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Saturday
Nov272010

Baker's Dozen: CakeSpy's Favorite Cookbooks of 2010

New York Times Bestseller list? Pshaw. Here's the real deal, a baker's dozen of CakeSpy's favorite pieces of sweet publishing of the year. Fact: most, but not all of these books were released in 2010, but they are the ones that I turned to most throughout the year, and the ones that I would suggest most highly to anyone who cares and / or asks. Listed alphabetically. True: I received some of them as review samples (thanks, various publishers!). But were I to misplace or damage any of these beauties, I'd totally buy 'em again.

  1. Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. What and why: this a collection of classic desserts from all around the nation, but refined with the signature twist that I've come to expect from their wonderful Brooklyn bakery, Baked. From salt-and-pepper sandwich cookies to two versions of Mississippi Mud pie, this book is a keeper. It does not hurt that the bakers are two extremely adorable gentleman, to boot.
  2. Betty Crocker's Cooky Book 1963 (1st Edition). What and why: If you are a regular visitor to this site, you know that I have what verges on a mild obsession with this book. It's classic, it's campy, and it's a pleasure to read, look at, and bake from. If possible seek out the first edition version--if it comes with smudges or stained pages from years of use, all the better.
  3. Betty Crocker's Pie & Pastry Cookbook. What and why: A natural progression from the Cooky Book, this Pie and Pastry cookbook is filled with retro recipes as well as classics, and comes with some great recipes for baking up "old is new again" types of recipes.
  4. Bon Appetit Desserts: The Cookbook for All Things Sweet and Wonderful, edited by Barbara Fairchild. What and why: Bon Appetit is consistently a favorite source of mine for delicious dessert recipes and what amounts to pastry porn in terms of pictures, and so naturally I was attracted to this book. It's huge, it's beautiful, and it's full of great recipes. What's not to love?
  5. Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats by Bakerella. What and why: Easily the cutest new release in 2010, this book is extremely thorough in teaching you how to craft cake pops that look so adorable that you might take pause before taking a big bite. But trust me, you'll power through it, because the decadent treats are delicious, too. I know, because I've gotten to eat ones made by Bakerella herself!
  6. The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009. What and why: A comprehensive year-by-year review of the best cookies from the magazine's archives, this book reads like a piece of cookie anthropology, and has really stunning, almost textile-inspired photos of the cookies which make turning pages a pleasure.
  7. Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich. What and why: After I received this book to bake from for an upcoming event, I became an instant devotee. It includes a great variety of cookie styles, written by a lady who is obviously a chocolate and baking expert, but at no point do the recipes or writing seem too intricate or fussy to follow along. This book makes me feel like a baking expert by proxy.
  8. The Original King Arthur Flour Cookbook (Commemorative Edition). What and why: Like, whoa. When I received this cookbook, I knew it meant business. It's a binder-style cookbook, and it's incredibly comprehensive (as one would hope the official cookbook from a flour company would be). Some cookbooks are for looking at; this is not one of them, but it is one that will definitely be used. Get a preview of their recipes here.
  9. The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century edited by Amanda Hesser. What and why: Here's another comprehensive cookbook, which includes fascinating stories along with each recipe. It's a big one too, so when people see it in your kitchen they'll know you're like, really serious. Interesting recipe from it: Semolina Shortbread.
  10. Paris Sweets: Great Desserts From the City's Best Pastry Shops by Dorie Greenspan. What and why: No, it's not Dorie's most recent release, but it was the one I looked to most this year. I took it to Paris as a more valuable guide than any travel book, and have baked from it extensively. It comes with stories just as charming as the treats.
  11. Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes by David Lebovitz. What and why: a stunning collection of dessert recipes from pastry rock star David Lebovitz. This collection includes cookies, cakes, pies, and various confections/sauces/etc, and every single thing I've tried has been incredibly delicious. And as a bonus, Lebovitz's writing is incredibly witty--his cleverness puts him on par as an Oscar Wilde of pastry writing. Most recent recipe enjoyed: peanut butter cookies.
  12. United Cakes of America: Recipes Celebrating Every State by Warren Brown. What and why: For one thing, it's a great concept, and it's fun to read about regional recipes in this book by CakeLove owner Warren Brown. It includes a healthy dose of history, and plenty of interesting recipes to discover. As a bonus, it's beautifully designed and very fun to flip through. Recent recipe enjoyed: Hartford Election Day Cake. Note: if you like this book, you may also enjoy another favorite of mine, All American Desserts: 400 Star-Spangled, Razzle-Dazzle Recipes for America's Best Loved Desserts .
  13. A World of Cake by Krystina Castella. What and why: This book deserves a gold star for hitting all of the points of things I love in a cookbook: beautiful pictures, interesting backstories, plenty of baking lore, and straightforward, unfussy recipes. I strongly suggest this one for any cake enthusiast!
Friday
Nov262010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Feeling fuzzy after all that food yesterday? Come back to life with some totally sweet links.

First off: Sweet savings! All orders from today through Cyber Monday are 10% off at CakeSpyShop.com! Just use code CSHOL10 online!

An adorable project made with CakeSpy stamps from Taylored Expressions!

Sweet leftovers: delicous cranberry nut squares made from Thanksgiving Leftovers!

Are you still eating gingerbread men, like a jerk? Far awesomer: Ninjabread Men!

Pumpkin cookies, "without a nutmeggy punch to the face": find them at The  Full English.

You need holiday cards. Pick a sweet selection here!

Oh, who are we kidding: you could go for one more pie. This pecan pie looks like a good one to try. (via Whipped)

Oh, come on. Now that you've had a taste of additional pie, make one more: the Cranberry Pecan pie in a Maple Peanut Butter Crust!

Make your Christmas tree exra-sweet with a Cuppie ornament!

Haute Chocolate: a delightful-sounding hot chocolate recipe from Sweet Paul, as discovered on Food News Journal.

Why shop when you can win? Enter the Happy Haul-idays giveaway from Chronicle Books!

Better than munchkins: Spiced Pumpkin Donut Holes, an ideal post-Thanksgiving breakfast!

Bring on the Christmas Cookies: If you're in Seattle, you must attend this event with Alice Medrich, author of Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies, including several of the recipes from the book baked by local foodie celebrities! Buy your tickets here.

Friday
Nov192010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Happy Friday! Here's a sweet sendoff into what promises to be a sugar-filled weekend, by way of a baker's dozen of sweet links:

Peppermint Dreams: topping the list of things I love right now is the dark chocolate cookie filled with white chocolate peppermint ganache (pictured top), a seasonal treat which will be on offer from approximately Thanksgiving through Christmas from Seattle's roving sweets truck, Street Treats.

Pie in the sky: Saveur has the most wonderful roundup of Thanksgiving Pies.

Sweet fancy: a collection of vintage (like, REALLY vintage) Thanksgiving recipes to explore, by Meaghan of The Decorated Cookie!

Beat of a different Drumstick: a sweet dessert inspired by the ice cream treat.

Fascinating: A list of 25 unexpected chocolate-covered foods.

iSpy: The i Bakery is a sweet new custom-order bakery in Vancouver.

The new Sarabeth's Bakery cookbook: if Dorie Greenspan approves, it is worth buying.

Monstrously delicious: Grendel Sweets.

Pumpkin love: a pumpkin cupcake recipe from Elizabeth Falkner of Citizen Cake fame.

Perl District: I was delighted to discover Perl Girl's rugelach via TastingTable.

Brownies? Cookies? Why decide? Say hello to Brookies from Clinton St. Baking Company (also where I tried to make these cookies and kind of saved them)

Remember those turkey hand-cutouts you made in elementary school? Just saying, the cookie version is far awesomer (via Four and 20 Blackbirds)

International Sweet Tooth: Milk Caramel is a Sweet Treat in Brazil.

Friday
Nov122010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

 

Oh, hi. Happy Friday. Let's get to the weekend quicker by linking the workday away, shall we?


Awesome overload: Cinnamon Bun Recipe from Momofuku's Christina Tosi, via DailyCandy.

Sweet video: music by OK OK, animated with cupcakes!

Sweet Movember: support a good cause (Emmett is!) and celebrate with Moustache Cookies and Cream Cake.

Me, Me, ME! Design the sweet cereal of your dreams--sharing not necessary.

Have Your Cake and Drink it Too: Alcohol-laced sweets from Baking Lab (via DailyCandy)

Silver and Gold: CakeSpy got 2nd place in the Best of Western Washington! Congrats to the very worthy and adorable winner, Seattle Food Geek.

Post-it: Check out the totally sweet poster I designed for Will Bake For Food, a very good cause run by very sweet foodie people.

Brussels, but not for sprouts: enter the Callebaut chocolate recipe contest and you could win a trip to Brussels! (you just have to take me with you)

Sweet and salty delight: chocolate salted caramel tarts that look divine.

Chip off the old block: a highly coveted recipe for chocolate chip cookies, from Flour Bakery!

Think you're a dedicated baker? Here's a story about a lady who's been baking for 60+ years.

Fact: I pretty much love everything on the Baked Ideas website.

Bacon Pistachio Cookies? I'd try that.

Maybe I'm a-maize-d: Corn cookies from La Buono Tavola Truffle Cafe.

Taking the cake! I'll be at the Cupcakes Take The Cake Birthday Bash presented by Java Cupcake on December 7--after all, I did the art for the invites!

Friday
Nov052010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

 

Happy Friday! Happy November! The weather's cold, so here are plenty of sweet and buttery ways to start building up your winter insulation:

Psycho Killer? Nah, Psycho Donuts! Just take a gander at this menu. And get me back to the Bay Area! Thanks Mary for the tip.

What would Alice B. Toklas say: No, I'm not spouting any views on the subject, but I found this pretty hilarious.

Vanilla delight: Vanilla Lover's vegan confection gift set, from Allison's Gourmet.

The secret ingredient is crack: Crack Pie, as made by Apron Anxiety.

Sweet Discovery: I'm enjoying the new blog of Love and Quiches owner Susan.

Sweet and Salty perfection: Milk Chocolate Cream Pie with a Pretzel Crust.

Twist and shout: Auntie Anne's now offers a baking mix which is the foundation for some interesting recipes, like pretzel dough Monkey Bread and more!

Fascinating flavor: Kabocha Salted Caramel Cupcakes sound pretty amazing.

Over the moon: iconic Michigan foodie mecca Zingerman's makes homemade moon pies, and they'll ship too. (thanks Margaret for the tip!)

Sweet Specialty: Reader Colleen alerted me to something called the Calypso Bar, a "buttery cookie layer topped with toasted almonds, lime, and coconut." Sounds worth a trip to Nashville, where Calypso Cafe is its home.

Nutella Cheesecake Brownies. The three most wonderful words!

Stuff it: Magic In the Middles cookies, via King Arthur Flour!

Sweet Memories: start gearing up for Turkey day with these easy-to-make turkey-shaped confections.

Friday
Oct292010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Boo! It's Halloween weekend, and therefore, I've put together a collection of mostly ghostly links for you to enjoy before you put on your costume and gorge yourself silly with candy:

Sweet skulls: Whimzkulls is a company dedicated to making cookies decorated like skulls!

DailyCandy offers up a very cute gift guide for baking enthusiasts.

The Best Chocolate Rugelach in Midtown (an exclusive from Blondie & Brownie)

Any establishment that offers a "Couture Cookies and Granola" menu is just fine by me!

Bakery lust: a London-based customer tipped me off to the beauty that is Fleet River Bakery.

What does Jell-O dress up as for Halloween? Halloween Jigglers, duh!

Because "Fun Size" is a lie: Ideas for how to put the "fun" back in "fun size".

Peanut Butter Cookie Pops: Scary-cute fun!

Things I want to eat: Choc-O-Lantern Fudge Pop-Tarts, a special edition for Halloween!

Scary delicious: Halloween treats by Jacques Torres.

Pie in the sky: Keep this one in mind for your Halloween candy leftovers.

Sweet Memories: Candy Corn Nanaimo Bars!

More Sweet Memories: Messing with leftover Halloween Candy!

Friday
Oct222010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Image courtesy mrsprinklesLet's get this weekend off to a sweet start, shall we? Here's a baker's dozen of sweet links to send you hurtling into sugar shock:

Are you in Vancouver? Are you near Vancouver? Can you get there by 11 am tomorrow? The Baker's Market is happening, and CS buddy Jenni will be showcasing her delicious baked goods!

Some like it hot: Watermelon Ghost Pepper candies! (Discovered via TastingTable)

Big Kahuna: The "Hawaiian" Pie is made with chocolate, macadamias, coconut, and rum (and as baker Wendy Sykes says, "It's as healthy as it sounds.")

Trick or Sweet: Did you know that Godiva makes fancy Halloween Treats?

In Cleveland, Jack Frost Donuts makes Candy Bar Donuts (yeast donut, filled with cream, covered with chocolate glaze, sprinkled with crumbled candy bar, and then topped with a nice dollop of mousse). Oh yes.(thank you Anne!)

Still excited: Barack Obama now owns some of my cards! Thanks to Jody from Cupcake Royale for making it happen!

Nanaimo Bars take London by storm (or so they hope!). I say, let Nanaimo Bars take over the world.

OMG: These flowers are edible! Sugar flowers by Wild Orchid Baking.

Um...Bakerella's world takeover (I mean BOOK TOUR) is going amazingly.

Sweet...no, savory! I keep hearing great things about Chicago's Meatloaf Bakery. (thanks Suzette!)

Sweet. Tart. Rich. Cranberry tart with hazelnut crust? Yes please. (via The Kitchn)

Seeking croissant perfection in NYC? Serious Eats has done the legwork for you.

Sweet memories: remember when a car crashed into my house and I ended up getting a great cookie recipe out of the deal?

Friday
Oct152010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

Hello, weekend! It's off to a sweet start, with links like these:

Like push-up pops, only awesomer: Cake Shooters!

Because stuff baked in stuff is awesome: cakes and pies, all at once!

OMG: Cake in a Jar? Yes, Patty. Cake in a Jar. (for Serious Eats!)

Cakesplosion! The God of Cake. (thanks Jason!)

In case you've never heard of it: marvel at the Pretzel Croissant from City Bakery.

Twix Cheesecake Pie. Forget "I love you", these are the three most beautiful words.

Pumpkin Challah? HOLLA!

Cupcakes Take The Cake is turning six! There's gonna be a party! Guess who did the artwork for the invite? Right here. (pictured top)

Fact: I recently enjoyed browsing this collection of dessert quotes.

OMG: Chocolate Glazed Doughnut Muffins, by Joy the Baker.

Double OMG: Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes, also by Joy the Baker. I love you, Joy the Baker.

Dudes, dudettes, have you shopped the totally sweet Jill Labieniec art available at CakeSpy Shop?

Sweet memories: remember when I did this interview with my mom? 

Friday
Oct082010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links

What's today again? Oh yeah, FRIDAY! Let's celebrate by wasting--er, spending quality time--on the internet together. Click away at these:

When you really care...give bacon.

Australia: It's not just for Pavlova anymore. Buy my stuff in Australia!

Seeking delicious doughnuts in Naples, FL? Look no further: Bennett's, as reviewed by Leandra!

Totally sweet: new Thanksgiving-themed rubber stamps featuring CakeSpy artwork, by Taylored Expressions!

Decree from a Minnesota-based reader: "Next time you're in MN, you MUST visit CupCake! They have boozy cupcakes!". I hear you, friend.

Much ado about Muffin: the phrase "no need to serve...with butter and jam, since they're already baked into the muffin in lavish proportions" has me thrilled about these upside-down fruit muffins.

Too early for Christmas ornaments? Not a chance, when they're as sweet as these. (thanks Anne for the tip!)

In Seattle, ART Restaurant is serving up dishes inspired by the Picasso exhibit at SAM--including a Picasso-esque "woman's face" dessert plate (pictured left).

Making the world sweeter: reader Jenna was so inspired by my cupcake art installation that she re-created it in DC! See the video here.

Check out my sweet friend Bakerella's roundup of CupcakeCamp Newport, OR, here.

Speaking of Bakerella, please, please tell me you've already bought her book, Cake Pops: Tips, Tricks, and Recipes for More Than 40 Irresistible Mini Treats. If not, do it now, please.

Matryoshka measuring spoons?!? Cute, cute, cuuuuute!

Sweetness overload: hope to see you this Saturday at CakeSpy Shop for the sweetest Halloween party ever!

 
Friday
Sep172010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet Links


Woot! It's Friday! Get all starry-eyed this weekend with this batch of sweet links!

Mac Attack! Totally sweet macaron plates.

Possible pleasure overload? Bacon Chocolate Chip Pancake Mix, from Vosges.

Just Donut! A mug with a doughnut handle.

Scoop shop: Build your own ice cream scoop charm necklace!

Sweet and Salty perfection: Salty Oatmeal Cookies.

Cobbler cupcakes: Spotted at Molly's Cupcakes in Chicago, by Cupcakes Take The Cake!

Guess what? The lovely Gluten-Free Girl has a book out, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef -- and it has plenty of dessert recipes.

S'mores Semifreddo? S'momigod!

Caramel delight: white chocolate cranberry macadamia caramels sound about right!

Wish your marshmallows weren't ruined by all those pesky bits of cereal? The answer is Cereal Marshmallows! (Thanks, Sage!)

The secret ingredient isn't crack, but Crack Pie does live up to its addictive-sounding name.

Vive le roi: Baking history in New Orleans, with the largest King Cake ever!

Sweet memories: Obi-Wan cookies!

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