A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Is it too early to start thinking about Thanksgiving and Christmas? This cookbook has some wonderful desserts recipes that I think would make a holiday bright.
What kind of cookbook is The Essential Baker?
Though the word “dessert” is never used in the title, on the jacket, or in the introduction, The Essential Baker seems to me to be mostly a dessert cookbook. Cakes, pies, cobblers, tarts, cookies, scones, and pastries of all sorts are included. There are no breads. I wonder, however, about muffins. Are muffins not considered desserts? I also notice a recipe for buttermilk biscuits. So I guess that it is a non-yeast baking cookbook that is mostly desserts.
Is this cookbook easy to use?
The arrangement is different from most other cookbooks. Instead of grouping pies or cookies, the author has grouped recipes that use certain main ingredients. So, all the bakery goods using berries are together, as are all the recipes using dark chocolate. So, if you are trying use up your berries or dark chocolate, you can find recipes by browsing. There is also detailed index so you can find all the pies or cookies.
The layout of the recipes is also unusual. All of the ingredients associated with a particular step are lined up with that step. A line in inserted between each step. This facilitates finding the amount of the ingredient that you are told to add.
What is special about this cookbook?
The selection of recipes sound particularly tantalizing to me. Some have several pages of instruction. If so much effort has to be made to prepare them, they are probably delicious.
What are your favorite recipes from this cookbook?
I think I would like many of the items from this cookbook, but I am especially intrigued by Key Lime and Coconut Cake (page 159) and Triple Berry Upside-Down Cake (page 210). Devilish Chocolate Layer Cake with Caramel-Chocolate Buttercream (page 399) also sounds delicious. – Review by Rick