cover image Better Homes & Gardens New Baking Book

Better Homes & Gardens New Baking Book

. Better Homes and Gardens Books, $25.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-696-20799-0

With an excellent section on bread baking and a few scattered recipes for savory baked goods, this collection of 600 recipes remains mostly a celebration of American desserts, offering a glimpse into the kitchens and dining rooms of middle America from the 1930s to the present. The quirky, but surprisingly effective, organization underscores the point: the section ""Old Fashioned Desserts"" features vintage recipes from the magazine, the Apple-Cherry Pandowdies, Blackberry Cobblers and Baked Custards of our grandparents' Sunday dinners. The abundance of cheesecake recipes (18 in all, including a Cafe Au Lait variation) conjure up 1970s dinner parties, while ""Spectacular Desserts"" includes a Della Robbia Fruit Tart and Olive Oil Genoise in Strawberry Champagne Sauce. Pies and tarts, cakes, cookies and bars, and quick breads get their fair share of attention. Selected recipes in each section are tagged ""best loved,"" ""low fat"" and ""easy."" Each recipe comes with a complete breakout of nutritional information, and the 270 photographs illustrating how-to basics are especially helpful. Occasionally recipes are broken into steps somewhat arbitrarily; readers will do well to read through the instructions before beginning their work. With its characteristic perky, can-do spirit, this comprehensive collection will appeal to anyone with a soft spot for American desserts. 125,000 first printing. (Sept.)