Cook the Book: The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook Review

There are a hundred ways to find new recipes. Magazines, food blogs, Pinterest, online recipe networks. My favorite way to find new recipes happens to be the old fashioned way: Cookbooks. When a new cookbook enters my kitchen, it’s not just for eye candy, I intend to use it.

After I went to the Smitten Kitchen book signing, a reader asked if I could share some of my favorite recipes from the book. So I decided to start a new series on here called Cook the Book (and no this isn’t a reference to Fahrenheit 451 or fraudulent business transactions). I will review some cookbooks I have and share which recipes were good and whether or not it’s a book that should grace your counter too.

It’s only appropriate that we start with the Smitten Kitchen now isn’t it? :)

CooktheBook Smitten Kitchen

After being a long-time fan of her blog, my sister gave me this cookbook for my birthday last year. I mentioned this a little bit a few weeks ago, but I love the practical details that she put into this book: a photo for every recipe, lay-flat binding (so your book doesn’t flip to the cover in the middle of making dough and you have to get your book all messy finding your page again), and detailed stories and instructions for each recipe. I also love that you can take the flap cover off and there is another beautiful cover underneath. My one complaint on the book itself is that many of the recipes start on the lefthand side and continue on a separate page. There were so many of these that I felt she could have organized the recipes a little better so there were more complete recipes on a spread without having to turn the page while you make a dish. But that’s a minor preference.

As for the recipes themselves, almost all of them are make-again recipes. Here are the ones I have made:

  • Almond date breakfast bars – Good breakfast bar or snack to eat on the go.
  • Big cluster maple granola – My new favorite granola! I made it twice, the second time I added coconut for extra sweetness. 
  • Vinegar slaw with cucumbers and dill – This slaw was perfectly fine, but since it was a cucumber-based salad, I admit I prefer my cucumber salad over this one.  
  • Roasted fingerling potatoes and carrots – A great, easy side. I’ve made this twice for weeknight dinners.
  • Pork chops with cider, horseradish and dill – Very good! Has a tangy taste 
  • Salted brown butter crispy treats – This is my favorite rice crispy treat recipe. I made these first from her website. I have made them a few times and added a layer of melted chocolate or Nutella and sprinkled salt on top for extra richness.
  • Marbled pumpkin gingersnap tart – I made this for Friendsgiving last year and there wasn’t any leftover. Rich and decadent, perfect for holiday parties or dinners.
  • Chocolate silk pie – I made this the other night and it was delicious. I had a normal pie crust on hand, so I bet it’s better with her homemade chocolate crust.

Verdict: Overall, a wonderful cookbook. I like that a lot of the recipes are meals I don’t naturally make, so it’s been nice to expand my cooking repertoire. Deb cares more about taste and flavor than whether it’s healthy or not, so the recipes tend to be more decadent than healthy (although sprinkled in each section are a few healthy ones).

Have you made any of the recipes, either in the book or on her site? I’d love to know which are your favorites!

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  • The spiced turkey meatballs over chickpea salad. Make this one… I’ve made em for a weeknight dinner, for a dinner date and for a big party. They’re unique so no one will have tried them before, easy enough to make without driving you crazy (you can make them for a weeknight meal if you try a little bit), you can serve to a crowd, and the combination of flavors is amazing. I’m a huge fan of Deb and this is a perfect reason why. Don’t question it. Just go for it :)