Holiday Cookbook Roundup

Gift Guide

Holiday Cookbook Roundup

A Baker's Half Dozen

Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More

by Carole Walter Clarkson Potter, 408 pp., $35

Carole Walter's baking books always inspire me to head right to the kitchen with positive results. This book, the fourth in her "Great" series, includes mouthwatering recipes for Danish pastries, yeasted coffee cakes, quick breads, scones, and muffins. Try her corn­meal-buttermilk biscuits, delectable sticky buns, nut-crusted rugulach, and the marvelous strudels, and you'll soon be a fan, too.

I'm Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas

by Marcel Desaulniers Wiley & Sons, 207 pp., $29.95

While many of this D.C.-area chef/restaurateur's recipes boast an excess of ingredients (chocolate bourbon peppermint walnut fudge!), there are some definite winners here. The Chocolate Almond Brown Sugar Cake and White Chocolate Cranberry Mousse Cake were both scrumptious and well worth the price of the book.

Desserts by the Yard

by Sherry Yard Houghton Mifflin, 400 pp., $35.95

Sherry Yard's claim to fame is her position as executive pastry chef for Wolfgang Puck's many restaurants. Her third cookbook chronicles her path to that position, making desserts for the American restaurant royalty of the 1980s and 1990s in New York, San Francisco, Napa Valley, and Los Angeles. The recipes Yard shares here represent all the stops on her career journey and reflect many influences. This book made me wish I still had a place to serve desserts.

Bubby's Homemade Pies

by Ron Silver and Jan Bervin Wiley & Sons, 301 pp., $29.95

New York chef and pie-shop owner Ron Silver shares the philosophy, techniques, and recipes that have made Bubby's the New York neighborhood institution for both sweet and savory pies in recent years. Silver loves pies, and he wants you to make his at home. This is a must-have for aspiring and accomplished pie-makers alike.

Green & Black's Chocolate Recipes: From the Cacao Pod to Cookies, Desserts, and Savory Dishes

by Caroline Jeremy Kyle Books, 190 pp., $19.95

Green & Black's is the English chocolate company that pioneered the production of chocolates made from single origin, fairly traded, organically grown cacao. Their 70% chocolate Maya Gold is called for in many of the recipes here. The book offers recipes for myriad sweet and savory chocolate dishes interspersed with candid photos from the rural Mayan communities in Belize where Green & Black's chocolate originates.

The Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook: Recipes and History from America's Premier Chocolate Maker

by Leigh Beisch Ten Speed, 105 pp., $18.95

This historic San Francisco chocolate company is America's oldest, and the story included in the book is fascinating. The inviting recipes introduced me to some delectable Ghirardelli products, especially their ground chocolate and cocoa mixture with several wonderful applications.

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