[Mel's note: Parts of this post came from an Aug. 31 post on Melbee Says, my other blog.]
I love to bake, I love cookbooks, so entering Bon Appetit’s contest to win a copy of the freshly printed The Boozy Baker: 75 Recipes for Spirited Sweets plus 25 Cocktail Recipes this past summer was a no brainer. What made it even better was that I won, which is a pretty rare thing for me.
Written by Lucy Baker (I envy her last name!), a food writer and recipe tester, and a contributing columnist and recipes editor for SeriousEats.com, The Boozy Baker is the kind of cookbook that all the other cookbooks want to beâ€”a little naughty, fun, yet still classy and chic. The photography is great, the book’s design is playful with a little hint of kitsch, and there is an excellent variety of baked goods (and cocktails) represented.
Baker provides a rundown on the standard baking ingredients, as well as a breakdown of the liquors used throughout the book, describing the flavor profile. Very helpful, especially to those who may not have spent a ton of time perusing the liquor store shelves or pulling themselves off the local bar’s floor at 2 a.m. (kidding!)
From “Old-Fashioned” Snickerdoodles (insert bourbon) to Red Wine Caramel Tart, from the Double Mint Fizz to Almond Iced Tea (both cocktails), there is plenty in this book to keep the creative and slightly offbeat baker entertained in the kitchen. The recipes also leave enough room for the intermediate-to-expert baker to play around, swapping out certain liquors for others to change the dessert at hand.
My only criticism of the bookâ€”which has been echoed by other reviewsâ€”is the lack of photography. It would have been nice to see more photos of the finished desserts (there were 28 photos out of the 75 recipes), but the images that were included were superb, cohesively styled to match the rest of the book. I also understand that producing and printing a book isn’t cheap, so 28 photos in 4-color is better than nothing.
So far I’ve only made the Lavender honey-nut cupcakes (shown on the book’s cover), and was happy with the results. This was definitely a contest worth winning.