my favorite baking books // part 1

Today I thought it’d be interesting to look back on my favorite dessert recipe books and how they’ve shaped my baking style and preferences. Hope you find my recommendations interesting x

Macarons by Pierre Hermé – One of the most visually pleasing books I own. I bought the book a couple of years after I had my first macaron purchased straight from Pierre Hermé’s Saint-Germain boutique because I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I didn’t have a PH store locally. I tried perhaps 7 to 8 of the recipes in this book and I had the best success with the chocolate macaron recipe, possibly because of the extra structure the cocoa powder gave the batter. The most memorable recipe was the Olive Oil & Vanilla macaron because it had a good balance between novelty and the familiar. The entire book is pretty much based off the same basic macaron shell and ganache recipes so once you get the hang of it it’s easy to venture into the different flavours. That said, a lot of trial and error is required to produce successful batches of macarons consistently so I would recommend this book for bakers with more experience or simply patience.

Desserts by Pierre Hermé – Another one from Pierre Hermé’s lineup but written by Dorie Greenspan, who is one of my favorite cookbook authors because her recipes never disappoint – they always produce desserts with great flavour and texture and she writes with such precise detail that it’s easy to visualize the steps involved from start to finish. Desserts by Pierre Hermé was my first entremet-style book and I’ve made probably half of the recipes within. One of my favorites was the Warm Chocolate & Banana Tart which you can consume while the chocolate is still molten and gooey or chilled so you have a more fudgey texture. It’s versatile, easy to make, but also an excellent dinner party dessert. This is truly such a fun book that has taught me a lot of patience because there are multiple components involved in a single recipe that you often have to space out over a few days, but seeing them all come together is incredibly rewarding. I think that it’s a good buy if you’re someone who’s looking for a challenge in the kitchen.

Baking with Julia – Another Dorie Greenspan-written book! This book has more traditional french dessert recipes and also covers pastries and breads. I made a handful of recipes such as the Brioche Tart, but not nearly as many as Desserts by Pierre Hermé. There are fewer pictures in this book so you do have to use your imagination to visualize how the desserts would look like. Although I rarely make a full recipe from this book, I find myself referring to recipes for specific components like pastry cream or tart dough, because it does cover all the pastry fundamentals you will ever need, and building on those recipes to create my own desserts. Overall, a good book to have if you’re more interested in traditional recipes and are looking to have bread recipes on hand as well.

Baking Chez Moi – This is going to get repetitive… Once again a book written by Dorie Greenspan. This book contains dessert recipes that are fifty-fifty French and American and was my most flipped through book at the time I was expanding out from American style desserts to something more refined. The recipes in this book are incredibly beginner friendly and it’s the kind of book that you turn to when you want to churn something out on a whim but don’t have much time or energy to spare. It’s all about minimal effort, maximum impact. Can’t recommend this enough.

Around My French Table – The last book in this list that’s by Dorie Greenspan (I promise!). This is actually a cookbook with a category for desserts at the end. I bought it when I felt that I should probably learn how to cook a proper meal and not just bake. Long story short I enjoyed flipping through the actual food recipes but only made the dessert recipes. And what hits they are! The sugar crusted french toast recipe which I love to death and have made for friends when they come over to visit is from this book. Have not made all the dessert recipes yet but I can guarantee that every one of them will be nothing short of amazing. The dessert section is reason enough to buy this.

Bouchon Bakery – Last but certainly not least, this stunner of a book. Just beautifully lit and composed pictures throughout. I can see why it won the IACP Cookbook Award for Food Photography & Styling in 2013. Dessert style wise these are American dessert recipes with a refined twist. I’ve made the cinnamon honey scones and chocolate bouchons. From what I’ve tried their desserts lean sweeter and richer but pack a flavourful punch. I think it’s a good book to get baking and food styling inspiration from.

*Disclaimer: Links provided are Amazon affiliate links.

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