Baking Books by Baking Friends
If you love baking, then you probably already know Nick Malgieri as a baking teacher and might already have a couple of his books. If you don’t know Nick, his latest book makes a good introduction; if you’re already a Nick fan, you’ll be thrilled to have The Modern Baker, truly a book for our times, since in it Nick takes the best of his recipes for breads, tarts, pies, cakes and cookies and streamlines them, so they’re faster and easier to turn out. As you’d expect from Nick, there’s great how-to information and wonderful explanations of technique. There are also a ton of photographs — lots of them step-by-step.
Everytime I think of Flo Braker, whom I’ve known, admired and loved for almost forever, I think of how excited Julia Child was when Flo was on her way to Cambridge to work on her part of Baking with Julia. Julia walked around the kitchen trilling, “Flo Braker the Baker will be here!” Flo has perfect pitch when it comes to flavor, an unfailing gift for describing techniques precisely and the ability to make everything, even the simplest cookie, look beautiful. I’ve been a Flo fan for years and I think this new book, Baking for All Occasions, might be her best yet.
When you’ve finished oohing and aahing over the magnificent photographs in The Art & Soul of Baking, you can settle in to ooh and ahh over the depth, breadth and appeal of this latest book from Sur la Table, which made a masterful choice when it tapped Cindy Mushet to be its author. There are great recipes for sweets and savories, primers on nearly everything bakerly and, my favorite, the boxes labeled, “Wt the Pros Know.” If you’re looking to teach yourself to bake or want to become a better baker, you couldn’t do better than to choose Cindy and her book as your guides.
That New York is a great bread town is thanks in no small measure to Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree of Amy’s Bread, bakeries beloved by New Yorkers uptown and down. While we can’t get enough of Amy’s signature semolina and fennel breads or her olive twists, for years now there’s been more to Amy’s than breads, a fact made deliciously clear in the duo’s new book, The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread. Amy’s sweets are the sweets of an idyllic childhood, tall, fluffy layer cakes with lots of frosting, brownies and blondies and bars we all love, coffee cakes, muffins, scones, biscuits and gobs of cookies. And, of course, there are breads, wonderful yeasted breakfast breads.
This the first book from Anita Chu, a.k.a. Pastry Girl, the genie behind the gorgeous blog, Dessert First. Arranged like a birdwatchers guide, Field Guide to Cookies, is chockablock with recipes for everything from amaretti to whoopie pies — the subtitle of the book is, “How to Identify and Bake Virtually Every Cookie Imaginable” — and each entry includes a General Description; History; Serving Suggestions; and Baking Notes. In Anita’s world, cookies are dropped, molded, rolled or baked in bars, classic or innovative, strictly a cookie or almost a cake or tart, and always great-looking.