Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book (Amazon link)
My latest cookbook purchase. This is a fantastic book, as you will see from some of the photos I took of the pages, it has a very clean layout and excellent photography. But that, that is only the beginning.
I have the first cookbook (I've mentioned it several times), which has chapters on soup, meat, all the the cooking stuff, as well as chapters on quick breads, cakes, the baking stuff.
But this cookbook is specifically dedicated to baking, so being more of a baking person, when I saw it, I had to have it. :)
The book basically compiles all the Test Kitchen Baking recipes into one handy ringbound cookbook. I only have two Test Kitchen books so the overlap was less than 50%, because of that I considered this a very worthwhile purchase. If you have the entire collection of Test Kitchen books, you won't need this one as it is more of a compilation of traditional recipes from previous cookbooks. The book includes very detailed recipes, helpful hints, a section on baking equipment and soooo much more. If you're new to baking, or haven't delved into the more "tricky" stuff (that's me!) this is a PERFECT book. Even if you're experienced I think you'd find this very, very helpful.
Among the chapters, there is one on rustic breads (the Ciabatta recipe instantly caught my eye) with not just the recipes, but helpful tips for working with yeast, shaping rustic breads etc.
There is a chapter on shortcut baking and one on light baking (REAL light baking, no Splenda here!).
The chapter on pastries has a recipes for Danish pastry, Profiteroles, Eclairs and lots more (many of the recipes in my queue are coming from this section!). There is even a recipe for Puff Pastry and a detailed photo-laden explanation of proper puff pastry techniques.
I was also excited to see a chapter on something that has always interested me: making your own wedding cake! I don't think I'd ever attempt this, but having the option, especially with the planning outlined and photos explaining cake construction is pretty cool.
I haven't even begun to describe the extensiveness of this book, I'm having a hard time deciding what to make first! I also don't really want to bake anything unless I have a large group that will help me to eat it, because while there may be chapter on light baking, the recipes I really want to try definitely don't skimp on fatty dairy products.
Mmm, there are also recipes for pumpkin cheesecake, Boston cream cupcakes, cheescake squares, blackout cake, and mock Oreo cookies...sigh
Well, to wrap it up, definitely go to your bookstore and page though a copy, this is one of those "heirloom" books, the recipes are timeless, and all the tips are invaluable.
Oh, almost forgot to mention; the best thing about the Test kitchen? They actually test the recipes! They usually try several different recipes and modify, modify, modify, going where no cookbook has gone before until they have a recipe that creates things that truly taste good and look good. I haven't found any duds in Test Kitchen books yet, and I don't expect to.