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The Sweet Melissa Baking Book: Recipes from the Beloved Bakery for Everyone's Favorite Treats Hardcover – March 13, 2008

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Melissa Murphy is the chef and co-owner of the popular Sweet Melissa Pâtisserie shops in Brooklyn. Murphy has also made several appearances on the Food Network.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chocolate Orange Macaroons

When I tell people I own Sweet Melissa’s, they often say “Oh! I love your macaroons!” You want an easy recipe? These are easy. Really easy.

Makes 2 dozen cookies

6 ounces best-quality solid semisweet (58%) chocolate
One 14-oz. bag sweetened coconut
Zest of 1 orange
1 cup sugar
3 large egg whites

Before You Start

Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

1. Using a serrated bread knife, finely chop the chocolate. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine the coconut and zest, and rub together with your hands. (This will break up the coconut and release the orange oils.)

3. Stir in the sugar and chocolate to the coconut and mix to combine. Add the egg whites. Use your hands to mix until everything is coated and the egg whites are distributed evenly.

4. Using a 1-oz cookie scoop, firmly pack the dough into the scoop and unmold about 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

The cookies keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze well wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil for up to 3 weeks. Do not unwrap before defrosting.

If you want to, make the cookie base up to 1 week ahead! Just keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator and bake the cookies when you have time. (These just keep getting easier.)

Alternative: Lemon Coconut Macaroons

Omit the chocolate and the orange zest. Add the zest and juice of 1 lemon to the coconut and use only 2 egg whites. The recipes makes slightly fewer cookies, about 20 altogether.

Sour Cherry Pie with Pistachio Crumble

My talented friend Andrea Lekberg created this pie during her tenure as pastry chef at Sweet Melissa's. Lucky for us! It is my favorite pie, and one of the best-selling pies in the shops.

For the Piecrust
1/2 recipe Flaky Pie Dough (page 137)

For the Pistachio Crumble
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup whole oats, ground to a flour in a food processor (yielding ½ cup oat flour)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup shelled unsalted whole pistachios, coarsely ground in a food processor or chopping medium fine by hand
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the Sour Cherry Filling
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon kosher sale
2 1/4 pounds fresh sour cherries, pitted, or 2 pounds frozen sour cherries, partially thawed

To Prepare the Piecrust

Roll out the pie dough into a round 14 inches wide and 1/4 thick. Gently fit into a 10-inch pie plate. Fold the edges under and crimp. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.

To Make the Pistachio Crumble

1. In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, oat flour, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and pistachios.

2. Stir in the melted butter and mix gently to combine.

Before You Make the Filling

Place a rack in the bottom third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

To Make the Cherry Filling

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt.

2. In a medium bowl, place the cherries and sprinkle the flour mixture over the top; mix gently to combine. (If you are using fresh cherries, the natural sweetness can vary. Taste the mixture to see if you need more sugar than is called for.)

3. Pout the cherries into the unbaked pie shell.

To Complete the Pie

1. Sprinkle the pistachio crumble evenly over the top of the cherries.

2. Place the pie plate on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling and thick. Remove to a rack to cool to room temperature before serving.

Fruit pies are best eaten the day they are baked.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Studio (March 13, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670018740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670018741
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.9 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sweet Melissa Patisserie's flagship location, located at 276 Court Street, in Cobble Hill Brooklyn, was established in 1998. Executive chef & owner Melissa Murphy is a native New Yorker and a graduate of New York's French Culinary Institute (1995), where she currently serves on the Advisory Board committee and was the recipient of the "Most Outstanding Alumni" award in 1998.

Melissa has worked in many fine restaurants throughout New York City and the Hamptons, and has written numerous articles for magazines such as Food and Wine, Bride's Magazine, Fine Cooking, Quick and Simple, The New York Times Magazine and Pastry Arts & Design. She has been favorably reviewed by the New York Times, the NY Daily News, the NY Post, Time Out NY, New York Magazine and more.

Melissa most recently won a national recipe contest sponsored by the Almond Board of California ("Marzipandimonium!" 2006) and competed on the "TV Food Network Challenge: Edible Ornaments" (airing December 2007), where she captured the grand prize. Sweet Melissa Patisserie's currently enjoy the Zagat Marketplace 2007 award for "Best Tarts and Pies" in all of NY.

Melissa has experience on camera, having filmed with TVFN on many occasions, including Chef du Jour, In Food Today, and the aforementioned TVFN Challenge. She currently has a series of informational baking videos available for viewing on the PodcastGo! network (

Current projects include a cookbook due out in late winter 2007 (published by Viking). She is also in the process of seeking a production company to produce "Simply Baked with Sweet Melissa", a T.V show based on baking simple and delicious desserts and baked goods.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Janice Fryer on March 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have been a customer of Sweet Melissa Patisserie for years, and am so excited to have Melissa's "secret" recipes in my hands! I made the Fallen Chocolate Souffle Cake (cover photo) for a dinner party last night. It won rave reviews and everyone had seconds! (And was also most excellent for breakfast this morning!)

The recipes are well thought out and easy to follow. The hardest thing about this book is to decide what to make next. I see myself working my way through this book ala Julie and Julia! Next up: Chocolate Espresso Cheesecake with Blackberry Glaze. Yum!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By VTS on April 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"The Sweet Melissa Baking Book," by Melissa Murphy, is a book that lives up to its subtitle: it really is filled with recipes that are bound to become everyone's favorite treats. From `Raised Waffles with Warm Brown Sugar Bananas' in the "Dessert for Breakfast" section, to `Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Caramel-Rum Raisin Sauce' in the "Sunday's Supper's Grand Finale" chapter, the goodies in this book are tempting and satisfying. The `Hazelnut Raspberry Cake' was one of the best desserts I have ever tasted, while the `Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies' were just the thing to eat with a glass of cold milk. Of all the recipes I tried, the only one I did not like was the `Whole Orange-Poppy Seed Cake', which had a bitter aftertaste, but I've heard that others have enjoyed this recipe so perhaps it's simply my taste buds that were the problem. There are only eight color photographs in the book, but recipes are written in such a clear, approachable manner that I dare say you don't need the photos to create even the most mouth-watering results. Murphy prefaces each recipe with a short story, which adds a warm, friendly feel to her instructions. I especially appreciated that she outlines how to store her cookies, muffins, cakes and other treats so that they will last as long as possible. She also includes helpful sections on how to frost multi layered cakes, toast nuts, and even make preserves from scratch. Overall this is a great book for bakers (and candy makers) of every skill level. If you're looking for a baking book that will add oomph to your collection, this is definitely one to try. I'd recommend you make the `Bee Stings' first, which are yeasted buns sprinkled with sliced almonds, drizzled with a honey caramel glaze and filled with vanilla bean pastry cream. Yum!

Chapters include: Dessert for Breakfast, After-School Snack, It's Somebody's Birthday!, What Will We Do With All This Fruit?, Sunday Supper's Grand Finale, and Favorite Gifts.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Peabody Jennifer Johanson on March 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover
There isn't much not to love about this cookbook(my only complaint is my usual one...not enough photos). These are good solid recipes that are not fluffed up(no deconstruction and big towering desserts). Simple and good.
If you are a novice baker you will find that the instructions are easy to follow and the results will be positive ones for you. If you are a veteran baker like myself you find little twists on classics that you most likely didn't think about. All around, if you are a baker, you should be owning this book. If you are not a baker and you want to should be owning this book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By lapenguina on April 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As a devotee of the madeleines at Sweet Melissa, I was excited to try her recipe from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book. I'm not someone who just happens to have things like madeleine molds or hazelnuts just laying around the house. Nor am I a gifted separator of egg whites or recipe follower. However, after two hours of refrigeration and fifteen minutes in the oven, 24 perfect chestnut honey madeleines lay cooling on my kitchen counter. Moist, sweet, and perfect for dusting with sugar. Though my version was not quite as good as the one Melissa makes in her bakery, I place the blame squarely on my shoulders. Her recipe was clear and easy, and the madeleines were believably baked by a pro.
This is my first (only) dessert cookbook, and I don't think I'll need another.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Stuart R. Donald on April 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
For most of us, the first we had ever heard of baker Melissa Murphy was when she took home the grand prize this past year on the Food Network's Edible Ornaments Contest. But the folks in Brooklyn have adored her devotion to making the finest baked goods in the five boroughs since she first opened Sweet Melissa Patisseries in 1998.

Since then, the accolades have been many. In addition to the Food Network victory, Sweet Melissa's was also honored with the Zagat award for "Best Tarts and Pies" in New York City. Melissa and her bakery have been featured in both local publications, like the New York Times, and in national periodicals like Food & Wine and Fine Cooking. On the heels of this success, Murphy is releasing her much anticipated Sweet Melissa Baking Book from Viking Studio, a division of the Penguin Group.

Flipping through an advanced copy with a friend who loves to bake gave me some true insight to the Sweet Melissa methodology. Each stunningly photographed treat brought a similar response from my friend, "Ooh, that looks good, but I would have drizzled chocolate on the plate first," or "Pretty. I bet powdered sugar would have made that even prettier." Murphy's plate presentation is fine, but not the focus. She decided years ago to concentrate on always preparing the absolute best recipe, not the trendiest. In fact, she states in the introduction, "The best food doesn't have to be challenging in its preparation, but should recall our fondest food memories."

Thumbing through the recipes myself later on gave me the chance to fully appreciate why many say Melissa Murphy is the best baker in the nation.
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