Monday Greeting

Good Morning!

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday break. We’ve been doing a whole lot of nothing for the past few days and I’m ready for things to get back to normal.

As for baking, today’s agenda includes a new peanut butter blondie recipe from Redbook magazine. My stance on blondies is that if they have peanut butter they shouldn’t be called “blondies” but I’ll let this one slide because #1. my stance is really very silly and #2. the picture looked so delicious. I wish I could make the blondies now, but Fuzz and I are heading downtown to meet a friend for coffee. Will report back later.

On another topic, I got some new cookbooks for the holidays!

For Christmas
— The Alinea cookbook.

For Birthday
— Young Matron’s Auxiliary of the Woman’s Club of El Paso
— Our Best to You! by The Child Study Center Auxiliary in Fort Worth
— The Best Recipes From America’s Food Festivals

I also got $100 worth of Barnes and Noble credit which I will spend on more cookbooks. If you have any recommendations, let me know.

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  1. says

    Melissa, I have that one! Love it! Am thinking about her new cooking school book.

    VG, yes you do!

    Heather, I had no idea. Wow.

  2. says

    You know there should be a new name created for a pb brownie. I’m a huge lover of blondies and love to try new ways of making them.

  3. Kristin W says

    Hope the birthday was stellar! I’ve seen the Alinea book. It looks daunting.

    I assume you have the Gourmet book already, but if you don’t, you should. As indispensible as Joy of Cooking and New Basics.

  4. says

    I made your favorite pb cookies last night. They are now MY favorite pb cookies, too. One of my best cookbooks is Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons, but I bet you already have it. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours.

  5. Rina says

    Happy belated birthday! Any special dessert to celebrate the special day? As for cookbooks, have you looked at the Culinary Institute of America’s “Baking at Home” book? It is an older book but has great content – good background info and tips in addition to classic recipes. I checked it out of the local library but think it would be a good standard to have on hand. I also like Nancy Baggett’s baking book. Or maybe that Sur La Table book on the Art and Soul of Baking? So many choices!

  6. Susan says

    I also got “Alinea” for Christmas, as well as The “Art and Soul of Baking” by Cindy Mushet with Sur la Table and “Bakewise” by Shirley Corriher. I recommend checking out the 2 baking books; I have found the authors’ previous works worthwhile.

    Now I just have to get back to my hometown to eat at Alinea.

  7. says

    Dawn, I think they should just be called Peanut Butter Brownies, but then people would get them confused with actual chocolate brownies with peanut butter. Maybe that should be my next contest — come up with a new name for peanut butter blondies.

    Kristin, birthday was okay. Came and went. And yes, I have the yellow Gourmet book. It’s one of my favortie cookbooks. I love their chicken poaching technique.

    Erin, I’ll look for that one. I tend to like the vegan and vegetarian books because they always have new and interesting ideas. Also, I am thrilled you agree with the pb cookie assessment!

    Rina, I saw that Nancy had a Dessert Cookbook. I’ll have to check Amazon and see if that’s the same as the baking one you mentioned. I love Nancy Baggett’s books.

    Susan, I hear you! We’re going to try to go in July. I should probably make the reservation now. Also, Bakewise is on my list. B&N didn’t have it last time I checked, but I could always order it on-line from them.

    Kelly, I am leaning towards the book you mentioned. I see it all the time but hadn’t heard any reviews and wasn’t sure the recipes would be that interesting. Then again, I tend to like “best of” type recipes the best anyway….and I like heirloom. I might end up with that one.

    Thanks for all the great suggestions.

  8. Carole R. says

    I get most of my cookbooks from reviews you post so there is probably nothing you don’t have. Happy Shopping.

  9. says

    i absolutely love any and all of dreena burton’s cookbooks. i know you cook vegan food sometimes and her book “eat, drink, and be vegan” is outstanding! i haven’t had one recipe in there turn out bad.

  10. Christy says

    There is the Top Chef cookbook out right now and it looks really interesting! Also, I got a few Dean Brothers cookbooks for Christmas and they are awesome. There is a lot of narration about the places they have traveled and the people they have met. My favorite was ‘The Dean Brothers Cookbook: Recipes from the Road.’ It featured vendors they have visited and then included recipes inspired by the products they tasted. Thier cookbook ‘Y’all Come Eat’ was also great.

  11. T. Martin says


    Are you at all interested in baking more pies? If so, I would recommend Bubby’s Homemade Pies. Next time you’re in NY you’ll have to hit up a Bubby’s (there’s one in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn) to try one of their delicious pies.

  12. says

    Carole, that is so sweet. I’ll try to post a decent review for whatever I end up with.

    Randi, that’s one I could probably order off Barnes and Noble. I like Flo.

    Joanna, Dreena’s books can be difficult to find. I think once they hit the shelves at Barnes & Noble, people scoop them up. I love her books too.

    Christy, I’ll have to thumb through that one. I saw a former Top Chef’s contestant cake recipe on the Bravo website and was NOT impressed with it. Dean Brothers….hmmmmm. Could be entertaining.

    Taneka, Melissa took me to the one in Brooklyn. I didn’t try the pie, though.

  13. HeartofGlass says

    Anna, you have most ‘serious’ cookbooks I am familiar with, but for fun:

    A reproduction of the ‘original’ Betty Crocker cookbook for kids–I love the cake decorations


    American Pie–a fantastic book (with recipes) about a woman who travels all over the U.S. in a car looking for the best pie

  14. Teresa says

    I am a big fan of “The Village Baker’s Wife” by Gayle Ortiz. It’s been out of print for some time, but rumor has it it’s back. Gayle’s is a wonderful bakery in Capitola on the coast in Central California. There are some great cookie recipes in there.

  15. says

    Hi Anna,

    How fun to have B&N bucks to spend! I could definitely recommend a few ways to spend that! My favorite fun vegan cookbook right now is Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero. Their hummus recipe is my go-to, and I’m making their vegan spicy tempeh sushi soon.

    I just got a few new baking cookbooks that I’m loving:

    *Baked by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito – I made their Root Beer Bundt Cakes for the bake sale. They were so moist and deeply chocolatey! Their brownie recipe is supposed to be incredible, but I haven’t tried it yet.

    *Great Cookies by Carol Walter – I’m making her Chocolate Macaroon Bars this weekend!

    *Baking for All Occasions by Flo Braker – her Chocolate Vanilla zebra swirl cookies are calling my name!

    *Bakewise by Shirley Corriher – This book looks amazing! I’m dying to make her southern biscuits! I wish there were more photos in both of these last 2 books.

    *The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree (all their recipes give you volume, grams and ounces!)

    Besides these new ones, I’ve really enjoyed The Pastry Queen by Rebekah Rather. Her Christmas book won all the awards, but I like this first book better. We sold the HECK out of her Pecan Pie Bars at the bake sale, and I’m making more this weekend.

    Sorry for the long comment, but if you ask me about cookbooks, I get a little long-winded! Happy birthday and happy shopping!


  16. says

    Isn’t that Alinea “cookbook” incredible?! My husband and I just page through it with our jaws dropped. We’d love to try something out of it – but feel we need to get a chemistry set first! Have fun with it – and looking for a new book or two!

  17. says

    coming late to this but i’ll post anyway, which is that my all-time favorite cookbook ever is “Victory Garden Cookbook” – it came out in 1982 and was an offshoot of a PBS TV show about gardening – it’s basically an alphabetical list of vegetables with loads of recipes for each vegetable. aside from all the great recipes, author marian morash has a really nice tone

    i looked on amazon and there are used copies but they all start at $50! there’s one new for $85 and a “collectible” for $100. i guess cookbooks overall are expensive, and then this one i suspect is out of print?

    anyway you have plenty of other great suggestions here (some of which i shall follow myself) but i still wanted to pipe up

  18. Dawn says

    Hi Anna!

    I love your blog and you have shared some of my most favorite recipes, and I thank you very much!

    Given the name of your blog, I think the perfect book for you is “Field Guide to Cookies” by Anita Chu. I just got it for Christmas so I haven’t had a chance to use it yet, but I love how the book is designed and how much helpful information it contains (it even has a section on conversions, which is really nice to have handy, and I also thank you for opening my eyes to the importance of measuring by weight instead of volume – that is probably the single best thing a baker can do to ensure their efforts achieve the best results!)

    Here’s a BN link –

    Thanks again Anna for a wonderful resource!
    Happy New Year!

  19. Dawn says

    Oops – I just re-read my comment, what I meant to say was that the recipes you have shared have BECOME my favorites! Thank you again!

  20. says

    Hi Anna!
    I’ve been kind of quiet lately but when I have the chance I log on and read up. Your other readers have made some great suggestions! I would love to lay my eyes on a copy of Baked, The Field Guide to Cookies and Super Natural Cooking. I don’t have any of them but my curiosity is piqued. I’d also like to look at some of David Lebovitz’s books. I think I need to find a really good store with cookbooks and hang out for an afternoon. Sounds like fun!

  21. Susan says

    Anna, a late addition: there is a cookie book from the middle of the last century that is delightful and I think you would enjoy. It is organized by the order in which you should bake holiday cookies with those that keep the longest being baked first. I recently posted about it to a cookie mold forum on YAHOO! Here’s the pertinent information:

    “The Christmas Cookie Book”
    by Virginia Pasley
    Hardcover, 1949

    As I recall Ms. Pasley was from Chicago and wrote about cookies being baked for the holidays in that city. I think I found my first copy when I still lived there.

  22. says

    For my birthday, I got Alinea, 2 of David Lebovitz’s cookbooks, and Cooking for Mr. Latte which is fiction but with recipes. Oh and 2 Michael Pollan books and the Zuni Cafe Cookbook.

    I also suggest Cookwise/Bakewise and of course, Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie. I have to Ina books – Barefoot in Paris and her new Back to Basics which I really like also.

    The Braising cookbook by Molly Stevens was a James Beard winner and comes highly rec’d as well.

  23. Cheri L says

    Must agree with Susan…the Virginia Pasley book is a treasure! My late great-auntie gave me her copy of the Christmas Cookie book as well as her copy of Mrs. Pasley’s Christmas Candy book. They are wonderful!

  24. C. Hanson says

    Hey Anna,
    I am enjoying your I came here looking for recipes and ideas for a New Years Day celebration I am planning. You are always such an inspiration. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and sounds like you celebrated a birthday as well.
    See you soon at Mills!
    and thanks for the many, many treats!

  25. says

    i just love your site. Barefoot Contessa Parties or The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook are two of my go to books. I owe you the biggest THANK YOU because my 7 year old daughter won a cookie contest at our library using your Snickerdoodle recipe. I put her on your site and told her to choose a recipe.She choose the Snickerdoodles. I supervised the measuring, she did everything else. Watching my daughter’s face light up as they announced her as the 3rd place winner was my favorite Christmas gift. By the way, I entered Alison’s Chai Meringues, which were a hit with the party goers but apparently not the judges. That’s okay because I wouldn’t have it any other way. We will always remember Jenna’s victory thanks to the ALWAYS PERFECT recipes from Cookie Madness! Rock On in 2009.

  26. says

    Beth, thanks for such a sweet comment! You daughter must be an excellent baker to take a simple snickerdoodle and bake it perfectly. Good job!

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