Today I’m bringing you another recommendations post because I’m very fond of these and I randomly got the idea for this one, so now I’m here to make it a reality!! Due to the abundance of free time I have on my hands because of the pandemic, I have been rediscovering my love for baking, so I thought, why not recommend some books based on my favorite things to bake?? And thus, the idea for this post was born! I’m really excited about this one, so without further ado, let’s get into the recs!
Gingerbread: The Resolutions
Gingerbread is one of my favorite “seasonal” things to bake year-round. Plus, this is my brother’s favorite cookie so at this point, I’m pretty good at baking it and it’s a very relaxing time. Despite the fact that I bake it year-round, I always associate gingerbread with home, with family, and with the holiday season. So for this one, I’m recommending The Resolutions by Mia Garcia!! The entire premise of this book is that four best friends make New Year’s resolutions for each other and then spend the next year trying to accomplish them. While it doesn’t all take place during the holidays, the first and last scenes do and I feel like that’s definitely enough for me!! A large theme of this book is also friendship and family and reading this book is definitely the book equivalent of gingerbread for me.
Lemon Loaf: Full Disclosure
Lemon loaves are like my family’s version of birthday cake. I usually make birthday cakes for everyone in my family and there used to be variation, but now it’s just lemon loaf after lemon loaf so I guess my lemon loaves are good?? And they’re a lot simpler than birthday cakes, so I’m not complaining! For this one, I wanted to pick a book with strong family dynamics because my lemon loaves always remind me of my family and specifically of my parents, whose only requests for bakes during this pandemic have been lemon loaves. So, I went with Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett, which is a book an HIV+ teen who has to transfer to a new school in her senior year. The dynamic between the main character, Simone, and her dads in this book meant the absolute world to me. Both of them are incredibly supportive of Simone in their own way and her relationship with them was so well-developed and such an important aspect of the story and I adored every second I got to spend reading about them as a family.
Cinnamon Rolls: A Dash of Trouble
There is something very homey and cozy about making cinnamon rolls from scratch. Maybe it’s all of the scents reminding me of home and making me feel very safe and cozy. Maybe it’s the fact that this is one of the few sweet yeasted dough recipes I make and sweet yeasted doughs are superior to any other kind of batter or dough you could make. But for this one I wanted to go with something that gives me the same cozy feelings that making cinnamon rolls from scratch does. And I could not pick anything other than A Dash of Trouble, the first book in the Love Sugar Magic series. This is a beautiful book about a family that runs a magical bakery. It’s full of love, sugar, and magic, and made me feel very happy and at home as I was reading it, so I absolutely adore it!!
Lemon Bars: Small Town Hearts
Lemon bars are a nice treat to bake, but they’re also very difficult to get right, but when you do get them right, they’re absolutely amazing!! I have had many a struggle with timing the baking of my shortbread so it’s fully baked through but not burned, especially because you have to time it so that the actual lemon part is baked through as well. But ANYWAY, lemon bars remind me of summer, so for this one I wanted to pick a summery contemporary. I also feel like it’s hard for me to like a summery contemporary, but when I do find one I enjoy, I absolutely fall in love with it, so it’s also similar to lemon bars in that way! For this one, I went with Small Town Hearts, which is an absolutely amazing summery contemporary about a girl who works at a local cafe and who falls in love with a summer boy and it’s the most adorable romance and the entire book has such a summery vibe and I just,, love it with all of my heart (much like lemon bars).
Chicken Pot Pie: With The Fire on High
Okay, so this is one of the few savory items on this list and I struggled a long time with finding a book to fit this food. For me, I feel like in a chicken pot pie, every single element of it has to be good in order for the pie to be good. The filling definitely can’t stand aside on its with this one, at least for me. So, for this one, I went looking for books where I felt like every single element of the story was absolutely perfect. And, of course, I came up with an Elizabeth Acevedo book!! I’m recommending With The Fire On High because I genuinely think there is not a single thing about this book that isn’t perfect. The characters and their relationships are established and developed flawlessly and I absolutely adore the journey that our main character goes on. I also really loved the plot of this story, and, of course, the writing, which is gorgeous, as always.
Chocolate Cake: This Is What It Feels Like
I bake chocolate cake maybe once a year and it’s usually for my brother’s birthday (the same one who likes gingerbread), but it always makes me so happy?? Despite the amount of work it takes to put the icing on it and make it look presentable. But for this one, I wanted to pick a book that made me very happy as I was reading it. So, I could not go with anything other than This Is What It Feels Like which is a delightful read about three best friends who used to be in a band together reconnecting and trying to win a music contest together. Our three main characters have a lot of history between them and I adored getting to unpack all of it throughout the book. I also just loved seeing the friendship dynamics in this book and they made me very happy, I love reading about friends.
Pirozhki: The Wise and The Wicked
We’re at the first of the Russian baked goods of the post!! Pirozhki are basically little dough balls filled with any kind of filling you can imagine. They can be sweet, they can sour, they can savory, but they’re always delicious! They’re also definitely a staple in Russian culture and in Russian food and I love making them because it always reminds me of home. So, for this one, I decided to pick a book that reminded me of home and as soon as I thought of that, I knew I had to go with The Wise and The Wicked by Rebecca Podos. This is a story about a Russian family who moved to America to escape the people who were constantly hunting them. It’s filled with Russian myths and fairytales and it also gives off delightfully creepy vibes, which I really appreciated. More than anything else though, the descriptions for the setting of this book reminded me of home and I absolutely adored it.
Bread: Wild and Crooked
Okay, so, this one was actually kind of difficult and I spent a long time thinking about this, but I knew that I had to include bread on this list because it is a staple when it comes to baking. It’s also very versatile. There are many different kinds of bread and they are all equally delicious. So for this one, I wanted to pick a story that had a lot of sides to, and as soon as I thought about Wild & Crooked, I knew this would be the perfect pick. This book is so many things. It’s a story about friendship. It’s a story about family. It’s a story about shifting relationships and buried grudges and it’s about history. I absolutely loved everything that this book had to bring to the table and I especially adored that, at its heart, it’s a story about two people finding each other and becoming friends because friendship stories make me emo.
Sharlotka: All The Bad Apples
This is the second and last of Russian bakes on my list and it’s one that I couldn’t not include. A sharlotka is essentially the Russian version of an apple pie, except instead of crust, the filling is mixed with cake batter and then it’s all baked together and it’s delicious!! My grandmother would make it all the time for us when I was younger, and now I get to make it for the rest of my family. You can have it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or tea and it’s one of my favorite desserts!! So, when I thought about this one, I knew I had to go with All The Bad Apples, not only because apples are a central part of the story, but also because this is a story about family and uncovering your family’s history and I feel like the focus on family in this book definitely corresponds with my memories of baking sharlotka which are very closely tied to my family.
And that’s all from me today! I think the main thing I’ve discovered from writing this post is that baked goods mostly remind me of family-centric books, and I can’t say I’m mad about it! Do you like to bake? What are some of your favorite baked goods? Let me know in the comments! I hope you all have a good day today ❤