Many of us who take great pleasure from cooking and baking also find immense joy in a really great cookbook. I would be willing to bet that most of us have a handful of favorites that stick out from the rest, that we can flip through in our minds even with our eyes closed. One of those at the tip top of my personal list is Bouchon Bakery. The photos are breathtaking. The writing is genuine. Each time I page through it, I am simultaneously overcome with the urge to bake it all right now! while also wanting to just stop and savor it. To bake from it on occasion, so that each time I do is like a special treat in and of itself.
Even a confection as simple as shortbread is made more enjoyable with the precision and careful instructions of Thomas Keller and company. Rarely does a recipe require me to use a ruler for even sizing and straight edges, but the perfectionist in me is more than happy to oblige. I hardly need to sing the praises of the shortbread itself. If you have had truly good shortbread, you already know – it is an excellent example of simplicity at its finest. They are also a sturdy cookie, making them perfect for gifting as I did with these. It’s probably for the best as I find the tender, buttery crumb completely irresistible. Who wouldn’t?