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The Baker's Dozen Cookbook:
Founded by cookbook author Marion Cunningham and professional baker Amy Pressman, the Baker's Dozen, a Bay Area group, helps its members bake better, sharing knowledge and solving members' baking problems. Edited by Rick Rodgers, The Baker's Dozen Cookbook, the group's first work, includes 135 enticing recipes, from Sour Cream Pound Cake and Almond and Chocolate Sandwich Cookies to breads and other nonsweet baked goods. The book's great appeal, however, lies in its lucid instructive material. New and veteran bakers alike will find this collection a true learning tool, which provides basic tutorials and more-advanced explorations into the art of baking.
The recipes come with a pedigree. Readers can thus enjoy baking-book expert Flo Braker's Triple Chocolate Cake and Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jam Cake, "Italian baker" Carol Field's Italian Whole Wheat Bread, and Chez Panisse pastry chef Lindsey Shere's Warm Pear Tart and Simple Nectarine Gallete. Other outstanding recipes include Julia Cookenboo's Pistachio-Golden Raisin Biscotti, Fran Gage's Spicy Cornmeal Crackers, and Rochelle Huppin-Fleck's Blood Orange Chiffon Pie with Chocolate Crumb Crust. In addition to insightful notes that accompany every recipe, the book offers definitive ingredient and equipment glossaries (chocolate is particularly well treated here), a detailed cake-basics section (batter-mixing for all cake types as well as other techniques are explored in depth), and color photos that depict the mouthwatering sweets in all their glory. The group has done its work well--this is one of the best baking books to appear in recent years. --Arthur Boehm [via]