Food52 Genius Desserts

100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Bake [A Baking Book]

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In this follow-up to the IACP award-winning, New York Times best-selling cookbook Genius Recipes, Food52 is back with the most beloved and talked-about desserts of our time (and the under-the-radar gems that will soon join their ranks)—in a collection that will make you a local legend, and a smarter baker to boot.

IACP AWARD WINNER • Featured as one of the best and most anticipated fall cookbooks by the New York Times, Eater, Epicurious, The Kitchn, Kitchen Arts & Letters, Delish, Mercury NewsSweet Paul, and PopSugar.

Drawing from her James Beard Award-nominated Genius Recipes column and powered by the cooking wisdom and generosity of the Food52 community, creative director Kristen Miglore set out to unearth the most game-changing dessert recipes from beloved cookbook authors, chefs, and bakers—and collect them all in one indispensable guide. 
This led her to iconic desserts spanning the last century: Maida Heatter’s East 62nd Street Lemon Cake, François Payard’s Flourless Chocolate-Walnut Cookies, and Nancy Silverton’s Butterscotch Budino. But it also turned up little-known gems: a comforting Peach Cobbler with Hot Sugar Crust from Renee Erickson and an imaginative Parsnip Cake with Blood Orange Buttercream from Lucky Peach, along with genius tips, riffs, and mini-recipes, and the lively stories behind each one. 
The genius of this collection is that Kristen has scouted out and rigorously tested recipes from the most trusted dessert experts, finding over 100 of their standouts. Each recipe shines in a different way and teaches you something new, whether it’s how to use unconventional ingredients (like Sunset’s whole orange cake), how to make the most of brilliant methods (roasted sugar from Stella Parks), or how to embrace stunning simplicity (Dorie Greenspan’s three-ingredient cookies). With photographer James Ransom’s riveting images throughout, Genius Desserts is destined to become every baker's go-to reference for the very best desserts from the smartest teachers of our time—for all the dinner parties, potlucks, bake sales, and late-night snacks in between.

Under the Cover

An excerpt from Food52 Genius Desserts


The Genius Recipes column on Food52 started in June 2011 as a weekly showcase of recipes from legendary cookbook authors and chefs that we claimed—boldly! shamelessly!—would change the way you cook. You’d never truss another chicken, or simmer tomato sauce for hours, or feel intimidated by baking bread or making piecrust again. 
And we learned nothing from our hubris, because the recipes indeed took hold and found new life, virtually on their own. The conversations around them grew, with readers exchanging pointers in the comments sections and on social media. Tips for more genius recipes kept pouring in. In 2015, Genius Recipes became a cookbook, which then became a New York Times best seller. The world of Genius Recipes had become a force unto itself, one of the internet’s most generous water coolers. I have been the lucky one who gets to keep showing up and filling the cooler. 

This time around, I asked the Food52 community for their lifelong favorites and reached out to home bakers, food editors, test-kitchen directors, and pastry chefs I thought might have strong opinions on the matter. I’ve thanked the ones whose recipe tips landed in the book on page 267, but many more generously shared their wisdom and time, enhancing the collection in ways big and small. I spent more than a year testing, retesting, and gathering feedback from opinionated tasters at Food52 HQ. (Want to know what their favorite was? It’s almost too obvious; see page 41.) In the process, we whittled this book down to a complete set of iconic baking recipes that will reliably turn you into a local legend. I’m proud to say that it’s a caliber of recipes that none of us would have ever been able to find without the collective experience of crowdsourcing, hundreds of bakers strong. 

Here are the criteria I kept in mind and what you can expect to find in this book—right before you find yourself surrounded by Almond Crackle Cookies and Greek Yogurt Chocolate Mousse . 

What are Genius Desserts? Most importantly, they must taste very, very good. 

They solve problems. 

Most are super easy. A few aren’t, but they’re worth it.

They surprise us.

They innovate and move our baking forward.

Best of all, the more you bake, the more making desserts can become a continuum. If there’s leftover lemon cream, you should definitely smear it between cookies and freeze it for a treat the next time you get home from work in a funk. Stale cake and cookies make amazing trifles, icebox cakes, and something chef Alex Raij calls migas dulces. Pie dough scraps turn into all sorts of brand-new treats—never throw them out. And I promise you this: every dessert in this book also makes an excellent breakfast the next morning.

- About the author -

Kristen Miglore is the founding editor of Food52. Her writing has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, and The Atlantic, and she was nominated for a James Beard Award for Food52's Genius Recipes column. The column led to the Genius Recipes cookbook, which won an IACP Award and became a New York Times bestseller, and Genius Desserts, also an IACP Award winner.

More from Kristen Miglore

Food52 Genius Desserts

100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Bake [A Baking Book]


Food52 Genius Desserts

— Published by Ten Speed Press —