Sweet treats from the heart of the Rockies | AspenTimes.com

Sweet treats from the heart of the Rockies

Naomi HavlenAspen Times Weekly

Dreams of sugar plums dont stand a chance against a new cookbook by Littleton resident Patty Ross. This is the perfect time of year to flip through Rocky Mountain Sweet Shoppe Cookbook, since just looking at page after page of colorful confections is probably enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, and may even give you a bit of a toothache.Ross book goes far beyond standard sugary fare in fact, you cant find a single recipe for a chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookie within its 256 pages. But who needs those recipes anyway? It seems that if you dont already have a working knowledge of how to bake the standard cookie, maybe you shouldnt bother trying your hand at Ross delightful confections and treats in the first place.This is not meant to discourage you, however. What is impressive about this cookbook is that the tips and tricks that go into making candy, truffles and cookies are spelled out specific to each recipe, and in a handy appendix. What Ross seems to excel in are the sorts of recipes your mom and grandmother would have whipped up during the holidays, and then she writes them out with recommendations, tips and tricks so that its a lot like baking with your mom and grandmother standing at your elbow.Say, for example, you want to whip up the Logandale Fudge Bites. I like to use Hersheys brand Milk Chocolate Bars and M&Ms, your mom might tell you. And when cooking candy, put the liquids in the pan first and then the sugar, so that not many sugar crystals will form, shell say. Oh and I once tried this recipe but I added peppermint extract and crushed mints. It was terrific.By putting all of this in her cookbook, Ross ensures that you can master these recipes fairly quickly, and make them your own with multiple variations. And theres a section in her book for every sweet tooth you know people who like candy, fudge and truffles, treats that are sweet and salty at once, minty, Christmasy or chock full of nuts.And then there are things about this cookbook that people who love to spend time in the kitchen will be appreciative of. Each recipe comes with a photo of the finished product, so you know what youre aiming for. The book is spiral bound, so it easily lays open on your countertop. All of the recipes are written for people who live at high altitude, with low altitude alterations (take that, low-landers!). Ross explains how to use a candy thermometer at high altitude, and you have to love that 30 percent of the recipes in this book involve less than 30 minutes of prep time.Although Ross names plenty of the recipes after Colorado cities and towns (Woody Creek Clusters, Redstone Twinkle Bars, Pitkins Hazelnut Divinities and Snowmass Angel Puff Cookies are just some of the locally themed treats) there is no Aspen-related confection. Boo. But then again, its hard to complain about that when youre experiencing a sugar rush of epic proportions, courtesy of Patty Ross.nhavlen@aspentimes.com

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