I’ve done my duty by talking about healthy foods, but now it’s time for the really fun stuff: baked goods. I have a massive sweet tooth, and baking is what started me collecting cookbooks. It really relaxes me to bake, and then my coworkers like me because they get lots of yummy stuff to eat. While I suffer from a Cookie Curse (I rarely if ever get cookies to come out remotely right), I really enjoy making cupcakes, full-size cakes, and pies (as long as I don’t have to bake a crust, I’m fairly sure the aforementioned Curse would result). And I love looking at cookbooks of more complicated, pretty treats that I’m too chicken to try. Maybe one day I’ll get over my fear of complicated deserts. But for now, the pictures are just as good.
My absolute favorite cupcake cookbook is Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. Now, I’m not a vegan, but I rarely if ever have dairy around (I’m an almond milk girl all the way), and whenever I want to bake a traditional recipe I seem to be fresh out of eggs. So, these are the cupcakes I’ve gotten used to making. The recipes are ridiculously easy, and they are truly the softest, fluffiest cakes I’ve ever had. No dense cake monsters here. I sub almond milk for soy milk in almost all of the recipes and that works fine for me. I’ve gotten in a bit of a baking rut where I almost always make the basic vanilla or chocolate cupcakes, but my true favorites are the apple cider cupcakes. Also good: mint chocolate and oreo. And now, looking over the book again, I see all kinds of recipes I haven’t tried yet and will have to add to my repertoire.
The newest addition to my cookbook library is The Petit Four Cookbook by Brooks Coulson Nguyen. Like I’m sure many girls of the 80s and 90s, petit fours take me straight back to Samantha (who happened to be my favorite American Girl), so I pretty much had to have this book.
I haven’t made anything–yet. There’s some equipment I don’t have in my kitchen, and I don’t have things like marzipan handy at my local grocery store. But the pictures in this book are absolutely beautiful, and are inspiring me to try. The recipes and assembly instructions are laid out clearly enough that, even though it’s an involved process, I think it should be a fairly simple one. So someday soon, maybe petit fours will be as second nature to me as cupcakes are.