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

41 comments /
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*
JTB Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off Banner



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41 comments

  1. Gerry @ Foodness GraciousMarch 7, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    Wow, you really went to town on this book but I can see why, I have so many bookmarked and have tried others like the coffee bacon which surprisingly tastes very mild but awesome! It's been great fun and huge thanks for letting me play,
    Who's next ;)??

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  2. Wow, that is a terrific review and I seriously love all the recipes you shared and can see making them in my own kitchen. BUT you totally dropped a bomb on me with that peanut butter birthday cake!  How can you tease me with just one picture?  That things deserves a post of it's own!!! HA HA

    Seriously though, this book hasn't made it to my working cookbook shelf yet, because I never put it away.  I just leave it out:)  I could easily cook from this book once a week like we do with IHCC and never tire of it.  One day, when I find enough people to help me share it, I'm going to make that damn peanut butter birthday cake!

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  3. Oh, I can't wait to try that coffee bacon! Hmmm...not sure yet ;) But glad you were a part again!

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  4. Uh, oh...I think I need this cookbook!  Thanks for the review :)

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  5. I know, I know.  I took a ton of photos, but didn't have enough time to give everything the post it deserved.  I may still post about the whole thing in the future...on a couple of these things!  Yup.  I have a feeling I will be cooking with Joy at least once a week myself ;)

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  6. WOW!  I just bought this book, because of your awesome review and because everything you've made from it looks SO amazing.  I really want to try those brownies and anything made with peanut butter and everything else! :)  

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  7. WOW! This sounds like a GREAT cookbook. Lovely review Heather. Its so wonderful to see a REAL review from someone who has actually made plenty of the recipes and not just a review from a glance at the photos and read through the introduction. As much as I am trying to refrain myself from buying another cookbook -- I think I just NEED this one in my cocina. Sounds like quite a few sweet treats that I'm sure my familia would LOVE. Thanks for sharing your experience with her cookbook.

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  8. What a great review, and sounds like a really fun cookbook :)

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  9. I love Joy and her recipes -- just got her cookbook! Cannot wait to try the chamomile cakes recipe :)

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  10. After reading your post and Deb's, I feel like I've put on 5 pounds (and tomorrow is weigh in day). Seriously, those 15 you highlighted all look terrific!

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  11. great review!  i've been sold on this book every time i've seen a post on about one of the recipes.  it sounds like a delightful addition to the collection. 

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  12. You do the best reviews! I just ordered mine! Can't wait.

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  13. Great review, Heather!  Thanks for the link to Joy's intro video--I hadn't seen it before. 
    Still so many recipes I want to make from Joy's book.

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  14. Not gonna lie, everything I made from this book was so amazing that I feel compelled to cook through the whole thing! Thanks so much for including me in this spotlight! It was a blast.

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  15. The coffee bacon almost made my final post, but I didn't quite get around to it!

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  16. You did such a great job Heather - always love your reviews. You cooked up quite the storm, and I am pretty sure I was drooling over just about everything in that book. That's why it was so hard for me to choose! Thanks again for including me - I'll be using this book often for sure!

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  17. BTW, just watched the video - so good! Love the story of dad making them hold the mat ....

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  18. This is a great review and you did a swell job in organizing this cookoff! What can I say, this book is on my wishlist (there's so many on my list now!), will get this as soon as budget allows! 
    Great job, Heather!

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  19. A wonderful review Heather!! I adore this cookbook and it has not once left my kitchen, so true every blogger had nothing but praise for the book and each of us had our own little part of joy with us in the kitchen. So happy to be cooking alongside everyone. it was a blast!!

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  20. OMG, I just watched the vid... crying like a baby.. the mat didn't move..

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  21. Um you are amazing! How the heck did you make all of those!?!?!? Amazed, I tell ya! All of your photos are gorgeous too!! I hope some blog posts are to follow...   :) Off to check out that video!

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  22. I agree...this was an awesome group =)

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  23. OMG I can't believe how much you made! I have been wanting to make so many more things but have been trying to keep myself from getting out of control.  Your photos are tempting me to jump back into that book again asap, though!

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  24. Gosh, judging by all the yummy stuff you've shown, I can tell what an amazing book this is! Those are some really unique and interesting dishes. Great stuff, Heather! And lovely spotlight on her.

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  25. Wow, you have been busy in the kitchen, Heather. I have enjoyed this cook-off so very much and know that Joy's book will become one of the most used in my library.  It seems we have a unanimous verdict about this cookbook...we all love it!

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  26. Oh my gosh, you have made so many things form the book!!! I feel lazy, lol. 

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  27. What a lovely review Heather. I've loved following this journey along!

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  28. This is my kind of cookibook -- I enjoy baking much more than cooking, and I love cookbooks with beautiful photos!

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  29. You sold me on this cookbook about 8 recipes ago. LOL. I have it flagged for purchase on my next cookbook binge.

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  30. This cookbook sounds really fun! I love the unique ingredient combinations.. Avocado poundcake? I want to try it! 

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  31. Yep.  I'm getting it.  The podcast sounds awesome - I'm going to try to tune in!  Thanks for introducing us to Joy!!

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  32. I come across so many of her recipes on lots of blogs! All of them are delicious! Here is my St. Pat tribute recipe for  Irish Boxty

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  33. My sister-in-law loves to bake and her birthday is coming up. I think you have given me a great gift idea!

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  34. Anything that gets young people cooking is great in my book! Do you think her tattoo is food related? :<)

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  35. Wow, you *have* made lots of recipes from this book. I'll take your word for it. Looks like I definitely need to get one :).

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  36. 15! you are a machine.  I loved that you mentioned that you are a baker already....I was so happy to find a new twist on old favorites.  thanks for hosting this spotlight...you are terrific at it!

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  37. Caite@a lovely shore breezeMarch 11, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Chocolate malt bread pudding...

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  38. What a lovely cookbook! I think everyone can learn something from this book :) I was looking for just such a gift, thanks for the review :)

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  39. I am impressed that you made so many recipes out of one cookbook. Even if I love a cookbook I generally only make maybe only two or three recipes!

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  40. Such a great and thorough review of a wonderful book. Thanks for the opportunity to join in the event. I know that this will be one baking book in my collection that gets a lot of use. ;-)

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