Cookbook Review: Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook by Kathleen King

Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook by Kathleen King
Published in 2005 by St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 0-312-33417-6
List Price: $24.95

Rating(1 = Worst,
5 = Best)
Depth of InformationPracticality
ValuePermanent Library
Gift GivingLevel of DifficultyBeginning to Average

Tate's Bake Shop CookbookThe first time I saw this book, a customer was buying it at the store where I work. She had me hold on to it while she went back to grab a few more things. The cookies on the front looked so good, I couldn't help but sneak a quick peek inside. I was amazed at how much was packed into this fairly small sized book! The table of contents alone took up 6 pages, with an entire page or more for cookies, pies, and cakes each! There was no way I was going to be able to skim through everything before she came back! Guess I'd have to go pick this one up to check out on my own!

Tate's Bake Shop Cookbook boasts 126 recipes, featuring loads of scones, muffins, cookies, cakes, pies and tarts. There's literally something for everyone here. The author, and owner of Tate's Bake Shop in the Hamptons, Kathleen King is so confident that everyone will be able to use this book, she even says that most of the recipes can be made quicker than it would take for you to go buy its premade counterpart. Now that's making things easy. And honestly, she seems to be right. Nothing in the book looks too terribly difficult. It doesn't seem like there's a single ingredient that you couldn't find in the local grocery, and most you probably already have stocked in your pantry right now. And the recipes themselves? Only 6 out of 126 take up more than a page. Only one, the Raspberry Charlotte, spans 3 pages. Looking for something really simple? There's more than a handful that feature directions in a half a page or less. And these aren't very big pages! (They're smaller than your printer paper by about 2 inches.) Everything about the book is simple, direct, and very laid back. There's no pressure for perfection here. King states in the introduction, "Have fun! Don't take it seriously. If you screw up, don't worry about it--they're only cookies!"

There's even a section called Healthy Alternatives if you're feeling guilty about the glutenous thoughts you're having as you peruse through the book. With recipes for Energy Bars or Whole Wheat Quick Bread, you don't have to feel quite so bad about eating the entire Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie or the whole batch of Beach Brownies (made with a graham cracker crust and topped with marshmallows. Oh man! Maybe the Energy Bars can't quite erase the damage done with those).

As with almost all cookbooks, my main complaint is about pictures. There's only 8! With so many things sounding so good, I want to be able to drool over all of them! Or at least a quarter of them.. The layout is nice and simple, split into different categories such as muffins, cookies, cakes, etc., but it reminds me so much of More From Magnolia by Alyssa Torrey. They look very similar. But it's not really a bad thing. Especially if you're a fan of Magnolia's books.

My other complaint is that most of the recipes call for salted butter rather than unsalted. While the author may be right that weekend
bakers tend to keep salted butter stocked in their refrigerator more often, most of us who bake regularly have a good supply of the unsalted variety as well. I actually only have sticks of unsalted butter in my fridge. The only salted I have is in one of those plastic tubs, because I really only use it on toast.

I think this book's great for the beginning to average baking crowd. It's simple yet never seems boring or mundane. It's definitely got that laid back, easy, yet elegant feel the image of the Hamptons evokes in me. (think the Barefoot Contessa on the beach.) So check it out. In the meantime, I'll just be here, baking these fabulous recipes, and waiting patiently for my invitation to dine beach side with the Contessa. Hey Ina--you bring the main dish, I'll bring the desserts, okay?

Stand Out Recipes:
  • Orange Poppy Seed Muffins
  • Ginger Scones
  • Sour Cream Pound Cake
  • Peanut Butter Bread
  • Double Peanut Chocolate Cookies
  • Double Chocolate Mint Cookies
  • Beach Brownies
  • Peanut Butter Squares
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie
  • Chocolate Chip Cake
  • Lime Mousse Cake
  • Whole Wheat Quick Bread
I'm loving all the chocolate/peanut butter combinations in this book! I'll definitely have to try some out for Boyfriend!
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Ingrid said...

Thanks for the info. This is actually one of the cookbooks I don't have. As you mentioned just not enough photos and I figured the recipes had to be similar to those I have in my 150 plus. cookbooks.

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