This holiday cookbook guide includes recommendations for everyone on your list from the candy-lover, to the French cuisine aficionado, to the paleo eater!
For those of you who are looking for the perfect gift for the hard-to-buy-for-person on your list, a cookbook is a sure winner. We could all use some fresh inspiration in the kitchen, many of us are trying to cook at home more, and most people collect cookbooks these days the way people collected stamps or coins in the past. My eyes always light up when I get a new cookbook!
Here are a few cookbooks that have caught my eye lately; there is literally something for everyone in this list.
An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky
I learned to cook Middle Eastern cuisine mainly from watching my Syrian mother-in-law in her small Damascene kitchen, and this cookbook was a labor of love for me.
An Edible Mosaic has over 100 Middle Eastern recipes, with a focus mainly on dishes from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Palestine, as well as a few recipes from other areas of the Middle East. Recipes are authentic Middle Eastern, but streamlined just a bit for the way we cook today, with unique ingredients demystified and cooking techniques anyone can follow.
It’s always a challenge for me to pick favorites out of my own recipes, but a few of the dishes from this book that are regularly made in my kitchen are Creamy Garlic Sauce (basically homemade mayo, which I cannot live without), Apple Vinegar, Nine Spice Mix, Fish Pilaf with Caramelized Onion (Sayadieh bil Samek), Tabbouleh, Hummus, Fried Eggplant with Garlic and Parsley Dressing (you can read more about this recipe in this post), Foul Mudammas, Lentil and Bulgur Pilaf with Caramelized Onion (Mujaddara Burghul), Chicken Shawarma, Sumac-Spiced Roasted Chicken (M’sakhkhan), Upside-Down Rice Casserole (Maqluba), and Date-Filled Cookies (Ma’amoul).
The 8X8 Cookbook by Kathy Strahs
I love the approach to “square meals” in this cookbook: Kathy (who blogs at Panini Happy and Cooking on the Side) makes everything from brunch to dessert, including family weeknight dinners and Sunday suppers, in an 8 by 8-inch baking dish.
There are so many fun recipes that I want to try that I would have never thought to make in an 8X8, like Carrot Custard, Tuna Melt Stuffed Mushrooms, Caramelized Banana Pancake Squares, Curried Chicken Pot Pie, Fluffy Baked Omelet with Pico de Gallo, and Detroit-Style Deep Dish Pizza. And even recipes for things that I have made in an 8X8 before (such as brownies and macaroni and cheese) are elevated to something truly special in Kathy’s book!
The Tea Book by Louise Cheadle and Nick Kilby
The authors Louise and Nick founded teapigs, an independent and ethically-minded tea company in the UK. This book is a culmination of their knowledge on tea, including information on the history of tea, cultural associations of tea, production of tea, how to drink tea like a pro, as well as recipes for cooking and baking with tea.
The recipes are innovative and unique, with a fresh take on incorporating tea, such as Chicken Tea Broth, Tea-Infused Beef on a Green Papaya Salad, Lemongrass Tea-Smoked Mackerel, and Black Currant Tea and Chocolate Truffle Ice Cream.
Sally’s Candy Addiction by Sally McKenney
If you’re a fan of Sally’s blog, Sally’s Baking Addiction, you’ll love this book. She includes recipes for various candies, such as truffles, fudge, caramels, marshmallows, brittles, and barks.
The book includes classic favorites like Chocolate Coconut Candy Bars, Vanilla Cake Pops, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, Candy Apples, Rocky Road Fudge, and Peanut Brittle. She also includes recipes for fun unique things like Saltwater Taffy, Butter Rum Hard Candies, Cocoa Rum Balls, and Fluffernutter Swirl Fudge. It is such a fun book!
Cooking with Coffee by Brandi Evans
Brandi of the lovely blog Bran Appetit is a girl after my own heart with her love of coffee! She takes this beloved beverage out of its normal context and uses it as a condiment in her recipe for Chicken Enchiladas with Quick Coffee Ranchero Sauce, as a spice in Coffee and Chili Roasted Veggies, as a crunchy addition to Salted Dark Chocolate Coffee Bark, and as a pick-me-up in a Vanilla Bean Smoothie. With so much out-of-the-ordinary coffee inspiration, this book is perfect for the coffee-lover on your gift list.
Paleo Planet by Becky Winkler
I try to eat paleo about 80% of the time and I’m always looking for fresh ideas. Becky’s (of the blog A Calculated Whisk) book keeps things interested with this wealth of paleo inspiration! With these flavorful recipes, you won’t miss the dairy, grains, legumes, and sugar.
Two of my absolute favorite things about this book are the gorgeous color photos for each recipe, as well as the fact that the dishes feature cuisines from around the world. Malaysian Beef Satay with Quick-Pickled Cucumber, Moussaka, Spicy Pecan Chicken, and Mushroom Saag are calling my name, and that’s before we even get to the chapters featuring breakfast and dessert! If you eat paleo at all (or want to start eating paleo), this book is indispensable for keeping meals interesting.
Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Infusions by Jason Logsdon
This comprehensive book explains anything and everything you could ever want to know about infusions; that is, extracting flavors from food into a liquid. Jason (from Modernist Cooking Made Easy) covers flavoring agents, infusion mediums, and various methods of infusing in an approachable way.
Just a few of the many infusions that caught my eye are Roasted Garlic Olive Oil, Root Beer Syrup, Orange Fennel Vinegar, Blackberry Peach White Balsamic Vinegar (how amazing would that be made into a shrub?), Cinnamon Simple Syrup, and Wild Mushroom Broth.
French Country Cooking by Francoise Branget
This cookbook is a culmination of French recipes from each region of the country, replete with not only delicious dishes, but also a bit of history behind them to truly bring the recipes to life. The full-page color photos are stunning and definitely do justice to these beautiful heritage dishes.
From rustically humble recipes like Mamelie’s Bread Pudding from Cher and Stuffed Eggplant from Corse-du-Sud, to elegant meals like Eggs Poached in a Burgundy Wine reduction from Cote-d’Or, Gratin of White Asparagus from Gironde, and Filet Mignon with Brie from Siene-et-Marne, this book has something for everyone. I was completely spellbound by the recipe for Hazelnut Cake, which, according to legend, came from a fifteenth-century parchment found in the rubble of a monastery in Crocq in the Creuse region.
Juice It Blend It Live It by Jamie Graber
Even just thumbing through this book makes me feel energized! It goes beyond just juice to also include recipes for smoothies, savory juices (aka soups), and nut milks. Jamie also gives tips and tricks for the recipes, and talks about the nutrition of the fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, etc. that she uses. This book is great for starting the New Year off on a healthy note!
Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook by Camilla Saulsbury
With so many people discovering that they have a gluten sensitivity, cooking with naturally gluten-free grains – such as amaranth, sorghum, teff, chia, buckwheat, and millet, to name a few – has become so important. Personally, I try to limit my gluten intake because that’s how I feel best in terms of being the most energetic and least bloated/lethargic, so I’m always looking for new gluten-free inspiration.
This book includes recipes for every meal of the day. There are a few dishes inspired by classic flavor combinations with fresh updates, like Fluffy Lemon Chia Seed Pancakes, Sweet Potato and Apple Bisque, and Millet, Beef, and Basil Lettuce Wraps. I also love is that there are a plethora of dishes featuring flavors from around the globe, including Vietnamese Chicken and Millet Salad, Tuscan Swiss Chard and Sorghum Soup, California Sushi Salad with Tahini Miso Dressing, and Five-Spice Salmon with Chia-Sesame Sprinkle. And I cannot wait to try their Ancient Grains Chocolate Chip Cookies!
Two-Step Diabetes Cookbook by Nancy S. Hughes
This cookbook is a fabulous resource for helping the busy cook in your family put a healthy and delicious meal on the dinner table fast! There are over 150 recipes and most of them look manageable for a weeknight (cooking doesn’t get much more simple than only requiring two steps, right?).
In particular, Farro, Edamame, and Dried Cranberry Salad; Mexican Skillet Egg Casserole; Baked Cod with Buttery Lemon Parsley; and Country-Style Turkey and Gravy Meatloaf caught my attention.
Disclosure: I received free review copies of some of the cookbooks mentioned in this post, but I did not receive compensation for this post. As always, opinions stated are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links to products I believe in, which means that even though it doesn’t cost you anything extra, I will receive a small amount of money from the sale of these items, which helps me keep this site alive – thank you for helping to support An Edible Mosaic!