The Swiss cheese of your dreams

 cheese fondue

Gruyère  lovers, this post is for you. Saveur Magazine has just published a lovely article on a rare Swiss cheese that is produced using only very traditional Gruyere methods that date back centuries. Known as L'Etivaz, it is such a special cheese that it has and A.O.P. (appellation d'origine protégée) status bestowed by the Swiss government.

When you read the romantic description of how this cheese is made, you may want to run off to be a farmer in Switzerland. The process includes shepherding small herds of pampered cows, who graze contentedly on wildflowers in idyllic Alpine meadows. L'Etivaz producer Frédéric Chabloz describes it this way: "you're in this beautiful place, you're surrounded by nature and your children, you're listening to the cowbells all day long."

And the cheese is, by all accounts, sublime. Terms used to describe the cheese include 'smoky' and 'flowery'. The smokiness likely comes from the fact that the cheese must be produced in vats that are stirred over a wood-fueled fire The exacting requirements extend all the way to the type of cheesecloth that must be used (100% linen).

Now that you are salivating, let me be an enabler. You can order L'Etivaz in the US through Murray'sZingerman's plus other sources. Fromages.com offers shipping to several countries including the US, Canada, Australia, and UK (sorry New Zealand!). There may be additional options depending on where you live. The price, as you might expect, is not minimal; expect to pay nearly $40 USD/$37 EUR per pound.

Photo of Cheese fondue from Cheese: A Collection of Sweet and Savoury Recipes for Every Course by Georgeanne Brennan and Maren Caruso

Cookbook Gift Guide for Bakers

The fall and winter are synonymous with baking more so than any other time of the year. What would Thanksgiving be without pie, or Christmas without cookies, or Hanukkah without rugelach or snow days without brownies and hot chocolate? Pretty sad - that's what it would be. Pretty sad.

Today, I've put together a baker's dozen of great baking books that any baker would love to receive this season. A few titles are from 2016 but the bulk are from years prior. Best books were covered in my Forty Best Cookbooks of 2016 (including new baking titles), books for art and music lovers, and books for entertainers were covered in prior guides. Gift any of these titles and you will find yourself looking for your own Bakery Shoppe sign.

Giving the gift of a baking book can be just as very rewarding for the giver as the receiver. One might very well find themselves on the receiving end of a special basket of goodies as a thank you.  My last gift guide will be up by Saturday and will focus on cooks of all levels from beginners to gourmets. 

If you wish to purchase any of these titles for someone on your gift list (or yourself), be sure to use the Buy Book button to help support Eat Your Books' indexing efforts. Lastly, An EYB subscription makes the perfect gift for cookbook lovers - each gift certificate purchase qualifies you for an entry to win a lifetime membership for yourself. 

Honey & Co: The Baking Book by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich (or it's U.S. edition Golden) is the ideal choice for someone who loves the savory and sweet aspects to baking as well as playing with exciting new flavors.  This book by the husband and wife team behind the wildly popular London restaurant, Honey & Co., delivers recipes such as Salty Sweet Orange and Tahini Pretzels, Leek and Goat's Cheese Pie, and Spice Cakes with Marzipan Cream Filling and Raspberries. I've made the Peach, Vanilla & Fennel Seed Mini Loaves several times and they were fantastic. Approachable, unique recipes that will make any level of baker happy.
 

Grandbaby Cakes: Modern Recipes, Vintage Charm, Soulful Memories by Jocelyn Delk Adams is a collection of time-honored recipes, served up in exciting new ways with a nod to generations before. Sea Salt Caramel Cake, S'more Lava Cakes, and Peach Cobbler Shortcake are extraordinarily beautiful in this book. The author even shares a From Scratch Mix recipe, which can be made ahead and stored, much like boxed cake mix without all the unnecessary ingredients. For that someone special who always comes to a gathering offering a cake, this book is for them. 

 

The New Sugar and Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking by Samantha Seneviratne will level up your dessert game with eighty unexpected but totally delicious recipes for spice-centric sweets. Incorporating global twists, the author takes peppercorns, cardamom and chiles and delivers recipes for Crunch Peanut Pepper Cookies or Raspberry Shortcakes with zesty Double Ginger Biscuits. I've made the chocolate chip cookies from this book and they were to-die-for - another title for the baker who is open to new flavors and loves a little spice.

 

 

Patisserie at Home by Melanie Dupuis and Anne Cazor features100 easy-to-master recipes, stunning full-color illustrations, and a eye-popping modern design that will guide the home baker into recreating French desserts in this oversized cookbook. Written by patissiere, Dupuis, and molecular gastronomist, Cazor, to demystify the art of French baking with detailed instructions, process and mise en place photos - one cannot veer off the pastry path with this baking bible. Gift this book (or buy it for yourself) for anyone that wants to perfect their pastry skills. While it deals with French baked goods which can seem daunting, the illustrations, photos and detailed instructions will have you hanging a Bakery Shoppe sign in your own kitchen.

 

Crumb: A Baking Book by Ruby Tandoh, a finalist of the The Great British Bake Off, is packed with gorgeous photos and new and exciting recipes. Morning muffins with grapefruit, orange and white chocolate loaf cake, lemon and basil tart, rosemary pecan pie, and banana thyme tart - all await us in this debut offering. (Ruby has since published her second title Flavour which you can learn more about in my review.) Crumb is the perfect combination of sweet and savory, simple and complex. I hope to be seeing more from this talented young cookbook author.

 

Traditional Jewish Baking: Retro Recipes Your Grandma Would Make... If She Had a Mixer by Carine Goren is a charming collection of decadent treats. Photographs pop off the pages. Every recipe looks killer good - a stunning Babka - Just as it Should Be; Gerbeaud - A Hungarian Layered Cake, and Sfenj (fried, sponge like doughnuts) are calling me. Any baker, of any experience, would love this book! This book totally surprised me with its collection of recipes and totally cool layout.

 

Sweet Sugar, Sultry Spice: Exotic Flavors to Wake Up Your Baking by Malika Ameen is the pastry chef's debut cookbook overflowing with bold, interesting recipes that I found unique and enticing. You can read more about this book in my review post where we share a recipe for Malika's Perfect Pumpkin Pancakes. By now you see a theme with me, I totally covet books which utilized warm, interesting spices and have elements of savory aspects in their offerings. As I said in my review post, is it too soon to ask if Malika is working on a second book? It's never too soon for great cookbooks.

 

French Desserts by Hillary Davis is striking from its eye-catching cover of the Giant Break-and-Share Cookie, to the photographs of the vibrant French countryside and city markets. Hélène's Grandmother's Rice Pudding Cake Bathed in Caramel, Pumpkin Seed Tuiles, Grand Marnier Mousse, and a stunning Fresh and Dried Fruit Salad in Sweet Basil Syrup are examples of a few of innovative recipes from this title. The classics are here as well such as Breton Butter Cookies and Chocolate Sables. I have made the Orange Madeleines with Orange Glaze a few times now. They are truly magical because they disappear. For more information on this title, check out my review and recipe post - where you will find recipes for that cover cookie and those magic Orange Madeleines. Hillary's books are not to be missed.

Social Sweets: Top Desserts to Make at Home by Jason Atherton was a book that I chose for myself recently when I had a gift code. This cookbook brings desserts to an elevated, restaurant level. Beautifully presented recipes from the classics such as Tiramisu to Toasted Coconut Creme Brulée with Pineapple, Coconut and Malibu Sorbet are covered here. Somehow Atherton makes a corn muffin look as if it is deserving of a Michelin star. And curses to him, because now that I own this book, I went and ordered all his titles. I hope my husband isn't reading this - I will say they are birthday gifts as that date is rapidly approaching. We always joked that he would never want me working for Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table, as I would spend my entire paycheck or more - I think it holds true for this position as well.  
 

Sweet Studio: The Art of Divine Desserts by Darren Purchese is another new purchase. I had ordered Lamingtons & Lemon Tart  and included that title in my best of 2016 post and as is my norm, I went in search of other books by Darren. Sweet Studio is absolutely a show-stopper. Multi-component desserts have always intrigued me and this book breaks down the steps to create a Smoked White Chocolate, Coffee, Aniseed & Lemon cake what would wow Pierre Hermé. I'm longing for some time to play with these recipes and also wondering when the next title from this pastry genius will be forthcoming? Darren...tick tick. 

The Italian Baker: 100 International Baking Recipes with a Modern Twist by Melissa Forti is a hauntingly beautiful book set in darken hues (see the cover) that add an air of mystery and intrigue to the book. Melissa shares 100 international baking recipes with a modern twist in this title. From a Valencia Orange Cake that is gluten-free to a Torta Al Tè Chai E Zenzero (Chai and Ginger Layer Cake) - this book will have you mesmerized by her flavors, recipes and vintage inspired photographs.

 

Make Ahead Bread: 100 Recipes for Melt-in-Your-Mouth Fresh Bread Every Day, Plus Butters, Sauces & Spreads by Donna Currie is a must have for the baker. There are recipes for breads, rolls, croissants, pizza dough, butters and even recipes for what we can do with leftover bread. Some of the standouts - sauerkraut rye, savory monkey bread, maple, bacon and onion loaf, stuffing bread with dried cranberries, blueberry and cream cheese buns with lemon zest, almond sweet bread, peanut butter bread with raspberry swirl, almond sweet bread and dozens more. Donna is the voice behind Cookistry and posts product reviews, great recipes and sometimes serves them up with a dose of sarcasm. 

Tarts by Frederic Anton and Christelle Brua and Chihiro Masui is a collection a selection of tarts that hit all the notes - classic and modern, sweet and savory and present them with 130 photographs by Richard Haughton. Each tart is photographed as circles of deliciousness that could easily be perceived as far too gourmet and complicated for us mere mortals. This book, however, is not all style and puffery, there is substance behind Tarts. The recipes contain clear-cut instructions that are detailed, yet concise, and simple to follow. More information and a recipe from this title can be found on my review post.

Breaking Breads, The Cardamom Trail, Layered, Art of the Pie, Dorie's Cookies, Marbled, Swirled & Layered, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book, Classic German Baking, The Baker in Me, Lamingtons & Lemon TartsPanetteria and Better Baking are covered on my Top Books of 2016.  Be sure to check that post out for more information and links to full reviews and giveaways. Happy gifting and baking! 

Iron Chef America coming back to Food Network

 Iron Chefs

Fans of the television series Iron Chef America will be happy to learn that the show, which left Food Network in 2014, is returning in spring 2017. The reboot of the show includes a new name: the new program will be called Iron Chef Gauntlet

Reports indicate that Alton Brown will be reprising his role as host of the competition. It's hard to believe that the first Iron Chef America premiered in 2005 - over a decade ago! Next Iron Chef premiered in 2007 and the two shows ran concurrently for five seasons, after which Next Iron Chef was dropped. If you didn't realize that Iron Chef America was no longer on the airwaves, that is because although the program ended its run on Food Network in 2014, it moved to Cooking Channel for a year before being mothballed.

Bobby Flay remains the most winning chef on Iron Chef America, racking up 43 wins. He's followed by Michael Symon, whose tally stands at 34. Symon enjoys the best win percentage, beating his opponents over 80% of the time. At this time there is no word on whether these - or any - of the former Iron Chefs will return. 

Taste of Persia by Naomi Duguid

Taste of Persia: A Cook's Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan by Naomi Duguid is a "reason to celebrate" to quote The New York Times. Duguid has authored many books exploring various cuisines from Burma to different regions of China. Every one of her titles is in my collection and I am always thrilled to learn when she is working on something new.

Duguid has the soul of a writer managing to convey the culture and cuisine of a particular region eloquently with thoughtful words and photographs. The beautiful images of the people and their landscape captured within these pages brings me closer to understanding their passions which are so similar to mine - family, food, life. Even though the people brought to us in Taste of Persia, speak many languages and have varying religious beliefs - they still share a history of Persian influences - in their kitchens - at their tables.

While there are 125 plus recipes in this book, it is far more than a collection of dishes. Duguid's words do, in fact, deliver the cuisine of Persia, but are also wrapped in the human element of the people who have known pain and anguish and yet still find joy in their traditions of food and love of family. The lined faces of the people reflect their wisdom, the hope in the eyes of children and the care in which the cooks share their food in this title makes this far more than a cookbook - it is a deeper understanding of this area of the world delivered through food.

Half-Moon Hand Pies, Cheese-Filled Quick Breads, Topknot Dumplings, and Tart Lamb Stew with Fried Potatoes are all marked in my copy to try. Truth be told, the majority of the recipes in this book, I am eager to recreate - save a few that involve offal or tongue - as we are not yet that sophisticated in this house. 

Duguid never disappoints and even if there were not a single recipe in this title that interested me - the book is a wonderful read that brings this section of the world, that I am so fascinated by, to my kitchen - to my table.  Anyone that loves travel, Persian cuisine or stellar writing would love this book as a gift this holiday season. 

Special thanks to Artisan and the author for sharing two recipes with us. Be sure to visit our contest page to enter for a chance to win a copy of this book.

Spinach Borani - Borani Ye Esfenaj
Serves 4 to 6

The Persian dishes called borani are a genius combination of cooked vegetable and thick drained yogurt. They are generally topped with fried onions, and often with a scattering of lightly toasted walnuts. People rave whenever I serve them, especially this spinach version.

  • About 1½ cups plain full-fat yogurt
  • 2 pounds spinach
  • About 2 tablespoons sunflower or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon water

OPTIONAL TOPPINGS

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped lightly toasted walnuts

Drain the yogurt to thicken it: Line a sieve or colander with cheesecloth or a cotton cloth. Moisten the cloth with water. Set the sieve or colander over a bowl and add the yogurt. Set aside, loosely covered, to drain for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, trim the tough stems from the spinach. Wash the spinach thoroughly in several changes of water and drain well. Coarsely chop and set aside.

Heat the oil in a wide heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, lower the heat to medium, and fry the onion until translucent and touched with color, about 5 minutes. Transfer the onion to a plate and set aside.

Raise the heat under the skillet to medium-high and add the spinach, turning it to expose it to the hot surface. Add about ½ cup water and cook, pressing and turning the spinach, until it is well wilted and deep green, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the spinach to a bowl to cool slightly.

Once the spinach is cool enough to handle, squeeze it thoroughly, a handful at a time, to press out excess water.

Transfer the spinach to a bowl, add ½ teaspoon salt, and mix well.

Turn the thickened yogurt out into a bowl; you'll have about 1 cup. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon salt and the water to loosen the yogurt slightly and stir. (Save the whey for another purpose or discard.) Add the yogurt to the spinach and stir gently to mix them a little, but not into a smooth blend, leaving the mixture with patches of white and dark green. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Strew on the fried onions, sprinkle with the saffron water and toasted walnuts if you wish, and serve.

Beet Borani

You can make borani with other vegetables too. One of the most appealing is beet borani-the yogurt's slight tartness is a great foil for the sweetness of the beets. Place 6 medium beets (1½ to 2 pounds) in a roasting pan, coat with a little oil, and roast at 400°F until cooked through, about 1 hour, or boil them whole until cooked through. Let cool. Peel the beets and chop into about ½-inch dice. I have a weakness for beets with cumin or fennel, so I suggest tossing a generous pinch of one or the other into the pan as you fry the onion, along with ½ teaspoon salt. Once the onion is softened and touched with color, add it to the chopped beets. To serve, combine the beets with about 1 cup drained yogurt (from 1½ cups full-fat yogurt) seasoned with ½ teaspoon salt, without mixing them completely. Top with about 3 tablespoons coarsely chopped toasted walnuts or, for a splashier look, with coarsely chopped pistachios.

Baku Fish Kebabs - Baliq Shashlik
Serves 4 to 6

Although sturgeon from the Caspian Sea is the classic and most highly regarded fish in Azerbaijan, you can use any firm, rich fish for these kebabs. The chunks of fish marinate briefly in a blend of lemon juice, salt, and dill before being threaded onto skewers and grilled. They make a great summer meal.

  • 2 pounds skin-on fish fillets: sturgeon or other rich fish, such as salmon or Alaskan black cod
  • About ¼ cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)
  • About 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced (optional)
  • ¼ cup minced scallions (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ground sumac, or to taste

Cut the fillets crosswise into pieces about 1½ inches wide. Place in a bowl. Add the lemon juice, dill, and ½ teaspoon of the salt and mix gently to coat the fish. Add the oil and mix again. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes to an hour.

Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium hot and place a rack about 5 inches above the coals or flame.

Thread the fillets onto skewers. It's easiest to use two skewers in parallel to hold the fish: Pierce 2 or 3 pieces of fish with one skewer, not through the center, but close to one end; then pierce the other end of the pieces with a second skewer, so the arrangement looks like a ladder with fish rungs. Make sure the skin side of all the pieces is facing the same way. Set aside on a tray and repeat with the remaining fish.

Place the skewers skin side down on the rack over the coals or flame and grill for 10 minutes. Turn over and grill until the fish is just cooked, another 4 minutes or so.

Cover a platter with the sliced onions and the sliced tomatoes, if using. Slide the fish off the skewers onto the platter. Sprinkle the remaining ½ teaspoon salt, the scallions, if using, and sumac over the fish.

Excerpted from Taste of Persia by Naomi Duguid.

Photograph Credit: Gentl & Hyers.

 

 

 

Cookbook Giveaway - Taste of Persia

Taste of Persia: A Cook's Travels Through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, and Kurdistan by Naomi Duguid delivers another world to us by journaling her travels.

The countries that encompass the Persian region while a mix of centuries old religions, cultures, and politics, are connected by food traditions. The food shines with jeweled pomegranates, the golden hues leached from saffron, and the bountiful fresh herbs that all add life and vibrancy to the meals of this region.

I, for one, am grateful to Naomi Duguid, who for decades has been unearthing fascinating recipes and haunting tales from those areas of the world where most of us have not yet traveled. Taste of Persia contains 125 recipes, blanked with narrative and photographs of the people and landscapes that bring this far-away world closer to the reader. To read more about this title and try two recipes, please see our review and recipe post.

We are pleased to offer three copies of Taste of Persia to our EYB Members in the U.S. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post:

Do you have any of Naomi Duguid's books in your collection? If so, which ones?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends January 6th, 2017. 

Be sure to check your email spam folders for email notifications or check back on this post on the 6th for the names of the winners.

 

 

 

 

 

Quick and easy dinners for the hectic holiday season

 General Tso's tofu

Between the parties, cookie baking, shopping, candy making, musical events, family gatherings, and gift wrapping, the year-end holidays make for one of the busiest times of the year. It can be exasperating to fit in home-cooked meals when you are scurrying about at breakneck pace. To help keep you sane yet well-fed, we've gathered a few resources so you don't have to search for what to make for dinner.

Epicurious starts us off with five quick dinners that will keep you satisfied. They've got comforting chili, breakfast for dinner (always a winner in our house), and a healthy Cracked farro and broccoli salad to balance out the cookie tasting. Indexed blog Food52 takes us in a slightly different direction with the winners of their recent "Easy Weeknight Roasts" contest, which includes Mulligatawny carrots and Coffee-rubbed pork loin

Delicious (Aus) Magazine ups the ante with 56 quick, easy, and healthy midweek dinners.  With everything from roast chicken to Valli Little's Raw pad Thai to spiced coconut eggs, you are bound to find something that is both delicious and a snap to prepare. Not to be outdone, Delicious (UK) Magazine has a collection of easy midweek recipes that all take under 30 minutes to prepare.  You'll find delights like Fennel and pork pappardelle, Creamy leek and gorgonzola risotto, and sausage, apple and potato one-pan roast

Food52 aims to please carbohydrate addicts (myself included) with 15 pastas "you can make with your eyes closed". The recipes include One-pot garlic Parmesan pasta (a.k.a. the Lazy Cook's Fettucine Alfredo. Another indexed blog, The Kitchn, gives us 20 timesaving "Miracle Meals" for the frantic holiday rush. Highlights of this list include Easy skillet chicken pot pie, Weeknight General Tso's tofu (pictured top; perhaps fitting since the creator of General Tso's chicken died last week), and 10-minute black bean tacos

Cookbook Gift Guide for Entertainers

We all know those people who love to bring folks together around the table with food. I'm one of them - many of you are as well. This post highlights some cookbooks that are ideal for the entertainer or those that wish to be. A perfect hostess gift would be one of these titles with a cute kitchen towel - I can't pass up a cute kitchen towel. 
 
A reason that we do this gift guides is to aid in partnering a cookbook with the proper recipient. Darcie hits on the importance of matching a cookbook with the right personality in her article. My previous gift guide was geared toward those that love art and music and another title that should be on that list just arrived and is gorgeous: Fonda San Miguel which will be covered in our December monthly roundup. 

Back to those who love to entertain - I have picked out a dozen of my favorites from this year and past years. I hope they hit a chord and make your shopping easier.
 
Dinner at the Long Table by Andrew Tarlow and Anna Dunn and Scarlett Lindeman delivers a year's worth of menus that range from the simple, yet stunning, Carrot Cues, with Pistachio & Parsley to an elaborate Rabbit & Chorizo Paella. Beautiful full page photographs fill the book and menus are quaintly named - such as Cold Night Cassoulet or I Love, You Love, We All Love Bluefish. This cookbook is fun, elegant, quirky, sophisiticated and simply beautiful and perfect to elevate dinner party fare.


3 X a Day
 by Marilou and Alexandre Champagne reflects the author's natural flair for entertaining and cooking. Recipes like Garlicky Angel Hair Pasta with Stuffed Turkey Meatballs; Thai Shrimp and Vegetable Soup; and Tomato Strawberry and Basil Gazpacho with Cheese Balls are all great examples for dinner parties. This book is also very special in that it speaks to finding a healthy relationship with food.


Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion
by Danielle Walker includes helpful hints for menu planning, preparation and twelve month's worth of recipes organized by calendar year, this title is perfect for the entertainer in all of us. Lavender-Rosemary Leg of Lamb, Knife-and-Fork Pork Ribs, Chicken Salad Biscuits, and Berry Tart with Vanilla Bean Custard are a few examples of the range of recipes that woud be perfect for a dinner party or backyard barbecue. Our author interview shares two recipes from the title.


The Gourmet Kitchen: Recipes from the Creator of Savory Simple
 by Jennifer Farley home-cooked meals are elevated with unique and bold flavors. Jennifer Farley, the author, is also the creator of the blog, Savory Simple (451 recipes currently indexed on EYB) with almost half-a-million followers who eagerly await her new recipe posts. The book delivers over 100 sophisticated, but approachable, recipes accompanied by her signature photography. From quick and healthy weeknight dinners, fun appetizers and sweets for all occasions, Jennifer provides classic recipes with inventive twists that will please novice and seasoned cooks alike.  You can read more about this book and the author in our author interview and enter our giveaway as well.


Celebrate Everything: Fun Ideas to Bring Your Parties to Life
by Darcy Miller Celebrate Everything!: Fun Ideas to Bring Your Parties to Life by Darcy Miller is packed with planning strategy and original ideas making it the ultimate guide to creating unforgettable special occasions. Darcy invites readers to dozens of parties she's thrown, and shares hundreds of chic and cheerful ideas for ways to make a celebration personal. It's a blueprint for making the best occasions in life even better, filled with fun ideas to inspire just in time for the holiday season! 


How to Celebrate Everything: Recipes and Rituals for Birthdays, Holidays, Family Dinners, and Every Day In Between
 by Jenny Rosenstrach is a New York Times Best Cookbook of Fall 2016. The book provides a warm and inviting guide to turning birthdays, holidays, and everyday occasions into cherished traditions, with more than 100 time-tested recipes.


Pastry Queen Parties: Entertaining Friends and Family, Texas Style
 by Rebecca Rather and Alison Oresman delivers more than 100 recipes for starters, sides, main dishes, desserts, and drinks and showcase Rebecca's bold and bounteous style of cooking. Plentiful stories and useful cooking and entertaining tips from Rebecca and other great Texas hosts and hostesses, a roster of "party express" recipes to pull together quickly, and more than 100 gorgeous scenic and food photos from across the state, 


The Yellow Table: A Celebration of Everyday Gatherings: 110 Simple & Seasonal Recipes
by Anna Watson Carl features delicious seasonal recipes just right for feeding the people you love. The book includes everything from Crustless Quiche Lorraine and Pumpkin Spice Pancakes to a Kale Detox Salad, Roasted Vegetable Ratatouille, and Grilled Skirt Steak with Chimichurri. Enjoy snacks like Watermelon, Feta, & Mint Skewers; soups and stews, including Three-Bean Turkey Chili; sandwiches, simple suppers, sweets, and stress-free dinner-party menus. You'll even find plenty of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options - and wine pairings from award-winning sommelier Jean-Luc Le Dû add the perfect finishing touch.


Party-perfect Bites: Delicious recipes for canapes, finger food and party snacks
by Milli Taylor delivers a mouthwatering collection of recipes for small bites and fingerfood - ideal for serving at parties or any social gathering, large or small. This book includes ideas for fresh all seasons of entertaining: Grilled Peach, Mozzarella and Parma Ham Bites, Seared Beef Tataki Spoons with Miso Sauce and Scallions, and Persian Sausage Rolls with Pistachios. For the dessert aspect of entertaining there are Rose and Raspberry Profiteroles, Cocoa Nib and Salted Caramel Brownies, Mini Candy Cane Meringues with Whipped Cream, Berries and Raspberry Coulis and Mini Donut Balls on Coffee Shots.
 

At Our Table: 120+ Recipes and Entertaining Tips for Every Occasion
 by Delicious Magazine is the cookbook for those of us who love cooking for friends and family as much as they appreciate presentation. This book is from the award-winning team behind Australia's leading premium food lifestyle magazine delicious. and hugely successful website delicious.com.au. With gorgeous photography, stunning design and more than 100 impressive but effortless recipes, and each chapter offering a flexible menu, as well as brilliant ideas for drink pairing and advice for setting the scene - including styling the table, colour palette inspiration, flowers, lighting and downloadable party invitations - this is the ultimate party planners' cookbook.  


In the Mood for Entertaining: Delicious Food for All Occasions
by Jo Pratt has an easy-to-follow layout, with four main chapters broken down into various different menus, offering you food for every occasion: Two's Company, Relaxed Entertaining, The Extravagant Dinner Party and Cooking for a Crowd. From Coconut and ricotta hotcakes with espresso syrup to Honey roast ham with pistachio crumbs, via Mini tomato tatins and Spiced mussels with tomato spaghetti, Jo Pratt's creative and stylish recipes are fuss-free and easy to follow. Accompanied by beautiful full-colour photography, drink suggestions and recipe hints and tips, this book will make entertaining a joy, whatever the occasion.

Other titles perfect for entertainers are: Vegetarian Dinner PartiesMozza at Home, A Recipe for Cooking (see our interview and giveaway), Mad Hungry Family (see our interview and giveaway), Effortless Entertaining Cookbook was one of my picks to review at Sunday Supper Movement and Twenty Dinners.

Of course, a gift certificate to Eat Your Books is a great gift for a cookbook collector and we have a special contest for those who buy a certificate so be sure to check that out! I have two more gift guides planned this week and next: a guide for the baker and a guide for cooks from beginners to advance. My top forty cookbooks of 2016 may help with your decision making as well.

There's a cookbook for every personality

AppetitesIt's sometimes all too tempting to purchase a gift for someone based on what you would like to receive. We've all been guilty of it at one time or another - or have been the recipient of a gift that left us scratching our heads, until we realized that it was exactly what the sender wanted. For cookbook lovers, this can be especially problematic, as we tend to have our favorites and want to share them with everyone. To keep us from making a poor choice, Laura Shapiro offers us advice on how to match a cookbook to its intended user

In November, we wrote about how cookbooks are bucking the trend of decline in the publishing industry, and Shapiro has an excellent answer to why that is happening. She posts that when we purchase a cookbook, we don't just buy collections of recipes; we buy a relationship. "There's a person inside those covers - someone whose voice is appealing, whose guidance is reliable and whose food evokes the world you wish you lived in," she says.Persepolis

Of course, that is why picking the right cookbook for someone can be difficult. It ends up with you as being a matchmaker, setting someone up on what is essentially a blind date, only hopefully a lot less awkward. Keeping that in mind, you can match the tone, subject matter, and voice of the writer to the recipient of the gift. Shapiro goes on to review a handful of the year's best books, many of which also ended up on Jenny's top 40 list, including Persepolis: Vegetarian Recipes from Peckham, Persia and Beyond by Sally Butcher  and Appetites: A Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain. Those two diverse cookbooks might both be great for one person, but more than likely each is better suited for one person on your list than another. 

The Forty Best Cookbooks of 2016

How do I decide which books are the best in any particular year? It's a long, arduous process that leaves me feeling as if I'm choosing between children. Don't get me wrong - there are plenty of books published that aren't worthy of that comparison - but the books that I write about - truly must be special. I would find it very hard to write a feature for a cookbook entitled 99 Ways with Jello. There has to be passion behind the words. I've said this before - cookbooks represent an open door to a world of possibilities - a chance to experience a culture or cuisine that would not normally be available.

Some may say "you write about so many books how can they all be special?" When one realizes that there are thousands of books published each year, and that I read and review many hundreds - only the best of the best are featured in promotions and articles. I respect my audience and feel that they are eager to learn about exciting titles that are innovative. That being said, I also have the obligation to inform others about titles that might interest them, but not myself. I can recognize greatness in a title that I might not ever cook from. 

Back to the saga of Jenny's Choices, I don't have a team of people providing input - although I do talk about cookbooks with friends, the EYB team and collectors. To make my list - the book has to bring something new and exciting to the table - unique, innovative - why-didn't-I-think-of-that type of dishes. Also, I have to physically review the book, have it in my hands and hopefully cook or bake from it - or trust people who have. I gravitate to cookbooks that inspire me to break out of my comfort zone. Every book on this list meets those requirements. I'm also sure that there are many international titles such as Chiltern Firehouse, The Five Seasons Kitchen and others that I've read about and shared previews to -  but since I haven't physically seen them - I can't add them here. Accordingly, this by no means is an exhaustive list. 

If you are considering purchasing any of these titles for yourself or for gifts, be sure to use our Buy Book button to help support our indexing efforts here at Eat Your Books.

This compilation is organized by category and in no particular order of importance except for the first two on this list - which are tied for my pick of the best cookbook of 2016. 

Carolyn Phillips' All Under Heaven: Recipes from the 35 Cuisines of China is my first pick for the best cookbook of 2016. Carolyn is the writer of the blog, Madame Huang's Kitchen. All 400 of her blog recipes are indexed on Eat Your Books (add them to your bookshelf with one click.)  Not only is the multi-talented Phillips an award-winning writer but also a gifted illustrator whose drawings fill the pages of this massive tome. The vast research necessary to write All Under Heaven resulted from the author's study of ancient culinary texts, talking with restaurant owners in China to glean their family recipes along with her own extensive background of working, eating and cooking in China. There are no photographs in the book - it is packed with narrative, recipes and illustrations. Organized by regions beginning with a background of that area, Phillips' heart and soul can be felt in every word. The book is perfectly laid out with stark white pages, easy to follow instructions with maps and drawings that speak to her story. She highlights extra information to perfect each dish in red font after every recipe. It is as if she is in the kitchen with us working beside us to make sure we achieve the best results. I've been reading my way through the 500 page book and soaking up Carolyn's knowledge. This is the must have book of 2016 or any year.

The book tied for best cookbook of 2016 is Breaking Breads: A New World of Israeli Baking from Breads Bakery and Lehamim Bakery owner, Uri Scheft. I need to find another word for stunning - but it is, stunning that is - just look at that cover. The information packed into this book along with the beautiful photographs and recipes is astounding. Berry and Ricotta Brioche Buns, Potato Burekas, delicate Cheese and Herb Mutabak and Savory Potato Hamantaschen are just a few of the baked nirvana you will encounter once you open Breaking Breads. Many step-by-step photographs of folding and shaping of the more complicated recipes as well as very detailed instructions, in an approachable tone, makes this a bread book that every baker must own. You can read more about this fantastic title in my recipe post which has a link to our contest.

 

Eat in My Kitchen: To Cook, to Bake, to Eat, and to Treat by Meike Peters is an incredibly beautiful book. I've made several recipes from Meike's book - the Pasta with Orange Butter, the Potato and Sauerkraut Latkes and the Bavarian Pork Roast - all incredibly delicious. The photographs are gorgeous in this title, taken by the author herself, and the recipes truly are crave-worthy. This will be a well-used tool in my kitchen for years and I'm hoping for much more from this talented writer.

Scandinavian Comfort Food: Embracing the Art of Hygge by Trine Hahnemann delivers 130 recipes that will have you embracing hygge: a feeling or an expectation of comfort. The recipes here reflect true comfort and vibrancy - Meatballs with Celeriac and Apples; Chicken Soup with Herbs and Root Vegetables; and a Winter Apple Layer Cake that quietly and beautifully communicates a welcoming warmth. 

Ottawa Cooks: Signature Recipes from the Finest Chefs of Canada's Capital Region by Anne DesBrisay brings readers recipes from forty-one of Ottawa's most inspirational cooks including dishes from fine restaurants, food trucks, and farmhouse kitchens. With more than eighty recipes that focus on the best of the region's offerings with flavors inspired from around the globe, there is a little something for everyone. Recipes for Sweet Potato Spice Cake with Rum-Raisin Mousse and Pecan Praline, Pulled Pork Fritters and Crispy Green Papaya Salad with Citrus Soaker and Peanut Crumble are examples of the wealth of unique and incredibly flavorful recipes in this truly beautifully photographed book. 

Small Victories: Recipes, Advice + Hundreds of Ideas for Home-Cooking Triumphs by Julia Turshen is the not-so-little book that could. It shares more than 400 recipes with variations and more than 160 mouth-watering photographs from acclaimed photographers Gentl + Hyers. The photographs provide beautiful instruction and inspiration and elevates this entertaining and essential kitchen resource into wonderful gift for both beginners and accomplished home cooks. Our own, Jane Kelly, tested recipes for this title giving it her seal of approval.

Taste & Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking by Naomi Pomeroy is, in my estimation, the equivalent of an at-home culinary course in nearly 400 pages. Those pages contain 140 recipes, beautiful photographs and the chef's vast culinary knowledge that began at the age of seven when her mother taught her how to make a soufflé. The book is simply brilliant. You can read more about this book in my full review and try some recipes from this title. I've made six recipes from this title with great success.

 

Cin Cin Wood-Fired Cucina by Andrew Richardson celebrates the 25th anniversary of the famous CinCin Ristorante + Bar. This title focuses on fresh, local ingredients that are allowed to shine in recipes. Showcasing the restaurant's wood-oven cooking techniques and filled with spectacular photographs, each ingredient is highlighted by section. With recipes for Fried Zucchini Blossoms - Montasio, Goat Cheese and Parmesan with Arugula and Red Radish; Spaghetti al Ragu - 6-hour Bolognese, Veal and Pork with Pancetta, Parmesan; and Red-wine-braised Short Rib of Beef - Braised Carrots and Cannellini Beans - all elevated restaurant cuisine that has been crafted for our home kitchens.

Araxi: Roots to Shoots Farm Fresh Recipes by James Walt is the follow up cookbook to Araxi: Seasonal Recipes from the Celebrated Whistler Restaurant, a Gourmand World Cookbook Award winner. This stunner of a title shares 80 classic recipes from Araxi's dining room and signature Longtable events, all adapted for the home cook. Beautiful photographs and recipes like Apple & Almond Tart with Whipped Sour Cream. Ricotta Gnudi with Peas & Mint and Spiced Lamb Meatballs "Bar Oso" will please every level cook. 

Eataly: Contemporary Italian Cooking from Phaidon features modern Italian recipes created in collaboration with the largest and most prestigious Italian marketplace in the world, Eataly. This epic tome brings 300 landmark recipes into our kitchens which highlight the best of Italian home cooking. Excellent, fail-safe recipes and new ideas with beautiful photographs, approachable modern recipes using fresh, lighter ingredients, clear instructions, helpful tips and a visual produce guide - make this a work-horse for our kitchens. Remember, Eat Your Book members receive 30% off Phaidon titles.

Mastering the Art of Japanese Home Cooking by Masaharu Morimoto was written to introduce American home cooks to Japanese cooking. The title contains ideas from Japanese grandmothers, a collection of Morimoto's favorite dishes and the author's attempt to hold on to the old ways - the ingredients and techniques that make delicious food. A lovely book with 150 photographs to guide us through this fascinating cuisine. Morimoto may have written the definite book on Japanese cuisine while channeling the great Julia Child.

My Two Souths by Asha Gomez takes the flavors of India and puts them to work in dishes from her Southern kitchen. This cookbook combines two of my loves - Indian and Southern cuisine. I love taking something familiar and switching it up and creating a dish that is new and exciting. This title is sure to be a winner with recipes like Nutmeg Scented Crêpes filled with Coconut and Jaggery, Banana Beignets and Chervil Lime Lobster Roll. My Two Souths surely is a must have for 2016. 

Samarkand: Recipes & Stories from Central Asia & The Caucasus by Caroline Eden and Eleanor Ford is another obvious pick for me - the lure of a distant land and cuisine calls to me every time. The authors share their love of Samarkand in the pages of this title. Photographs that pulsate with the energy of the people and culture of this magical place are plentiful. More information on this title and the authors can be found at our author article.

Land of Fish and Rice: Recipes from the Culinary Heart of China by Fuchsia Dunlop is another masterpiece from one of my favorite authors. Dunlop is a gifted writer with intriguing recipes that work. Gorgeous photographs, haunting narrative, and recipes you will not find anywhere else: Hangzhou "Blanched Slice" Noodles, Mrs. Song's Thick Fish Soup, and "Toothless" Glutinous Rice Dumplings with Pork and Leafy Greens are all reasons why this author is a treasure. 

The Aleppo Cookbook: Celebrating the Legendary Cuisine of Syria by Marlene Matar is "a loving tribute to a little-known cuisine rich in flavors and traditions." The recipes contained within the pages of this special book were obtained from the kitchens of prominent families, cherished restaurants and great chefs, states Matar, who is a highly accomplished chef and cooking instructor. Over 200 recipes - all of which can be easily replicated in our kitchens include Meatballs in Sour Cherry Sauce, Red Pepper Bread, and Arabic-Clotted Cream Pancakes. The photographs of the food, the landscape, the people - are beautiful and reinforces the simple human truth that we are all so much more alike than different. I am deeply moved by The Aleppo Cookbook and I trust that you will be as well. I am working with the author on an interview and hope to be able to share that soon.

Palestine on a Plate by Joudie Kalla is a celebration of real Palestinian food, cooked with the ingredients that Joudie's mother and grandmother use, and their grandmothers used before them. Colorful, stunning photography evoking the vibrancy and romance of the country will bring Palestine into your home and make you fall in love with this wonderful way to cook and enjoy food. Read more about this title in our article.

Sirocco: Fabulous Flavors from the Middle East by Sabrina Ghayour definitely fits my criteria in the best book category with its exotic flavors, vibrant photographs, and thoughtful interpretations of traditional recipes. My favorite new loaf cake is the Almond & Citrus Drizzle Loaf, which was easy to throw together and even easier to devour. The recipe that truly inspired me was the Chickenberry Rice which is a twist on biryani, the dish results in a stunning tower layered with rice, chicken, spices, nuts, and fruits that is show-stopping. I'm sure you sense a theme here - I love books that transport me to this part of the world. 

Appetites: A Cookbook by Anthony Bourdain is the celebrity chef's first cookbook in a decade, This book is a collection of recipes that encompass forty years of cooking and traveling and represents personal favorites of the chef.  The recipes are perfect for the home cook and will surprise you. There are the expected international dishes such as Banh Mi, Korean Fried Chicken and Do Chua Salad with Herbs, Scallions, Sprouts and Egg but also recipes for Mortadella and Cheese Sandwich, Lasagna Bolognese and Roast Chicken with Lemon and Butter. Be aware, Bourdain, the once bad boy of the culinary word, still writes with salty language. Pass over the expletives and treat yourself to this title - Appetites: A Cookbook is Bourdain at his best.

A Recipe for Cooking by Cal Peternell goes beyond the basics and shares strategies for relishing time spent in the kitchen preparing meals for your family and friends. You cannot go wrong acquiring Peternell's titles in your collection - they are the perfect gift for the cook in your life. Read more about this book and author in our article and be sure to enter our giveaway.

Cúrate by Katie Button features 125 recipes celebrating the flavors of Spanish cuisine with a dash of Southern charm taken from her award winning restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina - Cúrate.  With recipes for Ham and Cheese Stuffed Fried Pork Chops, Ribeye Steak with Blue Cheese Sauce, and Almond Cake with Cream Sherry and Brandy, this pages of this book will be adorned with splatters in no time.
 
 
The Spice Companion: A Guide to the World of Spices by Lior Lev Sercarz is a stunning title with hundreds of fresh ideas and tips for using pantry spices, 102 never-before-published recipes for spice blends, gorgeous photography, and botanical illustrations. Lior Lev Sercarz founded his New York City spice shop in 2006 and has become the go-to source for fresh and unusual spices as well as small-batch custom blends for renowned chefs around the world. Understanding spices and how they complement ingredients and each other is an important component in a cook's arsenal. This beautiful book is a wonderful place to expand our knowledge of spices to add flavor and vibrancy to our meals. 
 

Persepolis: Vegetarian Recipes from Peckham, Persia and Beyond by Sally Butcher draws on the author's experience with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, but once again she looks to all parts of the globe for vegetarian recipes (and stories). Persepolis brings you the most outstanding (and fun) ways of feeding without meat or fish, stopping along the way for a chat with the residents and a bit of sightseeing. 150 new recipes, including more vegan recipes/alternatives, offer a fantastic variety of ideas for the vegetarian cook (and truly any cook).

 

Black Trumpet A Chef's Journey Through Eight New England Seasons by Evan Mallett is a dazzling book with recipes from the celebrated Portsmouth, New Hampshire restaurant. Recipes such as Pretzel and Chestnut Crusted Meat Tarts, Ryeberry Risotto and Cider-Braised Pork Osso Buco inspire me to get creative in the kitchen. The desserts alone are worth the cost of the book: Peach Brioche Bread Pudding with Ginger Bourbon Caramel Sauce; Fried Sour Cream Pound Cake with Whipped Mascarpone, Macerated Blueberries and Lemon Curd; and Apricot Crepes with Tahini Caramel, Lemon Balm Cream and Sesame Crumb are just three examples. Black Trumpet is so well organized with suggested menus, a glossary and sourcing information chapter, a recipe index by course, and a full index - and Mallett's knowledge is generously reflected in each page. 

The Del Posto Cookbook by Mark Ladner and Michael R. Wilson delivers not only beautifully written recipes tested for the home kitchen but also well-researched information on which ingredients make a dish taste extraordinary. The photographs are a little old-school but the recipes are anything but. The cost of the book is easily worth the recipe for the 100-Layer Lasagne al Ragù Bolognese. Upscale Italian cooking from the executive chef of this Michelin star restaurant can be found inside this book. 

Smashed, Mashed, Boiled, and Baked...and Fried, Too!: A Celebration of Potatoes in 75 Irresistible Recipes by Raghavan Iyer makes me happy. Raghavan's books are on my shelves and his recipes never disappoint. Okay, some of you are rolling your eyes - a potato cookbook on the list of best cookbooks - well this is a great cookbook. Anyone that can transform the humble potato into 75 unique and totally delicious recipes - gets a spot. Be sure to enter our contest for a chance to win a copy of this title and read the full review and try the recipe for Kung Pao potatoes.

Simple by Diana Henry, who has the flair for turning the ordinary into something special. This book contains a superb collection of recipes that you can rustle up with absolutely no fuss, but which will rock with flavor. Peppered throughout the book are ingenious ideas such as no-hassle starters and sauces that will lift any dish. From Turkish Pasta with Caramelized Onions, Yoghurt and Dill and Paprika-baked Pork Chops with Beetroot, Caraway and Sour Cream to Parmesan-roasted Cauliflower with Garlic and Thyme, Diana takes the kind of ingredients we are most likely to find in our cupboard and fridge - or be able to pick up on the way home from work - and provides recipes that will be your go-tos for life.

Mozza at Home: More Than 150 Crowd-Pleasing Recipes for Relaxed, Family-Style Entertaining by Nancy Silverton and Carolynn Carreño is beautifully arranged with 19 menus packed with easy to follow recipes and following each menu there is a two page photo spread of the dinner table ladened with those dishes. Recipes for Glazed Onions with Agrodolce, Polenta Cake with Buoni Topping, Croissant Bread Pudding with Creamed Spinach and Ham, and Baked Japanese Sweet Potatoes with Fried Sage Leaves and Bacon offer a varied range of dishes that are accessible for all levels of cooks.
 
The Red Rooster Cookbook by Marcus Samuellsson is far more than a cookbook. Essays and interviews along with archival and contemporary photos chronicle all that is Harlem. All these factors are reason enough to covet this book, but then we have the recipes: Aunt Maybel's Ham Buns with Chocolate Gravy; Steamed Bass, Fiery Noodles, Long Beans; and Andouille Bread Pudding which are just a few examples of Samuelsson's greatness. This is a book to get lost in, sitting next to the fire and allowing yourself to be engulfed in the past, present and future of this dynamic section of New York City. A love story to Harlem, The Red Rooster Cookbook is not to be missed.

 

The Cardamom Trail: Chetna Bakes with Flavours of the East by Chetna Makan is truly a spectacular cookbook by a finalist from the Great British Bake Off. My full review that shares a recipe highlights many of the reasons why this gorgeous book makes the cut. Again, I enjoy baking books that tackle sweets with savory elements and with spices that might not be typical in desserts. I do love this book.

 

 

Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernüsse to Streuselkuchen by Luisa Weiss delivers a beautiful book with recipes for dazzling German desserts and bakes. There are 120 recipes in Classic German Baking including those for Mandelhörnchen (chocolate dipped almond crescents), Käsekuchen (classic quark cheesecake - with several variations) and a gorgeous Zitronenbiskuitrolle (lemon cream roll). The photographs are stunning and Luisa's instructions are detailed and approachable. My full review  which shares two recipes that you can try now. And don't forget we have more than 500 recipes from Luisa's blog, The Wednesday Chef indexed.

Dorie's Cookies by Dorie Greenspan is a cookie lover's dream. The extraordinary purple cover, inside covers that are wall-papered with cookie illustrations, and full-page photographs provide a visual feast for the eyes. Dorie has written 170 cookie recipes that are not your typical same-old same-old. Preheat the oven, grab an icy-cold glass of milk and dive into this book. With recipes for Pink Peppercorn Thumbprints, Greek Honey Dainties and Matcha-White Chocolate Mini Mads - you will be the cookie hero in your circle.  Check out more on this title in our author article and be sure to enter our giveaway.

Art of the Pie by Kate McDermott is the pie book of 2016. Kate covers all the classics and provides over a dozen crust recipes, including vegan and gluten-free options as well as traditional fillings and unexpected flavors such as chai. A few unique offerings are the Banana Rum Caramel Coconut, Angel Food, and Sausage and Apple Pies. Savory pies such as Italian nettle sausage and big clam can be what's for dinner. You can read my full review here and try Kate's recipe for Apple Pie.

Layered: Baking, Building, and Styling Spectacular Cakes by Tessa Huff proves that cake is art and Tessa is an artist. Tessa's instructions are precise, succinct and incredibly easy to follow. A few examples of cake creations are: Blood Orange Thyme Cake, Red Currant Chocolate Cake, Ultimate Candy Bar Cake and Banana Split Ice Cream Cake. Every cake you will immediately want to bake- and while everyone is impressed with a homemade cake - everyone will be gobsmacked by a multi-tiered, multi-component offering. I made the London Fog Cake and it was spectacular. If only it was acceptable to bake a cake everyday without requiring an intervention. 
 

Marbled, Swirled, and Layered: 150 Recipes and Variations for Artful Bars, Cookies, Pies, Cakes, and More by Irvin Lin is an innovative cookbook from one of my favorite bakers. I've made two recipes from this book and they were killer good (the Chocolate and Brown Sugar Buttercream Rolled Cake with Crushed Pistachios and the Double Chocolate Chunk Blondie Bars). Irvin has a great way with flavors and transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary: Pluot-Cardamom Upside-Down Cake with Caramel anyone? Bakers will want this book! And don't forget we have almost 400 recipes indexed from Irvin's blog Eat the Love - you can add them all to your Bookshelf in one go. Our author interview which includes a link to Susie Chang's podcast featuring yours truly and a link to the recipes I made as well as our giveaway are up.

The Vanilla Bean Baking Book: Recipes for Irresistible Everyday Favorites and Reinvented Classics by Sarah Kieffer is a beautiful offering of 100 recipes ranging from the classics such as Blueberry Muffins to a recipe for Amaretto Tartlets. The Vanilla Bean Blog was the winner of Saveur's Best Baking & Dessert Blog Award. Sarah's book shares step-by-step process photos of techniques such as shaping danish dough, making rough puff pastry, along with charming color photographs of many of the desserts. The Cardamom Cake with Coffee Buttercream and Burnt Honey Buttercream Cake with Chocolate are battling for my attention - one will be on our dessert table soon. 

The Baker in Me by Daphna Rabinovitch is being publicized as the "quintessential baking book for any baker" and I believe they hit the mark. Stunning full page colored photographs fill this 488 page tome that contains recipes from the basics to more complicated favorites. Daphna's background is one of an executive pastry chef but states "I am, at heart, a home baker". Accordingly, these recipes can be tackled by any home baker with great success. I have some recipes tagged to make but I do have a close friend who made a recipe or two from this book and was thrilled with the results. Seven Layer Bars with Marshmallows and Dried Cranberries, Peek-a-Boo Chocolate Cupcakes, and Three Nut Brittle Squares are a few tempting sweets that I have marked. 

Lamingtons & Lemon Tart: Best-Ever Cakes, Desserts and Treats From a Modern Sweets Maestro by Darren Purchese focuses on the classics recasted with the author's trademark flair for the home cook who might be ambitious, but also wants to feel that the recipes are within their grasp - and that ingredients can be sourced with ease. Alongside this line-up of classics, he includes a selection of his favorite modern creations, from Caramelized white chocolate mousse to Explosive raspberry wagon wheels; Lemon meringue pie éclair; Canneles; Passionfruit clouds; and his big-selling Popcorn and honeycomb rubble. I love this book so much I purchased his Sweet Studio title as well.

Aimee's Perfect Bakes: Over 50 Beautiful Bakes and Cakes for Friends and Family by Aimee Twigger is the second title from the popular blogger of Twigg Studios and features over 50 original sweet and savoury baking recipes. Each recipe has easy-to-follow instructions and is paired with stunning photographs shot by Aimee herself. She also gives crafty tips for beautifully wrapping and presenting her delicious bakes to make perfect, edible gifts for any occasion. Her first title was Love Aimee X and after looking at her blog - I ordered them both and am very pleased with my purchase. 

Panetteria by Gennaro Contaldo is devoted to the art of baking Italian bread. Gennaro was born to bake and is said to be the chef that inspired Jamie Oliver. In Panetteria, he shares his knowledge of flours, yeast, and biga in the first three chapters. The remaining chapters are organized as follows: Pane, Focaccia, Pizze, Torte Salate, Pan Dolci, Crostate, Biscotti and Tortes. Lovely photographs are shared for a majority of the 120 classic Italian breads and baked goods. 

 

Pierre Hermé: Chocolate by Sergio Coimbra is a coffee table sized book that is first a work of art, then a collection of recipes. Full paged photographs and elevated recipes for all things chocolate make this title the ultimate chocolate lover's dream book. One must view this book with their own eyes to understand how majestic this title is.

 

I'm giving you a baker's forty - and adding one more title that is definitely worthy of a spot on this best of list. Taste of Persia by Naomi Duguid is truly glorious. I will be posting a full review with two recipes from this title along with a giveaway in the next few days. I would truly be remiss if I didn't name this book as a best of 2016.

Other honorable mentions of 2016 go to Short Stack Cookbook, Victuals, Summers Under the Tamarind TreeFlavour, Dinner at the Long Table, Deep Run RootsThe Good Fork Cookbook, Le Manoir, The British Table, Sous Vide at Home, École Ritz Escoffier, Paris, Cooking School: Mastering Classic and Modern French Cuisine, French DessertsV Street, Alternative Baker, Better Baking, Five Morsels of Love: Heirloom Recipes from a Traditional Andhra Kitchen, Vij's Indian and The Indian Cooking Course - all incredible books that are worthy of your attention and are best books in their own right. 

Please feel free to add your favorite books of 2016 in the comments. 

 

 

Cookbook Giveaway - Breaking Breads

Uri Scheft's Breaking Breads is magic. It is tied for the number one spot on my best cookbooks of 2016 (coming soon). You can read more about this title on our review post which includes a recipe for Jerusalem Bagels and Chocolate Babka that you can bake now!

We are pleased to offer three copies of this title to our EYB Members in the U.S.

One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post:

Where do you classify yourself in the bread baking department - novice, skilled, advanced or "hold my hand, I'm scared"?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won't be counted. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends January 3rd, 2017. Be sure to check your email folders for email notifications or check back on this post on the 3rd for the names of the winners.

 

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