Sweet Enough: A Dessert Cookbook

About the Book

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A simple, stylish cookbook full of desserts that come together faster than you can eat them—from the author of Dining In and Nothing Fancy.

“Filled with no-fuss recipes perfect for quick and easy baking projects . . . blissfully effortless.”—People

ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED COOKBOOKS OF 2023: People, HuffPost, Delish, Tasting Table
Casual, effortless, chic: These are not words you’d use to describe most desserts. But before Alison Roman made recipes so perfect that they go by one name—The Cookie, The Pasta, The Lemon Cake—she was a restaurant pastry chef who spent most of her time learning to make things the hard way. She studied flavor, technique, and precision, then distilled her knowledge to pare it all down to create dessert recipes that feel special and approachable, impressive and doable. In Sweet Enough, Alison has written the book for people who think they don’t have the time or skill to pull off dessert. Here, the desserts you want to make right away, you can make right away. 

Alison shows you how to make simple yet sublime sweets with her trademark casualness, like how to make jam in the oven, then turn that jam into a dessert—swirled into ice cream or folded into easy one-bowl cake batter. (Opening a jar of jam is more than fine, too.) She waxes poetic on the virtues of frozen fruit and teaches you the best way to throw your own Sundae Party. There are effortless cakes that take just minutes to get into a pan. And there are new, instant classics with a signature Alison twist, like Salted Lemon Pie, Raspberries and Sour Cream, Toasted Rice Pudding, or a Caramelized Maple Tart. Requiring little more than your own two hands and a few mixing bowls, the recipes are geared towards those without fancy equipment or specialty ingredients.

Whether you’re a dedicated baker or, better yet, someone who doesn’t think they are a baker, Sweet Enough lets you finish any dinner, any party, or any car ride to a dinner party with a little something wonderful and sweet.
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Sweet Enough: A Dessert Cookbook


Something I hear all the time when I bring up desserts is, “I can cook, but I can’t bake.” Of course, I know why people say or think that: Conventional wisdom suggests that cooking is wild and free, encouraging creativity and improvisation. Desserts, on the other hand, should be tidy and precise. Prim, proper, controlled. Scientific, even. But as someone who would never be described as tidy or precise, who is not prim or proper, who is not a scientist, I reject those sentiments.

I am, however, a person who finds joy in licking the leftover pudding at the bottom of the pot, who can’t help but slice a pie before it’s properly cooled just to taste the insides (even though I will tell you not to), who will buy all the short-lived sour cherries I can and frantically cook them down with an unmeasured amount of sugar so I can still taste them all year long. I am a person who wipes floury hands on their pants, who will use only one bowl to mix a cake batter if it means I don’t have to wash another thing, who will avoid using anything that gets plugged in at all costs, even if (or especially when) it means whipping cream by hand. Desserts, baking, whatever we want to call it here (this book contains both desserts that are not baked and baked goods that are not dessert) should be for anyone, at any time, requiring little more than two hands and a modicum of patience.

Sweet things, by nature, are a little frivolous, which is probably why I love them. Gestures that demonstrate joy can exist just to exist, a simple but valuable reminder that desire is as important as hunger, wants as important as needs. And the gestures can be small but nevertheless significant—ripe berries sweetened with sugar and crushed into sour cream; a giant, buttery cookie topped with rainbow sprinkles. They are an additive; our lives do not depend on these mini-pleasures. We will not wither away if there is no pudding for dessert. But what a nice thing to do to remind ourselves and each other that we live for more than necessity. That there is more than practicality; there are flowers for yourself just because, a fluffy cake with candles for making it through another turn around the sun, a bowl of ripe fruit dressed with bittersweet amaro at the end of a meal because you don’t want the night to end, a small sliver of cold carrot cake for breakfast because it just tastes so nice. 

Generally speaking, my recipe style and aesthetic could be described as “rustic,” “carefree,” “approachable.” My desserts tend to follow suit, a little wild-looking and decidedly unkempt. Perfect they are not; I admit that I didn’t so much choose this aesthetic as this aesthetic chose me.

Rusticness aside, these recipes are intentionally simple and especially flexible. Some of the recipes don’t require an oven or even a stovetop. I wanted to write a dessert book that celebrated the excellence of basicness rather than distract with needless complexities. Most have suggestions for you to fancy things up as you wish, which will always be easy when you have a great, reliable, and foolproof base recipe to start with. You have to walk before you run, etc.

My hope for you, reading this book and hopefully baking (or assembling) your way through it, is that you strive for the animalistically irresistible, not aesthetically pristine—I find the two are rarely the same. Think of the best piece of fruit you’ve ever had, likely falling apart on the way to your mouth, juices dribbling down your forearm. Or maybe a lasagna, too cheesy and delicious to be willingly cut into perfect squares.

Maybe I’m just compensating for the fact that despite my formal training as a pastry chef in a restaurant kitchen, combined with additional years of baking and whisking and pouring and scraping and stacking and rolling and folding, I’m still not an expert. My pies still leak, cheesecakes crack, and pound cakes are pulled from the oven before they’re fully baked. Lopsided and wonky, occasionally almost burned, unevenly frosted, my desserts are consistently imperfect. But perfection is boring, and these recipes—baked longer than you think, so the edges caramelize and stay crunchy; seasoned with enough salt to taste the butter; just sweet enough with sugar to qualify as dessert, but not so much that you can’t taste the sour, the bitter, the salt, and the fruit—well, damn, if they aren’t delicious. And when they come out of your kitchen, I hope you, too, feel that they’re full of joy, imperfections and all.

About the Author

Alison Roman
Alison Roman is a New York–based cook, writer, and author of the New York Times bestselling cookbooks Nothing Fancy and Dining In. She is the host and producer of CNN’s (More Than) A Cooking Show with Alison Roman, the creator of a bi-weekly YouTube series called Home Movies, and the author of a bi-weekly newsletter titled A Newsletter. More by Alison Roman
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