Books by Friends: 2009 Baking Edition

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While you’ll want to curl up with Melissa’s book, you’ll want to refer to Jim Peterson’s Baking Book the way you refer to an encyclopedia, ie, every time you’ve got a question.  Jim has written masterworks on Sauces, Soups, Cooking and French Food, and it’s exciting to see him turn his talents — and his camera — to baking.  The 1,500 photographs, all taken by Jim, leave nothing to guesswork.








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Yes, Jennifer’s book on all things gingerbread is perfect for right now, but the beauty of the book — in addition to Jennifer’s writing — is that it will carry you through the year.  As the reading title declares, there are recipes for cakes, cookies, desserts, ice cream and candy, recipes that you’ll want to enjoy by the fire in winter and on the beach in summer. 





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Many of you may know Anita Chu from her must-read blog Dessert First.  And others of you may know her from her first book, Field Guide to Cookies.  Now, with the latest Field Guide to Candy, you’ve got another chance to get to know Anita and trust me, to know her is to love her and to follow her recipes is a treat. 









First there was this team’s Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, the book that turned thousands of people who wanted to bake bread but thought they didn’t have the time for it into daily bakers … truly.  Now, following their breakthrough bestseller, there’s Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  Same techniques, same exceptional results.









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This is one of those very rare cookbooks, a pastry chef’s book that’s perfect for homebakers.  Karen DeMasco, who won the James Beard Award for Pastry Chef of the Year (2005)  has been making New York City a sweeter place for years, first working with (Top Chef) Tom Colicchio at Craft and now with Andrew Carmellini at Locanda Verde, She knows how to get the most flavor from the simplest ingredients and, after baking from her book so will you.  After enjoying Karen’s desserts for so long in her kitchens, it’s a pleasure to have her in mine.





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A couple of years ago, Rose told me that she was working on the book she’s wanted to write for over 20 years — this is it.  A book of her best cakes, each with her signature meticulous directions and, for the first time in her publishing career, each photographed.  It’s a book that was worth the wait. 






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This new book from the French Culinary Institute, headquartered in New York City, follows the school’s pastry curriculum, which is overseen by its dean, Jacques Torres.  It is most definitely a book for professionals, but happily, it’s also a book for committed home bakers, Daring Bakers too. The language is straightforward, the pictures and diagrams as instructive as you’d want them to be and the style not at all intimidating.  If you can’t get to the FCI for one of their courses, this might be the next best thing.


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Dede and I were colleagues at Bon Appetit for many years and I’ve always admired her work — she has a wonderful imagination for sweets, as many of you probably already know.  And she’s written about every kind of sweet from little cookies to huge wedding cakes.  In this book, you’ll get a taste of all that makes Dede’s work delicious. 


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