Saturday, November 7, 2015

Food52 Baking Is a Treat

I consider myself blessed to come from a long line of solid cooks who know their way around a kitchen. My mother was in her element baking dozens upon dozens of cookies and breads for Christmas. My grandmother kept a variety of freshly baked treats in her kitchen "just in case company stops by." Both would appreiate Food52's newest offering, Baking: 60 Sensational Treats You Can Pull Off In a Snap.

Personaly, I'm thrilled that the 60 treats includes some breakfast treats (I have a love affair with scones going) and some savory delights (pizza dough! Basil onion cornbread! Cheese crispettes!) for times you want a special something that's not sweet. The recipes are divided into seven sections: breakfast, cookies & bars, fruit desserts, custardy cakes & puddings, everyday cakes, special occasion cakes, and savory baked goods. The recipes themselves are clearly written with ingredients listed in a column on the left, an introduction to begin (which often includes serving suggestons, help with less familiar ingredients, and personal anecdotes from the contributor'a experience), and step by step instructions below. Any special technique instructions are also included at the end. (This is why it is always a good idea to read any recipe through to the end before beginning.) For example, p. 63 instructs readers "How to Cut in Butter."

The fact that each section is delineated by a full-spread color photo (try not to drool) and each recipe includes an equally scrumptious image (if only it were scratch & sniff!) had me me ogling the pages like teenaged boys who've gotten their hands on their first swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated. What really hooked me in and made me fall in love with this book were the slight twists on familiar treats that made me exclaim things like "of course!" and "genius!" aloud. The addition of cinnamon and yogurt in "Bestest Banana Bread" now seems like something I should have known before. The recipe for Spiced Parsnip Cake (parsnips replacing carrots) is pure genius. And although it sounds really odd, I'm willing to trust the authors that the addition of a can of tomato soup will enhance a spice cake with cream cheese frosting in ways that will leave your guests asking for more.

I'd like to thank Blogging For Books for the review copy I received free in exchange for this review. I am thrilled to add this to my cookbook collection and look forward to baking delicious treats from it for years to come!

From the Publisher . . .

A stunning collection of hassle-free recipes for baking cakes, cookies, tarts, puddings, muffins, bread, and more, from the editors behind the leading food website Food52.

Whether it’s the chocolate cake at every childhood birthday, blondies waiting for you after school, or hot dinner rolls smeared with butter at Thanksgiving dinner, homemade baked goods hold a place in many of our best memories. And that’s why baking shouldn’t be reserved for special occasions.

With this book, curated by the editors of Food52, you can have homemade treats far superior to the store-bought variety, even when it feels like you’re too busy to turn on the oven. From Brown Butter Cupcake Brownies to “Cuppa Cuppa Sticka” Peach and Blueberry Cobbler, these sixty reliable, easy-to-execute recipes won’t have you hunting down special equipment and hard-to-find ingredients or leave you with a kitchen covered in flour and a skink piled high with bowls. They’re not ordinary or ho-hum, either: ingredients you’ve baked with before (and some you haven’t – like black sesame, coconut oil, and lavender) come together to create new favorites like Baked Cardamom French Toast and Olive Oil and Sesame Crackers. Filled with generations’ worth of kitchen wisdom, beautiful photography, and tips you’ll return to, Baking is the new go-to collection for anyone who wants to whip up something sweet every day.

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