Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley, whom we all know as the inspirational creators of the “Best of the Best” state cookbook series, appear to be branching out.

In the preface to the “Hall of Fame Dessert Cookbook” the daring duo explain “Where did all these incredible recipes come from? Well, in a word – AMERICA. Its many cultures, many tastes, many cuisines are all represented within the pages of this cookbook. America the Beautiful is also America the delicious!

But more specifically, they continue, “These recipes were chosen from the more than 4,000 dessert recipes in our BEST OF THE BEST STATE COOKBOOK SERIES, each of which was already a chosen favorite from their state…”

Some 2000 cookbooks from around the country who are contributors to their state’s individual  “Best of the Best Cookbook” sent in their selections. Below each printed recipe throughout the book you can see which cookbook and state the recipe represents. At the back of the cookbook you will find a list of the many contributors.

How did the Best of the Best Recipe Hall of Fame Dessert Cookbook come about? Prior to the publication of this cookbook, Quail Ride Press compiled a “Recipe Hall of Fame Cookbook”. When they were putting it together, they7 realized there were so many dessert recipes, the easiest solution would be to compile a book just with dessert recipes.

The new cookbook contains over 300 winning dessert recipes from all over the country. Illustrations of many of our favorite landmarks are also included – from the White House in Washington, D.C. to the Space Needle in Seattle, and from the West Quoddy Lighthouse in Lubec, Maine, to the very old Taos Pueblo in New Mexico (believed to be over a thousand years old). You will also find interesting little sidebars, facts about our wonderful USA.

And recipes? Well, who hasn’t at one time or another wondered what to make for dessert, what to serve the ladies with coffee at a Tupperware party, what to take for a pot luck at work, what to make for a bake sale, to take to a church social, or to serve company at a dinner party?

And there is a familiar theme at my house (sort of like Murphy’s Law) – the recipe you want is the one you can’t find. How does one lose a recipe? It’s like losing a sock in the washer or dryer—it shouldn’t be missing but it is.  Well, RECIPE HALL OF FAME DESSERT COOKBOOK might be the solution! With over three hundred favorite dessert recipes from which to choose, the debate might now be – which one  to make for the ladies luncheon, the church social, the potluck at work.

And another thing. This is the new millennium, by go0lly. I don’t have time to spend hours putting together a dessert where there’s so many other things to do. One of the features I really, really like about the RECIPE HALL OF FAME DESSERT COOKBOOK is the simplicity of most of the recipes.

As noted by McKee and Moseley, “People vote for recipes that are easy to make, that are most often requested, and that they like making over and over again because they enjoy the compliments! We call these recipes ‘unpretentious’ because they may use package mixes and any shortcuts possible to bring    about the quickest, most delicious results…”

I was bemused to find that the very first recipe is one for Red Velvet Cake (It wasn’t so very long ago that I embarked on a lengthy search for a recipe like red velvet cake). There are other all-time favorite cake recipes, everyone’s favorite Mississippi Mud Cake and Caramel Apple Cake. Including also are recipes for Pumpkin Cake in a Jar (which my daughter in law made one year for all her friends and neighbors) and surprise, surprise! Mexico City Earthquake Cake—not very long ago I spent an entire weekend searching for this recipe at the request of my friend, Pat.

Under pies and pastries you will find such all-time favorites as Hershey Kiss Pie, Old Fashioned Lemon Meringue Pie, French Silk chocolate Pie (my son Kelly’s favorite) and Mystery Pecan Pie.

Trifles and Tortes include Death by  Chocolate, Strawberry Tiramisu, and a luscious Black Forest Trifle.

The Cookie Section contains many of my all-time favorites, such as Brownie Meringues, Peanut Butter Blossoms (a Christmas favorite) and some new ones that will surely become favorites, such as “Goof Balls”. There are also sections on brownies and bars, puddings, frozen desserts, candies and “Other” desserts.

And, for those occasions when you want to really impress your guests, check out the recipes for Frangelico White and Dark Chocolate  Mousse, or Pistachio Pineapple Dessert, or something like Bailey’s Irish Cream Turtle Torte (yum!) As for me, the one I want to try the most is called “Twinkle Treat” and it starts out with two boxes of Twinkies!!

RECIPE HALL OF FAME DESSERT COOKBOOK from Quail Ridge Press is sure to become one of your all-time favorite cookbooks.  At the time of publication in October, 2000, it sold for a reasonable $16.95. You can find pre-owned copies on for as little as one cent (remember you will pay $3.99 for shipping and handling whenever you buy something from a private vendor) and has copies for 99c and $1.00.

In 2003, Quail Ridge Press issued RECIPE HALL OF FAME DESSERT COOKBOOK II. has copies of that  cookbook for as little as 02 cents for a pre-owned copy or $4.84 for a new one.

Happy cooking – and happy cookbook collecting!


*This  review was originally written for the Cookbook Collectors Exchange and published April, 2001.





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    • Thanks for writing – messages from those who read my blog enable be to figure out whether or not what I writing is meeting an appreciative audience. I appreciate thatyou took the time to write! – Sandy

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