I’m sure that someone, somewhere, sometime has told you to treat yourself. Go ahead and eat that cake, you’ve had a long day. Go ahead, buy that outfit, treat yourself! Well, in my life and with my friends the ‘treat’ is more often cheap junk food that we loved as kids. Cheap childhood junk food with ingredients that I can’t pronounce…and probably don’t want to know about anyway.
Well now you can treat yourself to your favorite childhood ‘delicacies’ with just a little work in kitchen and the help of Jennifer Steinhauer’s cookbook, simply titled Treat Yourself. This book contains 70 (THAT’s RIGHT FOLKS…I DIDN’T ADD AN EXTRA NUMBER, There are 70) recipes for classic snacks that we loved in childhood and can now love again! The introduction gives interesting and entertaining insight into the author and her search for great desserts, and also provides an in depth supplies list so that you know the need for a canoe pan is real and imminent.
I made two of these recipes for a potluck recently and was amazed at how well they turned out. First, I made the Thin Mints, and though her warning about the ‘snap’ not being there was absolute truth, the flavor was amazingly similar to those crunchy, minty girl scout cookies I love so much.
I then proceeded on to my favorite of the Little Debbie snacks: the Zebra Cake. This was much more complicated than the ‘simple’ thin mint recipe, but came out tasting amazingly similar (though a bit more sweet) than the packaged treat. I also took 1/3 of the cake and separated it out in order to change it up a bit…after putting the whipped center into the larger portion of the cake, I added cinnamon to the filling and created a brand new (for me) love. Needless to say, my friends at the potluck are it up.
Now I won’t tell you that this will be simple, the recipes are in depth and can take a few hours to complete. If you’re diabetic, you should probably skip this one or just know that you’ll need extra insulin after you start baking. All of that aside, the recipes are well written, well organized, and well tested. Jennifer Steinhauer, the author, often reiterates the lack of certain qualities (like ‘snap’) in these homemade goodies, because we aren’t adding the extra chemicals and using the big machines that the companies are privy to. But if you leave those expectations at the kitchen door, the outcome will surprise and delight.
I give this 4.5 out of 5 dragons. Well Done, Ms. Steinhauer, well done!