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Semi-Homemade Desserts    by Sandra Lee order for
Semi-Homemade Desserts
by Sandra Lee
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The subtitle of Semi-Homemade Desserts is 'Easy Delicious Desserts and Nothing Is Made from Scratch'; these are desserts you can prepare in minutes with products from your cupboard. In a 'Letter from Sandra', the author states that 'Dessert, like life, is short and sweet ... Dessert is one of life's simple pleasures - especially when made with ease, the Semi-Homemade way. We all need to take the time to smell the roses, particularly when they're buttercream.' Works for me.

At the head of every chapter in this new cookbook are helpful hints, tips and tricks for making your desserts come out looking like the photographs (which by the way are outstanding). Now to the luscious part - the desserts themselves. The word mouthwatering doesn't quite cut it with this cookbook. The chapter titled From the Package starts off with a very novel Vanilla Cupcake Bouquet. Then on to Frosty Lemon Chiffon Pie - to kill for. I used to make a pretty mean pound cake, but this Triple Lemon Pound Cake would give mine a run for its money. Moving on to From the Chocolatier, we have Frozen English Toffee Cake, Chocolate Bundt Cake with Chocolate Gonache Frosting, and (heaven help me) Peanut Butter Mini Mud Pies.

In From the American Classics, we find Award-Winning New York Blintzes. Also my downfall, bread pudding in the form of Chicago Bread Pudding with Caramel Rum Sauce, and my late husband's favorite, Boston Cream Pie. There's a chapter devoted to Stars from the entertainment field. Various stars (forget who, it's their desserts that count here) contributed recipes for Amazing Chocolate Almond Biscotti, Silky Smooth Apricot Mini Cakes, Fabulous Fried Ice Cream, and Perfect Pound Cake Trifle, to name just a few. Next are desserts For the Bake Sale. Where were these ideas when I was a busy Mom? Fruit Pizza Pie, Oatmeal Date Spice Cookies, Cherry Lollipops - all imaginative and guaranteed fast selling. Feel Soft and Sexy? Try Chocolate Covered Cherries or Sensuous Chocolate Truffles. The Champagne Perfume is a must as is the Body Paint. For the Special Occasion is an absolute whirl of lovely ideas and the know-how to produce them. The Perfect Package is a wonder.

Can't forget the holidays, from Valentine's Day to Kwanzaa. I love the Mother's Day Bonnet Cake (hint, hint, daughters of mine.) And I can't resist a fruitcake - Christmas Spicy Wreath Fruitcake looks moist and full of good stuff. Planning on entertaining? There are a wealth of tips in For the Host. How about Wonderful Wedding/Anniversary or a Gorgeous Garden Party? Exotic Arabian Buffet or Thoughtful Thanksgiving? Whatever your party theme, Sandra Lee has hints and tips that would adapt to your occasion. Get the feeling I like this book? You're so right. I do. Semi-Homemade Desserts would make a great holiday gift - or a useful addition to your own cookbook collection.

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