Here’s a round-up of some of my favorite cookbooks and recipes that I presented on the site in 2008. A few are books that I’ve been devouring, and others are those I’ve been bookmarking recipes in, to make on the site in the upcoming months. All in all, the best of the year…
When they start cloning humans, they’d better start with Flo Braker. One of my all-time favorite bakers, Flo wowed us with her previous books, including the all-encompassing The Simple Art of Perfect Baking. Her all-new book, Baking for All Occasions just arrived on my doorstep and I’ve been drooling over the recipes, like her Butterscotch Spiral Coffee Cake (wouldn’t that be nice to wake up to?) and Chocolate-Lovers Angel Food cake, which features the best of both worlds. I’ll be featuring a recipe or two on the site in the upcoming months. I can’t wait.
When I was making my colorful quince tarte Tatin and writing up the post about it, I remembered my handy copy of The Flavor Bible. Even though I know everything in the world (or at least I think I do…), I leafed through it, looking for what goes with quince. And lo and behold, there’s a whole world of flavors out there, outside of my head! This culinary heavyweight, by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, takes every flavor imaginable and searches for each and every possible flavor pairing. It’s a terrific reference and I’m happy it’s on my shelf, within easy reach.
Baker Cindy Mushet knocks it out of the ballpark. Her Peanut Butter Cookies with Salted Peanut Caramel even won over my notoriously peanut butter-adverse French friends. The Art & Soul of Baking is an encyclopedic reference, reflecting her twenty years of teaching and baking experience.
The boys at Baked are after my own heart. With those killer Baked Brownies, that I augmented with icy-cold mints, this book quickly became my most leafed-through baking books. I’ll stop gushing, since I’m making a fool of myself, and let Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, speak for itself from now on.
If you’ve been wondering what to do with all those specialty and natural-style sweeteners, Mani Niall’s Sweet! is the guidebook to how to use them all. Wondering what the difference between demerara and turbinado is? What can you bake with agave nectar? I’ve already bookmarked his Sticky Toffee Pudding and the Vietnamese Caramel Chicken recipes. Find out how sweet life can be, naturally, with Mani’s nifty book of recipes and tips.
If you remember, I tackled the unforgettable Chez Panisse Almond Tart, the classic dessert from the restaurant that I called “home” for almost thirteen years. It’s a recipe from Chez Panisse Desserts by Lindsey Shere, which is still a reliable baking classic after a decade and a half. I wasn’t surprised at the reaction that so many you had to this caramelized tart, attesting to it’s status as one of the best-loved desserts of all time. The rest of the book is full of the classics that put Chez Panisse on the map.
If you had a hard time getting those Chocolate Dipped Florentines from the Ottolenghi cookbook out of your mind, you’re not alone. I was mad for them, from the moment the picture jumped out of the book at me. I’m still turning the pages, lusting over everything in this book, which really terrific. Other treats include Toffee Brownies, Plum, Marzipan and Cinnamon Muffins, and Orange Polenta Cake with a pinwheel of caramelized orange slices embedded in the to