BAKING CHEZ MOI by Dorie Greenspan

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Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere

I have had the pleasure of baking from this fabulous cookbook for the past few months, and it is one of the best baking cookbooks I’ve used. Don’t let the French factor scare you – these are not recipes of homemade puff pastry, because, as Dorie explains, the French buy those complicated confections at the bakery. These are the recipes that she had to pry out of her French friends, who all proclaimed that she wouldn’t want them because they are too simple. And many of them are very simple, a half dozen ingredients or less, sometimes without even measuring (gasp!)

At first glance, the recipes look very complicated because they are so long. But do not be fooled; Dorie has tested and re-tested these recipes and walks you through, step by step, pointing out the pitfalls and telltale signs of smell, sight and taste that make each recipe easy for even a beginning baker.

One of my favorites was the Vanilla-Bean Sablés, a delicate and delicious cookie. She offers recipes that can be made in advance yet are complete showstoppers, like the Marquise au Chocolat, a frozen chocolate mousse that can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. The Custardy Apple Squares were a big hit with the fruit lovers in my family, and a nice change from apple pie or apple cake that I usually make and super easy, made with ingredients I had on hand.

One of the more complicated recipes, running four pages long, is for a Gingerbread Bûche de Noël, a rolled log filled with praline cream and covered with a snowy frosting and made to look like an actual snow covered log that you might stumble across in the forest (but not in Florida!) I might attempt this during my upcoming holiday vacation. But that is the exception rather than the rule.

If you are not familiar with Dorie Greenspan, she has written many cookbooks, and is considered one of the foremost cookbook writers, especially in the baking world. She has worked with the icon herself, Julia Child, on Baking with Julia. She lives in New York, Connecticut and Paris, so comes by these recipes honestly, from her Parisian friends.

This is a beautiful book with tons of color illustrations, which I always find helpful. If you are looking for a new baking cookbook for yourself, or perhaps a gift for someone who yearns to bake but is afraid, or even your most experienced baking friend, look no further. Baking Chez Moi is a winner.

12/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

BAKING CHEZ MOI by Dorie Greenspan. Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (October 28, 2014). ISBN 978-0547724249. 496p.

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