One of my favorite things about this time of year are all of the best-of lists and year end reviews. Novels, movies, cookbooks, news reviews – I love them all. Given the focus of With Two Spoons, it should be no surprise that both Lane and myself are total cookbook addicts. We read them like novels, devouring the pictures and plotting our way through the recipes. Thus, when the year end lists of the best cookbooks come out, I scour them for a new treasure I might not have seen yet….
Confession: I’ve been on a bit of a strawberry bender recently. Our local Costco, in another glorious sign that spring is here (!), has had a bumper crop of perfectly sweet-tart organic strawberries in stock and I can’t. stop. eating. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, anytime. I love them on salads, in yogurt, or just by the handful. After a winter of starches and citrus, I’m so ready for spring and summer fruits! With that in mind, here are this week’s Good (F0od) Reads:
Sarah from Broma Bakery featured these Strawberry Nutella French Toast. I can’t wait to try them (the strawberry obsession continues) and actually think they’d be a great dessert topped with some crème fraîche and a little grated nutmeg….
I don’t know about you guys, but I have a complete addiction to cookbooks. I blame my habit on my grandmother (hei hei, Bestemor!), whose home is always filled with the smells of something wonderful baking and whose pantry is overflowing with cooking tomes. She tends to favor old, local, home-style cookbooks, often bought at church fundraisers or garage sales – ones that over the years have been peppered with priceless notes and anecdotes. My mother has a similar love of cookbooks, though with a slightly more modern, photo heavy bent to her collection. Personally, I love them all.
With the rise of cooking blogs, Pinterest, and digital food magazines, we are surrounded by recipes and beautiful photos of food with just the swipe of a finger. It is a wonderful thing and the ease of web-based resources is something I really appreciate in the midst of the every day life hustle and bustle. There is something so wonderful though, about a slow afternoon with a cup of coffee and an actual book. One that you can hold in your hand, and read cover to cover, savoring the recipes and stories their authors have put down. Over the years, I’ve managed to collect a respectable assortment of wonderful cookbooks and in the process, compiled a list of favorite recipes that I return to again and again. It is a few of those recipes (and their books!) that I want to share with you today.
Since we have been talking a lot about breakfast and baking the past week, I’ve put together five of my favorite cookbooks for baking bread and sweet treats:
- The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois). The title of the book talks about the “discovery that revolutionized home baking” and it’s not just hyperbole. Their basic boule or bread recipe contains only four ingredients and is so simple but wonderful. I like to eat it straight from the oven with some honey butter and salt but it’s also wonderful served along side pasta or stews, to soak up all those sauces.
- The New Best Recipe. This book is an update of the original Best Recipe, first published in 1999. From the genius editors at Cooks Illustrated, you really can’t go wrong with any of the recipes in it. My personal favorite are the lemon bars and the molasses spice cookies.
- How To Be A Domestic Goddess (Nigella Lawson). Also an older book, this is essentially a collection of decadent treats. Make the chocolate loaf cake and you won’t regret it.
- Date Night In (Ashley Rodriguez). A newer addition to my shelf, I can’t stop making the Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies. It’s a problem.
- The America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. The version I have is slightly different, but I’m assuming the recipe for blueberry muffins (with lemon!) hasn’t changed. With it’s thick, buttery dough with yogurt and lemon, it’s almost more of a cake than a muffin. And that’s just the way I like it.
What are your go-to books when it comes to baking? Are there recipes your family asks for again and again? Let us know!