Baking with Amy, Part II: Review of Amy Bouzaglo’s Cookbook, “Baking with Amy: Baking Up Some Magic”

I recently purchased a digital (.epub) version of the cookbook, “Baking with Amy: Baking Up Some Magic” by Amy Bouzaglo, published in April, 2015. This reader-friendly book is written by the chef of Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, Arizona, of “Kitchen Nightmares” fame and is sure to be of interest to culinarians and aspirants of all levels of expertise.

A Beautiful Book

unnamed_grandeThis is a beautiful book, well-laid out, and very pleasing to the eye. It is precise and well-written. It is not a typical celebrity chef cookbook or, for that matter, a typical cookbook, at all. The author is a chef first and an only accidental celebrity after the fact. It contains recipes for desserts I love, but have not yet tried making, as well as a few that I already make. This book provides clever additions, special ingredients, and describes expert techniques for making some of my favorite dessert dishes in a better way. It, also, provides unique recipes and flavor combinations for dessert dishes I’ve never seen before.

While I have only purchased the digital version of this book, I would really love to have a hard copy for my personal library because this such a beautiful book it has a collectible appeal for those of us who collect cookbooks. I have a collection, many of which are vintage first editions and I choose them as much for their unique recipes as the beauty of their illustrations.

Remarkably Well-organized

Apart from its beauty, the most immediately outstanding feature of this cookbook, which sets it apart from any others I’ve seen, is its remarkable organization. A certain notorious chef commented that he didn’t see how a single person (or one with very little assistance) in a relatively small kitchen could produce so many different types of food from scratch. When you see how well organized this book is, you will see how it is possible. With the information in this book a person can produce a great variety of desserts from a relatively few basic recipes.

The organization of the book is the primary basis of its creativity. The author shows you how to do big things by doing smaller things first. There is a great deal of emphasis on doing things in a prescribed way, then using the base recipes you’ve mastered to let your own creativity flourish. She provides you with 20 basic recipes, then shows you many ways to put them together to produce a wide variety of desserts, which if combined with your own taste and creativity could be the source of an infinite number of delicious desserts and flavor combinations.

Instructive, Encouraging, and Creatively Inspiring

The author is generous in her encouragement to individuality and creativity. This book, also,  inspires the reader to generate ideas for improving his or her own existing recipes. Whenever a tip or technique is provided, the author explains why it is a good thing to do. I already have ideas from this book of how I’m  going to change some of my current baking practices to make some of my own favorite recipes even better. The book is very creatively inspiring this way.

For instance, I just made a half-batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, which I’ve been making for years, using some tips and ideas I got from this book. I used super fine sugar (which I made into super fine by using a food processor) and Kosher salt; normally, I use granulated Morena sugar (using Morena sugar is one of my own personal baking touches) and sea salt. I, also, sifted the flour, which I don’t normally do, and the recipe turned out better than ever! This is a tiny example of the tips offered to beginners and intermediates, however, I can already see that the information in this cookbook is going to make  my current baking practices so much more professional.

Recommended for Beginners, Intermediates, and Experts Alike

This cookbook is good for dessert-makers of all different levels of expertise. There are lots of beginner tips for making desserts that are regarded as tricky or difficult to make. It is, also, unique enough for more accomplished bakers. I am somewhere between a beginner and an intermediate. There are certain things I feel I’m accomplished at making, yet I feel I could improve on, and there a number of dishes I would like to try. This is a very good book for someone at my level of expertise.

My selections from this book, which I plan to make first: The Chocolate Mousse; the Vanilla Bean Cheesecake; and then the cherry pie. I have never made a mousse or a cheesecake before. These are two of the base recipes in the cookbook. Once mastered, you can make other fancy dessert combinations with them. My favorite dessert in the whole world is cherry pie and I think I make a good one, but I see room for improvements as I read this book. I want to try the cherry pie recipe in this book exactly as it is written. I am very excited to try these recipes and I will post an article about my experiences with, at least, one of them in an upcoming article. I think I might start with the Chocolate Mousse!

Where to Buy “Baking with Amy”

Buy the book from Amy’s website: http://amys-baking-company.myshopify.com/collections/all

This is the author’s homepage: http://amys-baking-company.myshopify.com/

You can, also, buy the ebook directly from Lulu for only $3.00: http://www.lulu.com/shop/amy-bouzaglo/baking-with-amy/ebook/product-22130871.html

If you’d like to purchase the digital epub version, but don’t have a reading device, you can read it on your computer by downloading a free epub reader. My two favorites are Calibre (which I prefer for my Windows 7 PC) and Ice cream (which I prefer for Windows 8).

Scroll down under “Additional Material” below to see videos showing some examples of Amy’s baking style.

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Meow! Translation: The End!

F.T.C. Disclosure Statement: This is an unsolicited, unpaid review by an unbiased purchaser of this book, who has no connection to its author.

Copyright Statement: Copyright © 2016 by Radical Witch. All rights reserved.

Permissions Statement: I, hereby, grant permission to Amy Bouzaglo to use the contents of this review, whether in part or in whole, in any way she sees fit, including for any commercial purposes, freely and without attribution.

Additional material:

The video below is an example of Amy’s baking and instructing style. This is a video with a recipe and tips for making Gingerbread men. This video is excellent, but her book is even better!

The following video demonstrates one of the Base Recipes, Creme Brulee, directly from “Baking with Amy”:

Other reviews:

 http://www.chicagonow.com/intellectual-chicago-suburbs/2016/06/stevens-book-reviews-baking-with-amy-a-cookbook-by-amy-bouzaglo-of-amys-baking-company-fame/

http://www.eater.com/2015/7/31/9060935/best-lines-kitchen-nightmares-amy-bouzaglos-cookbook

This one contains one of her recipes: http://www.browardpalmbeach.com/restaurants/amy-bouzaglo-of-amys-baking-co-has-a-cookbook-recipe-7102164