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The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book
This is my latest baking book and the recipes are culled from my Williams-Sonoma books, Bread and Muffins. But you could fool me. In a new oversized format with the feel of a comprehensive encyclopedia of yummies, everything looks new and fresh and easy to access. I even impress myself at times. There are breads, muffins, cakes, pies, tarts, custards, cookies, and fruit desserts galore. I love the muted cover photograph of a baker's mise en place, and the book, it well, feels good in your hands and is easy to read. There are 300 recipes and I am in the company of all my favorite bakers who are the creme de la creme of the pros: Fran Gage (queen of cakes), Carolyn Beth Weil (pies pies pies), Barbara Grunes (who has an incredible palate), Carolyn Miller (my first editor at Chronicle who went on to do her own delicious recipe writing), Rick Rodgers (Mr CookBakeGrill anything), and Marie Simmons (who used to write with the late baker Richard Sax). While not household names like TV chefs, these are bakers who are the elite in their genres. There are plenty of classic recipes (butter shortbread, blueberry muffins, lemon bars) as well as some daring new ones (strawberry-rhubarb breadfast cake, raspberry cream pie, coffee and kahlua flan), though nothing out of the range of a dedicated baker, since Chuck Williams is a purist and strong on classic technique. This is a book only available through Williams-Sonoma.
Pita Bread
Lemon Yogurt Muffins
 
Williams-Sonoma Collection: Muffins
("Mantecadas" in the Spanish Language Edition)
Muffins is one of my favorite books on a subject that most bakers just adore. It was one of those projects that the recipes are fantastic from the first to last page. You never really know that this is going to happen until the project is completed. After doing an entire book on quick breads, I didnít think there was any more to do, but Muffins proved I had the stuff to just keep going with more savory muffins, quick breads, and coffee cakes. I got to include my favorite Irish Soda Bread from my Aunt Anna that my mother ate as a teenager; it is still the best. I adore the deep blue cover, the color of a giant blueberry muffin; it is really attractive, restful on the eyes, and I want to just hold the book. I have friends who like the Spanish version and preferred that to the English.
Crumb Top Blueberry Muffins with Maple Butter
Great Aunt Anna's Irish Soda Bread
 
Williams-Sonoma Collection: Bread
("Pan" in the Spanish Language Edition)
Bread was the first book I wrote for Williams-Sonoma, which has expanded to having a full line of specialty cookbooks in a variety of formats. There were specific requirements as to what type of recipes would be included. Instead of headnotes, there are side boxes highlighting ingredients and techniques for easy reference. Chuck Williams, the founder of W-S, personally reviewed the recipe list and gave his suggestions for what he wanted included, so it was a very special collaboration. Chuck is very traditional in his taste for bread and wanted rather old-fashioned recipes that speak of home baking, family, and Americana melting pot. I learned bagels from one of my first baking teachers and the Swedish Rye Bread from my friend Judy Larsenís mother.
Minnesota Swedish Rye Bread
The Most Delicious Housemade Bagels
 
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