Foodies Rejoice | Wyatt’s World

On June 16, The Great British Baking Show returns to PBS with Season 4, marking the perfect time to display new summer cookbooks and sure-bet titles. Here are four fresh choices plus one classic to accompany the series.

  • The Perfect Cookie: Your Ultimate Guide to Foolproof Cookies, Brownies, and Bars by America’s Test Kitchen, eds. (America’s Test Kitchen).
    Cookies are the killer app of the baking world. This new guide takes nervous bakers by the hand and teaches them how to create iconic treats, from sandwich cookies to layered bars. Trusted and tested, these recipes should become no-fail staples.
  • Cocolat: Extraordinary Chocolate Desserts by Alice Medrich (Dover).
    First published in 1990, Medrich’s guide to creating chocolate desserts has won the James Beard Cookbook of the Year Award and the Julia Child Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Among the standard texts used by professional chefs and home bakers alike, it is the kind of book that should be weeded only if it is falling apart, and if that is the case, this Dover edition serves as an excellent replacement.
  • Cake, I Love You: Decadent, Delectable, and Do-able Recipes by Jill O’Connor; illus. by Jordan Sondler; photos by Leigh Beisch (Chronicle).
    With birthdays, graduations, and all kinds of celebrations calling for cake, there’s something for everyone in this guide that takes bakers on a tour of 60 excellent choices—some as comforting as chocolate buttercream and others delivering unique surprises.
  • BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts by Stella Parks (Norton).
    The Great British Baking Show charms viewers with bakes that are a bit foreign—remember the episode featuring what looked like iced hotdog buns? Here, Parks presents instantly recognizable treats such as oatmeal cookies and fudge brownies. But it’s not all old-school dishes. Parks also has recipes for rainbow sprinkles and, in a very Baking Show–esque way, twisted carrot roses to decorate carrot cake.
  • The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes and Wisdom from an Obsessive Home Cook by Deb Perelman (Knopf).
    There’s something about The Great British Baking Show that relaxes viewers, offering a decided sense of comfort. It might be the vicarious sugar high one gets from watching the series, but it’s likely the pleasure of the production’s company. Perelman’s beloved debut cookbook is not a baking guide, yet it conveys the same Can I hang out with you? longing as the show. Pull it from the stacks and share.
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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at

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