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The Weekend Baker: Irresistible Recipes, Simple Techniques, and Stress-Free Strategies for Busy People Paperback – August 17, 2008

4.9 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What's a weekend baker? "Anyone who loves to bake, but gets tripped up feeling that it's too time consuming," writes Abigail Johnson Dodge in The Weekend Baker, her collection of 100-plus recipes for a wide range of sweet and savory baked goods. Formulas for the likes of Gingered Shortcakes with Jumbled Fruit, Soft Chocolate-Almond Oatmeal Cookies, and Chocolate-Banana Swirl Cake are immediately attractive, but the great value of Dodge's book lies in its organization, which takes readers from the simplest and quickest projects--"Baker's Express"--through "Baking in Stages," and finally "Productions," fuller-dress items like Four-Layer Carrot Cake and Overnight Brioche Braid; these are, nevertheless, well within the average baker's skill. In a world of baking books that offer the simplest and most traditional recipes only, or assume that readers have the time and technique to create multi-element extravaganzas, The Weekend Baker stands apart. Its approach is realistic without sacrificing good taste or recipe integrity. Dodge includes tips that cover familiar ground--get to know your oven, and the lik--but also offers, for example, "Bake It and Stow It," a detailed guide to storing sweets. Features like "Do-Aheads," and "Got Extra Time?," usefully further Dodge's quick-and-delicious approach. (She's also pleasingly droll; a really rich brownie is dubbed "prescription-strength."). With color photos, the book is a real addition to the harried baker's library. --Arthur Boehm --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Dodge believes that when it comes to the often-intimidating world of baking, one need not sacrifice quality for simplicity. Chocolate-Glazed Ricotta Cake, Old-Fashioned Berry Ice-Box Cake, Jalapeño Corn Bread Wedges—all are within reach, with a little planning. The author honed her skills at La Varenne in Paris, specializing in pastry, but despite her serious experience, her approach is relaxed and realistic. To Dodge, the weekend baker is the dinner party host who wants to accompany the meal with homemade focaccia, but doesn't get home from work until six; the mom who finds out her son needs cupcakes for Cub Scouts in an hour; or the low-maintenance sweet tooth who's ready to embark on a baking "production" on a Saturday afternoon, but doesn't know where to start. Supremely efficient, the book will help readers in any number of situations, whether they have a few days (Ready-When-You-Are-Chocolate-Raspberry Soufflés can be prepared and refrigerated for up to a day or frozen for up to two weeks before baking) or less than an hour (Nutty Cinnamon Elephant Ears use frozen puff pastry). Encompassing cookies and bars, cakes, breads, custards and pies, and sharing time-saving tips on everything from using the microwave to soften butter to keeping a well-stocked pantry, this is an excellent resource for cooks of all levels. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; Reprint edition (August 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393331393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393331394
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #277,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
After taking a long haitus from baking because of a busy work schedule, I suddenly found myself with a long-term houseguest who has a decided sweet-tooth, and this book has been a godsend! I have been baking cookies and brownies and cakes galore, to rave reviews: my husband and our guest have declared me a bloody genius! Everything I've tried has come out exactly as promised. Abigail Dodge's reassuring, conversational style is so refreshing, and she made me realize that I don't need huge blocks of time and a bunch of gadgets to get great results. I actually like to bake again. Thank you, Abigail!
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Format: Hardcover
The author's vast experience with baking comes through in this family-friendly treasure chest of recipes. She provides very useful guidelines for home baking in her chapter introductions and encouraging anecdotes and advice in her head notes. Each recipe starts with do-ahead steps, which are great for those of us whose schedules require that we bake in time installments. Let your dough rise in the fridge overnight! It will be perky and ready to shape into bread in the morning! We made the Buttery Pull-Apart Dinner Rolls for Thanksgiving, and everyone raved. The dough for the rolls was some of the easiest I've ever worked with. It was fun for the kids to see how successful dough is supposed to look and feel at each step. (Note: If you make the rolls plain rather than using one of the suggested herb or cheese flavorings, add an extra pinch of salt.) We also made the Velvety Pumpkin Tart. It's richness is balanced by the (easy!) gingersnap crust. We made it in stages starting 2 days ahead of Thanksgiving, following the do-ahead steps. Very convenient! We have a list of six more recipes we're dying to try, including Brandy Snaps, Three-Bite Whoopie Pies, and Pumpkin Half-Moon Pie Pockets. Large type makes the book easy to read, and wide margins left me room to write notes for the next time. Thanks, Abby!
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Format: Hardcover
I love to bake but I prefer recipes that aren't very complicated (a little challenge is fine) and that contain common ingredients so I'm not running around the grocery store trying to find this one item no one has ever heard of. This cookbook has met my requirements!

She has it divided into three sections: the first being quick desserts to whip up for unexpected parties, guests, etc., the second being recipes that you can prepare parts of ahead of time (which she also shows you how to do that with other recipes in other chapters), and the last section are recipes that require a little more time.

At the beginning of the book she lists common cooking tools and ingredients that you might want to stock your cabinets with.

I have made the mini elephant ears which were eaten quickly and this week I am trying the chocolate chip cookies. I love how she explains the baking process in the recipes and I couldn't be happier with this book!
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a cookbook junkie on a short bookshelf leash so when I found out about this book, I checked it out of my library before I grabbed my checkbook just in case I was being lead astray by another pretty cover. Boy, did I underestimate this book! If you have an interest in baking, buy this book, buy it now, buy it for baking friends! I did.

It looks like a simple list of recipes that you probably already have in any number of other baking books, and really it is, but what makes this book so useful is that it's like all the best recipes in those books are condensed into one easy to read, easy to follow and easy to grab reference. It saves me time not because of any earth-shattering shortcuts, but because I don't have to sift through 10 baking books to find a recipe I want to make or spend time figuring out how I can spread out the recipe over time -- that's already done. And the author is fabulously reassuring that yes, you can do this if you have a few minutes, and yes, it will be worth it!

My only complaint: an index of recipes at the start of the three main chapters would make finding a particular recipe even quicker. Currently, I have to mark them with post-it flags, making my book look like it's eating a tibetan prayer flag.

Thanks for putting the fun back in baking!!
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Format: Hardcover
I was working on a project that required multiple baked goods. In my search for a variety, I checked out several baking books from the library. Once my project ended, I had fallen in love with only one book and discovered I had to have the book for my own personal use. That book was, "The Weekend Baker" by Abigail Johnson Dodge.

Now, I'll be honest there are 3 things that I think you should consider if you are considering buying this book.

1. This is a hard bound book, which makes it slightly challenging to keep open on your counter as you work throught he recipe. A couple of #10 cans will easily help you out but it is a bit annoying.

2. This book is said to be for those who love to bake but struggle to find the time. While I agree, I think we forget that there are a lot of people who "love to bake" yet assume baking means boxed cake/brownine mixes, premade pie crusts or frozen cookie dough - it is important to note that this book is for people who love to bake FROM SCRATCH and are too busy. (My friend was disappointed in the book when she discovered Abigail is NOT Sandra Lee!)

3. Further to my note in #2, if you are baker who relies on photo images to assure your finished result is correct, you may be disappointed. While the photos that are in the book are fabulous they are sparse and not available for every recipe.

That being said; The Ginger Snaps on the cover are fabulous! I now have a friend that expects the Banana Cake with Fudgy Frosting every year for his birthday and in a recent search for the perfect "shortcake" this book provided the winning recipe! A wonderful book!
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