At one time or another, we have all thought that there just aren’t enough hours in the day, so sometimes we have to make tough choices when it comes to deciding what to do with our time. The Weekend Baker is a cookbook recognizes this and is designed to help make from-scratch baking fit into a busy lifestyle. Rather than opting for preprepared ingredients or some of the other “shortcuts” that some tv and cookbook chefs these days advocate, this book encourages judicious use of time and the use of slightly simpler recipes to get things done. And simpler doesn’t mean less flavor.
The book sets the reader up for success by providing a rundown of the basic ingredients and skills needed to bake. Having all purpose flour, various leaveners, salt, sugar, butter and eggs in your home at all times sets you up with a lot – and, although this may seem obvious when you bake regularly, tips like these make great advice for those who don’t think about baking until the moment they decide they want some homemade cookies. Beyond the basics, the chapters are set up by time. “Baker’s Express” is all about fast recipes that come together in minutes. “Baking in Stages” features recipes that can be broken down into bits and pieces that can be done when you have time, like making and freezing cookie dough so that it is on hand to bake at your convenience. “Productions” includes slightly more time consuming desserts for days when there is more time to bake or when there is a special occasion that calls for a fancier dish/presentation.
Almost every recipe in the book sounds really appealing, both for simplicity and for flavor. The recipes are clearly written and measurements are given in both volumes and weights. Where applicable, the author notes all steps that can be or should be done in advance, and she also includes brief asides that give tips or explain [potentially] unfamiliar ingredients. Nearly every recipe also mentions what ingredients can be substituted for convenience or flavor preference (dark chocolate for milk chocolate, for instance), as well.