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cookbook review: Joy the Baker Cookbook by Joy Wilson {Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off}

Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes

author: Joy Wilson
publisher: Hyperion
soft cover: 246 pages
photos: yes - photographed by Joy - beautiful

chapters/sections:  joy the baker kitchen tips - pancakes pancakes pancakes - i need a hug or a brownie. maybe both - oh, happy day! - i think i just ate chocolate for dinner - have dessert, will travel

fun features:  I love Joy's introduction in which she talks about her approach to baking, how she started her blog, and how you should use this book.  Her first section/chapter on kitchen tips is fantastic for the beginning baker...okay, even some of those who've been baking for a while.  She shares some of her own helpful tips that have saved her an extra trip or two to the grocery store such as making buttermilk in a pinch, what to do if you're out of brown sugar, unveiling the mystery that is cake flour, when and why you should sift your flour, the size of eggs, making the most of citrus zest, and getting that beautiful bundt cake out of its pesky pan.  Not to mention seasoning a cast-iron skillet, how to make your own vanilla extract, how to brown butter successfully, and some butter talk (why to use cold in some recipes and how to soften it quickly for other recipes).

(a few of the many) recipes destined for my kitchen: Bacon Black Pepper Waffles, Coffee Bacon, Chocolate and Black Pepper Goat Cheese Truffles, Chocolate Malt Bread Pudding, Avocado Poundcake, Lavender Lemon Bars, Browned Butter Peanut Butter Crispy Rice Treats, Strawberry Cookie Dough Ice Cream, Blueberry Orange and Almond Pancakes w/ Orange Maple Glaze, and last (but definitely NOT least) Peanut Butter Bacon Cookies (which my mom snagged the recipe for, made, and brought to work w/ reported fantastic success)

my thoughts/review: Basically, I love this book.  I love picking it up and looking at the beautiful, colorful pictures.  I love swooning over a different recipe every day depending on my mood.  I love sharing it with friends and family who come over and seeing them have the same reactions that I do.  You will find everything from pancakes, waffles, coffee cake, and quiche to cookies, brownies, cake, and frosting to crackers, biscuits, and biscotti to smoothies, shakes, and ice cream amongst the pages.  Each section and each recipe within the section is introduced in true "Joy" fashion - inviting fun, playfulness, and grumbling bellies.

I find Joy's recipes very approachable, but that said,  I know that I am not a beginning baker...which is one reason I'm so fortunate to be able to host Cookbook Spotlights like I did for Joy's book.  While I know that I'm in love with this book and every single thing (no joke) I've made from it so far, I do see that I take for granted having made my fair share of crackers, biscuits, and even frosting over the years.  I also love being able to see 20-some other people's approach to baking the same recipe.  Or seeing which recipes they choose to make that I did not.  Overall, I've felt a great outpouring of love for Joy's new cookbook...from everybody involved.  Some people (comfortable bakers) couldn't get enough.  Other people who may have been more timid or inexperienced enjoyed the chance to step out of their comfort zones and maybe make crackers or biscuits or buttercream for the first time.

So.  What I'm saying is - this book has earned a permanent spot on my working bookshelf.  That's the one in my kitchen.  The one that gets the most use.  I seriously may wind up cooking my way through the entire 100 recipes before too long.  Heck, 18 down already. Technically, I guess it's actually 20, because the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting on the birthday cake and the Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting on the Brownies are recipes all in and of themselves.  So.  If you'd like to hear more opinions about Joy's book, please check out the main page of our Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off, where you'll find links to all the participant's posts including recipes and reviews throughout our four week period cooking with Joy!

recipes I have already tried:
Chocolate Fudge Brownies w/ Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
Cornmeal Molasses Pancakes w/ Blackberry Vanilla Sauce
Flax Seed & Cracked Pepper Crackers
Giant Cinnamon Rolls w/ Buttermilk Glaze
Kale, Spinach, Banana, Peanut Butter Smoothie
Mini Chamomile Cakes w/ Honey Frosting
Peanut Butter & Jam Milkshake
Peanut Butter Birthday Cake
Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sauce
Pineapple Malted Milkshake
Toasted Oat Smoothie
Whole Wheat Honey and Goat Cheese Drop Biscuits
Crunchy Cocoa Roasted Nuts
Extra Crumb Coffee Cake
Leek and Asparagus Quiche
Vanilla Bean Snickerdoodles
Avocado Fries
Bourbon-Spiked Banana Bread

about the author:  Joy Wilson is a self-taught cook who lives in L.A. In 2008, she began the Joy the Baker blog, which has been named Best Baking Blog by Foodbuzz and was nominated for Best New Blog in the Bloggies. It was named one of the Top 50 Food Blogs by The London Times.

Okay, that's a really shabby "about the author" when it comes to fabulous Joy.  Please take a few minutes to check out the page on her blog entitled Meet Joy.  Read the words.  Enjoy the pretty pictures.  And if you're anything like me, cry like a baby at the video.    And if by chance you don't tune in to Joy's awesome podcast Home Fries with Tracy of Shutterbean every week - might I recommend it?  I always get a good laugh and endanger my laptop of projectile liquids shooting from my nose while listening.  You know.  Just for reference.

further info: blog | facebook | twitter

*I received a free copy of this book to review from the publisher.  All thoughts and opinions stated in this post are 100% mine.

*This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*
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