Imagine you had a tiny expert baker who you could put in your apron pocket and take with you into the kitchen. This baker would offer helpful tips at appropriate moments, "It's ok that your sauce separated — just keep whisking!" and nudge you toward new recipes, "Try the Jammy Lamingtons. Trust me." Short & Sweet from Dan Lepard won't quite fit in your apron pocket, but it will almost certainly become the voice you trust when you step into the kitchen to bake.
• Who wrote it: Dan Lepard
• Who published it: Chronicle Books
• Number of recipes: Over 280
• Recipes for right now: Sour Cream Sandwich Bread, Lemon and Almond Buns, Rye Hazelnut Brownies, Banana Fudge Cookies, Extra Thin Rye Crisp Breads, Strawberry Tart, Marmalade and Syrup Sponge Puddings, Jammy Lamingtons, Miniature Rose Meringues with Strawberries and Cream, Spinach and Ricotta Pasties
• Other highlights: I've been clipping Dan Lepard's recipes from the UK's Guardian for years now, and I am over the moon that I now get an entire book to savor. Lepard has a way with recipes that I really admire: he explains them in such a straight-forward and engaging manner that I have no fear of failure, and he also manages to give each recipe just the tiniest tweak to make them sound completely irresistible.
Short & Sweet is a one-stop-shop for baked goods. Lepard covers everything from sandwich breads and breakfast scones to soft caramels and pavlovas. With each one comes clear instructions and prepared answers for the questions and pitfalls you will inevitably encounter. Each chapter also starts with detailed information on the common ingredients and equipment you'll use in the following recipes and how they're used.
The book is also beautifully designed and photographed — though my one small quibble is that it's sometimes difficult to tell which photos go with which recipes. Those of you who like to page through cookbooks before going to bed will love this one.
• Who would enjoy this book? New bakers will be learning from this book for years; veteren bakers will find a treasure trove of new ideas and techniques to play with.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Short & Sweet: The Best of Home Baking by Dan Lepard
• Visit the author's website: Dan Lepard
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Emma Christensen)