The baking season is upon us! From now until the end of the year, kitchens will be full of bakers creating delectable delights to share with family and friends. But with so many recipes to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are a few cookbooks that are sure to lead to holiday baking success!
Snacking Cakes by Yossy Arefi. New York : Clarkson Potter, 2020. 191 pages.
Snacking Cakes is the perfect book for small gatherings or for people who don’t have time for elaborate bakes. All of the cakes in Snacking Cakes are one bowl recipes, and generally bake in about 45 minutes or less. Throughout the book, variations are given for both flavors and sizes of cakes, allowing bakers to customize according to their taste. Instead of elaborate buttercream frostings, Arefi opts for glazes and dustings of powdered sugar, perfect for those who find frosting too sweet. One recipe that would be perfect for holiday baking is the sticky whiskey date cake, which takes the popular English dessert of sticky toffee puddings and recreates it on a larger scale. Full of warm spices and a delicious glaze, this easy to make cake is sure to stand out on any holiday table. This cookbook is perfect for anyone who wants recipes that are unfussy but delicious.
Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking by Cheryl Day. New York : Artisan, 2021. 400 pages.
Cheryl Day is a James Beard Award nominated baker who operates the renowned Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah, Georgia, and is viewed as an authority on southern baking. Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking collects savory and sweet recipes, and offers both staples of southern cuisine and soon to be classics. Readers can find recipes for classic fluffy buttermilk biscuits, cheese straws or peach cobbler alongside recipes like wildflower honey buns and strawberry black pepper butter. Bakers will not only enjoy the recipes, but also the history that Day provides. Gorgeous photos also accompany these recipes. This is the perfect book for anyone who wants to learn what makes southern baking special.
The All-Purpose Baker’s Companion by King Arthur Baking Company. New York: The Countryman Press. 2021. 568 pages.
The Vermont based King Arthur Baking Company might be best known for their flour, but they have grown quite a following for their excellent recipes as well. The All-Purpose Baker’s Companion is an invaluable resource for the home baker, as it covers everything from bread making to pies and cookies. Variations are given for almost every recipe, and there are helpful tips on topics like how to get crisp crackers or prevent waffles from sticking. The soft cinnamon roll recipe is the perfect holiday morning treat, made soft by using the Chinese technique of making a tangzhong starter, which results in pillowy, delicious rolls. This cookbook is perfect for the baker who wants to try a variety of recipes to build their baking skills.
Elizabeth Weislak is the Youth Services Coordinator at the Alamance County Public Libraries. She took a deep dive into baking during the pandemic, and we have all benefited from her experience. She can be reached at email@example.com