Food tv shows, as well as magazines and cookbooks, often stress that cooking should be seasonal. Ingredients like fruits and vegetables taste the best when they are ripe and in season, after all. While cooking seasonally is often stressed, it is worth noting that baking can be done seasonally, as well. A freshly baed chocolate chip cookies is delicious every day of the year and doesn’t require any seasonal ingredients, but there are many recipes – from pies to muffins to tarts – that can be made even more delicious by sticking to in-season ingredients. The Baker’s Four Seasons is a cookbook that celebrates the seasons, spotlighting ingredients that are at their best for each particular season and offering up recipes that should be tried at least once before this season rolls over to the next one.
The book is divided up into seasons – Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter – but it is also divided up into “big baking” and “small baking” ideas. The “small” ideas tend to be more casual baked goods, such as muffins, cookies and cupcakes. The “big” bakes include layer cakes and pies, as well as holiday and special occasion recipes. It’s a slightly unusual way to divide up a cookbook, however it also makes it easy to find the type of dish you might be looking to bake very easily. Not every recipe is fruit-based, and the seasonal recipes include chilled desserts (for summer) and richer, more indulgent desserts (for winter) when seasonally appropriate. The recipes are clearly written, walking you through each step to ensure that you get good results no matter what season you are baking in.
In addition to all the baked goods, this book comes with a chapter decidated to tea, coffee and other beverages that you might want to pair with your baked goods. This is a nice touch, since I know that I always like to serve something alongside whatever I bake, even if it is a simple pot of coffee. The recipes are also seasonal in this section, with Sun Tea for summer entertaining and rich spiced hot chocolate for chilly nights.