Wild Sugar: Seasonal Sweet Treats Inspired by the Mountain West

Gibbs Smith. Feb. 2024. 224p. ISBN 9781423663614. $35. COOKING
After moving from California to Wyoming with her family, interior designer Johnson discovered a new creative outlet in baking, ultimately leading to a thriving business and a reputation for creating buzzworthy artisanal wedding cakes. Inspired by the beauty of the American West, Johnson now wants to share her new culinary passion with home bakers through an array of more than 50 sweet treats in this book coauthored by Chase Reynolds Ewald. Arranged seasonally, the recipes include everything from old favorites like snickerdoodles to hummingbird cake frosted in spiced-rum buttercream, with Johnson frequently putting her own spin on things; see her transformation of classic lemon bars into lemon-rhubarb poppy seed squares. Given her baking origins, it isn’t surprising there is a special emphasis on cakes and how to gussy them up. Basic techniques and tools are covered as well as some tips on high-altitude baking and a sprinkling of essays on topics near and dear to Johnson’s heart.
VERDICT Bakers with some experience in the kitchen, especially fans of the Pioneer Woman brand of cookbooks, will find both culinary and philosophical inspiration in this sweet debut.
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