Marcy Goldman’s many cookbooks are each a precious gem to own, read, and reread. There is always an upbeat feeling when preparing one of her recipes: her cheery and cheering voice comes through. Goldman a frequent contributor to The New York Times, The Washington Post, Bon Appétit, and Epicurious, and her website BetterBaking.com is an overflowing source of recipes and inspiring ideas.
“One note about the seasonality of this book,” Goldman introduces: “never feel contained or limited. Bake what you want when you want it! A Pumpkin Cheesecake doesn’t need to wait for Thanksgiving to be appreciated.”
Autumn’s offerings include Home Blend Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix, Shoebox Brownies, Toffee Espresso Cake (with bourbon), and Free-Form Rustic Apple Tart. “I gravitate to friends and apples, both new and those of older vintage,” Goldman writes. She helps us “eat our vegetables by the (cake) slice” with her carrot and zucchini cakes. She helps us know if our jam is set with her cold saucer test for doneness for Clementine Marmalade and more. There are notes regarding shortbread molds and fruit cakes, as well as scone and biscuit tricks.
The Winter Fruits Hanukkah Mandelbrot is filled with dried fruit, a colorful blend of cherries, cranberries and yellow raisins. Goldman asserts that her delicious and moist Mexican Dark Chocolate and Hot Chili Cupcakes are wickedly dark.
We come to spring and recipes that “exemplify the mood of renewal in the kitchen, which revels in lighter coffeecakes, flavors of maple, apricot, and a lot of strawberry and rhubarb baking, all to celebrate the change of seasons.” Her Pure Strawberry Preserves encompass chunks of whole berries. She reminds us that “Focaccia can be sweet as well as savory,” exemplified in Spring Equinox Cherry Focaccia with fresh (or frozen) pitted cherries: “Bread is golden, cherries are softened and oozing.”
The Baker’s Four Seasons includes a special tea chapter of over forty unique tea recipes, also arranged by season. Included as well are baking techniques, bakeware recommendations, and some insights into ingredients.
“No matter what the season or the reasons,” Goldman wishes her readers, “may it all be sweet.”