I’m sure there’s someone on your Christmas list this season who would love a cookbook. I thought I’d share a few ideas from ones that I’ve enjoyed recently.
‘Martha Stewart’s Cakes’
This beautiful book that I checked out from the Wilson County Public Library makes my mouth water every time I thumb through it!
The cakes are divided in categories, such as loaves, Bundts, coffee cakes, single layers, cheesecakes and layer cakes. There’s also a section of glazes, frostings and embellishments to make your cake even more special.
I’ve looked through the book with its gorgeous photographs several times and don’t think any of the recipes are overly difficult.
I made the chocolate Bundt cake with a delicious glaze. I often bake a similar cake using a boxed cake mix, but the buttery taste of this one made it apparent it was from scratch. My family really enjoyed it. It’s better the first day or two, so plan accordingly.
It took me a long time to decide which cake to make in this book. I also wanted to try the carrot tea cake made in a loaf pan and the pistachio pound cake as well. And I need an excuse to make the wild-blueberry buckle or the banana pecan cake!
This book needs to go back to the library, but I do plan to ask for it myself for Christmas!
It’s not just school-age kids who would appreciate the recipes in this cookbook by Catherine McCord, founder of the very popular website Weelicious.
McCord is an advocate for healthier food for kids and developed recipes to make packing school lunches easier and healthier.
Each of the 160 meals comes with commentary on how the recipe was developed and how different family members request it.
For instance, her inspiration for shredded Chinese chicken salad was a Los Angeles restaurant, Chin Chin. Her Mexican muffins are made from left over chicken. Her homemade whole wheat pancake mix takes the place of a store bought mix. The leftover pancakes make great sandwiches, she says.
Make sure to read the first chapters in the book and her tips for packing “the perfect lunch.” For instance, she experiments with new foods, such as dragon fruit, and sends melon balls instead of sliced melon because they are more enticing to a child.
‘No Taste Like Home’
This Southern Living cookbook by Kelly Alexander of Chapel Hill would be a lovely edition to any collection.
The book travels from state to state and highlights favorite regional dishes, such as honey ginger tea in Trussville, Ala., and creole potato salad from Slidell, La.
Recipes and stories from a number of popular chefs and celebrities are included as well.
In the North Carolina section, author Charles Frazier shares a story on soup beans. Actress Andie McDowell gives out her recipe for anything-goes salad with lemon-mustard dressing.
In the Texas chapter, country music star Miranda Lambert includes her mother’s meatloaf recipe. Country singer Sara Evans of Birmingham, Ala., shares her cheesy potato soup recipe.
The photography in this cookbook is gorgeous, and it makes for an enjoyable read.
The sticker price is $27.95, but I’ve seen it online for much less, so check it out!
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Chocolate Bundt Cake
- For the cake:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the glaze:
- 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Make the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 14-cup Bundt pan. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Mix milk and sour cream in a glass measuring cup.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition; add vanilla. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the milk mixture and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until just combined.
Transfer batter to prepared pan; smooth top with an offset spatula. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. (Cake can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic, up to 1 day.)
Make the glaze: Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan; pour over chocolate. Let stand 2 minutes. Add butter, and mix until smooth. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened. Pour glaze over cake.
“Martha Stewart’s Cakes”