The cookbook is categorized by dessert types, with many “Genius” tips in between. Food photography in the book is definitely so pretty and professional. Every recipe has a photo, which is a huge plus. The book is well designed. You almost never need to flip a page for one recipe.
Before I dig into the recipes, I was worried that these “Genius“ recipes require a long list of unusual ingredients. Surprisingly, that’s not the case at all. Although many recipes are from well-known chefs and their restaurants, they are home baker friendly. Most of the ingredients, you already have in your pantry. I haven’t purchased any specialty ingredients, other than some fresh dairy products. I think Food52 Genius Desserts is highly accessible.
There are countless baking tips in the book that I think both beginners or advanced home bakers can benefit from them. Most of the recipes are actually very easy to make with accessible ingredients. The varieties in this book are also more than enough to get inspired and choose from. You have classics like chocolate chip cookie or banana bread, but you also have something you’ve never heard before (like Brazilian Carrot Cake or Parsley Cake). Overall, it’s a useful baking book for all.
So far I have tested 9 recipes from the cookbook.
Recipes I adore are:
Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats – these are like adult version crispy treats! The nuttiness from salted brown butter works so well here. I’m usually not a fan of crispy treats but I really love the taste of this recipe.
Chocolate Cloud Cake – usually I avoid making no flour chocolate cakes. Most likely they’re too rich and dense. It’s totally not the case here! The chocolate cloud cake is just like its name – light like a cloud. I had no problem eating a whole slice with whipping cream and want more!
Best & Easiest Frozen Yogurt – first of all, it’s not the frozen yogurt you’re thinking about. Initially, I was a little disappointed because the taste is very simple. However, I found myself going back to the freezer so often that I finished the whole pint in 2 days. Yes, it does not taste like soft serve but the texture is still good. Plus it’s literally the easiest ice-cream to make.
Recipes I like, but may not necessarily go back for:
World Peace Cookies
Best Cocoa Brownies
Brazilian Carrot Cake
Recipe(s) I personally do not like:
Secretly Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies – if I bought this chocolate chip cookie from a bakery/coffee shop, I would probably think it’s not fresh. The texture really isn’t the best and I think for the amount of effort you put into the recipe, it’s not worth it.
Two-ingredient Sweet Potato Frosting – okay now I know sweet potato and chocolate ain’t mean to be together. It tastes sour and weird and I tried my best to save my Valrhona chocolate bar, but I ended up throwing out the whole thing.
- Recipes are highly accessible
- Wild varieties of desserts
- Useful tips throughout the book
- Well-designed and easy to navigate
- Both beginners and advanced home bakers can enjoy
It’s a tough question. Personally, I didn’t enjoy Food52 Genius Desserts as much as I thought I would be. Mainly because most of the recipes I tried ended up tasting just okay. Having a title like “Genius Desserts” makes you have high expectations, so when they turned out mediocre, I am a little disappointed. Also, I mentioned in the writing section that I prefer a more personal writing and I know that’s impossible with a recipe collection book like this. The inconsistency of how every chef writes his/her recipe is also something I didn’t enjoy.
On the other hand, it is a well designed and useful baking book that I think everyone can benefit from, especially if you are new to baking. There are so many great and detailed tips in the book. You will never have problems choosing recipes with the wild varieties of desserts this book offers.
Therefore, it is totally your choice. I don’t regret buying this book. I guess it just doesn’t live up my expectation for the title, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. So if you don’t have something like this on your shelf, it’s worth reading. You can totally borrow it from the library first and try several recipes before deciding if you want to buy it:)