Seeing as cookbooks play such a large and important part in my life as a cooking and, most especially, as a baking enthusiast, I don’t know how it never occurred to me to write about them here until now. I do not buy cookbooks as often as perhaps I do regular fiction books, but every time I add a carefully selected new cookbook to my collection, it is truly a feeling like no other as far as buying books is concerned.
Even just thinking about buying a new cookbook gets me so excited! Oh, be still my heart.
My cousin gave me a bookstore gift card for my birthday back in January. To my mind, these cards are one of the best things I can, and really want, to receive. When someone asks me what I want as a gift, this is the first thing that pops into my head. I just love adding to my collection of books that much. Whenever I get gift cards though, I am always so meticulous about planning which books to buy that will allow me to get the most out of the card’s value. I usually use them to buy the more expensive titles, you know, for practical reasons.
Enter the cookbook Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands To Yours by Sarabeth Levine. I thought it has a bit of a heavy price tag compared to the other cookbooks I own, so I decided it was the perfect book for me to use the gift card for. And although I have no more gift cards at my disposal after this purchase, I do believe I’ve made a very good choice! I’ve still got a long way to go before I complete my wishlist, so I hope people would be nice enough to give me more gift cards this year! *Hint! Hint!*
Mastering the art of baking, presented step-by-step through recipes from the legendary New York City baker. In the heart of Manhattan’s vibrant Highline District is a destination that is beloved by discriminating dessert lovers—Sarabeth’s Bakery.
Sarabeth Levine offers an irresistible array of scones, muffins, croissants, cookies, and other classic desserts. This important addition to the baking book canon has been anxiously awaited by the extraordinary baker’s countless fans. It features more than one hundred inspiring recipes for her signature baked goods, ranging from unique English muffins and luscious banana cream pie with vanilla bean pastry to creamy chocolate pudding. Recipes for the perfect accompaniment to her buttery pastries—her legendary spreadable fruits—are also included.
Step-by-step instructional photographs teach the baking techniques that make Sarabeth stand apart. Tips on such topics as making a decorative piecrust edge are also discussed in this user-friendly primer. The exquisite photography shows the home baker creative ways for sharing these wonders with friends and family. (from Goodreads)
When I held the book in my hands, the excitement was immediate; I couldn’t wait to tear off the plastic wrap and plow through the book then and there!Sarabeth’s is a very heavy and thick book so it might not be the best to lug around in the kitchen, but upon initial perusal of the pages, I was stunned. I guess I kind of understand now why it is so expensive.
The pages are full of amazing recipes, written in a very readable font size (around 14 points, I think). There are a lot of well-composed, well-lit pictures, although not of all the recipes. But the thing that struck me the most were the step-by-step photographs for recipes that most people perceive as the more arduous or intimidating ones (ie. puff pastries and croissants).
If you read my blog regularly, you would notice I like taking procedure photos as well. I think these are important because they provide some measure of reassurance, especially to novice bakers who are attempting something for the first time on their own (such as myself!). Step-by-step tutorials are always such a bonus for me when I read food blogs or buy cookbooks. Just to be clear, not all the recipes include these procedural photos, but those that really require them have them in a detailed diagram.
The photos were so good in fact that upon seeing them, I immediately wanted to make the Croissants, the Pains Au Chocolat and eventhe Danishes! Honestly, I’ve got an aversion to making puff pastries and croissants because of the amount of butter involved, but the effect of all those wonderful photos made all that fly out the window. I feel ready to take them on all of a sudden. I’ve already marked my calendar to give time to making them in the near future, and all I can say is I can’t wait! That would be another adventure to share for certain!
But first, to sit down with this book and read it from cover to cover. 😉