I checked this book out of the library thinking I'd copy a recipe or two. I'm trying to cut down on my cookbook collection. After making the chocolate thumbprint cookies, cherry chip cake, and the chunkies, and marking and drooling over at least 10 other recipes I can't wait to try, I realized I was going to have to buy this book.
The Cherry chip cake is genius. I love maraschino cherries, eating them first off my ice cream sundae or digging in my Cherry limeade drink for the cherry. A cake, based on the old cherry chip boxed cakes, was fabulous. I used the juice to tint the icing pink, a tip she gives, I think the three guys I live with thought it was a little girly but it did not stop them from eating it!
Baking for friends is more accessible than bake shop type recipes. I don't have the other Tate bakeshop books, but I find many other bake shop books are hard to translate into home baking.
The recipes are more what you'd bake for your kids school party or a dinner for friends. This isn't to say there aren't some really attractive impressive recipes, including a chocolate tart with raspberry filling I can't wait to try. It's more that the ingredients are readily available and the directions easy to follow for a beautiful result without a lot of the stressful frou frou work found in many bake shop recipes.
The beginning of the book is important to read, how she measures flour, salted vs unsalted butter etc, will make a difference in how her recipes turn out for the baker trying to duplicate her results.
It is taking a really special book to get a space in my groaning overstuffed shelves anymore, but this one has earned a spot. I would write more but I'm about to go wrestle my son for the last chunkie, a son btw who doesn't like raisins but likes these cookies.
*updated 12/10/12 I still love this book, when I am in the mood for baking I reach past the 30 0r so other baking books I have to check through this one first. The chocolate almond biscotti is so good, I may never by store bought again! The cardamom cake has the perfect amount of spice. The Rocky Road Muffins are so good and hold up really well. For the almond flour I ground almonds in my vitamix. And last but not least- the Cinnamon swirl scones are pretty much worth the price of the book. The scones mimic the taste of cinnamon rolls or buns but without the kneading, rising, etc. A super fast easy and delicious special breakfast for Christmas, or a lazy Sat when you want the taste to have with coffee but don't want to put the time and effort into making a bread. if you are on the fence, have to many cookbooks already (me), or someone asks what you want for Christmas, get this book :) yes, I'm gushing! The recipes in the book are totally gush worthy.