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This is another cookbook my Mother-in-Law found and thought of me. She was browsing a local second-had bookstore, Second Time Books, and found this little jem. I was pretty skeptical. Mason jars are made for jarring and holding things, not for drinking and eating. A fad that I am totally against. I smiled, took the book and flipped through it. I figured I would give it a fair shot.
After reading Jenny Marie’s cook-a-long monthly challenge, I thought it would be fun to share some posts reviewing the book as well. If you have a blog with a review (specifically of the recipes), leave a comment and I will add you to the list.
My first guess was that Kris took the photos herself (she did!) I could tell they weren’t professionally done, but they are still very good. It certainly not like when your boss at the restaurant you work at says “Can you believe they wanted $200 to take photos of food! I mean look at my photo? Isn’t it just the same?” You nod yes, but your bosses crummy photo pretty much explains why a professional photography wants $200. This has happened to me TWICE, just pay a damn photographer! NOW if KRIS was my boss and showed me her photos, I would of been impressed. She uses lots of natural light, and does a great job making the food look enticing.
But she does not have a photo for each recipe. I think that is overall fine. I think there is enough to leave out some of the doubt and guesswork, like what the heck will a babka in a jar look like? Or how will a whole loaf look in a mason jar?!
Like most modern cookbooks, this has and introduction then chapters full of recipes. I have to say I STRONGLY recommend reading the introduction! She gives some important information about mason jar safety, that you might want to read to make sure you don’t have any exploding jars in the oven. She is short and sweet, so you can move on to the recipes.
She divides the recipes in 9 chapters- No-Bake Treats, Cakelettes, Pie and Friends, Pastry, Odds and Ends, Treats for Two, Mixes, Jam on It!, Toppings and Fillings. I like how she starts with no-bake so if you are excited you can jump right in. I also like how she does include some jam recipes, I mean that’s what mason jars are for, right?
Kris does a great job getting to the point but talking about what is important in the beginning. And I quickly went from “why can’t we move on past the mason jar trend!?” to “oh, she makes a really good point!” I am not 100% sold, but I think it does create some great points. You get self portioned desserts, you can easily bring an apple pie for lunch at the office. Okay, I’m getting this. So what I am trying to say is that Kris is really good at getting you excited about making food.
She should be good at it, she has written quite a few books, mostly about baking and has a now dead blog called Nom Nom Nom Blog. I know for a fact that I’ve stumbled onto this blog a few times in the past.
There have been both hits and misses with these recipes. I think I found that the delicate oil based cakes we are used to in the United States just don’t work with the glass baking dish. I had zero luck with the hot water bath baking. BUT I loved the premade portions for the desserts. I think my husband was in heaven taking a small little apple pie into work. And the heavier cakes worked beautifully.
There are a lot of recipes I am interested in trying. Mostly the baked fruit pies for my husband. I am usually making a WHOLE pie for him. Sure I’ll eat a slice, but I am happy eating only one or two slice and letting my husband polish it off. Having small jars makes it easier for him to enjoy and the oven is on for less time.
The book is pretty short, which is kind-of a bummer, but in some ways great. I think overall this book helped me get excited about a new baking tool. It has very much inspired me to try converting some recipes into a jar. I am sure my husband will enjoy the more elaborate desserts that he can bring into work.
Below are my individual recipe reviews. I tried to leave links to any publisher approved online recipes, which was only two. I also try to pick a recipe from each section, but skipped Treats for Two, Mixes, Jam on It!, Toppings and Fillings. The mixes I felt didn’t fit my definition of a baked good mix (too many non-shelf-staple mix in required). I made a few topping and fillings, but they are mixed in the reviews (two cakes, and a grasshopper pie). Finally summer creeped in and turning the oven on seemed irresponsible for making anything from the Treats for Two section, and I wouldn’t be making anything from the jarring section. You probably didn’t care, but there you go. My logic for the whole thing!