Building a Bookshelf

Six baking books for you to sink your teeth into

Building a Bookshelf

A Baker's Half Dozen

The Amish Cook's Baking Book, by Lovina Eicher & Kevin Williams (Andrews McMeel, 224 pp., $29.99) In her follow-up to The Amish Cook at Home, syndicated columnist Eicher presents more than 100 recipes for baked goods from the Amish kitchen along with fascinating sidebars about Amish culture and traditions. Simple recipes, good instructions, and evocative photos make for a worthwhile keepsake.

DamGoodSweet: Desserts to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth New Orleans Style, by David Guas & Raquel Pelzel (Taunton Press, 172 pp., $25) Guas provides recipes for quintessential New Orleans sweets and desserts such as bananas Foster, king cake, Doberge cake, and Ponchatoula Strawberry Shortcakes. Those standards never looked or tasted so good. They had me at buttermilk beignets and cane-syrup ice cream.

Baking: 300 Recipes, 2000 Photographs, One Baking Education, by James Peterson (Ten Speed Press, 416 pp., $40) Renowned culinary educator and award-winning cookbook author Peterson has created a comprehensive and accessible compendium of baking instruction featuring more than 350 recipes and techniques, clearly illustrated with 1,500 photographs. Useful for beginners or accomplished bakers, this book is a worthy addition to any culinary library.

200 Fast & Easy Artisan Breads: No-Knead, One Bowl, by Judith Fertig (Robert Rose, 344 pp., $24.95 – paper) Fertig's new book is right in step with the recent trend toward easy, no-knead breads. She sets out the necessary basic equipment and ingredients, plus many helpful tips. The chapters are arranged around a group of master recipes for both savory and sweet doughs with a world of ethnic variations. I'm currently partial to items made with the Shaker buttermilk dough. Making the brewhouse dough with a local craft beer next sounds like a very good idea.

Baking Kids Love, by Cindy Mushet (Andrews McMeel Publish­ing, 128 pp., $20) Following up last year's award-winning The Art & Soul of Baking, California pastry chef Mushet's new work is a collection of recipes that are tested and approved by her 10-year-old daughter. The instructions are easy to follow, many techniques are illustrated with photos, and the spiral binding and easy-wipe cover make the book very (kid) user friendly. An inspiring gift for young bakers.

Unforgettable Desserts: More Than 140 Memorable Dessert Recipes for All Year Round, by Dede Wilson (John Wiley & Sons, 304 pp., $29.95) I consider a cookbook a worthwhile investment if it contains at least one recipe I want to add to my culinary repertoire. So far, Wilson's new collection of dessert recipes has three – the simple and elegant sugar crunch cake, the Almond Mounds of Joy Cake that evokes a favorite candy, and the dramatic (and time-consuming) clementine chocolate almond torte. She offers great personal tips and chocolate suggestions, too.

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