On Our Bookshelf: The Vintage Sweets Book
The Vintage Sweets Book by Angel Adoree is a well-written and magnificently illustrated book that hits the sweet spot between cookbook and personal history. As unpretentious as it is beautiful, Vintage Sweets is a collection of traditional candy recipes interspersed with cheerful anecdotes and tips for making cocktails and party treats dedicated to the sweet tooth tribe. The book delivers on Adoree’s back cover promise that “you’ll learn everything you’ll need to know about making sweets, from the equipment you’ll need to understanding the science part.” If you are at all interested in candy, this book will entertain the reader in you and inspire the candy maker in you.
We love candy, obviously, but we are not anywhere close to being expert candy makers. Maybe we’re not even proficient in the craft. Honestly, venturing into the world of candy making is intimidating and Adoree seems to get that. Instead of launching right into recipes, she welcomes readers by recounting what she calls “The Sweet Years.” We really connect with her when she tells us, “I never realized until now that I could map my early life with sweets. Unlike any other food, they tell a tale of their own.” Adoree’s stories paint an engaging portrait of the connection between candy and family life and a love of sharing.
Vintage Sweets is put together in a logical way. After the introduction comes “Sweety Know-How”. This is the science part. A delightful hand-illustrated primer on sugar temperatures, stages, and characteristics, this is also where we pick up useful tips on tools you’re likely to need (like molds) and specialty ingredients (like finding sarsaparilla root) and techniques (like pulling sugar). The next three chapters offer recipes for making vintage style candies and sweet cocktails. There are even instructions for various craft projects — everything from how to make a secret hollow book to stash your treats to harlequin animal puppets! The recipes are arranged from absolute beginner level — where you don’t even need a sugar thermometer — to “confident sugar thermometer user” level. We have been delighted with our early successes with sugared nuts and fruit jellies. (We have the North American edition of the book, so the recipes are given in metric and U.S. standard.) There is a gorgeous color photograph for each easy-to-follow recipe. The layout is delightful and gives the book a familiar and timeless appeal.
Angel Adoree’s The Vintage Sweets Book is as wonderful a read as it is a guide to candy making and hosting sweets themed parties. It may also be one of the world’s most beautiful books about candy.
The Vintage Sweets Book
By Angel Adoree
Hardcover. 160 pages. Antique Collectors’ Club (November 2013).
Buy it on Amazon.