THE BAKER'S DOZEN COOKBOOK: Become a Better Baker with 125 Foolproof Recipes and Tried-and-True Techniques

The Baker's Dozen, Author, Rick Rodgers, Editor . Morrow $40 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-018628-9

Best known for The Fanny Farmer Cookbook, Marion Cunningham is as American as, oh, say, the Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Layer Cake in her group's latest compilation, which she introduces. Cunningham belongs to a group of bakers, calling itself the Baker's Dozen, devoted to sharing tips, talking shop and taking mouth-watering field trips to places such as the Guittard chocolate factory. Cunningham and 12 other members of the group impart just the sort of insider information to make readers feel part of an exclusive club. All the classics are covered here: cakes, custards, pies (with an excellent, comprehensive introduction to pie crusts), distinctive regional baked-fruit recipes and a chapter on cookies, with a recipe contending for "The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies." The book offers clear guidance to ensure consistently impressive results in the home kitchen, particularly in the "Cakes for Family and Friends" chapter. Building on the classics, there are several trend-worthy variations: try the Five-Spice Angel Food Cake for a novelty dessert, the Blood Orange Chiffon Pie with Chocolate Crust for a dramatic update of the venerable chiffon pie or the Sherried Zucchini-Currant Tea Loaves for a more sophisticated use of surplus summer zucchini. Chapters on bread baking (including quick breads) clearly explain potential pitfalls and how to sidestep them—and turn what could be an intimidating process into a stress-free experience for first-time bread bakers. The professional baking tips, detailed recipes and extensive glossaries will have readers well on their way to mastering techniques for perfect pastry. (Nov.)

Forecast:The book's top names will draw attention from home bakers, many of whom have already formed informal bakers' groups of their own. Simple word of mouth will help this book's sales.

Reviewed on: 10/15/2001
Release date: 11/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
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