Review by Publishers Weekly
The Massachusetts-based America’s Test Kitchen, home to Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines, is the experienced culinary force behind this guide to baking with less sugar. Prep for home bakers include essential information such as a substitution chart and a breakdown of the science of sugar. The “outs,” sweeteners that didn’t make the cut, include brown rice syrup and agave nectar (with the deciding factors being inconsistent flavor profiles and lack of flavor). Tempting baked goods include an apple cinnamon Danish sweetened with coconut sugar and preserves; chocolate chip cookies made with Sucanat; and a maple layer cake full of syrup. The refreshing raspberry sorbet relies on the fruit itself for sweetness. Step-by-step photos walk readers through techniques such as baking a pie and rolling out scones. For those who want to indulge without overdoing, these 120 recipes are a great starting point.
—Publishers Weekly, July 2016
Review by Library Journal
Earlier this year, the USDA revised guidelines concerning sugar consumption and recommended that we lower our intake to a mere 12 teaspoons per day. For bakers and dessert lovers, who rely on sugar as a major ingredient, this news is especially disconcerting. America’s Test Kitchen, a group of more than four dozen recipe and kitchen equipment testers, presents 120 recipes of traditional classics with 30–50 percent less sugar. These recipes rely on natural sweeteners such as Sucanat, a natural cane sugar made from extracting juice from cane sugar, while others call for coconut sugar, date sugar, maple syrup, or honey. Recipes are presented in chapters for muffins and breads, cookies, cakes, pies and tarts, fruit desserts and puddings and custards. Each dish includes an introductory paragraph that explains why the recipe works and what changes were made to achieve success. Color photos are helpful in providing instruction. With the exception of the sugar substitutes mentioned earlier, the recipes call for ingredients readily found in most kitchens. An appendix features a chart that gives nutritional information; there is also a conversion and equivalents chart.
Verdict: The popularity of America’s Test Kitchen and its previous books will guarantee interest for cooks and bakers, especially those who are health conscious.
—Library Journal, July 2016
Review by Booklist
The editors at America’s Test Kitchen, known for their meticulous recipe testing and development, are back at it again. This time, they’ve trained their laser-eyed focus on reduced-sugar baking. Bakers know cutting back the sugar in a recipe is a complicated endeavor—one that affects the taste, texture, and appearance of the finished product. Be prepared to experiment with sugar substitutes like Sucanat (found here in peanut-butter cookies, crumb cake, red velvet cupcakes, and more), fruit juices (fig bars), and coconut sugar (coconut washboards). The authors also make liberal use of maple syrup and honey as replacements for refined sugars in recipes ranging from muffins to cookies to cakes to pies and puddings. Plus, they’ve included background information on these sweeteners as well as a recipe index organized by sweetening agent. Cooks with a powerful sweet tooth should scoop up this well-researched recipe book for healthier takes on classic sweet treats.
—Booklist, July 2016