'Tis the season, yet again! Start the tarts, roll out the dough, cut the cookies, ice the cakes, prep the puddings, whip the meringue and get all the inspiration and advice you need from these sweet new cookbooks.
THE CRAFT OF BAKING
International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) award winner Lisa Yockelson, a joyful and serious baker, shares her personal baking storybook in Baking Style: Art*Craft*Recipes. Instead of the usual header notes, she's written 100 essays to preface her recipes. In “Coconut Queen” she channels her grandma Lily’s kitchen, then offers up recipes for a Buttery Coconut Cake with Fluffy Frosting. “Fudge Griddled” leads to warm, fudgy waffles (definitely not for breakfast) served with dense, bittersweet chocolate cream. “Zoom!” introduces puffy, high-rise potato dough that serves as the basis for Gossamer Potato Rolls and Butter-Striated Potato Rolls, wonderful grace notes to any holiday meal. Yockelson’s instructions are extensive and the full-page color photos are almost edible. For bakers with some experience.
FOOD OF THE GODS
Choclatique is Ed Engoron’s ode to the substance he considers “truly the nectar of the gods,” divine at almost any temperature and “nature’s perfect food.” A passionate chocolatier, Engoron is the cofounder of the artisan chocolate company Choclatique. He’s traveled around the globe in pursuit of all things chocolate and now distills his love and knowledge in this collection of more than 150 recipes. All the recipes are based on five ganaches (a blend of chocolate, cream and flavorings), his universal chocolate building blocks. With those easy-to-make fundamentals under your belt, you can go on to create blueberry-poached Chocolate Dumplings, gluten-free Chocolate Curl Meringue Kisses, sultry Bittersweet Chocolate Tart, comforting White Chocolate Brioche Pudding and Chocolate Granola (what a way to start the day!). A must for chocoholics and those hoping to become addicted.
DIG INTO A HEALTHY DESSERT
Cooking Light, the longtime go-to source for healthier, lighter edibles of every sort, has for the first time gathered all the essential techniques for making lighter, healthier baked goods in one cookbook, Cooking Light Way to Bake. With more than 600 full-color, step-by-step photos, nothing is left to your imagination—it’s like having a baking coach right there in your own kitchen. Whatever you’re in the mood for—from yeast breads, quick breads, biscuits and biscotti to crepes, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, cobblers, custards and more—you’ll have the recipes you need, detailed instructions and great tips on what particular ingredients and equipment add to the mix. The secrets of light baking success are all here, for both baking beginners and flour-dusted old hands.
I think most of us, if asked about the gender of cupcakes, would probably agree that the cute little things lean toward the ladylike. But if you take a look at what comes out of the oven in David Arrick’s Butch Bakery, now showcased in The Butch Bakery Cookbook, you’ll agree that these babies are muy macho and muy masculine—different, dangerously delicious and definitely “Desserts for Dudes.” The “Coffee Break” cupcake has a caffeinated, espresso- and Kahlua-infused body topped with a double shot of Espresso Buttercream. “Driller,” a maple cupcake, is sprinkled with crumbled, crispy Butch’s Bacon Bits. Dark stout (like Guinness) gives “Beer Run” its rich flavor, and Jack Daniel’s Cream Cheese Frosting jazzes up the big, beautiful Red Velvet “Defense Defense” cupcakes. Arrick calls his instructions a “plan of attack” and his ingredient list a roster. He starts guys out with Butch’s Toolbox and Butch’s Supply Cabinet, quick run-throughs of all the stuff you need to become a captain of cupcakes.
READY FOR THE PÂTISSERIE
Ginette Mathiot’s Je Sais Faire La Pâtisserie was first published in 1938, a few years after her fabulously successful Je Sais Cuisiner, which was published in English as I Know How to Cook in 2009. With The Art of French Baking, we now have her classic on classic French sweets and desserts, fleshed out with some necessary updates—and it’s just as straightforward and practical, helpful and comprehensive as its predecessor. Mathiot’s aim is to teach home cooks the elemental components of French baking—from traditional madeleines to rum-soaked babas; simple, light gâteaux to a show-stopping Paris-Brest; crumbly, buttery Sablés to Hazelnut Tuiles; Classic Brioche to caramel-swathed Floating Island. Allons enfants de la Pâtisserie! . . . It’s time to bake!
SWEET TREATS FOR VEGANS
Yes! You can make pies without dairy, eggs or animal products. In their third foray into vegan baking, Vegan Pie in the Sky, Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero demonstrate that pies of all stripes, pie crusts (check out the new flaky Vodka Crust), tarts, cobblers, crisps and galettes—75 recipes in all—can indeed vie for a high place in vegan dessert-dom. For the upcoming holidays try the Voluptuous Pumpkin Pie, the Sweet Potato Cobbler, the Figgy Apple Handpies and the Pear & Cranberry Galette.
TOP PICK: AN INVITATION TO INDULGE
Judy Rosenberg, owner of one of Boston’s most popular bakery chains, won the IACP/Julia Child Cookbook Award for her first cookbook, Rosie’s Bakery All-Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed No-Holds-Barred Baking Book.Shethen followed it up with Rosie’s Bakery Chocolate-Packed, Jam-Filled, Butter-Rich, No-Holds-Barred Cookie Book. Now, she’s combined the two in a super-duper, updated and revised, no-holds-barred invitation to throw moderation to the wind: The Rosie’s Bakery All-Butter, Cream-Filled, Sugar-Packed, Baking Book. Indulge to your heart’s content with the beautiful building blocks of baking: butter, sugar, chocolate and cream. In addition to Chocolate Orgasms—deservedly her most famous dessert—and her almost-as-famous Chocolate-Sour Cream Cake Layers that morph into many divinely decadent variations (Caramel-Topped Pecan Cheesecake, White Chocolate Macadamia Brownies and Coconut Fluff Babycakes), you’ll find Pumpkin Whoopie Pies for an offbeat Thanksgiving treat; thin, spicy Jan Hagels; Classic Spritz; Molasses Ginger Cookies to offer Santa; and Ultra-Rich Rugalah for Hanukkah.