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November/December 2010: Baking Cookbook of the Month Nominations (Through Wed., 10/13)

With great enthusiasm, we now open the nomination thread for a Baking Cookbook of Two Months.

In order to serve as many bakers as possible, please divide your nominations into two categories: General Baking and Holiday Baking. The line between the two is fuzzy but a general baking book might include breads, muffins, and pancakes, while a holiday boook would have a dessert concentration with cakes, pies, and, of course, cookies.

When making a nomination, please include the book type and the name of the book in ALL CAPITAL letters. [General: BAKING WITH JULIA]

There will be a limit of two nominations per book type per poster (for a total of four.) If you change your mind please use the following example as your guide: MINUS General: BAKING WITH JULIA. I will remove your minus nomination and change it to your new one.

The Baking Cookbook of The Month is open to anyone who wants to participate. Simply make a nomination, then vote and then cook. There are no dues to participate; no secret handshake to learn. Join us!

Please note that nominations are counted and only the top vote getters make it to the voting round. If you want your choice to advance, make sure you participate in the nomination round.

TheDairyQueen created a list of previous Dessert Threads here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7351...

But tell us in ALL CAPITALS, if you want your nomination to be counted, please. Nominations will be open until Midnight, EDT on WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 13.

Let the nominations begin!

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  1. smtucker, I laughed when I saw your instructions on what to do in case you change your mind--very patient of you! I think I would just warn everyone to *choooz carefully*..

    David Leibovitz mentions this lady once in a while--Flo Braker. I have one of her books, "The Simple Art of Perfect Baking". It has recipes, but is maybe 50% a how-to/the-science-of type book. So I'll just put her name out here ** Flo Braker ** and wait to see if anyone might be interested enough to nominate her, is familiar with her other books. The recipes I've tried (via David Lebovitz) have been excellent.

    2 Replies
    1. re: blue room

      I've had Flo Braker's "The Simple Art of Perfect Baking" since it was first published in the mid-80s. That book is exclusively cakes and pastries--no breads, no cookies. And no photographs, which some might find disturbing especially in a baking book.

      That said, her recipe for Crystal Almond Pound Cake is probably my favorite cake of all time. I'm not sure this would be the best book for COTM just because the subject matter is somewhat limited, but I would heartily recommend that anyone not familiar with it remedy that pronto.

      1. re: JoanN

        I received this book as a gift from someone who used to work with me back in the mid-80s, but I have never tried the Crystal Almond Pound Cake. I will have to remedy that. And I agree that it is not the best choice for a BCOTM.

    2. smtucker, I love that you've created a mechanism to accommodate us changing our minds!

      Do you wish for us to do all four of our nominations at once? Or can we do them piecemeal as long as we keep track and don't go over two+two? For instance, using our previous procedures, I would have replied to blue room's post and seconded (or firsted, I guess, since blue room didn't formally nominate it) the nomination for Flo Braker by typing art of perfect baking+flo braker in all caps, except that I'm not sure I can do them one-off like that or if you want them all at once.

      Thank you for organizing us!

      ~TDQ

      3 Replies
      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Piecemeal is fine. I keep a spreadsheet so my counts can be documented in the Court Of Chowhound, District of Cookbook of the Month, Judge Beef Bourguignon, presiding. :-)

        1. re: smtucker

          Yikes! Just hope Chef BB doesn't wield a cleaver instead of a gavel!

          Revenons a nos moutons*, I only have one dessert cookbook: Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich which was Dessert COTM a while ago.

          1. re: oakjoan

            Judge Dan Dan Noodle wields the cleaver. Judge BB uses a simple 10" chef's knife. :-)

      2. Wow! This just made me realize I only have one cookbook devoted to desserts- CLASSIC SOUTHERN DESSERTS from the editors of Southern Living. From their cover: All time Favorite Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Puddings, Cobblers, Ice Cream & More. I find their recipes are very well tested & therefore provide good instructions that work well in the home kitchen. Not all are from scratch recipes, but I can easily sub scratch where appropriate.

        I look forward to seeing all the nominations & then hopefully I can get to my library in time to scoop up any winners before anyone else does :)

        1. I'm new to the COTM group, but I'd really like to try Sherry Yard's DESSERTS BY THE YARD. Also, I was just at the Orlando Food and Wine Festival and the guys from Baked in Brooklyn were promoting their book BAKED: NEW FRONTIERS IN BAKING. They like to to a lot of twists on traditional desserts.

          8 Replies
          1. re: jindomommy

            jindomommy: I'm going to have to look up those Brooklyn guys.

            I looked at Desserts by the Yard a while ago and found it to contain too many recipes that were difficult or required lots of work. It seemed more of a pro book. She had recipes for desserts she made, e.g., for the Academy Awards dinner, etc.

            1. re: oakjoan

              The recipes in BAKED are nice but they are big (as in they make one large cake, 2 loaves, 24-30 cupcakes etc) and often expensive to make. I would rather see a book nominated that is really written for the home cook, rather than scaled down commercial recipes.

              1. re: oakjoan

                Hmmm. I just got the Baked books (raffle luck!) and I don't see outsized anything. One 9' pie, 24 brownies/cookies, etc. looks standard. The choices look very down to earth to me - unfancy, updated homey and I like their informative conversational writing style. Haven't BAKED from it yet, but I'd like to . . . I just don't bake that often.

                So I'll nominate BAKED (along with their new one BAKED EXPLORATIONS, which I'm guessing is too new for easy access, libraries etc)

                For the sake of comparison, my go-to sweet book is David Lebovitz "Ready For Dessert", and I like Regan Daley's In The Sweet Kitchen but find that one a little too too for me sometimes. Everything I've made has been a success, but she does require beyond-my-pantry ingredients.

                I'M WONDERING: do folks want a more professional-leaning/complicated book? I'm not looking for the challenge, but most of you all are more experienced I think...

                1. re: pitu

                  pitu, in response to your "I'm wondering" question--books like David Lebovitz's (desserts) are exactly right--he is a professional who knows good stuff, but also knows how to make it in a regular kitchen.

                  1. re: blue room

                    Agree. Also, David Lebovitz books have a nice little twist but aren't too exotic or complicated.

                    Also like In the Sweet Kitchen.

              2. re: jindomommy

                Welcome Jin!

                Can you post your nominations with either GENERAL or HOLIDAY? I am not a baking cookbook expert and don't have the knowledge to divide them into their appropriate types. Thanks!

                1. re: jindomommy

                  Since jindo mentioned Sherry Yard, I will nominate her earlier book which I think is a really good one. (We've talked about it on the other thread.) It's less of a "pro book" than Desserts by the Yard but still has interesting twists along with solid foundations on the basics. I looked in the index to the book on Amazon and there are lots of cookie recipes there. And lots of other things for those less interested in cookies. There are also lots of used copies available on amazon at good prices.

                  So I hereby formally nominate:

                  HOLIDAY: THE SECRETS OF BAKING, SIMPLE TECHNIQUES FOR SOPHISTICATED DESSERTS, BY SHERRY YARD.

                  Table of contents and index available here from amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Secrets-Baking-...

                  1. re: karykat

                    Karykat, I'm feeling a little stingy with my one remaining "holiday" nomination, but I did think this book looked pretty great, so, I'm going to second your nomination:

                    HOLIDAY: THE SECRETS OF BAKING, SIMPLE TECHNIQUES FOR SOPHISTICATED DESSERTS, BY SHERRY YARD

                    ~TDQ

                2. HOLIDAY: THE GOURMET COOKIE BOOK: THE SINGLE BEST RECIPE FROM EACH YEAR 1941-2009
                  (for those who don't have access to a copy of the book http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7316...

                  )

                  HOLIDAY: CHEWY GOOEY CRISPY CRUNCHY Alice Medrich

                  GENERAL: GOOD TO THE GRAIN: BAKING WITH WHOLE GRAIN FLOURS Kim Boyce
                  EDIT: Here's a link to Caitlin's thread about this book: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7028...

                  I'm reserving my second general nomination for now.

                  (I'm sorry to be full of questions, smtucker, but you say to put the "type" in all caps, but in your example, you have the type in lowercase...).

                  ~TDQ

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                    You are right. I have been inconsistent. To be honest, as long as the title is in CAPS I can find the type if it is there. But, I think your nominations above are the pinnacle of nominations, and can be an example to all! ;-0

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      My hesitation with regard to your first two nominated books, TDQ, is that they are brand new (although I gather that many or most of the Gourmet recipes are available online). This means that they will be less available used and from libraries, and also that there is little testimony regarding their overall quality and consistency. (Not that I don't have faith in Medrich.)

                      Have you looked at or used the Medrich book yet, TDQ?

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        Caitlin, both excellent points.

                        I think nearly all of the recipes for the Gourmet Book are in that link I posted along with my nomination (I counted one year missing. I think there might be one or two recipes that have been swapped out, but I think it's almost a 1 for 1 correspondence between the recipes in the link and the recipes in the book. I have the book coming from the library and will do a comparison when it arrives, but if someone who already has the book and wants to cook from it wants to do that check for us, my toes would not feel stepped on!)

                        Here the link is again: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7316...
                        Also, here's another helpful link re: the Gourmet Cookie Book:
                        http://www.gourmet.com/search/query?k...&

                        As for testimony on this book, I think if you wanted to look up the ratings on epicurious you could get a sense of whether these recipes work or not. I know pikawicca has cooked a recipe or two from the book with good success (refer to the same thread I linked), so, I'm encouraged. In addition, when that cookie issue from Gourmet came out, people reported back on some of the recipes in alkapal's thread (there's a link to THAT in that same thread, too) with good results.

                        And, nope, I haven't cooked from the Medrich book, but she is coming to town and I know I will be cooking from the book, so, I thought I would nominate it. I like and trust her recipes, so, I am taking the chance that I'll lilke this book too and that other Medrich fans might feel the same way. But, I understand if people don't, of course.

                        ~TDQ

                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Well, clearly access isn't much of a problem with the Gourmet book, provided people are up for using recipes online! I do think access might be more of an issue with regard to the Medrich book, given that its release date is November 12. This means that, if my library system has ordered it, it will not be in circulation until mid-November, and there are unlikely to be used copies at decent discounts until at least after the holidays. Not that this disallows the book; but it will be a barrier for those not already planning to buy it right away.

                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            You know, that's a really good point about the Medrich book. It won't even be available for 25% of the time we'll be baking, which doesn't make sense at all. I think I'm going to withdraw my nomination on that using smtucker's new mechanism:

                            MINUS Holiday CHEWY GOOEY CRISPY CRUNCHY Alice Medrich

                            ~TDQ