Sometimes, you get a sudden urge to make (or eat) a cookie – and any kind will do. But most of the time, it seems like the desire for a particular flavor is more likely to strike than the desire for a particular type of baked good. Baking by Flavor is a cookbook that has just the answer to this type of situation. It is divided up into chapters by flavor, and every recipe in that category is designed to deliver maximum possible dose of that flavor.
The flavors featured in the book are: Almond, Apricot, Banana, Blueberry, Butter, Buttercrunch, Caramel and Butterscotch, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Coconut, Coffee and Mocha, Ginger, Lemon, Peanut and Peanut Butter, Rum, Spice, Sweet Cheese and Vanilla. These are the most popular and most commonly encountered flavors (and ingredients) in baking, and it’s very impressive how author Lisa Yockelson is able to concentrate their flavors. While she uses different methods for each ingredient and each recipe, the way she does this is by incorporating the key flavor in as many ways as possible. For instance, a vanilla recipe might use vanilla extract, vanilla-infused milk and vanilla sugar to really amp up the amount of flavor that makes it into each bite of a cake.
The recipes are written well and give the reader a very clear set of instructions to follow, but most are fairly involved and are more demanding than your average chocolate chip cookie recipe. The results are well worth it, although it is something to take into consideration if this isn’t really your style of baking. That being said, the book itself is a good read and it’s fascinating to learn about some of the techniques that Yockelson uses. It’s a great source for inspiration and will probably supply you with plenty of ideas about how to boost the flavor in other recipes you try.
As a side note, if you’re looking for a book that focuses on chocolate (the favorite “flavor” of many, I’m sure) then Yockelson’s other cookbook, Chocolate Chocolate, is worth a look. It’s a collection of recipes that showcase the flavors of chocolate, and a good single flavor cookbook if you’re looking for something a little more specific than Baking by Flavor.