I've been meaning to show you some of the books in the teetering-tottering stack next to my desk. Today I'll do just the ones for the bakers out there.
OK, so I've never actually made doughnuts, but this book has me thinking it's totally doable. Did you know that in addition to potato latkes, it's also traditional to make jelly-filled doughnuts on Hanukkah? In Israel they're called sufganiyot. It all has to do with the miracle of the oil that kept the Eternal Flame lit in the Holy Temple for 8 days instead of just 1. We don't have an eternal flame here in our house, but we sure do like to fry foods, so maybe I will give it a whirl. (Did you also know that Hanukkah starts on December 8 this year? And were you aware that I haven't even given a single thought to buying presents for my kids yet? I am too busy being freaked out by the knowledge—thanks, Internet!—that next year Hanukkah begins on the night before Thanksgiving! Really! I officially give up now.)
The second is Cake Balls:
This is filled with recipes for all those, well, cake balls, that you see at bakeries and coffee shops nowadays. The subtitle is "More than 60 delectable and whimsical sweet spheres of goodness," and that's eactly what you get. There are cute cake balls, elegant cake balls, holiday-themed cake balls, you name it. I am not much of a decorator, but I know an 11-year-old named Julie who is dying to try making some of these, so maybe she will be the cake ball queen of this house.
As suggested by the title, this book is for things like cookies and candies rather than cakes and pies, so the recipes would be ideal for parties, bake sales, picnics, and so on, where you don't want to have to cut slices or use a fork to eat. (Or if you just want to eat them all yourself, one by one.) The book is already completely clogged with post-it notes from Julie, who is obviously eager to get started. She learned early on that every recipe Abby's ever come up with has been a winner.
And finally, this last one is a huge door-stop-sized masterpiece, Bouchon Bakery:
Michael Ruhlman sent me this one—he ghost-wrote the whole thing, the latest in the Thomas Keller cookbook series. It's quite a major work, complete with recipes for every imaginable cookie, scone, muffin, etc., as well as all manner of fancy-shmancy pastries and breads. It is also a simply gorgeous book just to flip through. Andy already made the Pecan Sandies, the same day the book arrived.