baking chez moiWith her groundbreaking bestseller Around My French Table , Dorie Greenspan changed the way we view French food. Now, in Baking Chez Moi , she explores the fascinating world of French desserts, bringing together a charmingly uncomplicated mix of contemporary recipes, including original creations based on traditional and regional specialties, and drawing on seasonal ingredients, market visits, and her travels throughout the country. Like the surprisingly easy chocolate loaf cake speckled with cubes of dark chocolate that have been melted, salted, and frozen, which she adapted from a French chef’s recipe, or the boozy, slow-roasted pineapple, a five-ingredient cinch that she got from her hairdresser, these recipes show the French knack for elegant simplicity. In fact, many are so radically easy that they defy our preconceptions: crackle-topped cream puffs, which are all the rage in Paris; custardy apple squares from Normandy; and an unbaked confection of corn flakes, dried cherries, almonds, and coconut that nearly every French woman knows.

Whether it’s classic lemon-glazed madeleines, a silky caramel tart, or “Les Whoopie Pies,” Dorie puts her own creative spin on each dish, guiding us with the friendly, reassuring directions that have won her legions of ardent fans. (description from publisher)

joy the baker homemadeJoy Wilson believes that everything is better with pie. And caramel. And definitely ice cream.

Her world is pretty sweet: she dabbles daily in butter and sugar as her blogging alter ego, Joy the Baker. Her new book, Joy the Baker Homemade Decadence, is packed with 125 of Joy’s favorite, supereasy, most over-the-top, totally delicious treats, such as Dark Chocolate, Pistachio, and Smoked Sea Salt Cookies; Butterscotch Cream Pie with Thyme-Marshmallow Meringue; Mint Chocolate Chip Cake; and Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream.

After all, every day is an opportunity for sweets. (description from publisher)

messy bakerSince when did every cookie on the plate have to be just like the next? Or each layer of cake exactly the same height? Each piecrust an impeccable work of art and encircled by stunningly perfect pastry leaves? To the uninitiated, all that fastidious, spotless baking is intimidating, not to mention exhausting.

The Messy Baker celebrates baking as it happens in the real world – sweet, messy, fun, not always gorgeous, but a way to show love. Which doesn’t make it any less delicious; to the contrary, Charmian Christie’s flavor combinations rise far above the ordinary. Why have a raspberry galette when you can enjoy a raspberry-rhubarb galette with drippy, unctuous walnut frangipane? Or how about a Brie and walnut whiskey tart? It’s all yours without the rigid perfectionism or complicated instructions of other gourmet cookbooks. Christie’s warm, irreverent voice brings the fun back into baking at a time when home cooks – pulled from pillar to post by jobs and errands – need to have fun. The Messy Baker is a full-service book that not only guides the reader through simple, delicious recipes but is also there to help out when things go wrong.

For anyone who gave in frustration when that cake collapsed or the frosting smeared, Christie’s practical advice is here to rescue even the worst disaster and inspire the baker to try the next recipe. (description from publisher)

from the wood fired ovenIn the past twenty years, interest in wood-fired ovens has increased dramatically in the United States and abroad, but most books focus on how to bake bread or pizza in an oven. From the Wood-Fired Oven offers many more techniques for home and artisan bakers – from baking bread and making pizza to recipes on how to get as much use as possible out of a single oven firing, from the first live-fire roasting to drying wood for the next fire. From the Wood-Fired Oven offers a new take on traditional techniques for professional bakers, but is simple enough to inspire any nonprofessional baking enthusiast.

Leading baker and instructor Richard Miscovich wants people to use their ovens to fulfill the goal of maximum heat utilization. Readers will find methods and techniques for cooking and baking in a wood-fired oven in the order of the appropriate temperature window. What comes first–pizza, or pastry? Roasted vegetables or a braised pork loin? Clarified butter or beef jerky? In addition to an extensive section of delicious formulas for many types of bread, readers will find chapters on: Making pizza and other live-fire flatbreads; Roasting fish and meats; Grilling, steaming, braising, and frying; Baking pastry and other recipes beyond breads; Rendering animal fats and clarifying butter; Food dehydration and infusing oils; And myriad other ways to use the oven’s residual heat. Appendices include oven-design recommendations, a sample oven temperature log, Richard’s baker’s percentages, proper care of a sourdough starter, and more.

From the Wood Fired Oven is more than a cookbook; it reminds the reader of how a wood-fired oven (and fire, by extension) draws people together and bestows a sense of comfort and fellowship, very real human needs, especially in uncertain times. Indeed, cooking and baking from a wood-fired oven is a basic part of a resilient lifestyle, and a perfect example of valuable traditional skills being put to use in modern times. (description from publisher)

art of french pastryWhat does it take to perfect a flawless éclair? A delicate yet buttery croissant? To pipe dozens of macarons? The answer is: an intimate knowledge of the fundamentals of pastry.

In The Art of French Pastry award-winning pastry chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, cofounder of the renowned French Pastry School in Chicago, gives you just that. By teaching you how to make everything from pâte à choux to pastry cream, Pfeiffer builds on the basics until you have an understanding of the science behind the ingredients used, how they interact with one another, and what your hands have to do to transform them into pastry. This yields glorious results! Expect to master these techniques and then indulge in exquisite recipes, such as: · brioche · napoléons / Mille-Feuilles · cream puffs · Alsatian cinnamon rolls / chinois · lemon cream tart with meringue teardrops · elephant ears / palmiers · black forest cake · beignets as well as some traditional Alsatian savory treats, including: · Pretzels · Kougelhof · Tarte Flambée · Warm Alsatian Meat Pie.

Pastry is all about precision, so Pfeiffer presents us with an amazing wealth of information–lists of necessary equipment, charts on how ingredients react in different environments, and the precise weight of ingredients in grams, with a look at their equivalent in U.S. units–which will help you in all aspects of your cooking. But in order to properly enjoy your “just desserts,” so to speak; you will also learn where these delicacies originated. Jacquy Pfeiffer comes from a long line of pastry chefs and has been making these recipes since he was a child working in his father’s bakery in Alsace. Sprinkled with funny, charming memories from a lifetime in pastry, this book will have you fully appreciating the hundreds of years of tradition that shaped these recipes into the classics that we know and love, and can now serve to our friends and families over and over again.

The Art of French Pastry, full of gorgeous photography and Pfeiffer’s accompanying illustrations, is a master class in pastry from a master teacher. (description from publisher)

frostingsMy Mother claims (and she’s an excellent cook so you can believe her) that the secret to a great cake is the frosting. An ordinary box cake can be transformed to extraordinary with homemade frosting while poor frosting can ruin even the fanciest cake. And don’t even talk to me about canned frosting! Homemade frosting doesn’t have to be difficult (even a non-cook like me can make great frosting!) and here’s the book to prove it.

Frostings by Courtney Whitmore is filled with scrumptious recipes and simply gorgeous photos, showing cakes that are fun, festive and very beautiful. Here is a case where judging a book by its cover is a good idea – just look at that pink confection! Don’t miss the recipe for Swiss buttercream or the many tips and techniques that are both practical and delicious. Yum!

flying brownieWhether it is a family member that lives across the country, or a loved one away on business, attending college, or stationed abroad in the military, everyone loves to get a treat in the mail that says “thinking of you.” It would be even more meaningful if that treat could be homemade, or is a number of different snacks, sweets, and tastes of home to make someone living far away feel closer.

Shirley Fan’s The Flying Brownie is the first and only book devoted to making, packing, and adding creative, homemade touches for food gifts that can be shipped a long distance. It features 100 recipes for baked goods and other snacks and treats, each with precise storage instructions and storage times. The book also offers plenty of guidance in navigating the various rules and restrictions of postal services, customs, and even secure military installations.

Separate chapters are devoted to brownies and bars, cookies, candies and confections, breads and quick breads, extra-light items for inexpensive shipping, savory foods, and mixes to be assembled upon delivery. From a veteran of the Food Network Kitchens and a registered dietitian, this is a reliable and inspiring guide that is sure to bring those families and friends who live apart closer together through the very same thing that unites them when they live together: good food. (description from publisher)

 

bake it like you mean itGesine Bullock-Prado says it’s what’s inside that really counts, and in this visually sumptuous book, the author of Sugar Baby and Pie it Forward showcases cakes that are beautiful from the inside out.

Each chapter of Bake It Like You Mean It is devoted to a technique of making different types of cake, beginning with the easiest recipe and moving to the more technically difficult as the chapter progresses. When the cakes are cut, they will reveal intricate layers of patterns and designs, such as hearts, checkerboards, helixes, and colorful stripes that will bring a smile to everyone who enjoys them. This compendium of gorgeous cake recipes and techniques will yield glorious meringues, sponge cakes, pound cakes, cheesecakes, and tarts for all levels of bakers.

With her trademark wit and enthusiasm for the world of confections and baking, Gesine’s latest book will delight her fans. (description from publisher)

brown betty cookbookWhen three generations of African-American women decided to open a bakery in Philadelphia, they had no idea how quickly the accolades would come. With high praise from Rachael Ray magazine and other corners of the culinary world, the Brown Betty Dessert Boutique has found fame with their amazing poundcakes, cheesecakes, pies, and cookies, among other delectable treats.

This delicious cookbook features both the secret recipes that Brown Betty’s fans can’t wait to get their hands on, as well as the personal stories that explain the evocative names of such recipes as Alice’s Two Step and Strawberry Letter. The Brown Betty Cookbook features recipes that combine old-fashioned treats with thrilling contemporary flavors like sweet potato poundcake and dark cherry cheesecake and includes gorgeous and mouthwatering full-color photography throughout.

For home bakers who want to experience the best of Brown Betty in their own homes or dessert-lovers looking for something new, The Brown Betty Cookbook offers both inspiration and delectation. (description from publisher)

Not that they’ve ever really gone out of style, but pies are enjoying a resurgence of popularity these days with several new books extolling their virtues and delights. And what better time to try some new pie recipes than the holidays?

A Year of Pies presents beautifully photographed seasonal recipes that include such delights as a Chocolate & Orange Marmalade Tart in winter, a Strawberry & Rhubarb Ginger Hand Pie in spring, a classic Lattice Top Triple Berry Pie in summer, and Rosemary Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie in autumn. A Basics section offers six piecrust recipes, troubleshooting tips, and advice on selecting seasonal ingredients.

An utterly charming collection of regional heirloom American pies, from long-lost recipes to classic favorites, sweetly illustrated and chock-full of time-tested baking tips and secrets for perfect pies Before cooking shows and celebrity chefs there were church dinners, community bake sales, and county fairs-events for which regular women made and served their prized family recipes. The United States of Pie invites readers on a journey back in time.

From a ‘proper’ quiche Lorraine to an indulgent raspberry cheesecake pie, Tart it Up shows you the secrets for creating great pies and tarts every time. Pies and tarts are the ultimate comfort food. Whether sweet or savory, elegant or hearty, they are great for relaxed entertaining, family get-togethers and even weekday suppers.

(descriptions from publishers)