Sweet Melissa Patisserie is one of the most popular bakeries in New York City (or, at the very least, one of the most well-praised), a bakery founded with the intention of creating the best versions of everyone’s favorite desserts. This translated to a menu of pastries and baked goods that were familiar – chocolate chip cookies, devil’s food cake – but had a touch of something extra to take them from good to very, very good. The Sweet Melissa Baking Book is a collection of recipes from the bakery, including both the classics that the bakery was founded with and other creative, french-influenced treats.
The thing that is the most appealing about this book is the level of enthusiasm that comes across with the introduction, with each recipe and even with the hints and tips that are scattered throughout the book. It seems like every recipe is a personal favorite – and more than that, that they’re personal favorites of a very close friend. I’ve seen other cookbooks try to get this same style across and, though I’m sure that the high enthusiasm is also there in those authors, Murphy (Melissa Murphy) really pulls it off.
Content-wise, the cookbook has all that you might expect to find in a baking book. Cookies, cakes, muffins, fruit desserts and custards, just to mention a handful of broad categories. The recipes seem to be laid out well, giving easy step-by-step directions and offering commentary (such as “batter will be loose”) to help ensure things are going well. As usual, the only things I’d want to add are a few more photographs, since the homey desserts look really tempting and a little extra visual motivation is never a bad thing.