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And on the fifth day of the 12 days of cookbooks I give you The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMasco and Mindy Fox.

Honestly, 2009 is a year where you could probably buy four or five baking books for the baker in your life. That’s how many high calibre baking books have been published this year (if not more) and DeMasco and Fox’s book certainly ranks among those.

When they say good things come in small packages, they aren’t kidding. While not a huge book, this cookbook is a passionate testament to baking as an art form. Except that you don’t have to be a brilliantly talented artist to do this. Anyone can bake and this book is accessible to everyone, from the beginner to the more seasoned baker.

I feel like I’ve written this about a million times this year but had I had the time, I probably would have tried at least half the recipes in the book (I fully intend on trying many more over the holidays). Everything is so enticing from the scone recipes, to the brioche recipes, to the doughnut recipes, to the tart recipes and so on and so on.

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I managed to make the Chocolate Chip Scones, which have instantly become my very favourite scones ever. Made with heavy cream, they are the standard by which I shall judge all scones from now on.

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While I did not take a picture of the next dessert I tried, I loved it so much that I ended up eating almost all of it myself, something I rarely do. It’s called Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Panna Cotta and I’ve decided I’m going to spend the holidays holed up in my house eating batch after batch of it.

Try and stop me.

Beautiful photographs. Great recipes. And one of my most favourite features: many of the recipes include suggestions on other recipes in the book that compliment what you’ve made, so you can pair up recipes. Great idea!

Okay. That’s enough. Put this book in someone’s Christmas stocking. I’m off to eat more panna cotta.

Ciao!