- Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller is a serious cookbook for real bakers. Not only does this tome count as an intro to weightlifting, but the recipes are delicious and varied.
- The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from the Texas Hill Country’s Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe by Rebecca Rather. The bakery might be gone, but the recipes survive! Shortbread cookies, Texas kolaches, and an assortment of muffin recipes make this one a keeper. It has baked goods AND savories.
- Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes by Joy Wilson. You know a cookbook is good when you check it out so many times back to back that you feel annoyed when the library wants it returned. This is my #1 sign that it’s time to bite the bullet and buy a cookbook. I really like the recipes on Joy Wilson’s blog, but it’s nice to have the instructions on the shelf instead of constantly pulling up the internet. Her brown butter peach muffins are in heavy rotation at our house.
- Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour & Butter by Kate Lebo. This was the book that got me through my early attempts at pie. The main thing I like is that her ratios always work! Not too runny, with healthy doses of booze and reasonable amounts of sugar. I still use her all-butter crust as my mainstay.
- Cake Keeper Cakes: 100 Simple Recipes for Extraordinary Bundt Cakes, Pound Cakes, Snacking Cakes, and Other Good-to-the-Last-Crumb Treats by Lauren Chattman. Okay, hang with me on this one because the cover and title does not seem like a great foodie find. Make the oatmeal and applesauce cake though, and then tell me you aren’t willing to look passed the exterior (and shame on you for judging this book by its cover!).