When I think about The Kosher Baker, I think of a source for reliable classics, non-potchke desserts, and creative recipes for when the mood strikes. But the highest compliment I can give this book is that it’s just so usable. You know those cookbooks that are fun to look at, but you’ll probably try one recipe in the next 5 years? Well, this one’s not like that. This is a book I’ve actually been using.
Type of book
The Kosher Baker by Paula Shoyer is a book of 160+ pareve dessert recipes, divided into chapters by the amount of time it takes to make them: 15 minutes of prep, 15-30 minutes, and more than 30 minutes. The chapters are then divided further, by dessert type. This makes it easy to find a quick cookie vs. fancy plated dessert, for example. There are also about a dozen each Pesach and no-sugar-added recipes.
My favorite thing about the way the recipes are written is that every single one comes with storage directions. I appreciate being able to make desserts in advance, and with these guidelines, there’s no guessing about freshness.
I found the recipe directions wordy at times, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you like hand-holding in the kitchen, you’ll appreciate the detail. On the other hand, if you’ve long ago tackled things like rolling out pastry dough, you may find yourself skimming through the directions.
As a visual learner, I say: the more photos, the better. I’m always more likely to try a recipe from a cookbook if there’s a photo to accompany it. The Kosher Baker includes beautiful photos every 2-3 pages, sometimes full-page pics, sometimes smaller. There are also a nice amount of step-by-step photos in black and white, which make the book even more usable. (The cover image isn’t my favorite, though. I would have chosen something else.)
Recipes I’ve tried:
- Chocolate candy hamentaschen
- Chocolate amaretto truffles (and classic chocolate truffles)
- Pumpkin cake
- Chocolate mint cake
- Classic challah
While we enjoyed all of these (and so did our guests), my favorite is the challah — we actually have a stash of them in the freezer right now. The dough comes together easily, there aren’t too many steps, it’s easy to braid, it freezes beautifully, and it’s delicious. Seriously, could you ask for anything more?
Some recipes I can’t wait to try:
- Carrot cake with cinnamon honey cream cheese frosting
- Scones au chocolat
- Brownie pops
- Babka cupcakes with crumb topping
Who would enjoy this book?
Anyone who needs to make dessert for a meat meal. Anyone who doesn’t have a dairy oven or who does have a dairy allergy. Or, in my case, anyone who needs to bring a pareve dessert to her meat-eating Shabbos hosts. Even if you don’t fit into these categories, there’s such a variety of recipes that you’ll find plenty to interest you in this book. (Anti-margarine people: Although many of the recipes call for margarine, which I found disappointing, there are also lots that use oil instead. Do not despair.)
The Kosher Baker has a huge variety of desserts, many of which are easy enough to make on the fly. With its clean layout, organized structure, and detailed recipe directions, this book is easy to use. I find myself reaching for it even when I don’t need to make a pareve dessert — and for me, that’s saying something!
* You can get a copy of The Kosher Baker right here on Amazon. If you buy it through that link, a (very) small portion of your purchase supports More Quiche, Please. Thank you!
* Stay tuned for Paula’s second book, The Kosher Holiday Baker, on sale in November!
Win a copy of The Kosher Baker!
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this post that answers this question: What is your most reliable pareve dessert? (Please note that this is not an optional entry!)
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The giveaway ends at midnight EST on July 6. One winner will be chosen with the help of random.org. Please note that the cookbook prize can only be shipped to a U.S. address.