As much as I’m aiming for a healthier lifestyle, I’ll be the first person to admit it’s not perfect. Life’s short, and every now and then, I’m going to eat dessert. (There’s a saying about that somewhere, right?) I also frequently get designed the dessert category at potlucks and dinners, so I keep a growing list of things to try..and that list just got longer, like 50 recipes longer. The 50 Things to Bake Before You die cookbook, by Allyson Reedy, is full of the best dessert recipes from renowned bakers and chefs, and I can’t wait to dive in.
This cookbook was published in April 2022 by Ulysses Press (which is who sent me the book), and it’s a fun cookbook to settle down with a cup of cocoa and read. You’ll see a lot of familiar names, particularly if you watch any food television shows or read food blogs. There are also recipes contributed by bakery owners and chefs round the world, so not only is there a huge variety of treats, but you get a lot of different approaches and styles.
When you’re learning to cook and bake, there’s the science part that’s incredibly important. Then there’s the creative part, where you get to learn from others’ mistakes and create your own style. Thanks to these 50 bakers and chefs, you can do that without reinventing the wheel. The book is full of ideas to inspire you to get baking, while remaining within reach for any level of skill. Strawberry Hand Pies, by Tracy Wilk from #BakeItForward, are relatively easy to make. Then there’s Chocolate Babka, by Duff Goldman, that requires a little more time and skill — yet it’s within reach of anyone with a little extra time and willingness to learn how to make this amazing dessert that will stun your guests and family.
Not a fan of chocolate so much? Try the Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Curd and Sugared Blueberries by Sugar Bakeshop in Charleston, South Carolina, or the Salted Peanut Butter Cookies by Agatha Kuala and Erin Patinkin, owners of Ovenly in New York, NY.
50 Things to Bake Before You Die is a hardcover on the small side, making it easy to fit onto your cookbook shelf and to lie flat on your counter as you cook. I don’t have a cookbook holder — it’s one of those things I always think about getting but I hate clutter on my counter when it’s not being used, so I’ll probably forever use my phone or a spoon to hold the pages open. The recipes in the book are easy to read, and full photos take up two-page spreads. Bright photography, clear descriptions, with my only beef being that the font is a little on the small side, but not so small as to be a problem.
You can purchase the book to start making the best dessert recipes over on Amazon, using my affiliate link. It’s affordable, covers all the bases for flavor profiles, and while I love seeing the recipes from major bakers, I’m very excited to get additional recipes from some food bloggers I’ve followed over the years.
The first time I opened the book, I flipped to the Grapefruit Tiramisu recipe, an unusual and beautifully appealing dessert I’d never have thought existed. It’s created by Anne Ng and Jeremy Mandrell, from Bakery Lorraine in Austin, Texas. It’s got a few more steps than some of the recipes, but if it tastes anything like the photo looks, it’s time well spent. There is no index, just a well-organized Table of Contents, broken up by categories such as Cookies, Cakes, Pies & Tarts, and more. I prefer an index, but with a well laid out ToC, especially with a smaller book, it’s not a concern.
This book makes a great gift for a baker friend, and there’s still time to order a digital or hardcover copy before the holidays!