When the food sections run in the newspapers every week, I usually skim through them to see if any recipes catch my eye before going back and reading through the articles. Naturally, baking and dessert recipes tend to catch my eye more than others. The problem with collecting newspaper recipes is that they are very hard to organize. This is true even if you have a nice recipe binder to store them in – after all, a notebook full of clippings doesn’t index itself. This is precisely why it is wonderful to have a compendium like The New York Times Dessert Cookbook, where all those dessert recipes from well known chefs and popular cookbooks are neatly bound together, indexed and easy to reference.
The cookbook includes cakes, cookies and brownies, souffle, crisps, pies, fruit desserts, “fancy desserts,” custards, puddings, frozen desserts and candies. In other words, you get a little bit of everything. Most of the recipes stand alone with just a small attribution to their source, but there are a few in each chapter that are accompanied by the article where they were originally featured, so you get some good background on those dishes (or the cook who created them) as well. The recipes are fairly straightforward and easy to follow, having been previous streamlined for publication. There aren’t too many photos, but that’s often the case with newspaper recipes, so it’s not entirely unexpected.
In addition to the dessert recipes, there are a handful of other tidbits from the Times that complement the sweets. For instance, you’ll find some notes about wine from Eric Asimov and a couple of pieces by Amanda Hesser about useful kitchen/baking equipment. Again, they’re nice pieces to have on file and this is a convenient way to find them – even though you’ll lose a bit of the novelty of discovering a long-lost clipping underneath the fridge when you finally get around to cleaning under there!