It’s hard to believe that a year ago it was nearly impossible to purchase flour or yeast. While they certainly weren’t the only empty shelves, hello toilet paper, those empty shelves in the baking aisle impacted a lot of people. Whether you were a habitual baker who suddenly couldn’t get yeast or someone looking for the comfort of home baked treats during lockdown, it was more than just a supply issue, it was emotional. Now we have access to supplies and a long weekend coming up for many of us, so let’s get baking!
Like all things in life there are the times we crave the familiar and other times when we just want to try something new. Taking a few minutes to search your library’s online catalogue can bring up some exciting cookbooks with which you may not be familiar. A quick search led me to one book I keep being intrigued by and three that were totally new to me. The first is entitled Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts and it’s such a treat to flip through for both the visuals and the text . It’s divided into sections such as classic American desserts and classic American brands there are write-ups on such treats as snickerdoodles, Boston cream pie, and oreos. Fun fact, the oreo came out after a similar biscuit called the hydrox; for more of the story you’ll have to read the book! Then, bake your own homemade oreo cookies as found in the book.
Next I discovered Making Dough: Recipes and Ratios for Perfect Pastries by Russell Van Kraayenburg which focuses exclusively on twelve types of pastry dough and ensuring that the reader has the directions to successively create some truly mouthwatering treats. The cherry cheesecake danishes particularly caught my eye as did the strawberry bakewell tart. This book may not have as many recipes as some of the others, but the focus on skill building is excellent for those who want to improve their pastry skills.
For me a cookbook is even better when I can get a real feel for who the author is while reading it. In All the Sweet Things: Baked Goods and Stories from the Kitchen of Sweetsugarbean by Renée Kohlman, I get exactly that. The introduction welcomes you into her life and if you’re not familiar with her blog you’ll feel like you know her before diving deeper into the book. So after getting folded into her life and stories, which recipes grabbed my interest? The first one that made me want to rush home and get baking was the brown butter lemon poppyseed madeleines. I adore madeleines, especially with lemon. However, I’m equally tempted by the eton mess with chocolate meringue and red wine strawberry sauce. There’s so much variety between the covers that I’m sure you’ll find a sweet to your taste.
Lastly, I came across The Baker in Me by Daphna Rabinovitch. The introduction welcomed me into her kitchen and life, and there’s an entire chapter devoted to chocolate so I know this one will be a hit at home. The book is packed with recipes, but also pages dedicated to such topics as buttercreams (with explanations of the three types), cake methods, and brownies to name a few. Some recipes feature history notes for those of us who wish to know more about how these treats came to be, while others may include a baker’s tip to help you make the most of the recipe. I wish you happy baking, no matter where you may find your favourite recipes.
Place a hold on one of these titles or explore our catalogue for more. If you don’t already have a library card, you can get one by emailing the Library at firstname.lastname@example.org