Thursday, March 15, 2012

Baking Resolutions, Part II

Yes, I remember that some of you had some baking resolutions and, because we're almost through with the first quarter of 2012, I thought it was time to give you a little more inspiration with four baking cookbooks.

The Whoopie Pie Book
by Claire Ptake
The Experiment Publishing

One of the biggest food trends going today is whoopie pies. There are several cookbooks out there devoted to the subject. I was fortunate to review The Whoopie Pie Book by Claire Ptake which is published by The Experiment.

As soon as I opened the book to its table of contents, I was intrigued by the variety of flavors of whoopie pies. How does Strawberry Whoopie Pies with Strawberry Buttercream sound? It sounds like spring to me. And, it looks like spring, too. Yes, there are full-color, full-page photos of every recipe. I made the Coconut Cream Whoopie Pies. They were lovely and delicious.

There are over two dozen whoopie pie recipes in this cookbook so I know you'll find one (or many) that appeals to you. You can start with the classic Chocolate Whoopie Pie with Fluffy Marshmallow Filling and work your way up to the cover recipe, Rose-Pistachio Whoopie Pies. Beautiful! I've actually purchased some rosewater recently so that I can attempt them. Don't worry if you don't have a whoopie pie pan, you won't need one. I actually think that the whoopie pies are better when baked on a cookie sheet.

If your baking resolution includes conquering the whoopie pie, then The Whoopie Pie Book is for you. It's a gorgeous, inspiring cookbook and you'll find a whoopie pie for every occasion.

Southern Pies
by Nancie McDermott
Chronicle Books

Hi! My name is Kim. I am Southern. I like pie. I love this little cookbook featuring Southern pies. And, I think you will, too. This cookbook has seven categories of pie: 
  • Antiques and Heirlooms
  • Buttermilk, Sweet Potato, and Other Old-School Custard Pies
  • A Chess Pie Compendium
  • Spring and Summer Pies
  • Fall and Winter Pies
  • Regional Treasures from the Sea Islands to the Great Smokies
  • Chocolate Pies (yes, chocolate deserves its own chapter) 
So, I chose to sample a pie from the chocolate chapter - the Tar Heel Pie. The filling is reminiscent of brownie batter and can only be enhanced by a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

There are more than a few pies in this cookbook that I would love to sample right now: Butterscotch Pie, Peach-Pecan Pie, Key Lime Pie, New Orleans Creole Coconut Pie, and Williamsburg Peanut Butter Cream Pie. And, there are plenty of photos to inspire you.

I think this cookbook would make the perfect hostess or housewarming gift. Of course, you would want to bake one of these gorgeous pies to accompany the book. Or, maybe just give a copy of the cookbook and keep the pie. No one will know but you.

Milk & Cookies
by Tina Casaceli
Chronicle Books

The subtitle of this cookbook is "89 Heirloom Recipes from New York's Milk & Cookies Bakery". I love the name of the bakery. Is there any term that sounds more comforting than "milk and cookies"? My older son loves milk and cookies. I always like to stop and cherish those moments when I see him sitting at the kitchen table enjoying his favorite snack. 

This is another specialty cookbook focusing on...cookies. And, what better subject could a cookbook focus on? The cookbook is divided into eight chapters: Vanilla Cookies, Double Chocolate Cookies, Oatmeal Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies, Sugar Cookies, Special Cookies, Family Favorites, and Brownies and Bars. The first five chapters focus on creating a cookie dough base to which you can add various ingredients to create different combinations of flavor.

I chose to make the sugar cookie base dough and I thought it was just perfect. I didn't add anything to the dough except for some colored sugar. The cookies were large, thick, and chewy. They didn't last long... But, you don't have to stop with basic cookies. You can dress up your cookie tray with Mocha Latte Cookies, Candied Ginger-Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Sable Cookies, and Carrot Cake Cookies.

If you're looking to expand your cookie recipe collection, this cookbook would be a good one to add to your collection. While not every recipe has a photograph, there are still plenty of full-color, full-page photos to inspire you.

Product image
Baking Basics and Beyond
by Pat Sinclair
Agate Publishing

I was pleasantly surprised with this cookbook. As much as I love a speciality cookbook, there is still something about a comprehensive baking book that attracts me. I like the idea of being able to find all baking categories under one book cover. The cookbook is divided into the following sections:
  • Biscuits and Scones
  • Muffins, Quick Breads, and Popovers
  • Coffee Cakes
  • Brownies and Bars
  • Cookies
  • Crisps and Cobblers
  • Custards and Bread Puddings
  • Cheesecakes
  • Butter Cakes, Pound Cakes, and Angel Food Cakes
  • Pies and Tarts
  • Yeast Breads and Rolls
  • Beyond the Basics
I tested two recipes, Fabulous Fudgy Brownies and Chocolate Monster Cookies. Both were well-received by my sons. I think Vanilla Bean Pound Cake is next on my two-do list.

This is the perfect cookbook for any baking level. I think it would make the perfect gift for a young person who was just building his or her cookbook collection or just starting out on their own. But, the experienced baker will also be able to find plenty of recipes to try. The book is filled with comforting desserts that will make glad you have an oven.

If you're a minimalist who likes to get the most impact for your money, Baking Basics and Beyond is a cookbook that you may want to consider adding to your collection.

Happy Baking, everybody!!!

The publishers provided me with review copies of these cookbooks. The opinions expressed here are my own.


  1. Great book choices and I really need to make some whoopie pies..
    Take care,

  2. Thanks, I think I need 4 new cookbooks. I'll start with the Cookies and Milk!


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