Thank you for the amazing 8 years here at A Baked Creation, we can't thank you enough for the memories! But we've decided to move over to a new site - Sincerely, Syl. Please join us there for future posts on all the things you loved here!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Our Favourite Cookbooks of the Year

Since our previous compilation of books, I acquired a lot more in the past 12 months. Just so you can picture how much, the Ikea bookshelf I wished for last Christmas is now full!

Once again, I would like to share with you the favourites of the year. It will look like a large number of dessert books, but a few cookbooks have sneaked onto the list. Hopefully this post will help you with your gift-giving this holiday season!

The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts
By David McMillan, Frédéric Morin, and Meredith Erickson
Foreword by David Chang
Photographs by Jennifer May
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published by Ten Speed Press
ISBN 9781607740148

Unique, funny, candid, and filled with amazing photographs. Nine chapters that range from building a restaurant in the middle of nowhere, to trains, to building your own smoker and garden. There's a real emphasis on the "cookbook of sorts," this isn't your typical recipe book. Read this from front to back.

Jacketed hardcover, a double gate fold for their smorgasbord, a ribbon bookmark, this just screams special gift. Watch this video for more information. I love when David explains the best seat in the house. You just want to be there - cozy, safe from the snow, and enjoying a great meal.

I might not be able to recreate most of these dishes, but I might be able to tackle some of the dessert recipes. There's a stunning looking Marjolaine cake, financiers, and éclairs.

Photographs by Con Poulos
Hardcover, 704 pages
Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing
ISBN 9780740793523

Who doesn't love large encyclopedia styled cookbooks? Plus, it's Bon Appétit, you know that the book will be filled with gorgeous photography and instructive illustrations. There's even a whisk rating - from one to four - that encompasses beginners to experts. Looking for something? Check the extensive index at the back.

Here's a promo video that takes you through each chapter's subject and some sample recipes. It'll give you a general idea, but I wish it told us how one undertakes such a large project! How long did it take to test all of these recipes?

I think it was only offered last year, but when I bought the book, it also came with a year's subscription of Bon Appétit. Now, I'm hooked!

Photographs by Keller + Keller
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published by Chronicle Books
ISBN 9780811869447

I don't know what it is, but I find this cookbook so charming. People say that baked goods bring out nostalgic memories and even though this book is beautifully designed and really is modern, I find it to reminiscent a time when simple treats are comforting and delicious. There are no elaborate decorations - the food presented here represent the ideal neighbourhood bakery and cafe.

Some of you may know, Joanne beat out Bobby Flay during the sticky bun throwdown! Look how gooey they are on the cover, top left!

Check out this video about how Joanne got her start in baking and cookbookery.

By Jean-Georges Vongerichten, with Genevieve Ko
Photographs by John Kernick
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published by Clarkson Potter
ISBN 9780307717955

You know the way to my heart if you decide to put brunch on the cover. It looks rustic, home-made, and absolutely delicious. What are they? Stone Fruit Bruschetta - a mixture of apricots, Italian plums, peaches, and nectarines on top of sourdough bread.

I love a good brunch section in any cookbook. This one also covers cocktails, appetizers, salads, lunch, fish and seafood, poultry, meat, side dishes, desserts, and basics. A hundred recipes and a hundred coloured photos - not all the photos are food, there are some family shots in here. Yet, everything looks intimate like he's sharing a family secret. The food is not overly plated and the recipes aren't too intimidating. Give this one a try!

By Caroline Bretherton
Photographs by Howard Shooter and Michael Hart
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published by Dorling Kindersley Publishing
ISBN 9780756686796

The table of contents is filled with photos of every recipe. This alone takes 15 pages of the book. But it becomes handy when you need to quickly browse and find what you want to make.

While the book boasts 1,500 photographs, not every recipe is illustrated. Some get fifteen or more step-by-step photos, while others show you the finished product. It's like flipping through a food blog. I would also love to read The Illustrated Step-By-Step Cook one day. Let me know if you have the companion book!

Miette: Recipes from San Francisco's Most Charming Pastry Shop
By Meg Ray, with Leslie Jonath
Photographs by Frankie Frankeny
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published by Chronicle Books
ISBN 9780811875042

Love! Sigh! Swoon! You can't possibly be anything else but happy when you look at this cover. Look how perfectly cute the Tomboy Cake is.

Then you open and browse through the book and you're just smitten with all the adorable pastries. Everything looks simple, but if you read Meg's notes and instructions, there's a lot of work and good advice behind the recipes. Make sure you follow them, the end result is quite worth it.

Check out the double chocolate cupcakes I made for National Chocolate Cupcake Day!

By Christina Tosi
Foreword by David Chang
Photographs by Gabriele Stabile
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published by Crown Publishing Group
ISBN 9780307720498

Do I even need to convince you that you're going to want the recipes for corn cookie, compost cookie, pretzel ice cream pie, chocolate chip layer cake, liquid cheesecake, red velvet ice cream, cinnamon bun pie, crack pie or cornflake-chocolate-chip-marshmallow cookies?

Enough said.

The Primrose Bakery Book
By Martha Swift and Lisa Thomas
Photographs by Yuki Sugiura
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published by Square Peg
ISBN 9780224086882

When I first saw this cover, I thought that the font was trying to be all punk with me. But it isn't, the bakery is actually very charming (I know, I've used this word a lot in this post) and homey.

Known for their cupcakes, they've already published a book on the subject (hmm must check that out too). There are cupcakes in this book too, but ones with different flavours, such as violet, lime meringue, lemon meringue, raspberry coconut, cranberry and orange, Christmas pudding, banoffee pie, green tea, maple and pecan, plum, and rhubarb to name a few.

If you or your friend like The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook, this will be a great addition.

By Philippe Andrieu
Photography by Sophie Tramier
Translated by Kerrin Rousset
Hardcover, 392 pages
Published by Éditions Du Chêne
ISBN 9782812304439

This is the gift cookbook. Nested in delicate lilac tissue paper and Ladurée's trademark pastel green box, this was like unwrapping the jewelry I never got. Frankly, I would choose a beautiful cookbook over earrings any day.

These are the coveted recipes by pastry chef Philippe Andrieu that have been translated to English by Kerrin Rousset. The photos are dainty and capture the essence of Ladurée so well. Even the book's design is filled with ornate borders and images. Funnily enough, this is probably the only book on the list that doesn't fit the typical coffee table specs. Not to sound cheesy, but good things come in small packages....

Happy reading and cooking!

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