Y’all – I’m taking a quicko break from the Wes Anderson baking series. A cute lil biscuit from Little, Brown Publishing reached out last week with an advanced copy of a new cookbook for me to review. Check me out, y’all! I’m reviewing cookbooks now! >>>sizzle!<<< The book is a collection of recipes from 102 year-old boss b Maida Heatter.
I didn’t know who she was either….
BUT – I did some quick research and fell in frickin love with her immediately. She’s a Miami Beach socialite who basically taught herself how to bake and then she wrote a bunch of cookbooks and taught classes and inspired the likes of Martha Boom-Boom Stewart, “Short-Stack Jacques” Pepin, Fancy-Nancy Silverton and Dadgum Dorie Greenspan (DDG wrote the foreward of this book BTW. Toot toot!). AND! Ol Girl won herself three James Beard Awards (THREE!!!) and she sounds fucking awesome.
Here’s a dang article written by Saveur Magazine (LINK HERE!). Please note the bit about her trying to serve elephant meat omelettes to a bunch of Republicans during the 1968 Republican National Convention in Miami. And, did you catch the bit about the wrapped-up purse-brownies? DDG writes about another wrapped-up purse-brownie situation in her foreward – when Maida was on stage to collect one of her James Beard awards, she starts throwing purse-brownies to the crowd….
I need to know – what’s the best brownie for throwing???
There are three brownie recipes in this book but none of them say that they’re the best for throwing. The regular brownies recipe (page 186) seems like it might be her favorite because it was her first ever recipe. (She said she started baking these when she was ten.).
Then there’s a cream cheese brownie which is like half brownie/half cheesecake. And then there’s her Palm Beach brownie with chocolate covered mints (page 191). I wasn’t impressed with the cream cheese brownies, but she says that the Palm Beach brownie is one of her most famous recipes in all her cookbooks. She says they’re “the thickest, gooiest, chewiest, darkest, mostest-of-the-most chocolate bars.”
I ended up making the regular brownies and the Palm Beach deals. And it’s pretty clear: If I’m going to get a James Beard prize (or really be in a public situation of any kind moving forward), I’m throwing the Palm Beach brownies. They have a good heft to them and they really are that chewy and gooey and the mostest-of-the-most. And I really think the recipients would get a real surprise/delight out of the peppermint surprise!
Beyond the throwing brownies, this book is chock full of so many other baked things you can wrap up and heave at a crowd. The recipes all look fairly straightforward and the illustrations are real cute. And Maida reminds me of my old toy store boss Viv, who was so funny and warm and like 3% insane that I like her so so so so much. Thanks Little Brown for the chance to review this book – and thanks, Maida, for these lovely recipes! ☺️☺️☺️☺️☺️