Rose's Baking Basics Book Review: LA Times' 10 cookbooks to give and get this holiday season


We came across this review written by Amy Scattergood on Nov 2. From her article:

“From left: “Milk Street: Tuesday Nights” by Christopher Kimball; “Rose’s Baking Basics” by Rose Levy Beranbaum; “Bestia: Italian Recipes Created in the Heart of L.A.” by Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis with Lesley Suter (Little, Brown and Company; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Ten Speed Press)

Cookbooks are some of the best gifts you can give your food-minded friends and relatives because they’re easy to find, simple to wrap — and can often trigger reciprocal dinner invitations. Among this year’s wealth of cookbooks are a few excellent baking books, some new books from award-winning folks whose other books might already be on your shelves, and two debut books from Los Angeles chefs. Here are 10 new cookbooks to put on your gift list.

“Rose’s Baking Basics” by Rose Levy Beranbaum (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35)

Do you (or whomever you’re gifting) need another of Beranbaum’s baking books? You really do. This one, her 11th, features 100 recipes for the essential stuff: cookies, cakes, pies, tarts and breads along with toppings and fillings. What makes this book particularly useful is all the photos — 600 of them, apparently — often in step-by-step sequence. All these pictures are pretty, yes, but also practical because baking is so often somewhat intangible without visual aids. They also offer pretty good incentive because there’s nothing like more than 300 pages of pictures of cupcakes, brownies, rugelach, chocolate rolls, lemon and blueberry tarts, and babka to make you want to start baking.

“Bestia: Italian Recipes Created in the Heart of L.A.” by Ori Menashe and Genevieve Gergis with Lesley Suter (Ten Speed Press, $35)

Ever since Menashe and Gergis opened Bestia, their Italian restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, in 2012, the place has been packed. With the couple’s first cookbook, which features 140 recipes from the restaurant, you can just make their intensely flavorful, creative dishes at home — since the place is still one of the hardest reservations in town. This is rustic Italian food, through the lens of Menashe’s technique-intensive cooking: pastas an pizzas, pickles and charcuterie. There’s an ample pantry section, with the mostardas, soffritto and sauces that are fundamental to the dishes, plus recipes for the ’nduja and salumi for the ambitious. And the final chapter is filled with Gergis’ brilliant fruit-intensive desserts. Here’s hoping the duo are already testing the follow-up to this book — their second restaurant, Bavel, is as hard to get a table at as their first.

“Milk Street: Tuesday Nights” by Christopher Kimball (Little, Brown and Company, $35)

Christopher Kimball, who co-founded America’s Test Kitchen and started Milk Street in 2016, has come out with the second book from the Boston-based cooking school and magazine. The conceit of this book is that Tuesday nights are best accomplished with quick meals that make use of staple ingredients. So here are 200 recipes that are organized by the time it takes to make them (“fast,” “faster,” “fastest”), plus categories like “easy additions” and “one pot.” The dishes span many cuisines and there are fun sections such as “weeknight pizza” and “recipes that let you walk away from the cooking” — nice, if you want to load up the oven and go read the rest of the book.”