Fans of the hit show NCIS will immediately recognize the face of Pauley Perrette on the cover of Donna Bell’s Bake Shop: Recipes and Stories of Family, Friends, and Food. She plays forensic analyst Abby Sciuto on the show – but what you may not know is that she also owns a popular bakery in New York with her two best friends. Donna Bell’s Bake Shop specializes in homemade, Southern-style baked goods.
book walks readers through the whole history of the bakery, starting with classic recipes that inspired the three bakery founders to start a love affair with baked goods in the first place. The second portion of the book talks about the idea for opening the bakery, while the final sections are all about opening the show and where they see the bakery going into the future. This charming story gives the book a great outline and makes the book fun to read even if you don’t make any of the recipes right away, but the recipes give the book most of its substance. They range from classic Buttermilk Biscuits to a delightful Champagne Cake with Strawberry Buttercream, with recipes for scones, muffins, pies and cakes along the way.
The recipes are very accessible, using common ingredients and straightforward techniques, just like your grandmother may have done – but likely with more accurate measurements (since I’ve met a few grandmothers who tend to “eyeball” their recipes). The range of recipes included ensures that you’ll be looking to this book for inspiration for brunch, dessert and snack times in between. Most of the recipes are illustrated with beautiful photos that will get your mouth watering and inspire you to bake just as much as the stories that you get throughout the book.