Happy Holidays from Laurie Grad
THE PERFECT PIE: Your Ultimate Guide to Classic and Modern Pies, Tarts, Galettes, and More from America’s Test Kitchen is the perfect holiday gift for your favorite baker!  Once again the amazing folks at America’s Test Kitchen have come up with the definitive guide to fabulous pies and tarts that are bakery-quality with beautifully photographed step-by-step easy-to-follow instructions.  Who can resist classics like deep-dish apple pie, banana cream pie, key lime pie, or lemon meringue pie?  Other amazing pies to try are black bottom pie; pecan peach pie; pumpkin praline pie; Pennsylvania Dutch apple pie; or caramel hand pies.

COOKIE CLASS: 120 Irresistible Decorating Ideas for Any Occasion by creator of Jenny Cookies, Jenny Keller, is a perfect holiday baking book for those wanting to be creative.  Kids will love baking alongside you while you make sweet jam cookies; star cookies; cranberry pistachio cookies; and peppermint candy canes.  Other holidays are also accounted for in this charming volume.

HELLO, COOKIE DOUGH: 110 DOUGHLICIOUS CONFECTIONS to Eat, Bake, & Share from Kristen Tomlan, the CEO and FOUNDER of DŌ, Cookie Dough Confections, pens a cookbook filled with recipes for cookie dough lovers of every age and every skill level.  All 40 flavors, spanning the classic to the wildly creative, are ready to eat off the spatula or can be baked into perfect, chewy cookies.  Along with her cookies other baked favorites include: molten cookie dough cupcakes; cookie dough-stuffed cinnamon rolls; and coffee cup cookies. This amazing book will make the perfect gift for your favorite cookie lover and baker!

COOKIES FOR EVERYONE: 99 Deliciously Customizable Bakeshop Recipes from the owner of Dessert’D Organic Bake Shop, Mimi Counsel, offers an amazing array of recipes for cookies from soft and chewy basics to sandwich cookies, biscotti, macarons, and Florentines.   The recipes are easy-to-follow, and there are tips for gluten-free, vegan, and even high-altitude baking.  Favorites include lemon-frosted blueberry cookies; peanut butter banana cookie pies; chai shortbread; chocolate espresso spritz cookies; and chocolate salted caramel sandwich cookies.

MILK STREET THE NEW RULES from Boston-based television host Chris Kimball whose Milk Street cooking school spawned a bimonthly magazine, television, and radio shows.  Mr. Kimball’s ground-breaking new book defines 75 new rules of cooking that will dramatically simplify your time in the kitchen and improve your results.  Despite the revolutionary techniques in the book, it requires no unusual equipment or hard-to-locate ingredients.  I particularly like the beautifully photographed step-by-step instructions.  This is a perfect gift for adventuresome cooks who want to play in the kitchen!

SABABA: Fresh Sunny Flavors from My Israeli Kitchenn by cookbook author Adeena Sussman is a treasure trove of 120 wonderful Israel recipes.  Israeli cuisine is extremely popular with restaurants springing up all over the United States.  The author moved to Tel Aviv four years ago and has immersed herself in the food.  In Hebrew sababa means “everything is awesome.”  Sussman shows readers how to use border-crossing kitchen staples– tahini, sumac, silan (date syrup), harissa, za’atar—to amazing use, while also introducing more exotic spices and ingredients.  Recipes include: Israeli street corn; arugula salad with dates, feta, and pistachios; jeweled rice; ricotta dumplings with pistachio-cilantro pesto; za’atar roasted chicken over sumac potatoes; chard-wrapped fish with lemon and olive; and thyme-roasted apricots with whipped goat cheese.

SKILLET LOVE FROM STEAK TO CAKE: More than 150 Recipes in One Cast-Iron Pan by cookbook author Anne Byrn highlights cooking in a cast iron skillet, one of the most useful and versatile pieces of cooking equipment.  I particularly like the fun tidbits scattered throughout the book about the origin of the cast iron skillet; and how to properly treat and season the skillet.  Favorite recipes include: potato-onion latkes with cucumber raita; black skillet cornbread; fresh asparagus frittata; tuna niçoise in a skillet; French chicken in a skillet; and skillet brownie on a caramel puddle.

365 A YEAR OF EVERYDAY COOKING AND BAKING by cookbook author and food blogger, Meike Peters, is a perfect gift for any foodie friend.  The book offers tons of ideas and suggestions for quick, creative weeknight dinners; for colorful salads; for long-simmering weekend stews; and for delicious desserts.  Now that it is cold outside, I went right to the winter recipes which include: Genovese Minestrone with borlotti beans and pesto; fennel-crusted salmon; fish chowder with purple potatoes and marjoram; spaghetti with spiced rainbow chard, orange, and cashews; raclette tuna melt sandwich; and blood oranges with tahini-lemon sauce.

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