Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook presents the doyenne of the Better Way in tip-top form. Or rather, it offers the work of a dedicated team who, under Stewart's stewardship, has devised over 200 baking recipes for both savory and sweet treats, ranging from the traditional likes of buttermilk biscuits, gingersnaps, blueberry pie, bagels, and chocolate angel food cake, to the more novel pleasures of Sausage and Feta Hand Pies, Cherry Fragipane Gallete, Carrot-Ginger Cupcakes, and even the buttery-sugary to-die-for yeasted pastry called kouign amans. Also present and accounted-for are Stewartian showpieces like Mocha-Pistachio Wedding Cake.
The greatest virtue of the book, apart from the clarity of its recipes, lies in its organization: the chapters, which cover all baking stops, begin with relevant tips, followed by notes on equipment and techniques, all photo-illustrated. These set-ups supply context that maximizes the possibility of pleasurable, goof-free baking. Photo-illustrated how-to's in the formulas further the cause. A quibble is the absence in many of the recipe headnotes of descriptive material about the baked good they introduce--it's important to provide info on techniques and ingredients, as the headnotes do, but baking recipes in particular cry out for descriptions of what, for example, sfogliatelle (an Italian pastry), or lime-glazed cookies are. This said, the book is immensely appealing and will excite as well as instruct a wide range of bakers, from the would-be to the accomplished. --Arthur Boehm
Nobody does the domestic arts better in the USA than Martha Stewart and her unparalleled team at Martha Stewart Living. Martha's new simple suppers book is comprehensive, providing over 250 time-tested, foolproof recipes. Each chapter begins with the basics, detailing the tools, gadgets, and ingredients together with general troubleshooting. "Simple Suppers" offers: icons that signal whether the recipe is best for beginners, intermediate cooks, or more advanced bakers; step-by-step photographs of techniques; tips specially designed to help readers make the best-looking desserts possible; and make-ahead information, storage techniques, freezing instructions, and troubleshooting tips.
It includes the following recipe categories: Simple Baked Goods including biscuits and shortcakes, muffins, scones; Cookies that cover everything from biscotti and drop cookies; Basic Cakes such as Carrot-Ginger Cake; Speciality Cakes like Buche de Noel, Paviovas with Currants and Berries, and Chiffon Cake with Lemon Curd; Pastries that include Apple Strudel with Cheese, and Profiteroles; Fruit Desserts such as Apricot Cobbler and Plum Crisp; and Yeast Baking that offers everything from Sugar Buns and Cinnamon Rolls to Breakfast Brioche with Creme Fraiche, Focaccia and Pizza Dough.