Ok, yes, I’m one of those people that will read a cookbook in bed. There’s no better way to end a rotten day (Or any day, really) than to image all that yummy food…. So I have a list of my top five favorite cookbooks. I like each of them for a different reason, but they are still all pretty good!
Number 1: Teen’s Cook by Megan and Jill Carle. This cookbook was written by two teenage sisters, filled with family recipes as well as recipes they’ve developed themselves. The recipes go from very easy (Tuna Melt), to easy (Peanut Butter Cookies), to hard (Creme Brulee). All of the recipes have pictures, as well as easy, step-by-step instructions. The recipes are good, and come out perfectly. The only downside is how tall it is- it’s not easy to prop it up on the fruit bowl like the shorter, thicker cookbooks. Another nice thing as that many of the meat-using recipes have a way to convert it into a vegetarian meal, because the older sister, Megan, is a vegetarian. They have other books, Teen’s Cook Dessert, College Cooking, The First Real Kitchen, and College Vegetarian Cooking as well. ★★★★
Number 2: Pure Vanilla by Shauna Sever. Like bet you can guess, every recipe in here is vanilla-based. Now, I’m as much of a fan of chocolate as any other person, the problem is I can’t have a ton because there’s a chance I’ll get a migraine the next day. I loved her previous book, Marshmallow Madness! and follow her blog, Piece of Cake. I was thrilled to find out she had written a book all on vanilla. She starts by giving a history of vanilla, and the differences between vanillas and vanilla products. The recipes are awesome and easy to follow, and the pictures are great, as well. Her Vanilla Bean Marshmallows are fantastic, and I’ve been told the Twinkie Bunt Cake and Cloud Cake are amazing, as well. She also has short little recipes on stuff like how to make your own vanilla extract and vanilla sugar. The only problem with this cookbook is everywhere I look, it’s sold out! ★★★★★
Number 3, The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg: Not exactly a cookbook, this is a book filled with every ingredient you can think of….and a list of other ingredients that match well together! Say, you have a bunch of kumquats you bought thinking they were tiny little oranges but found they where insanely bitter. What the heck do you do with them? The Flavor Bible says that they go well with strawberries, and strawberries would cut the bitterness a bit, so you make a fruit compote to put over ice cream. This is a handy book, and it’s filled with everything from Feta Cheese to Piqullo Peppers. It also has notes from five-star chefs around the U.S. saying what they do with an ingredient. It’s a nice reference for those times you’re wondering what to do with an odd extra ingredient. ★★★★★
Number 4: Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook by Martha Stewart. This book was recomended to me by a four-star hotel’s pastry chef (just sayin’), saying that is was a great book to get if you’re just starting to bake. I for the most part agree with her. One of the two problems with the book is sometimes the directions are a little vague (Cut four slashes in top of dough then set aside to rise. What do you mean? Four vertical slashes? horizontal? Shape it into a square, a diamond?). The other problem is that this book isn’t very good quality, you have to be very careful reading it because the binding is weak. However, the recipes are good, most stand well to playing with, and is a good start for an aspiring baker. ★★★★
Number 5, The Secret Lives of Baked Goods by Jessie Oleson Moore. This is an interesting book. It’s by the creator of the blog CakeSpy, Jessie Oleson Moore. There are recipes, sure, but each recipe is accompanied by a story about how that recipe got created (Did you know German Chocolate isn’t really chocolate from Germany? It’s named after a man named Samuel German) as well as the recipe itself. The recipes are tasty, and interesting. You get your normal recipes, such as Red Velvet Cake and Brownies, more unusual desserts such as Joe Froggers and Baked Alaska, and ‘commercial favorites’, such as Oreos and Animal Crackers. It doesn’t have a lot of pictures, though, which is a bit of a downside for me. ★★★★
So, there you go! There are other cookbooks that are worth reading as well, such as Sugar Baby and Bake it Like You Mean It by Gesine Bullock-Prado, and The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen (The only reason those guys didn’t make it on my list is because I didn’t it make it Eight Cookbooks You Need to Read RIGHT NOW!). And I know other people have their own favorites, but these are mine.