Here we are: our third annual recommendations for what to buy your favorite cook for the holidays; while I review a bit of everything, I seem to end up reviewing the widest variety in cookbooks, making it a great topic for this sort of post. Not all of these will be things we’ve reviewed over this last year; sometimes we delve into times past for old favorites, or even give you a sneak peek at things we’re just about to review but haven’t yet. I didn’t review much cookware this year, so most of the recommendations will be for cookbooks.
Chocolate-related books, of course, make wonderful gifts. Nearly everyone associates chocolate with special occasions, and almost everyone loves it. Along these lines, I simply must suggest the following:
- The Ghirardelli Chocolate Cookbook—a delightful, perfectly gift-sized, delicious morsel of a cookbook bound to please your favorite chocolate lover.
- Michael Turback’s Mocha—an extravagant, adventurous collection of chocolate-and-coffee drinks and desserts.
- Michael Turback’s Hot Chocolate—the most incredible exploration of this delightful drink I can imagine.
Other dessert books also make great gifts. For example, how could I not mention Emily Luchetti’s A Passion for Ice Cream? (If your loved one doesn’t already have an ice cream maker, consider getting them one from Cuisinart—I’ve been very happy with their ice cream makers so far.) While I haven’t yet reviewed it, I can already tell you that Elizabeth Falkner’s Demolition Desserts should be in this list. You might also check out Hot Drinks by Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss, or Lori Longbotham’s Luscious Lemon Desserts.
Holiday-themed cookbooks make a great gift, of course, and this year’s favorite would be Rebecca Rather’s The Pastry Queen Christmas.
For a dedicated baker, you might give a copy of Peter Reinhart’s Whole Grain Breads; the King Arthur Flour Company’s Whole Grain Baking; or George Greenstein’s Secrets of a Jewish Baker, Revised.
For cookware, I have to mention the Baker’s Edge pan even though it will be a few more days before I review it (updated to add a link to the review). I love it. While it appears to be an insanely special-purpose pan, it’s surprisingly versatile. One of its greatest assets, in my opinion, is that anything cooked in it (quickbreads, coffee cakes, brownies, etc.) bakes more evenly than in any other pan. Thus, you get both the special-purpose silliness that can be so fun to indulge in when gift-giving, and a surprising amount of practicality.
And finally, if you’d like a gift that could pass for an heirloom, try Grandmother’s Cookbook.