Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cookbook Short Review: 4 Ingredients Christmas

About the Book:
The internationally bestselling author of 4 Ingredients returns with a gorgeous, full-color collection of easy, delicious, money- and time-saving recipes that are perfect for the holiday season—all using four or fewer ingredients.

The holiday season can be the busiest, most expensive time of the year for home chefs. But creating mouthwatering, festive meals doesn’t always mean spending a fortune—and hours upon hours—in the kitchen. In 4 Ingredients Christmas, Kim McCosker, co-creator of the bestselling 4 Ingredients books, puts culinary joy back into the season with simple recipes that are short on fuss but long on taste. 4 Ingredients Christmas shows how to provide delicious, home-cooked meals, from elegant brunches and fun snacks for Santa, to main courses and tradition-worthy desserts; cook with fewer utensils—one teaspoon, one tablespoon, and one measuring cup; and spend less time at the sink and more time enjoying your company.

The ideal cookbook for busy, budget-conscious cooks, 4 Ingredients Christmas takes the mystery out of preparing cost-effective, home-cooked holiday meals that the whole family—including the chef—will love.

My Comments:
I was only given a temporary digital galley via Edelweiss, so I haven't tried any of the recipes. However, a quick perusal of the galley indicates that the summary above is accurate. The photographs are beautiful and you wonder how anything that simple could be that pretty. Chapters include Brunch, Nibbles, Soups and Salads, Mains, Sides, Desserts, and Drinks. Since I'm a dessert maven, I'll reprint one recipe for you, to give you an idea of what types of dishes are in the book.

Salted Caramel Charms
Makes 24 Pieces
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup heavy cream
8 oz dark chocolate, chopped coarsely
7 oz mil chocolate, chopped

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the sugar with 2 teaspoons water in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir until it dissolves. Bring to a gentle boil and let cook undisturbed until golden brown. Add cream (it will bubble up). Stir over low heat with a wooden spoon until the congealed toffee pieces melt and the mixture is smooth again. Remove from the heat and stir in the dark chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt flakes until chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool and thicken. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Use a teaspoon to scoot out portions of the mixture. Roll into balls, place on a baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes. With 5 minutes to go, in a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the milk chocolate, stirring every 20 seconds, until nice and smooth. Using two spoons, dip all the candies in milk chocolate to coat. Return to baking sheet. Top each truffle with a pinch of coarse sea salt. Refrigerate to set.

As you can see by that recipe, some dishes do require more than just four ingredients, which wouldn't be a problem if those "extra" ingredients were things "everyone" has in her kitchen. However, this recipe appears to call for two different kinds of sea salt (and I don't have any sea salt at my house). Also, while that recipe does not look overly complicated, as an experienced cook I can see at least two places where someone who didn't know what she was doing could end up with a mess. However, they are pretty if you succeed.
Illustration from page 157 of galley


  1. I'm sorry to hear those chocolates might not be all that easy for the inexperienced. I do want it easy, but they do look tempting.

  2. This looks like a cookbook I'd like. I'm curious to see more recipes.
    2 Kids and Tired Books


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