While there is something to be said for massive cookbooks that seem to cover any dish that you might want to make, there is also a solid argument for smaller cookbooks that contain a narrower selection of recipes that you will probably want to make again and again. The Baking Bites Cookbook falls into this category, with easy to make recipes that primarily use things that you already have in your kitchen. Sweetness: Delicious Baked Treats for Every Occasion is another cookbook from this genre. The book is written by Chicago pastry chef Sarah Levy, who used the book to share stories and recipes from her childhood, as well as to pass along other baking recipes in a way that even non-bakers can follow in order to share some of the joy that she gets from baking.
The recipes in the book range from very easy to more complicated, from drop cookies to brioche, and should suit a wide variety of skill levels. That said, the intention of the book is to make baking accessible, so all the recipes are laid out as clearly as possible: the ingredients and amounts appear in table format (no confusing the salt amount with the sugar!) and all the instructions are clearly numbered. Levy spells out what equipment is needed and, in the event that an ingredient called for is not widely available, she notes where you should be able to track it down. The recipes are all accompanied by little tidbits about them, both stories and appropriate baking tips, and there are plenty of full-color photos, as well.
The book itself is also accompanied by a bit of story telling. In the introduction, Levy describes how she got into baking and why she loves it. Her enthusiasm is obvious and it does set you up to want to bake. The also shares some of her “secrets,” meaning some advice about cooking methods and cooking tools that will streamline the baking process. The recipes are all divided up into chapters by setting – such as Work, Day-to-Day Occasions, Hostess Gifts and Holidays, for instance – which can make it fun to browse through the book if you don’t already know what kind of recipe you want to try.