I love books – I love the feeling of falling into a story, of becoming caught up in what happens to characters, of exploring a new world. Books are probably one of my favorite things ever.
So what’s better than a combination of two of my favorite pastimes, baking and reading?
Enter the cookbook!
Cookbooks are super-fun because not only do they inform one about baking and provide new recipes and flavor combinations for endless entertainment, but…THEY’RE BOOKS! And I love books. (I love books so much that it’s worth repeating.)
So when I was in my local library recently, I checked out Cookies and Cream by Tessa Arias; in fact, I made the Grasshopper Ice Cream Sandwiches from her book (see Adventures in Baking No. 16)! I had a magnificent time reading through all of her other recipes, ice-cream-sandwich-making strategies, and helpful tips. Since I liked it so much and definitely wanted to try more of her recipes, I ordered her cookbook!
There are many things I enjoy about this book. Firstly, it has pictures for nearly every ice cream sandwich, and I think pictures are a really important aspect of cookbooks. It always annoys me when I read a recipe and there’s no picture of the finished product – how am I supposed to know what it should look like? (The famous and familiar question “How brown is ‘golden-brown’?” is one that I, unfortunately, often find myself asking.)
However, Arias’ book has many positively stunning photos, which I appreciate. I also like how the baked goods aren’t perfect in those photos. I mean, the ice cream sandwiches all look beautiful, but not all of the edges on her sandwiches are magnificently smooth and not all of the cookies are absolutely identical. The pictures look real – as if a real, live home baker had actually made the sandwiches, and not some majestic being whose talent I can never hope to rival. This is comforting – it gives me hope that if, for some reason, I need to present my ice cream sandwiches for a party, I can create something that looks presentable, if not as beautiful as Arias’ sandwiches.
It also gave me hope when I first started reading that the recipes inside weren’t impossible.
Another feature in this book I enjoy that (I think) is important in recipe books: the expected yield. Each recipe has an expected yield, which is amazing. I’ve encountered books that don’t tell you how much the recipes make, or don’t give you accurate estimations of the yield, so accurate expected yields are a huge plus. They allow one to account for how much he or she actually wants to make, and then one can scale the recipe up or down as one pleases.
So expected yields are super-important to me, since I like math and I like knowing how much food I’m making.
Arias’ recipes are also clear, easy-to-follow, and fun to read! Overall, this is a great cookbook, which is why I got it.
But the best (and most underrated) feature of all?
The book is small. It’s physically the size of a normal book! Compare this to the massive cookbook tomes that one must heft around the kitchen. The (relatively) small size allows for easy transport and for cute appearance!
In summary, I am so excited to bake out of my new arrival to the Cookbook Bookshelf!