Spending my time with someone who works in cookbook writing and testing has made me look at books in a whole new way. My own experience with books made me appreciate the hard work that goes into the organization, but to see first-hand how much testing and skill goes into each recipe makes me have a whole new level of respect for cookbook authors. We’ve been so fortunate to see some gorgeous books come across our desk at work lately, so I thought I’d share some of my personal favorites that I plan to be cooking from over the holiday break. I tend to lean heavily on sweets, so many of these are dessert books (not sure if I should apologize or celebrate that fact) which I hope will still work for everyone. If not, we’ve got an in-depth post coming up tomorrow about a great new recipe book that celebrates the savory as much as the sweet. Happy cooking!
Baking Unplugged by Nicole Rees (Wiley). Baking Unplugged is the hands down winner in my spot recipe testing. The recipes are good, easy, and practical. The simple philosophy behind the book is that you can make great desserts without any electrical equipment (except an oven, of course). The preliminary chapters at the beginning review tools, ingredients, methods, and how to read a recipe. The books chapters are then divided into types of baked goods, with no dearth of explanation of technique. The book is clear and concise, easy to understand. I wish I had had this book when I started out baking. This is a book for anyone who wants to get back to basics in the kitchen, someone who has a small kitchen with only a few tools, someone who is lazy and doesn’t feel like plugging in the equipment. It’s a perfect book for beginners– I am a firm believer in the ‘learn in the manual way’ in order to excel in the automated world. I really really like this book. One last important note– there are no photos at all in the book. But please don’t let this discourage you.
The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook is packed with over 100 recipes for everything from the bakery’s legendary Old Fashioned Cupcakes to S’more Pie, Rustic Cheddar Pecan Rounds and, one of my favorites, Nanna Pudding. To say that these are Southern comfort foods is an understatement; every single recipe has so much soul and history that they’re as close to a hug from your family as you can get. Whenever I eat something from Back in the Day, I feel like I’m sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen and someone is taking care of me. And that’s just what Cheryl and Griff do — every day they treat their customers to delicious made-from-scratch treats that have been passed down through generations of family bakers who cooked with love. Even the queen of Savannah, Paula Deen, took notice. She wrote a glowing and heartfelt introduction for this cookbook, and if my love-fest for Cheryl and Griff doesn’t convince you, hers will. This is quite simply a cookbook everyone should own. So please, check out The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook online right here and here. Pick up a copy and then pick up another copy for someone else in your life. This really is the sort of cooking that needs to be passed on and shared with people you love. A huge thank you to Cheryl and Griff for being such generous and kind friends to all of us here at D*S. We wish them every single ounce of success in the world. They deserve all of that and then some. xoxo, grace