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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

First, Cream the Butter and Sugar by Emelia Jackson

Emelia Jackson was a contestant on MasterChef Australia in 2014. She started a cake business and then went back on the show in 2020 and won it!

First, Cream the Butter and Sugar is a gorgeous baking book that immediately appeals with its stylish cover and scrumptious photographs. It's a handsome and large production, with over 400 pages. The recipes are divine and easy to follow, and Emelia often suggests alternatives to use instead.

She's got a lovely chatty style in her introductions for each recipe, often telling you a bit about its history and a hint of what to expect with the flavours. Some of the standouts include:

  • Caramel lace biscuits, which are a bit like 'a brandy snap crossed with a Florentine and a toffee.' Emelia recommends you make these at least once in your lifetime.

  • Chocolate creams. They are sort of the home-done version of Tim Tams!

  • Melomakarona. This is a Greek Christmas biscuit dunked in sugar syrup and topped with walnuts.

  • Layered lamington cake. Emelia has taken away the fiddly aspect by making it into a large cake rather than individual squares.

  • Custard and apple scrolls. The perfect blend of tart and sweet.

The best aspect of this fine book is Emelia's generous tips. There is everything from how to actually cream butter correctly, what temperatures your ingredients should be and why you might use salt in baking. There are tips on how to make the best cakes and different types of cookies, how to bake tarts successfully, and making choux pastry. She also has a section on how to use yeast in baking.

First, Cream the Butter and Sugar is a must-have book for anyone interested in producing great baking that you can achieve at home. I really enjoyed the variations for many of the recipes, and that many are something a little different. This baking book is first-rate!

Reviewer: Iain McKenzie

Murdoch Books


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