Every September brings a deluge of great new cookbooks, just in time to kick off the year’s prime cooking and baking season. This fall, simplicity and coziness reign—the new cookbooks out are all about celebrating the casual dinner party, curling up with hearty, warming dishes, and slowing down to savor your nightly dinner prep. From the innumerable books out to lure you into the kitchen this season, these nine are our favorites.
Food 52’s Genius Desserts
True to the name, the latest sweets-focused book in Food52’s Genius Recipes series is a collection of gems—there’s not a dud in the bunch. Think flourless chocolate walnut cookies from celebrated pastry chef Francois Payard and gingersnaps by David Lebovitz, whose blog and cookbooks have not turned out a disappointing recipe in their nearly two decades of existence. There is even a parsley cake from the former pastry chef at lauded Brooklyn restaurant Roberta’s—pretty much the only person who could convince me to make something called “parsley cake.”
Inspired by his successful blog The Brown Table, Nik Sharma’s first solo cookbook marries his rich, Dutch-masters-esque photography with his evocative prose. The recipes within reflect his particular story, one that goes from India to the American South: roasted cauliflower, paneer, and lentil salad; spiced meatloaf; hot green chutney-roasted chicken; and elderflower and ghee cake, to name a few.
Rose’s Baking Basics
This latest oeuvre by the queen of baking is geared towards beginners, but no doubt even experienced bakers will learn something new from the detailed recipe instructions, clear step-by-step photos, and explanations of technique. If you’ve ever second-guessed the size of the butter crumbles in your pie dough, what exactly “soft peaks” look like on your meringue, or any other baking technique, this book is an essential addition to your shelf.
Now & Again
If the words unpretentious, cozy, and convivial describe your dream dinner party, Julia Turshen’s latest will win you over. Her seasonal menus, with recipes like beet salad with poppy seed and chive dressing, sheet pan frittata with roasted mushrooms and ricotta, and even a “no stress thanksgiving,” complete with day-by-day planning, are as approachable as they are irresistible. Keep it on hand for ideas for dishes to bring to a potluck or a simple Sunday dinner. As a bonus, Turshen includes ideas for using up leftovers, produce and wine that’s on its last legs, and innovative, heartfelt gifts to bring when you’re invited to someone’s home.
Fresh, bright, and nourishing vegetable dishes, grains, seafood, meat, and sweets—all of it bright, colorful, and uncomplicated—make up the 200-plus pages of this Japanese-inspired cookbook by Meg and Zenta Tanaka, proprietors of a Tokyo café and event space by the same name. Think salmon with autumn mushrooms and sweet miso sauce, katsu sandwich with pickled fennel and cucumber, and a roundup of basic sauces, techniques, and kitchen tools essential for executing these approachable Japanese-inspired dishes.
Uncomplicated really is the theme this year. Celebrated chef Yotam Ottolenghi—now on his sixth cookbook—joins the fun with a collection of his recipes that are all simple and straightforward, but hardly ordinary. These 130 recipes—think grilled lamb with almonds and orange blossom, and fried broccoli and kale with garlic, cumin, and lime—can all be either executed in half an hour or prepared ahead of time; require ten or fewer ingredients; or use only one pot. It’s a brilliant way to up your regular dinner game.
Bottom of the Pot
This celebration of Iranian cooking from Naz Deravian, which follows her popular blog of the same name, is chock full of gorgeous, classic recipes like khoresh fesenjan (pomegranate walnut stew) and kookoo sabzi (fresh herb frittata). A guide to ingredients and lengthy recipe headnotes serve as guideposts to executing the recipe for cooks who may not be familiar with Persian foods, as well as a way to get to know the author, so that by the time you finish the book you feel like she’s an old friend.
The German Cookbook
This impressive overview of German cuisine—the type of encyclopedic cookbook that Phaidon does so well—is packed with the kind of comforting German recipes you might expect: stuffed cabbage; sauerkraut; spätzle; wursts of every kind. But there are plenty of dishes that will challenge your assumptions about stereotypical German food, too: nettle and watercress soup; pumpkin and pearl barley; broccoli with almond butter. It’s all accompanied with a fascinating look at how German food has evolved over regions and over time.
Wine Folly: Magnum Edition: The Master Guide
Wine and data nerds will flip for this beautifully designed primer on all things vino: Wine Folly’s newest guide covers the basics of wine in organized, illustrated detail including how wine is made, how to read a label, how to properly taste wine, followed by a page-by-page list of wines and regions. Each subject is paired with colorful infographics that make perusing the encyclopedic information a pleasure. Beginners can use the book as a start-to-finish guide to learning about wine, while more advanced drinkers will be able to expand their knowledge with lesser-known varietals and minute facts about relative tannin levels and the like.