Weezy-Jean was home sick for two days this week. After a dose of ibuprofen, two American Girl movies, and an epic Skip-Bo tournament, I relented and we spent an afternoon watching Food Network. I’m the first to admit that I’m not a good cook, nor do I enjoy cooking. I do, however, love baking. There is something about measuring, mixing, and a warm oven that calms my spirit. We watched TV hosts visit diners, make sandwiches, and create culinary masterpieces, and I was inspired to bake. With no butter in the house (catastrophic!) I took to Pinterest in search of a delectable sweet treat requiring only what we had on hand. Our valiant attempt – peanut butter honey coconut cookies- taste like paste. Or what I imagine paste tastes like. I didn’t want to waste calories trying paste, so I just had another cookie.
The other big news of the week is a huge storm hit the East coast, keeping millions housebound. Where I live we scoff at the extreme panic that a little snow causes the Mid-Atlantic region. However, if by some chance I were snowed in all weekend, you can bet I’d be doing two things – baking and reading.
For those stuck at home, regardless the reason, here are some perfect reads to inspire creative confections for bored bakers of all ages.
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff. When you give mouse a cookie one thing leads to another. Before you know it, an afternoon of adventure is behind you, and you are right back where you started. This charming story is sure to be a favorite in any household! A reading of this book isn’t complete without whipping up a batch of cookies. Be sure to check out the other books in the If You Give A… series for culinary inspiration – from muffins & pancakes to cupcakes & donuts! PB
Mimi’s Adventures in Baking Chocolate Chip Cookies by Alyssa Gangeri. Join Mimi and her Nonni as they follow the perfect recipe to make chocolate chip cookies. Enjoy the story/recipe book and make your own batch of cookies just like Mimi. Gangeri, a professional pastry chef, has more baking fun in Mimi’s Adventures In Baking Gingerbread Men and Mimi’s Adventures in Baking Allergy Friendly Treats. PB
Coco: My Delicious Life by Kyla May. Coco loves baking cupcakes – and saving animals! With her friends she sponsors a bake sale to save the snails. Follow along in this easy reader – set as Coco’s diary and filled with graphic art illustrations – to discover how teamwork and friendship go a long way. Part of the Lotus Lane series. ER-1/2
Grace by Mary Casanova. Part of the American Girl book & doll series. (Grace is the 2015 Girl of the Year). Grace’s loves to bake and she has big plans for a summer business with her best friends. Putting her plans on hold seems a small sacrifice since her mother is taking her to Paris – to visit the city of lights and delectable delights! But, when the trip doesn’t go quite as planned, Grace needs to whip up a solution to save her Parisian holiday and her friendships. Follow Grace as she cooks up more adventure in Grace Stirs it Up and Grace Makes It Great. ER-2/3
Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood. Rosemary’s family runs the local bakery, and their recipes are magical – literally. When her parents go away they leave Rose in charge to protect the family Cookery Book -but under no circumstances is she allowed to use it. When mysterious “Aunt Lily” arrives the whole game changes. One or two little recipes couldn’t hurt, could it? Continue to follow the magical adventures of the Bliss family in A Dash of Magic and the conclusion to the trilogy, Bite-Sized Magic . MR-4/5
Katie and the Cupcake Cure by Coco Simon. The first book in The Cupcake Diaries series introduces readers to Katie, a new middle-schooler struggling to figure out just where she belongs. When Katie’s best friend seemingly abandons her to be part of a “popular” club it seems as if Katie is doomed to misery and loneliness, until she realizes all she needs is the perfect cupcake to bring a group of new friends together. Follow aspiring bakers, Katie, Emma, Alexis and Mia as they navigate middle-school and the kitchen together! MR-4
The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler. When Penny’s parents separate she’s forced to relocate from New York City to a small town. Trying to fit in and make new friends is tough, especially when the popular girl is out to get you. It’s not all bad, though. There are things Penny really likes about her new home of Hog’s Hollow, like working in her mother’s cupcake bakery, the couple good friends she’s met, and there is that cute boy who has definite potential. But just as Penny finds her footing she’s faced with a decision that could change everything – and ruin the life she’s built in Hog’s Hollow forever. YA -12up
The Art of Baking Blind: A Novel by Sarah Vaughan. Back in the mid-1960’s Kathleen Eaden was the queen of American dessert baking. Decades later five unique individuals, unlikely compatriots, are forced together in a competition meant to crown the next reigning monarch of the amateur baking world. They’ve all arrived with something to prove, demons to battle, and a desire to create perfection in the kitchen. The lessons they learn along the way aren’t just about how to create an ideal dessert, but about how to live your best ordinary life. MBS
The Cake Therapist by Judith Fetrig. Renowned pastry chef Claire O’Neil is finally coming home. With her life in shambles it seems only right to return and start her own bakery. For Claire it isn’t just about the delicious desserts – she can actually taste feelings – and has an intimate knowledge of how to put this skill to work, providing people with exactly what they need to heal a broken heart, take a leap of faith, or celebrate a great joy. Now at home she finds that there are hidden secrets longing to be shared, and perhaps this is the one thing she needs most to heal herself. MBS