cover image The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

, . . Boston Common, $34.95 (552pp) ISBN 978-1-933615-22-6

Expert bakers and novices scared of baking's requisite exactitude can all learn something from this hefty, all-purpose home baking volume. The editors of America's Test Kitchen, known for their painstaking recipe testing, offer more than 700 recipes, helpfully illustrated by 1,000-plus color photos. The recipes themselves are indeed family appropriate—no architectural restaurant-style desserts here, but rather appealing basics in a wide variety of categories, including breads, pizzas, cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, custards and toppings. Easier items, such as Simple Drop Biscuits, Peanut Butter Blondies, and Red Velvet Layer Cake are labeled “great for beginners”; potentially intimidating confections, such as Croissants, Grand Marnier Soufflé and even a Classic Three-Tier Wedding Cake have step-by-step instructions that make them accessible. While the tone of the book is decidedly technical, the vibe isn't cold. And the info-packed introduction, with details on ingredients and equipment (the editors get specific and suggest their tried and true favorite brands) is worth reading carefully. (Sept.)