Cook the Book: 'Baking Unplugged'

20090126baking_unplugged.jpgI'm not much of a baker. Still, there are times, especially during these cold months, when I'd like my kitchen to come alive with the cozy smells of tarts browning and buns rising. The trouble is, I don't have a KitchenAid mixer, and I'm a little intimidated by yeast. So I'm absolutely delighted that Nicole Rees has come up with Baking Unplugged, a book that assumes neither fancy equipment nor in-depth pastry knowledge on the part of the reader.

It's amazing what you can make without a stand mixer or years of practice, and Rees' thorough instructions will hold your hand all the way. Her recipes are clear and simple without sacrificing appeal, and most of them include a number of variations—dried sour cherries figure heavily—to try once you've mastered the basic recipe.

Each day this week, we'll be posting an "acoustic" recipe from Baking Unplugged , from a moist vanilla pound cake with three variations and fragrant almond paste scones, to an easy bread-and-butter pudding and a 20-minute brunch clafouti. Michele Humes

Win 'Baking Unplugged'

Courtesy of Wiley, we are giving away five (5) copies of Baking Unplugged. In the comments below, just share your funniest baking disaster.

Contest will end and comments will close at 3 p.m. ET, Monday, February 2, 2009. One entry per community member. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.

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