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Showing 1-10 of 30 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 54 reviews
on August 23, 2015
If you don't know much about the terms used in baking I would strongly recommend this book as it gives detailed information. There are several of the receipts that I want to make for Christmas and thank you gifts. I have to warn you anything that taste, as good as, these receipts is not for "health nuts". This is the type of food I was raised on. I am 71 years old and even though I try to eat healthy I still eat things from the past and if it is made at home from scratch; it just might not be all that bad for you. Personally, I love this book and if you love to bake I think you will too. It is well illustrated with pictures of everything so you know what it looks like before and when finished. Happy baking.
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on December 8, 2010
I got the first edition of this book from the library and rushed to buy it...only to find that WS had revised it. The addition of the Chocolate chapter won me over instantly. I have made at least five recipes from each chapter.
They work. And not only that: they work well.
For example, I made the Classic Pumpkin Pie recipe for Thanksgiving a few weeks ago and people actually asked me where they could buy one (the pie, not the book). If I hadn't already proven myself to be a *fantastic* baker, no one would have believed I had made it. Yes, it was that good.
The Brioche is unbelievable (and believe them when they say you will be Huffing and Puffing if you do it by hand).
The Chocolate Meringues melt in your mouth. As does the Chocolate Shortbread.
As if that wasn't enough, the photographs (a must in my opinion; who wants a cookbook without photos) are sublime. The only thing better than this book is the WS website (where they have tons of free recipes).
But for me, what does it is the information. How much does a cookbook tell about the recipes? ingredients? equipment? WS starts every chapter with a brief backstory, including photographs of techniques and "This Is How It Looks When You've Done It Wrong". I love the way they give you instructions for hand-mixing, mixer-mixing (hand or stand) and/or food processor (where appropriate). The recipes are in volume and weight (if this matters to you) and the ingredients are neither wildly expensive (like Barefoot Contessa) nor WS "exclusives" (like sometimes happens with King Arthur Flour).
The only book on my shelf that ranks above this one is: The Easy-To-Use Beginner's First Cook Book: The Cook's Guide to Frying, Baking, Poaching, Casseroling, Steaming and Roasting a Fabulous Range of 140 T

**I accidentally submitted the same review below as a Kid's review**
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on September 4, 2016
One of my absolute favorite baking books. I've never had a recipe fail me from Williams Sonoma. It's wonderfully detailed and has basic instructions at the beginning for everything. There are additional small tips randomly along the way depending on the recipe requirements. What I loved as a broke teenager (when I first got it many years ago) is that it didn't assume you owned a stand mixer. It has side by side instructions for people with and without stand mixer.

I do not recommend this for people that love overly sugary desserts. These are beautifully subtle recipes that are still full of flavor. If that makes sense...
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on January 18, 2013
You know, I wish I had the time to delve into this cookbook more. This is a great book with very serious recipes, like how to make pretty much any fancy dough from scratch, with hours of work and pounds of butter. Danish pastry, croissants, pie crust, biscuits. These are the real deal, it's just you can see why true baking is an art form, and why people might shun carbs. :) if you need basics of baking instruction, you need this book, because it is very thorough.
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on September 13, 2014
One of my favorite baking cookbooks! 'Essentials' is filled with Williams-Sonoma famous technique tips and beginner to advanced recipes for everything from pizza crust to quick breads. As with many WS cookbooks, you may find some repeat recipes from other collections but this source is comprehensive and a great value!
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on November 1, 2016
My dad is a chef and I bought this to replace his worn out copy. No issues with the book or the delivery.
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on February 22, 2017
Had this book before but was damaged in a flood. Had to have another copy.
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on March 17, 2006
If you know someone (as I did) who was trying to learn to bake bread, cakes, cookies and muffins with only marginal success, then this is the book to buy. It is well organized, the type is large enough to read easily, the recipes are clear and concise and the photos are really helpful. The editors have chosen a good variety of today's popular baked items to make with common, every day ingredients that are easy to find at any market.

Williams Sonoma books are generally a cut above most and this one doesn't disappoint.
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on January 25, 2014
Fantastic tips and recipes. Absolutely love this book. I'm not sure why but the weight measurements are off. It will list the weights in ounces and grams, but whoever did the math was off on the grams, so follow the ounces. Otherwise a great book to have in your kitchen.
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on August 26, 2013
This is a great cookbook and is well within the other William Sonoma standards, the amount of recipes in this book is very large and they all are very interesting. In addition, this book includes every kind of dessert you can imagine, and are easy to follow directions. Must get for the baker!
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