When Nancy Baggett set out to find the best homemade desserts in America, she knew just where to look. She turned to small-town cooks who are locally famous for their specialties, innkeepers and bakers whose treats lure guests back year after year, and church and bake-sale ladies whose creations are always snapped up at events.
Many of Nancy's finds have never been published, or even written down, before. Some of the local treasures include * an irresistibly easy blueberry buckle from a Vermont bed-and-breakfast * a tender peach cobbler from a home cook in the Ozarks who learned it from her mother * a lusciously thick chocolate-banana malted from a celebrated soda fountain in St. Louis * a supremely moist chiffon cake with a zingy orange glaze from Nancy's grandmother's "receipt" box * big, soft, glazed gingerbread cookies that were a huge favorite at a former diner in Washington, D.C.
* creamy chocolate-dipped caramels, the proprietary secret of the guild members of a New Mexico Episcopal church "Although I've been baking and writing about sweets for more than three decades, time and time again I found myself thinking, 'What a great idea! I'd never have thought of that," Nancy writes in the introduction.
Nancy has tested and retested each recipe in her own kitchen, so that you're assured of a flaky, easy-to-roll pie crust, a brownie with a perfect fudgy center and a deep chocolate aroma, and a silky-smooth cheesecake every time -- even if you've never baked before. Since the most memorable desserts are often the ones you make with your children, this book features plenty of projects for the whole family: rock crystal swizzle sticks, caramel apples, graham cracker "gingerbread" houses, and gifts such as brownie bars in a jar and quick heavenly hash fudge. The All-American Dessert Book tells the intriguing story of America's fascination with sweets, complete with regional legends, behind-the-scenes recipe stories, fascinating snippets of baking history, and words of kitchen wisdom from cooks of the past.