Brown Sugar: Sweet soul food to warm the heart

brown sugarIn Brown Sugar: Soul Food Desserts from Family and Friends, Joyce White, author of Soul Food: Recipes and Reflections from African-American Churches, turns her attention to sweet endings. Brown Sugar gathers traditional Southern comfort desserts such as lacy wafer cookies, pecan sand tarts, gingersnaps, chocolate spice cake, a fluffy coconut peach cake, pineapple iced cake, cobblers and pies (including sweet potato and spicy molasses pecan), puddings and custards, candies and homemade ice creams. In terms of repertoire, it’s similar to Patty Pinner’s Sweets: Soul Food Desserts & Memories, but White includes numerous helpful hints for presentation and how-to’s.

There are no photographs, but the recipes include introductions that explain the origin of the recipes and handy sidebars. There are also numerous substitutions and variations suggested if you’re looking to branch out, or perhaps to experiment with a more adventurous flavor combination (like substituting cardamom for cinnamon in a coffee cake). There’s a chapter devoted to fruits, so if you’re looking for a lighter finale, you’ll find numerous baked fruits and compotes. These foolproof gems are a wonderful way to slow down and reconnect with a simpler time, and the delicious smells that will be coming out of your kitchen are sure to attract friends and neighbors, who might then sit down for a well-deserved chat over a slice of freshly baked cake or pie.

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