09 October 2021

Weekend Cooking: Nailed It! A Family Cookbook by the creators of the Netflix show with Heather MacLean

Review of the Nailed It! cookbookToday I'm launching my first Abrams Dinner Party cookbook of the season, and it's a fun one. Remember back in 2018 when I reviewed the Netflix series Nailed It!? I became a fan starting right from season 1, episode 1. Little did I know then that the creators of the show, along with Heather MacLean, would write a cookbook based on the series.

For those of you who don't know, Nailed It! is a baking contest show which challenges contestants to recreate beautifully decorated cakes and fun and fanciful desserts. These everyday, nonprofessional bakers do their best to work with fondant, modeling chocolate, food dyes, buttercreams, and rice cereal bars to produce both tasty and eye-appealing showcase treats. The results are often hilarious, and the contestants all seem to have a good sense of humor.

The cookbook Nailed It!, which I received as part of the Abrams Dinner Party program, contains more than thirty recipes, from elegant wedding cakes to super-fun cupcakes, most of which were used on the series. Each recipe includes episode notes, decorating and baking tips, and photographs. That would make this a fan-favorite cookbook all in and of itself.

Review of the Nailed It! CookbookBut Nailed It! A Family Cookbook goes a few steps farther. You'll find detailed information on all the different decorating ingredients with tips on how to work with them, where to buy them, and how to color them. You can read interviews with the show's head judge (Torres), some of the guest judges, and our favorite associate director "Wessssssss!!!"--who always seems game for whatever antic is needed.

My favorite parts of the book are the tips: what to do if you can't find an ingredient or don't have the right equipment, how to save fondant that got too sticky, and how to make fluffy buttercream, for example. There are also shortcut suggestions (like buying the doughnuts instead of making them for the polar bear cuties).

If you and your friends and family are feeling adventurous, be sure to look at the end of the Nailed It! cookbook, where you'll find advice for creating your own decorating party. You can make it a challenge or a collaborative event, and the authors even provide tips for virtual parties. If you're going for a contest, don't miss the competition rules, suggestions for awards, and ideas for amping up the fun. Scan the chart of recipes to pick the right one for your party guests (including kids).

Review of the Nailed It! cookbookOne of the Abrams Dinner Party members recreated the Late-Night Pancake Art, and another made the hot chocolate (recipe to follow).

I'm recommending the Nailed It! cookbook for fans of the show as well as anyone who wants to significantly up their decorating game--or just wants to have some fun with their family on a weekend afternoon. If you're not feeling up to working with fondant, check this one out from the library so you can read the interviews and learn more about the Netflix series.

What follows is Jacques Torres's hot chocolate recipe. I've had his Frozen Hot Chocolate in New York but haven't yet tried his hot version. I'm definitely making this over the winter holidays; it'd be perfect for a night by the fire listening to holiday music.

Jacques's Legendary Hot Chocolate
Makes 4 cups
Review of the Nailed It! cookbookFrom season 1 (Holiday)

  • 3 cups (720 ml) whole milk
  • 6 ounces (170 g) Jacques Torres 60% dark chocolate discs (or your favorite brand)
  • 1/2 cup (65 g) dry milk powder
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Whipped cream or marshmallows for topping
In a medium pot over medium-high, bring the milk to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium.

Add the chocolate, whisking vigorously until it is completely melted.

Add the milk powder and cornstarch. Continue to whisk until everything is dissolved and the mixture is smooth and thick.

Divide the hot chocolate among four mugs. Top with a large dollop of whipped cream or marshmallows.

Note: Recipe and photos are shared in the context of review; all rights remain with the original copyright holder.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


gluten Free A_Z Blog 10/9/21, 6:31 AM  

Hi Beth,
it's funny how cooking and baking shows have become so popular- even my grandkids enjoy Nailed It- Thanks for the introduction to this book and the review.- sounds interesting. Looking forward to your future Abrams Dinner Party reviews too. Have a great week.

Mae Travels 10/9/21, 7:34 AM  

I remember when you recommended “Nailed It” — we watched one episode, but it didn’t appeal to us that much. Tastes do vary! We are watching the millionth season of Great British Baking Show this year, for example. If I ever wanted to do fancy baking that book would be a good choice, as my efforts are usually pretty laughable. Maybe that’s why we didn’t enjoy the show.

best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

Vicki 10/9/21, 7:39 AM  

I'm not a big fan of cooking/baking shows but I will check out Nailed It.
I've never seen a Hot Chocolate recipe that called for cornstarch. Now I'm wondering what it's purpose is.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 10/9/21, 8:59 AM  

I'm a huge fan of the Great British Bake Off, so I should look for Nailed It, the show, and this book.

Jackie McGuinness 10/9/21, 9:46 AM  

Also a huge fan of British Bake-off. The Canadian version is starting soon. I will add Nailed It to my watching list.

Tina 10/9/21, 10:51 AM  

I would love to watch a cooking show! My first ever chance to watch the great British bake off with Mary berry was actually on the plane coming back from Omaha. I was thrilled to watch all the variations of bread they created.

As for hot chocolate, what a great recipe! Thank you for highlighting this book.

Heather 10/9/21, 2:19 PM  

I love Nailed It. Has gotten me through some tough times. Will be buying this book for sure

Marg 10/10/21, 1:36 AM  

We watched quite a few seasons of Nailed It! I am not sure I would make anything out of this book, but I do think I would enjoy looking through it!

Thanks for your continued participation in Weekend Cooking!

Sherry's Pickings 10/26/21, 7:51 AM  

oh no how can christmas be coming this soon? :-)

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