Recreating childhood memoriesAugust 28, 2017 by Darcie
They say you can never go home again. The same could be said about food – whenever you revisit a favorite childhood treat, it almost inevitably fails to live up to your memories. This was the challenge faced by Stella Parks when it came time to write her baking cookbook BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts. Stella explains to Eater the difficulties of making a treat that tastes as delicious now as you thought it was when you were a kid.
If you have ever purchased a favorite childhood cookie or candy as an adult, were disappointed with the flavor, and wondered whether the company had changed the formula, you are not alone. While it is possible that tweaks have been made over the years, it is just as likely that you have changed instead. Children prefer sweet to bitter flavors, but that preference begins to reverse as you get older, and adults often find the cookies they loved as kids are now far too sweet.
Parks adapted the recipes in her cookbook, which features ‘copycat’ recipes of iconic American cookies and treats like Oreos and Heath English Toffee (which we learn is not, in fact, British) to suit adult tastebuds. Her goal is not to create exact replicas of the items, which would be impossible, but rather to recall the pleasant memories associated with them.
I recently made the Homemade Oreo cookies pitctured above and I can attest that these are a grownup-pleasing version of the classic cookie. The cookie portion has a slightly bitter edge and the filling is less sweet but far more flavorful than the commercial product. I was pleased to discover that I did not need to purchase black cocoa in order to achieve the dark color.
The Eater article also includes a link to an inteview with Parks, where she elaborates more on BraveTart and tells us how she thinks Oreos got their name. Stay tuned to the EYB blog – we will post a contest for a chance to win the cookbook in the next week or two.
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