Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson Chronicle, 2006
Tartine is hands down the best bakery I've ever been to. Sure, every now and then you might get a little attitude from the workers, but every single item I've tried has been amazing. It's where I've eaten the tastiest and flakiest (but substantial!) croissant of my life, as well as the delectable morning bun, lemon cream tart, eclair, sandwiches…really, I could go on. So it's no surprise that this is the one baking cook book that I refer to the most.
With over 200 pages of recipes for cakes, cookies, tarts, and confections, when it comes to your sweet tooth, Tartine leaves no stone unturned. Like many other cook books, each recipe starts off with a description with some tips and tricks. The biggest difference is that these are actually helpful! Sometimes I don't care to hear where you drew your inspiration from or what you were doing when you thought up the recipe. I want to know what will make me a better baker! In addition to their kitchen notes, each recipe includes very thorough directions. They also come with both weight and volume measurements.
I had a hard time coming up with the words to describe how much I love this book. Of course, the design and photography are beautiful and the recipes are flawless. But what really appeals to me is their relaxed take on classic French and American pastries (and a bit of savory food too). There is not one moment that anything in here feels too hard to attempt, too stuffy, or even a bit boring. Thumbing through the pages makes me feel like I'm back in the San Francisco bakery peeking into their kitchen.
And while I say they're more relaxed, they are definitely not kidding around. These are seriously. amazing. pastries. That lemon cream tart is no joke, and the devil's food layer cake is the best cake I've eaten in my life. I might not be doing a convincing job of selling you on this cookbook but this just might be one of those things you have to try out yourself. I promise you won't be disappointed!