Fine Cooking: Cooking for the Holidays ($1.99)
Like the Better Homes & Gardens app already covered in this review, Fine Cooking is a magazine app with party ideas and recipes. There are eleven different articles, from cocktails and desserts to a holiday open house and a cookie swap. Since a magazine layout is used, there is no way to zoom in on a particular area of the screen, or to enlarge the text.
The recipes are nicely detailed, but I was left wanting more. I was also surprised to see advertisements between the articles, since I don’t usually see advertisements outside of free apps. If you’re already a fan of Fine Cooking magazine you’ll probably like this app, but there are better options in the App Store.
Good Food Healthy Recipes ($3.99)
Are you concerned about what you and your family are eating, and want to make some healthy changes? Check out Good Food Healthy Recipes, which provides exactly that. Five different recipes are highlighted each day, with mouthwatering illustrations. Other sections of the app allow you to browse all of the recipes, watch how to videos on a variety of topics, learn about healthy ingredients we all should be eating more of (such as blueberries and spinach).
Nutritional information is also included for each recipe, and there are nine different categories to choose from when you browse. You can choose options under 200 calories, vegetarian items, appetizers, main courses, and more. Some of the recipes are new ideas, while many of them are labeled as “ultimate makeovers” which take a time-tested favorite and convert them into a much healthier version.
This app is from the BBC, so measurements are in metric by default, but the developers are kind enough to include an option for Imperial measurements as well. There is no shopping list feature, though there is a built-in timer and you can share individual recipes by email, so it’s easy enough to send it to your smartphone in order to get your shopping done. I really like this app because it focuses on making good food healthy — you don’t have to give up lasagna if you’re watching what you eat, you just have to make a few simple changes. There are more than 200 recipes here to get you started.
In the Kitchen ($1.99, universal)
If you’re a fan of the Food Network, you’ll definitely want to check In The Kitchen out. All of your Food Network favorites are here, from Guy Fieri to Tyler Florence. You can either tap on a chef to see a list of all of their recipes or use the selector on the left to choose a particular kind of food if you’re in the mood to browse. You can also search for specific recipes by using the search box in the upper right corner of the screen.
Each recipe is illustrated, with step-by-step instructions. A shopping list feature is included, as well as a timer and unit converter. You can mark particular recipes to be included in your recipe box, but strangely enough that only works if you already have a Food Network account — there is no way to register from within the app.
Each recipe includes user ratings, prep and cook times, and a suggested skill level, but no nutritional information. A wealth of information is here, and this app is perfect for Food Network fans, but if you’re looking for a giant repository, this isn’t it — there are only twenty-five recipes per section. It’s a great app, but if you want everything in one spot you’re better off trying either Epicurious or BigOven Pro.
Martha Stewart Makes Cookies ($7.99)
When you first open Martha Stewart Makes Cookies, you are greeted by an introductory video with Martha Stewart. She explains some of the main features of the app before you are taken to the main page, which is gloriously illustrated with all sorts of cookies. They are roughly arranged by category, from traditionalists and trendsetters, to those far away (suitable for shipping) to entertaining. When you see a cookie you’d like to make, just tap on it for a larger illustration and description, and again for the recipe.
The steps are listed on the left side of the screen, and though you can’t resize the text it is plenty large enough to read easily. Ingredients are on the right, and you can add them to your shopping list if you’re ready to bake. At the bottom of the recipe you’ll see a small control that lets you set a timer so that you won’t burn your cookies. You can mark individual recipes as favorites and also add your own notes. That small Martha Stewart ribbon at the top left corner of the screen expands into a menu where you can search for recipes, view your shopping list, watch videos, learn about baking tools, share recipes with your friends, or access the help menu.
There are 50 recipes in all, so there’s definitely something here for everyone. Martha Stewart Makes Cookies is a lovely app for those who enjoy discovering new recipes. It is beautifully illustrated and put together, and every detail is perfect — just as you would expect from Martha Stewart.
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