Favorite Cookbooks (Sweet)

I mentioned last week that I’m a cookbook fanatic. If there was any doubt, the fact that I had to have two days dedicated to favorite cookbooks should make it obvious: I love cookbooks. Today is all about my favorite cookbooks that are focused on desserts or other baked items.

Favorite Cookbooks - Americas Test Kitchen Family Baking BookThe America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking BookFavorite Cookbooks - Americas Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

A great basic baking cookbook that, if you’re only going to own one, is perhaps the best choice. Since it’s by America’s Test Kitchen, the recipes are all extensively tested to work in home kitchens. And since it’s ring-bound, the book will lay flat on your kitchen counter while in use (love that feature!) The buying guides are also super useful, with specific brands suggested. I always check their recommendations when I need something new to see what will get me the best value for my money.

Favorite Cookbooks - King Arthur Flour Bakers CompanionThe King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking CookbookFavorite Cookbooks - King Arthur Flour Bakers Companion

I am a devoted fan of King Arthur Flour, and I could easily recommend any of their cookbooks. The King Arthur Flour Cookie CompanionFavorite Cookbooks - King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion is outstanding. Their Whole Grain BakingFavorite Cookbooks - King Arthur Whole Grain Baking book has made me a believer. This one gets the nod simply because it’s the most basic of their books and if you’re only going to own one, this is the one it should be. Plus, if I were to have to limit myself to only one baking cookbook, I’d pick this one, that’s how much I adore it.

The recipes are all very clear and easy to follow. Measurements are given for both volume and weight (love that!). Lots of helpful information is included to explain details about equipment, ingredients, and technique. If you’re a beginner baker, this book can help you become a great baker. And their website is fantastic too – as are their free traveling workshops, their hotline, and oh, yeah, their shop {Someday I hope to visit their store in person.}

Favorite Cookbooks - Baking: From My Home to YoursBaking: From My Home to YoursFavorite Cookbooks - Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

If you’re a slightly more advanced baker, Greenspan’s book is wonderful. I’ve made dozens and dozens of her recipes and loved them all. Her Swedish visiting cake? I practically have it memorized I’ve made it so often. The book isn’t perfect. No weights given for measurements so I have to convert. Every recipe doesn’t have a picture. I found one recipe with some typos/missing info. Despite these quibbles, I love love love this book, and when we were moving last year and staging our home and I had to pack up most of my books and put them into storage? This is one of the cookbooks that I kept with me so it was easily accessible.

Favorite Cookbooks - BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent RecipesBakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent RecipesFavorite Cookbooks - BakeWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Baking with Over 200 Magnificent Recipes by Shirley Corriher

Not one I’d suggest for a beginner, but if you want to get a little more nerdy about your baking, this book is awesome. Corriher is a former chemist and can give all the details on what exactly is happening when you bake, and how ingredients interact. If you want to make a cookie spread less, what can you do? If your cakes have tunnels, what’s the cause? Corriher can tell you. (If you ever watched Good Eats, Corriher made regular appearances to talk food science, so her name might be familiar.)

And if you love BakeWise, she has a companion volume titled CookWise: The Hows & Whys of Successful Cooking, The Secrets of Cooking Revealed which is just like BakeWise, only about cooking instead. Love them both.

Favorite Cookbooks -The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook: Recipes from the World-Famous Bakery and Allysa Torey's Home KitchenThe Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook: Recipes from the World-Famous Bakery and Allysa Torey’s Home KitchenFavorite Cookbooks -The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook: Recipes from the World-Famous Bakery and Allysa Torey's Home Kitchen by Allysa Torey and Jennifer Appel

I got this book from the library on a whim (I had never heard of their famous New York bakery), but I am so glad I did. The recipes are really easy, and really delicious. I’m slowly working my way through the book, and everything I’ve made has been tasty.

This books is a compilation of two earlier books, so if you’ve purchased either of those in the past, here’s a heads-up that the material is not new. If you’re like me and hadn’t purchased either of the other books, here’s a nice chance to get them in one book instead of two. 🙂

The book doesn’t have everything I like to see in cookbooks: there are limited pictures, and no weights given in the ingredients list so I have to convert. And there are a handful of recipes that I haven’t made because I don’t generally have canned apple filling or other similar ingredients and haven’t felt like searching for how to substitute it well (quantity/seasoning/etc.) It’s still a great book, and one I’d recommend even to beginning bakers – the recipes are all simple and easy to follow.

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Comments

  1. BakeWise sounds intriguing… have to see if my library has it. Thanks for sharing these!

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