea how quickly the accolades would come. With high praise from Rachael Ray magazine and other corners of the culinary world, the Brown Betty Dessert Boutique has found fame with their amazing The first cookbook from Philadelphia's phenomenal Brown Betty Dessert Boutique When three generations of African-American women decided to open a bakery in Philadelphia, they had no idea how quickly the accolades would come. With high praise from Rachael Ray magazine and other corners of the culinary world, the Brown Betty Dessert Boutique has found fame with their amazing poundcakes, cheesecakes, pies, and cookies, among other delectable treats. This delicious cookbook features both the secret recipes that Brown Betty's fans can't wait to get their hands on, as well as the personal stories that explain the evocative names of such recipes as Alice's Two Step and Strawberry Letter. Features recipes that combine old-fashioned treats with thrilling contemporary flavors like sweet potato poundcake and dark cherry cheesecake Includes gorgeous and mouthwatering full-color photography throughout For home bakers who want to experience the best of Brown Betty in their own homes or dessert-lovers looking for something new, The Brown Betty Cookbook offers both inspiration and delectation.


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The first cookbook from Philadelphia's phenomenal Brown Betty Dessert Boutique When three generations of African-American women decided to open a bakery in Philadelphia, they had no idea how quickly the accolades would come. With high praise from Rachael Ray magazine and other corners of the culinary world, the Brown Betty Dessert Boutique has found fame with their amazing The first cookbook from Philadelphia's phenomenal Brown Betty Dessert Boutique When three generations of African-American women decided to open a bakery in Philadelphia, they had no idea how quickly the accolades would come. With high praise from Rachael Ray magazine and other corners of the culinary world, the Brown Betty Dessert Boutique has found fame with their amazing poundcakes, cheesecakes, pies, and cookies, among other delectable treats. This delicious cookbook features both the secret recipes that Brown Betty's fans can't wait to get their hands on, as well as the personal stories that explain the evocative names of such recipes as Alice's Two Step and Strawberry Letter. Features recipes that combine old-fashioned treats with thrilling contemporary flavors like sweet potato poundcake and dark cherry cheesecake Includes gorgeous and mouthwatering full-color photography throughout For home bakers who want to experience the best of Brown Betty in their own homes or dessert-lovers looking for something new, The Brown Betty Cookbook offers both inspiration and delectation.

30 review for The Brown Betty Cookbook: Modern Vintage Desserts and Stories from Philadelphia's Best Bakery

  1. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

    The stories behind the bakery are wonderful to read and I'm not kidding, every single recipe is the kind that makes you want to run into the kitchen and start baking. It's similar to the cookbook "Save Your Fork" which is also a tribute to African American women who love to cook and share great food. The photographs are beautiful and the whole creation, like the baked goods, is clearly a work of love. Definitely adding this one to my collection. The stories behind the bakery are wonderful to read and I'm not kidding, every single recipe is the kind that makes you want to run into the kitchen and start baking. It's similar to the cookbook "Save Your Fork" which is also a tribute to African American women who love to cook and share great food. The photographs are beautiful and the whole creation, like the baked goods, is clearly a work of love. Definitely adding this one to my collection.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Simple, beautiful cakes. Didn't get a chance to make any, but I did copy down the recipe for sweet potato cheesecake. You know, for when I have nothing to do but cook, mash, and strain a bunch of taters. 11/15/13: made the Sweet Potato Cheesecake for my knitting group last week and it was delish! Simple, beautiful cakes. Didn't get a chance to make any, but I did copy down the recipe for sweet potato cheesecake. You know, for when I have nothing to do but cook, mash, and strain a bunch of taters. 11/15/13: made the Sweet Potato Cheesecake for my knitting group last week and it was delish!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mignon DeLarre

    Guess who is going to make a carrot pie??? Also the chocolate cookie recipe looks awesome.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ann Manning

    A Treasure of Memories! This unbelievably heartfelt and beautiful book filled with memories from a African-American family that out together their favorite recipes is one of the best cookbooks that I have ever read. This book contained within it's pages photos of family accompanied with favorite recipes that I will recommend to anyone who wants to enjoy reading as well as trying out these amazing recipes. A Treasure of Memories! This unbelievably heartfelt and beautiful book filled with memories from a African-American family that out together their favorite recipes is one of the best cookbooks that I have ever read. This book contained within it's pages photos of family accompanied with favorite recipes that I will recommend to anyone who wants to enjoy reading as well as trying out these amazing recipes.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    A Must Have for Any Baker What's not to love? Beautiful pictures, beautiful story and family history of beautiful women, beautiful recipes. A beautiful book. The recipes are formatted well and the over all book is very well written. Just keep in mind some of the cake recipes are intended to serve 20. This is a book I must have in hardcover. Please take a moment to look this book over, you won't be disappointed, it's a winner. A Must Have for Any Baker What's not to love? Beautiful pictures, beautiful story and family history of beautiful women, beautiful recipes. A beautiful book. The recipes are formatted well and the over all book is very well written. Just keep in mind some of the cake recipes are intended to serve 20. This is a book I must have in hardcover. Please take a moment to look this book over, you won't be disappointed, it's a winner.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Donna Siebold

    The recipes for the cakes look better to me than the others. Wasn't crazy about the photography. I want a photo of the finished item. I'm anal - I want to make my version look like theirs. Personally I don't generally feel pound cake needs icing, but some of theirs definitely sound tasty. The recipes for the cakes look better to me than the others. Wasn't crazy about the photography. I want a photo of the finished item. I'm anal - I want to make my version look like theirs. Personally I don't generally feel pound cake needs icing, but some of theirs definitely sound tasty.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Text Addict

    I loved this book, but it's definitely not for the calorie-phobic, diabetic, severely lactose-intolerant, and also not for the beginning baker. It contains mostly recipes for items sold by the Brown Betty Dessert Boutique in Philadelphia, and I came very close to hopping a train (Lactaid pills in hand) to visit the place. It's also just as much a family history as a cookbook, which means double the awesome as far as I'm concerned. Most of the recipes are named for one of the authors' relatives, I loved this book, but it's definitely not for the calorie-phobic, diabetic, severely lactose-intolerant, and also not for the beginning baker. It contains mostly recipes for items sold by the Brown Betty Dessert Boutique in Philadelphia, and I came very close to hopping a train (Lactaid pills in hand) to visit the place. It's also just as much a family history as a cookbook, which means double the awesome as far as I'm concerned. Most of the recipes are named for one of the authors' relatives, and there are short biographies of each honoree, with photos. My only complaint is that recipes and biographies should have referred to each other, clearly, in all cases. And the thing that really stood out, as I read through them, was the common denominator among all these women: work. Work outside the home, starting with after-school jobs and then every single day, while looking after husbands and raising families, except for Sundays, which were for church. In other words, this is not a vintage cookbook that harks back to middle-class ladies contentedly perfecting their petit-fours while the kids are out of the house. I didn't realize how many of those I've seen until I read this one. And I also didn't realize (or want to admit) how much of a wimp I am. The authors of this cookbook started this successful bakery while also holding down full-time jobs. They make me feel lazy. Anyway, my son picked the "Strawberry Letter" recipe (p. 53) for us to make. It involves pureeing whole frozen strawberries, and trust me on this one: Make the puree the day before. It took forever - probably because I should've thawed the berried overnight. My son enjoyed the process of reducing the strawberry juice on the stove, though; apparently it goes through several stages before it gets hot enough to actually start reducing. (I was busy with other tasks while he handled that.) Oh, and further note: I have more strawberry puree stashed in the freezer, because the process made about twice as much as we needed. The cake part involved a full pound of butter, three cups of sugar, and six eggs plus two egg yolks. Yes, and flour too. I was also pleased to discover that the batter did fit into my grandmother's three normal-sized 9-inch cake pans. And it was *delicious.* In fact, while it was still a bit warm, the strawberry flavor was almost too intense, even without the strawberry liqueur it called for (couldn't find any). The flavor calmed down a lot after the cake overnighted in the fridge, but was still wonderfully strawberry-full. The strawberry buttercream frosting didn't work very well for me, but then frostings rarely do. (It's a trial, I tell you, being good at baking but rarely getting the frosting right.) Altogether, the experiment was a great success, and I may make this again towards the end of the month.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bdalton

    I need to step away from this book! It is January, and like many, I am trying to lose a few pounds. The recipes in this book are loaded with sour cream, cream cheese, butter, and sugar. Looking at the recipes reminds me of the cooking that I grew up with - yummy but not particularly healthy. This is definitely comfort food at its very best. I made three recipes from The Brown Betty Cookbook: The German Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies, The Apple Brown Betty, and the Sweet Potato Cake with Spiced V I need to step away from this book! It is January, and like many, I am trying to lose a few pounds. The recipes in this book are loaded with sour cream, cream cheese, butter, and sugar. Looking at the recipes reminds me of the cooking that I grew up with - yummy but not particularly healthy. This is definitely comfort food at its very best. I made three recipes from The Brown Betty Cookbook: The German Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies, The Apple Brown Betty, and the Sweet Potato Cake with Spiced Vanilla Buttercream. All of the recipes were great, but the Sweet Potato Cake with Spiced Vanilla Buttercream was different from any other cake that I have tried, moist, and sublime. I'm saving this recipe for the next special occasion. Many of the recipes have multiple steps so these recipes take time. The instructions are easy to follow. I did notice one recipe glitch. In the Apple Brown Betty recipe, in step 4, it references melted butter, but doesn't tell you how much butter to melt. If you have a cardiologist, a dietitian, or a physical trainer than this probably isn't the book for you. Calories per slice are not given, but anyone making a pound cake or cheese cake, probably finds this a welcome relief. I will recommend this book to those who love the rich, celebratory American food of our childhood.

  9. 5 out of 5

    ReadWithE

    Not enough frosting? Made the sweet potato cake. Not sure how they expected me to strain the cooked potatoes - ended up throwing in food processor. Just frosted it and there's not even enough for a naked cake. Tastes good though. Not enough frosting? Made the sweet potato cake. Not sure how they expected me to strain the cooked potatoes - ended up throwing in food processor. Just frosted it and there's not even enough for a naked cake. Tastes good though.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    You'll feel like part of the family even if you've never been to The Brown Betty Pastry Shop in Philadelphia. Mother and daughter, Linda Brown and Norrinda Hayat use their family recipes to delight customers. They share many of the recipes they use, instead of just calling it a Pineapple Pound Cake or a Red Velvet Cake--bake "Aunt Eva Says" or "Jean's Road Trip". Stunning pictures that make your mouth water. Most of the recipes in this book are traced back for generations to a specific family mem You'll feel like part of the family even if you've never been to The Brown Betty Pastry Shop in Philadelphia. Mother and daughter, Linda Brown and Norrinda Hayat use their family recipes to delight customers. They share many of the recipes they use, instead of just calling it a Pineapple Pound Cake or a Red Velvet Cake--bake "Aunt Eva Says" or "Jean's Road Trip". Stunning pictures that make your mouth water. Most of the recipes in this book are traced back for generations to a specific family member. We are treated to beautiful pictures and stories of the people that shaped these two women. It's endearing. If you want to try the recipes, be prepared for a lot of time and expense. These are rich treats and on the more difficult side to create. In at least one case there appears to be typo or editing error, there's an extra oven temperature.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tiffany

    As someone who used to frequent the brown betty boutique almost weekly I can vouch for how great their cakes are so I was very excited when I learned that they were putting out a cookbook. I now live in Maryland and am happy to say that these recipes taste exactly like what you would get at their bakery. I have made the red velvet which was great as well as the carrot cake, chocolate buttermilk cake, chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies. Usually I take my leftovers into work since there are As someone who used to frequent the brown betty boutique almost weekly I can vouch for how great their cakes are so I was very excited when I learned that they were putting out a cookbook. I now live in Maryland and am happy to say that these recipes taste exactly like what you would get at their bakery. I have made the red velvet which was great as well as the carrot cake, chocolate buttermilk cake, chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies. Usually I take my leftovers into work since there are only two of us at home and the office always raves about the desserts. The recipes are really easy, but be warned they are written for stand mixers so I wouldn't recommend this book to those of you without one.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dona

    This was a wonderful little book from the Brown Betty Bakery in Philadelphia which is owned by a mother and daughter. It's small in size, but huge in great pound cake and other yummy dessert recipes. It also has interesting stories about family members. Like Dorie Greenspan's Baking, you could easily bake your way from start to finish - all of the recipes look that good. A few I've marked to try are Pineapple Pound Cake, German Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies, Chocolate Ganache Layer Cake, Straw This was a wonderful little book from the Brown Betty Bakery in Philadelphia which is owned by a mother and daughter. It's small in size, but huge in great pound cake and other yummy dessert recipes. It also has interesting stories about family members. Like Dorie Greenspan's Baking, you could easily bake your way from start to finish - all of the recipes look that good. A few I've marked to try are Pineapple Pound Cake, German Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies, Chocolate Ganache Layer Cake, Strawberry Pound Cake with Strawberry Buttercream, Tea Buttercream, and Sweet Potato Pudding. This one is definitely going on my cookbook shelf!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Shamekia

    I had to return this to the library before I made any more recipes-I only made the Strawberry Letter cake, except I made them into cupcakes. I brought them in for my coworkers and they were a hit!. There was a lot more technique involved than I'm used to, but I rose to the challenge. Most of these recipes seemed like they require more effort than I'm willing to give unless it's a special occasion. I had to return this to the library before I made any more recipes-I only made the Strawberry Letter cake, except I made them into cupcakes. I brought them in for my coworkers and they were a hit!. There was a lot more technique involved than I'm used to, but I rose to the challenge. Most of these recipes seemed like they require more effort than I'm willing to give unless it's a special occasion.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    Great book. I loved how unpretentious the recipes were. The amount of pictures was about right- not a slideshow, but enough to paint a picture of the different recipes. I loved how it was half ode to the women in the authors' lives, half cookbook (if you just want recipes, be forewarned). I particularly thought that the Nudies (no sugar added cakes) were interesting, though I don't think I could bring myself to make a cake with only reduced grape juice as a sweetener. Great book. I loved how unpretentious the recipes were. The amount of pictures was about right- not a slideshow, but enough to paint a picture of the different recipes. I loved how it was half ode to the women in the authors' lives, half cookbook (if you just want recipes, be forewarned). I particularly thought that the Nudies (no sugar added cakes) were interesting, though I don't think I could bring myself to make a cake with only reduced grape juice as a sweetener.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    Really amazing recipes. These taste GREAT. And I particularly love the stories from all the women in the author's family. Such a beautiful portrait of a strong, thriving community and the love and life that is passed down thru the generations. WITHOUT excess sweetness or saccharine. So refreshing and fun. Really amazing recipes. These taste GREAT. And I particularly love the stories from all the women in the author's family. Such a beautiful portrait of a strong, thriving community and the love and life that is passed down thru the generations. WITHOUT excess sweetness or saccharine. So refreshing and fun.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    I was lucky to have gone to this bakery in Philadelphia. I had one of their cupcakes and they were awesome. The cookbook is equally as good. I made one of the chocolate cakes and it was absolutely delish. I also make the apple brown betty and it was amazing. The recipes however are labor intensive but they are so worth it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bookish

    This is as much a family history as it is a scrumptious cookbook, and it's full of inspiring photos of recipes. Lest you think the recipes are all calorie-laden, there is a small section of "nudies" which are made using natural alternatives to sugar (not Splenda or Equal). And, yes, there is a recipe for Apple Brown Betty. This is as much a family history as it is a scrumptious cookbook, and it's full of inspiring photos of recipes. Lest you think the recipes are all calorie-laden, there is a small section of "nudies" which are made using natural alternatives to sugar (not Splenda or Equal). And, yes, there is a recipe for Apple Brown Betty.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    I love this book. The recipes are very easy to follow and they are so delicious. I loved all of the photos and how at the beginning of each recipe she tells you what inspired the recipe. For a beginner baker like me these desserts were fun to make.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Ok, I probably shouldn't actually give this 5 stars until I have actually tried to bake one of these recipes. They just all look really, really tasty (and easy!), and I love the back-stories that go with each of the chapters. Ok, I probably shouldn't actually give this 5 stars until I have actually tried to bake one of these recipes. They just all look really, really tasty (and easy!), and I love the back-stories that go with each of the chapters.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Beautifully designed cookbook. Compact size, photos with vintage props, and a personal history of the women who inspired these bake-shop recipes. I need to drive to Philly ASAP and sample one of everything.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Shmish

    Not what I was expecting, rather disappointing really. Most of the offerings were merely simple variations of a handful of basic cake and frosting recipes.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Great concept for cookbook, mother-daughter bakery with 100 years of family stories about the women in their lives that have made an impact on them. Rich recipes, many look completely bake-able.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Henning

    Solid baking cookbook. Recipes are straightforward and un-fussy. Those looking for avant-garde recipes might be disappointed. Excellent instructions for those using stand mixers.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Sue

    Enjoyed the little bios on the family members oa the authors. Made the brownie recipe and they were great.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marianna

    The cakes look delicious and I love the family stories.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Beka

    Nice pictures, but a little on the boring side.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Kreutter

  28. 4 out of 5

    Livrwort

  29. 5 out of 5

    Meschelle Bibby

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alice

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