So I’ve lived in Boston now for about 8 years. And for those 8 years guess how many times I’ve moved. I’m ashamed to admit- also 8. Yup 8 times.
Which means every time I have to move my cookbooks. Now for a normal person this probably means packing up a few books. One box tops. Two if you’re crazy. So what does it say about me when I own about a 100 of those? How many boxes you ask? I try not to count.
They’re heavy. But I love them. All of them.
However I also know not everyone is as crazy as me and wants to own that many cookbooks. And although I own 100 of them, there are a few that I use all the time. You know like the pages are dog eared, some have some crumbs stuck between them, and are stuck together from sticky fingers coated in caramel and melted chocolate- you get the idea. They are my go to cookbooks. Or baking books as I call them. If a friend asked me which cookbooks should she get to start off her collection these are the 5 I would recommend.
And before I reveal my Fav Five- this a shorter post part of my brand new baking resources pages, “What’s In My Kitchen Pantry“- an entire page dedicated to some of my fav baking tools, ingredients, and of course cookbooks! So be sure to check that page out for more inspiration!
This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase I do make a small purchase, but it costs you nothing extra. All of these cookbooks I own, love and would not recommend otherwise!
- Cook’s Illustrated – Seriously, they are the cream of the crop. Behind extremely well-tested recipe is an explanation as to why the recipe is the way it is. Like why they ended using buttermilk instead of whole. That sort of thing. Either way, I’ve never been disappointed. This book is HUGE with every recipe you can imagine. And it’s not just a baking book,but it’s an everything cookbook- sweet and savory combined. You want to buy yourself your first cookbook, make it this.
- King Arthur Flour’s Baking Companion– As the book suggests, it’s a baker’s companion. I love this company, their recipe website, their products. You name it. So no surprise why I love this cookbook too. It’s chock full of not only recipes (over 400!) but also baking tips, tricks, and shortcuts- like why your cookies spread too much. It’s got you covered on all the basic baking recipes- like pancakes, waffles, and even two different kinds of chocolate chip cookies.
- PIE by Ken Haedrich – This title pretty says it for me. This is my go to book for pie recipes. It has over 300 recipes- from the classic to the not so classic and everywhere in between. It has every kind of pie- broken into sections (or maybe like slices, pardon the pun please)- fruit, custard, nut pies, even ice-cream pies! Feeling scary about pie, then get this cookbook- The first 60 pages are dedicated to making pie directions. And get this- over 20 crust recipes alone. Yea this is your pie guide.
- Ratio- The simple codes behind the craft of everyday cooking – I’m not sure you can call this a cookbook but I refer to this book all the time when dreaming up new recipes. Baking is a science after all. So the nerd in me loves this book. You won’t find a ton of recipes here, but what you will find instead is a simple ratio for your basic recipes for you to then go and create magic in the kitchen. Like cookie dough for example he states is a simple 3-2-1 ratio (flour to sugar to butter) and from there the sky’s the limit. And again, not just for the baking nerds here but he also gives ratios for many basic recipes at the heart of savory dishes as well- (like sauces, stocks and sausages). Think of this book as a “choose your own adventure”. Either way think of it as invaluable.
- The Secrets of Baking: Simple Techniques for Sophisticated Desserts –This books is truly unique as far as cookbooks go. It’s not just divided up into sections like- cookies, pies, and cakes but instead is divided up into 12 master recipe categories. And from those 12 master recipes you can create anything you want. You will see how every recipe is related through this book and be thinking like a pastry chef would. For example, from one master recipe of ganache- you can go on and make chocolate sauce, chocolate souffle, and a deep dark chocolate tart. Master 12 recipes, create anything. Sounds good to me, how about you?
- The Fearless Baker – Erin MacDowell hopes to create a fearless baker out of you with her cookbook. She explains the how’s and the why’s of baking so it doesn’t seem like a such a mystery anymore. As the excerpt says, The key to freedom is to understand the principles behind how ingredients interact and how classic methods work. Once these concepts are mastered, favorite recipes can be altered and personalized almost endlessly.” Each recipe comes with make ahead and pro tips. I’ve already learned so many invaluable information and her recipes are gorgeous. Like brownie pie? Swoon. I can’t wait to tackle her more complicated pastry recipes- like chocolate palmiers!
- One Bowl Baking – If you don’t think you have time to bake. Or you don’t want to because it creates a big mess and a whole lot of dirty dishes then get this cookbook. It will change your life. Too dramatic? Nah. I stand by that. I have made the peach raspberry tart, a version of her 5- minute chocolate cake, and so many more. She simplifies the process. No need to measure your dry ingredients seperately. Or sift things. Some recipes you make right in the PAN you bake it in. Game Changer. Drop the mic. Walk away. Get this book and when you need a dessert like yesterday she will come to your rescue.
There you go everyone! A glimpse into my kitchen “pantry” or basically every kitchen cupboard. Again, these are all products I personally own, and use ALL the time. If you have any questions on any of these, let me know!
If you loved this page- then be sure to check out my Baking 101 Posts!
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