I asked the librarian who runs our cookbook collection to buy this so I could read it. She did, but I still had to wait in line because I was far from the only one who found the concept appealing!
One Bowl Baking by Yvonne Ruperti. Running Press, 2013.
The basic idea of the book is baking recipes meant to be done in a single bowl (once in a while wiped out between stages), by hand, and gotten into the oven in 20 minutes or less. I like the one-bowl and speedy part (especially since I’m usually baking with a preschooler, which makes everything slower), but I will confess that I love my stand mixer and used it for all the recipes I tried.
Ruperti has a lot of experience baking, from working at America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated to running her own bakery. I tend to like the scientific aspect of Cook’s Illustrated recipes, but as they find no technique too difficult in pursuit of the ideal result, the recipes tend towards the fussy side, and I save them for special occasions. Ruperti’s combination of rigorous testing with simplicity as a goal is a felicitous combination. The recipes are tempting enough that we tried a recipe a week before I had to turn the book in. She has a technique and equipment section, followed by sections on muffins and scones, cookies, bar cookies, cupcakes, snakc cakes, quick breads and tea-style cakes, party cakes, cheesecakes and tarts and more. The instructions are clear and the photography mouth-watering.
On the first cold day of the fall, we made the Chewy Ginger Molasses Cookies – perfect. My love made the Cinnamon Sugar Scones for a weekend special breakfast, and enjoyed both how fast they went and how much less hands-on time they took than pancakes or stuff (all the breakfast recipes are designed to get to the table in under a half hour.) And when the four-year-old insisted that Daddy needed cupcakes on his actual birthday and could not wait until the family birthday party on the weekend, we made Vanilla Butter Cupcakes with Pure and Simple Chocolate Ganache for icing – dense, moist and chocolaty. I still want to try the Gingerbread Cupcakes, Pumpkin Muffins, Lemon Pudding Cake, Sour Cherry Almond Clafouti (but without the almond, as I’m allergic), the not-chocolate wacky cake, Tres Leches Cake, Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cake, and both of the Mix-in-a-Mug Microwave Cakes. She has several recipes for six-inch layer cakes; I don’t have the pans, but I very much like the idea of a cake the right size for a small gathering.
It might not replace my favorite baking cookbook, Abigail Johnson Dodge’s The Weekend Baker, but I sure can see myself turning to it a lot. I put it on my wish list, because I can’t buy anything for myself this time of year, and am very much hoping that the prospect of yummy baked goods will entice one of my family members to buy it for me.