Tag Archives: baking

Sweet Fairytales from Hoopla: A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking and Fairytale Baking

7 Sep

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking
by T. Kingfisher

My mother’s favorite children’s story was a Golden Book edition of The Gingerbread Man by Nancy Nolte; she’d often read it to my sister and I and now our children as well.  You probably have heard a version of it about a gingerbread man who runs away and no one can catch.  What isn’t really ever explained is how the gingerbread man came to life in the first place.  Kingfisher’s A Wizard Guide to Defensive Baking might give a hint at how it could take place. 

The hero of A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, Mona is a fourteen-year-old who despite having some wizarding powers, works in her aunt’s bakery.  That’s because unlike other wizards, her powers work solely on baked goods; her familiar is a sourdough starter and she can create gingerbread man golems.  However, when a body turns up at the bakery, Mona’s life begins to change and she learns that her powers might be just what is needed to save the city from dark forces.  You can borrow it as a digital audiobook from Hoopla; Patricia Santomasso gives a stellar performance which brings the spunky young heroine to life.

If you like spins on classic tales, you might also want to check out Kingfisher’s recent adaptation of Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher, What Moves the Dead, which I previously reviewed.  Several of the over 150 audiobooks that Santomasso has recorded are available from Hoopla including the most recent books in the Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure Mystery Series.

Fairytale Baking
by Christin Geweke

Warning, listening to Kingfisher’s work might leave you desiring sugary delights, but Christin Geweke’s Fairytale Baking has plenty of sweet treats if you love to bake to cure your cravings. 

Fairytale Baking recipes are broken into five sections, before each section is a story that provides loose inspiration towards the recipes that follow.  The fairytales included are Snow-White and Rose-red (Classic Beauties); Hansel and Gretel (Sweet and Scrumptious); Mother Holle (Icing Sugar and Chocolate); The Star-Money (Divine Baking) and The Princess and the Pea (Airy Delights).  She also includes some helpful hints at the beginning of the book such as the proper use of gelatin and how to substitute ground nuts for some of the flour in a recipe.

You’re sure to find something you want to try in recipes Geweke describes as the type which, “marries exquisite classics with contemporary ingredients,” Like many classic fairytales from the Brothers Grimm, there are spins on German favorites like Baumkuchen Triangles and an Orange and Pistachio Kugelhopf or like the influential work of Charles Perrault‎, French delicacies such as Spiced Macarons and Crème Brulee Tartlets.  But every country and region have their own classic stories and hence there are also treats like the Austrian Light Sachertorte, Italian Tiramisu Cake and Asian inspired Matcha and Vanilla Cookies.  I’d like to try the Chocolate Hazelnut Swiss Roll and Macadamia Cupcakes now that the summer’s heat is receding and it is perfect time to have the oven on to take away the morning chill.

Do you have a favorite fairytale inspired book or baked treat?  Share it with us in the comments!

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

Don’t Buy Holiday Gifts, Make Them!: Learn How with Craftsy Instructional Video Classes via Hoopla

3 Nov

Now that we are able to venture out a bit further again you might be looking for what you can serve and give for the holidays, but if you don’t have a lot of cash or you simply want to give something that has the added sentiment of being homemade you can get the knowledge and support you need with Craftsy.

With Craftsy, you can learn a new skill, master a hobby, or discover new techniques.  As they say, “Don’t Just Dream It. Make It.” Through a partnership with Hoopla, Craftsy’s dynamic instructional video content is now available to Hoboken Library patrons.  As someone who loves baking I was excited to see videos on everything from fanciful cupcakes to sourdough bread.  I can’t wait to watch the class on croissant making, something my French grandmother would make regularly, but I’m intimidated to try my hand at. 

There are plenty of videos to impress your Thanksgiving guests including a series that will take turkey newbies on the road to becoming roasting masters.  For dessert the Fall Foliage course will give you an adorable cake topper in a few easy steps and Classic Pies Made Easy will give you the knowledge to make the best traditional sweet potato pie or be more adventurous and watch and learn how to make a fanciful meringue creation.

For the December holidays aspiring bakers can check out how to make their own Challah bread for Chanukah or view Holiday Cookies for ideas for creating snowmen, reindeer and Santa!.  It isn’t just the kitchen where Crafty shines you can also take courses on sewing and knitting so you can do everything from make your own tree skirt to making Fair Isle Holiday Ornaments or quilted gifts for your loved ones.

Looking to learn more with instructor lead courses, check out Universal Class, also available to Hoboken Patrons.  Universal Class has computer classes and many other continuing education options, but it is also chockful of crafting, cooking, and other topics that will get your creative juices flowing including topics like painting, candle making, digital photography, pie baking, cookie making, sewing and soap creation under the Arts, Crafts & Hobbies category.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Information and Digital Services

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