It’s nice when cookbooks pack a lot of recipes into one single volume. The only problem with those all-in-one volumes is that it can sometimes be a little overwhelming to choose a recipe from them. Frankly, it can be difficult to remember exactly what is in the book before you pick it up, and just flipping the pages looking for something to make can take more time than actually baking. I find that when I want something quickly, I tend to reach for books that are physically a bit smaller. Fewer recipes to choose from – as long as they’re still high quality recipes, of course – streamlines the process of picking a recipe (and remembering what else I want to make from the same book) and I actually can end up making many more recipes from those smaller books! This all comes around to The Little Book of Baking, a cookbook from Good Housekeeping that features 55 recipes for cakes, cookies, cupcakes and pie, where all the recipes look good and are presented in on easy-to-reference little book.
The book starts out with an overview of baking ingredients and equipment, as well as basic baking tips that include advice on how to measure your ingredients, grease pans and store baked goods. There are very handy pan volume and metric conversion tables at the back of the book, too. The recipes are divided into three chapters – Cookies & Bars, Cakes & Cupcakes, and Pies & Tarts – and many of the recipes are accompanied by photos that look good enough to appear on the cover of a baking magazine. The GH test kitchen is thorough, and the recipes are very clearly written. They even include some basic nutritional information about each of the recipes. The recipes themselves are a nice mix of classics and updated fare, so you can find a basic NY-style cheesecake, as well as Pistachio and Cherry Biscotti and an indulgent Chocolate Caramel Walnut Tart. The basic pie crust and frosting recipes are things that you’ll keep coming back for, as well.
The cookbook is spiral bound, so it lays flat, and includes a number of detachable recipe cards at the back. The cards are perfect for noting your favorite recipes so they can be moved to your recipe box, but they are also handy when you want to write down a recipe and share it with a friend. All of the recipes sound delicious, and they’re all designed to be straightforward for novice bakers and still interesting for more experienced bakers. It’s small, but handy, and a nice addition to a cookbook collection that is likely to see a lot of use – whether you prefer smaller books or bigger ones.