Southern Living: Classic Southern Desserts

By Southern Living Magazine

Cookbook review courtesy of contributing writer
Stephanie Sears

I will be the first to admit I have a love/hate relationship with Southern food. As an East Coaster transplanted below the Mason Dixon, I have never been able to understand grits or the desire to fry everything.  However, I do understand the importance of good desserts, and dessert is something the South does very well.

When I first saw this cookbook I immediately jumped at the opportunity to review it. Classic Southern Desserts (published by Oxmoor House Publishers $29.95 USD) is an extension of the recipes available in the Southern Living Magazine, and contains 344 pages of mouthwatering sweets.

The recipes in this cookbook are broken down so that even the most novice bakers will easily be able to understand what’s required. Southern Living did an excellent job writing clear and concise directions that are easy to follow in the kitchen. My initial thought was that this would make a great family cookbook – children and adults alike could easily make any dessert in this book. There is not an ounce of pretentiousness, something that in my mind is a wonderful and often challenging accomplishment for cookbook writers.

The absolute best thing about this cookbook is the tips. Most of the recipes have little tips at the end letting the reader know what brands were used, what cooking appliances and utensils made an appearance along with other miscellaneous notes of interest to the cook. I used these notes as a guide when purchasing the ingredients for the recipes I tested.

Classic Southern Desserts is also a visual success. Every single picture is gorgeous! The book is overflowing with photographs of beautifully styled food leaving you wanting to make each of the recipes. If I am correct in my count every recipe has a photograph, and while photography is never a deal breaker for me I have to admit it was the photos that first drew me into the book.

This is a must buy for dessert lovers, advanced bakers, and beginner bakers alike. Its pages will be well-worn, and the cookbook has heirloom potential. The recipes are timeless, each one invoking childhood memories but with a grown-up twist.

To read the results from Stephanie’s recipe tests, please click HERE