For those who adore entertaining, it’s a labor of love. We focus on the tiny details that the majority of our guests don’t notice. We bend over backwards to make everything perfect. And those who don’t love entertaining will never “get it.”
That’s how I feel about the absolutely beautiful new book by Angel Adoree. Except her labor of love is candy making.
Now I happen to make some kinds of candy (fudge, toffee) so I was looking forward to the practical advice and recipes; but non-candy makers would also appreciate this book because it’s so evident from the very first page that Adoree absolutely loves what she does. The pages are full of personal details, fun backstories from her family that personalize the recipes. From a technical perspective the candy recipes are easy to follow. I also appreciated the “know-how” section explaining all those confusing candy-making terms – I never really knew what “hardball” and “softball” and “hardcrack” and “softcrack” were – aside from very specific marks on my candy thermometer that meant the difference between delicious, flavorful toffee and a burnt, sticky mess (not that I’m speaking from experience or anything…).
But there is so much more in this book because Adoree knows that presentation is important. There are plenty of ideas for displaying the sweets, with step-by-step instructions or links to printables on her website. My personal favorite – which I can’t wait to try! – is the secret hollow book, where you take an old book and carefully cut a box into the pages. I foresee a ton of fun gift ideas with that one!
While Adoree reminisces about the different candies’ place in her childhood, she also acknowledges the adult-side of candy through a series of cocktail recipes to complement different candies. Adoree refers to cocktails as appropriate for “grown-up o’clock” which is how I would like to refer to happy hour moving forward.
My only complaint is really just a matter of preference. Adoree has recipes for all kinds of candies – or as the British author calls, “sweeties” – but there are some that I would never bother making myself. I love to cook and bake, but up to a point. I don’t think I would ever make my own conversation hearts when I can buy them so cheaply at the drug store. I just don’t think the sense of accomplishment would be worthwhile for me.
I would recommend The Vintage Sweets Book for any candy making enthusiast for sure, but also for any hostess who loves to find fun ways to add a little fun, a little whimsy, to their parties.
The Vintage Sweets Book: A Complete Guide to Vintage Sweets & Cocktail Party Treats was published in November 2013 by Antiques Collectors Club.
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