If you watch Top Chef as religiously as I do, you know that most of the chefs dread making a dessert. That's because baking is a science. Whereas in cooking, you can improvise with a pinch of salt here and a dash of olive oil there, baking requires specific measurements and precise recipes. Yes, you can find them online (like here at SMP!), but according to Sugar + Butter these 5 books are the key to becoming a better, more informed baker.
The Essential Baker by Carole Bloom
This cookbook comes first on my list for a very specific reason: If you're trying to bake classic pastry, this is all you will ever need. Carole Bloom has covered all of the classics in this book. Baking can sometimes be very kitschy - especially the stuff you'll find on some blogs. You know the ones, where they use pre-made pie crust and Reese's to make a new "recipe." If you're looking for authentic and easy to understand recipes, you need this book. Find it here.
The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
When I think of my baking heroes, Rose Levy Beranbaum is the first to come to mind. She is absolutely the only baker who can call her book a bible and not be exaggerating. She tends to write more elevated books that you'll need to really focus on when trying to follow her recipes, but it is well worth it. If you want to step up your baking game in the new year, get this book. Find it here.
Baking, From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Deep in my heart, I really, truly hope that Dorie Greenspan and Rose Levy Beranbaum are good friends. I like to imagine them sitting around together eating flakey pastries and discussing articles in New York Times arts and leisure section. Dorie Greenspan is an authority, no two ways about it, and this book is fabulous if you want to expand your horizons in the New Year. Find it here.
Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce
When you think of whole grain baking, it can seem too healthy not to be boring. I often wondered, before I bought this book, why anyone would choose whole grain over any other ingredients when making dessert. This book is a revelation in baking, I promise. Want to bake a little closer to nature? This is the book for you. Find it here.
The Cake Book by Tish Boyle
The title says it all. This is absolutely my go-to book for cake recipes and foundational knowledge. Tish Boyle completely changed the way I approach baking cakes and I bet this book will do the same for you. Find it here.