the messy baker — book review

I met Charmian Christie a number of years ago in Toronto at a PWAC conference. I immediately liked her warmth, sense of humour, and smile. And over the past few years, I’ve loved receiving posts via her Messy Baker blog. Now … I’m able to enjoy some of those favourite recipes in Charmian’s new book, The Messy Baker.

Messy Baker

I absolutely love this book. I love the feel of the cover and the high-grade coated paper. I love the beautiful colour photography that brings the recipes to life. And I love the fact that it is written by a friend and colleague who has worked hard to establish herself as someone who has fun in the kitchen while creating easy to make signature dishes of all types.

I’ve never liked baking because you have to be so precise. Charmian’s recipes are written with me in mind. They let you know when it’s important to be exact on ingredients or precise on measurements. And they let you know when you can just have fun and experiment without worry.

The Messy Baker offers a wide variety of offerings from savory basil and aged cheddar scones to rosemary, apricot, and pistachio crisps to a wide variety of recipes featuring chocolate — including the delectable deep dark cherry and chipotle brownies featured on the cover of the book.

And there’s a whole lot more chocolate to please chocolate lovers like me. The book explains how to make chocolate sauce, how to deal with chocolate in the kitchen, and even how to make chocolate-tipped cigarettes!

With the holiday season just around the corner, keep The Messy Baker in mind if you want to stretch or polish your own abilities in the kitchen, or if you want to please someone who does like to create culinary delights by gifting this book. Who knows … the gift may just end up giving back to you by tantalizing your taste buds over the holidays. Enjoy!


Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

10 Responses

  1. Thanks for reviewing my book, Doreen. I’m glad my instructions helped you get baking. I hope it inspires all those who think they can cook but not bake.
    Charmian @TheMessyBaker recently posted…Messy Baker FridayMy Profile

  2. Doreen — I’m sort of surprised you’re not a baker there are so many dessert recipes made with chocolate! I know a lot of people play with the ingredients in recipes but, I for one, follow the instructions quite diligently. I figure they experimented first so why should I?!
    Jeannette Paladino recently posted…Why WPBeginner is the Go-To Site for All Things WordPressMy Profile

    • Hi Jeannette: That’s the thing about me. I generally don’t like to follow the ‘rules’ and like to do my own thing! The other reason I don’t bake is that then Reg and I would eat it all and gain weight. I buy some amounts of delicious treat and that way we get a small treat when we want/need it.

      I actually prefer chocolate/cocoa in savoury recipes as opposed to sweet, and would probably have liked to see more of those kind of recipes in this or any cookbook. Cheers and happy baking!
      WizardOfWords recently posted…the messy baker — book reviewMy Profile

  3. What a great idea…. Letting you know when you need to be precise. I know a lot of people, especially in the older generation, tended to eyeball it, orsus use a pinch of this or a handful of that. So for those recipes where precision really matters or you will have a flop on your hands that’s great to know. Sounds like a winner. 🙂

    • Hi Susan and Thx for your comment. Yes, I think Charmian has really acknowledged the fact that some of us like to tinker and experiment when we’re in the kitchen. She’s sensitive to helping all if us succeed with her recipes.

  4. Jeri says:

    I know my sister and husband would love this book. I can’t remember the last time I baked anything, but I do love to eat such treats 🙂 I totally get what you mean by the quality of the paper used. I’ve recently started gravitating toward Fodor’s travel guides over Lonely Planet because of the paper they use.
    Jeri recently posted…#Publishing: 6 Hot Trends in Indie Book MarketingMy Profile

    • Hi Jeri and Thx for your comment. Yes, it really makes a difference to me as to the feel of a book. That’s why … When I produced Chocolatour, I was prepared to work with a higher printing cost because I wanted good quality paper that would facilitate proper reproduction of the photos. It adds to the per book cost, but in my opinion … It is worth it.

  5. A.K.Andrew says:

    Sounds great. I’ve recently used online recipes more than books, but I like easy, and I really need to expand my dessert repartee beyond peach crumble!! Thanks for the recommendation Doreen:-)
    A.K.Andrew recently posted…Banned Book Week: Should We Ever Ban Books?My Profile

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