So you’ve got a friend who bakes up a storm, and probably has most of the gear they’re going to ever want. Try some of these and see if you can get some cookies out of the deal.
Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts, by Alice Medrich, $15. Available online. This cookbook isn’t a true cookbook – it’s an inspiration kickstarter. When I reviewed it earlier in the year, I commented that it wasn’t the best cookbook for me, but that’s because it’s how I already make desserts. I’ve pulled this cookbook out for sauces several times since then, and it is a great starting place for people who are afraid of baking. From ways to fancy up a pint of ice cream to cakes, you’ll get a ton of use out of it.
Gift certificates for whole food pods, food trucks, or a progressive dinner. Price varies, some available online. Yes, it’s a bit more work than just buying one gift card, but I’m talking about crafting an experience around new and crazy food. With places like 2nd and Pike Eats popping up in Seattle, Portland’s food pod craze, and the food truck explosion happening across the country, you can create some pretty inventive day trips out just by visiting your favorites and maybe hitting up a local park. Ask experts like @SeattleFoodTrk for advice if you’re stuck, but you can get a lot of amazing food for under $10 at most places.
Brød & Taylor Folding Proofer, $159. Available online. When I was living in a tiny apartment with two other people, kitchen space was hard to come by. I’ve got a much larger kitchen and better gear now, but I still love items that don’t take up a ton of space. I’m currently field-testing this proofer, but I love the design and how easily I can stash it in a corner. As no one in our house can agree on one temperature, being able to proof bread without turning on the oven first is a blessing.
Roots: The Definitive Compendium with More than 225 Recipes, by Diane Morgan, $22. Available in bookstores and online in hardcover and Kindle format. Diane Morgan’s new book takes us into the plants we don’t see until they’re at the farmer’s market, from beets to yuca. Discover the fascinating history and lore of each one, their nutritional content, how to buy and store them, and—the best part—more than 225 simple yet creative recipes that bring out their best flavors. From Ginger Rhubarb Chutney to Chiang Mai Curry Noodles, there will be something new to explore for even seasoned chefs. —Chronicle Books
Collection of Family Recipes. Cost varies. While you’ll get the most warmth from finding out about your own family, not everyone has access to that information. Spending a day helping your great-aunt make gnocchi is something many advanced chefs would love to do, or you can check out the family traditions of others. It’s a great way to make someone’s holiday season richer.
Image credits: Artisan Books, Brød & Taylor, Chronicle Books