When you have a cookbook called The Artful Baker, you'd expect it to be beautiful. You'd be right. Cenk Sonmezsoy, creator of the food blog Cafe Fernando, has created a gorgeously photographed book filled with mouth-watering sweets (and some savory recipes too!) in breath-taking pictures. Not too bad for a guy who describes himself in the introduction as someone who at one point wanted nothing more than to sit on the sofa with ice cream watching The Golden Girls. As someone who can see the beauty in that, I feel like there is now a chance for me too to become an expert baker.
The chapters are packed with flavorful recipes for brownies, cookies (oh, the macarons!), cakes, muffins, pies, tarts, breads, pastries, ice creams, sorbets, drinks, caramels, jellies, and jams. Plus, there are tips for tempering chocolate, for working with fruits, for what equipment is best for baking, and so many more. One chapter focuses on nothing but those base recipes that if you can master, you can create almost anything you want in the pastry world--flaky pie crust, pastry cream, pate a choux, short tart dough. You can start there and go pretty much anywhere you want to.
And speaking of going anywhere, The Artful Baker includes several international recipes, like Eton Mess, Monte Bianco, Rosemary and Sea Salt Focaccia, Sourdough Simit, and Membrillo, to take you places outside of the U.S. And when you're ready to come back home, there is a Peel-to-Stem Apple Pie that looks like it could bring you to tears.
You can tell just by looking at the cover how exquisite these recipes are. Right there, drawing you in, is a decadent devil's food cake covered in perfectly tempered chocolate shards. No wonder baking goddess Dorie Greenspan is a fan!
The Artful Baker is the perfect gift for wannabe bakers, or better yet, for yourself. With accessible recipes, all the tips you need to succeed with this tantalizing treats, and beautiful ideas to create masterpieces, you too can make art with your baking.
Galleys for The Artful Baker were provided by Abrams through NetGalley, with many thanks.