I'm probably one of the last of the baking bloggers to mention Dan Lepard's new book - Short and Sweet - but that doesn't mean I'm not impressed by it. As well as bringing many recipes from his Guardian Weekend column together in one place, Dan prefaces each section of the book with tips on equipment and techniques and information on why ingredients are used and how they interact with each other. While this makes it an excellent book for beginners, there are also things for experienced bakers to learn too. As always, many of Dan's recipes stand out as innovative in terms of using unusual ingredients and flavour combinations as well as for some of the techniques used - the cook has to have a certain amount of trust and just leap in, but as long as the recipes are followed carefully, success is almost guaranteed. I'm sure this book is set to become a baking 'bible' for many bakers.
My one disappointment is the lack of a photograph for every recipe, but I can see that this would have made the book huge, and unwieldy in the kitchen. As it is, the book is specially designed to stay open at the chosen page, making it easier to use when hands are floury or sticky.
Ginger Macadamia Biscuits. The recipe previously published in the Guardian is slightly different in that it uses a large egg, whereas the recipe in the book uses a medium sized egg, but that was the only change. The book also suggests that the recipe will make about 35 biscuits, but I only got 29 walnut-sized balls out of the dough. The only other change I made was to use unsalted macadamia nuts.
These biscuits were very subtly flavoured - the ginger, macadamia and coconut complimented each other without any one of the flavours standing out. Macadamias have a very strange texture because they aren't crisp or crunchy - more chewy and waxy - but they fitted well into these chewy biscuits.