Tag Archives: joy wilson

Cookbook Review: Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson


If you’re not familiar with Joy Wilson, the talented writer, photographer and self taught baker extraordinaire otherwise known as Joy the Baker, then you’re in for a treat when you check out her blog of the same name. Featuring beautifully photographed, decadent and imaginative desserts, beverages and savory tastiness, you can’t help but feel…well, joy when you read her words and take the culinary journey with her.

Her first book, Joy the Baker Cookbook which I reviewed here, has been thus far, my favorite cookbook ever. Filled with 100 recipes from the classics, to the new, fun and imaginative, it’s one of those books you want to make every single recipe from. My personal favorite is the bourbon banana bread. Fab.

With her newest cookbook, Homemade Decadence, Joy spreads her creative wings, beginning with an exhaustive brunch section which includes doughnuts, scones, breakfast rolls, dark chocolate croissants, blueberry pancake muffins, breakfast nachos and an inventive breakfast sandwich of braised kale and egg. There’s a variety of homemade toast spreads and a variety of cocktails to accompany it all. A maple bacon syrup and a quick and easy homemade vanilla quick jam tops your Lemon Poppyseed pancakes and all the rest deliciously.

Joy credits her parents with the inspiration behind her passion for baking. She cites her father with giving her the pie gene, and her mother, the cake gene. Working out of a small apartment with what she describes as an oven so small, it requires specially sized cookie sheets, Wilson’s emphasis in this book is on the ability of the home cook/baker to feel confident with the outcome of their culinary efforts no matter the size or bells and whistles of the home kitchen. She lets us know that passion and fresh ingredients are all you need to delve into the pursuit of deliciousness. Her enthusiasm is infectious and the results both whimsical and scrumptious. You feel like you’re in the kitchen baking cookies with your best girlfriend.

Check out the recipe that graces the cover; chocolate peanut butter pretzel cake. It’s a salty,sweet marriage made in heaven. Standouts in the savory category include a french onion quiche and a breakfast grilled cheese made with brioche, brie, ham and cherry jam. I loved the bourbon banana bread so much, I can’t wait to try the banana biscotti dipped in chocolate.

There’s something for everybody’s taste and culinary skill level here, and as the title suggests, it’s a compendium of “irresistibly sweet, salty, gooey, sticky, fluffy, creamy crunchy treats” that you’ll return to again and again.

Be sure to also check out Joy the Baker’s Homefries podcast, as well as her original web series Bonkers Awesome.  And also, I’m free for brunch anytime. Call me.

5 Favorite Cookbooks

Over the years, my cookbook collection has grown by leaps and bounds.  I love them.

While I may not always have time to cook everything from them, I do always keep at least one on my bedside table and enjoy reading them just as much as any other book. Some are more straightforward, while others are good reading, with tips, tricks, backstories and many have gorgeous photographs.

Don’t listen to my husband.  I do not buy the Jamie Oliver books just for glossy photographs of The Naked Chef.  I own a half dozen of his books and a number of his recipes are part of the regular rotation in my kitchen.

Though I have many favorites, (so I think I’ll do a series) I’m going to start out with my 5 favorites.  These are books I turn to again and again for tried and true delicious recipes.

Good eats and good reads!

1. I’m Just Here For the Food – Alton Brown










The Food Network’s Alton Brown (and my vote for best, most informative, creative and entertaining television chef) has written a bunch of books thus far, all of them terrific, but for this list, my pick is his first.  It read like a text book, but in a very good way! It’s not dry at all.  Very informative, less emphasis on the glossy photo bells and whistles and more on the nuts and bolts of cooking. The hows and whys of food meets heat.

2. Joy the Baker – Joy Wilson


She’s a baker, she’s a blogger and she’s written one of the best books on the subject I have ever seen or owned.  Am I an expert on the subject? Only as far as I can tell a good cookbook based on the fact that I would make every.single.recipe in this book if I were able to eat that much bakery and still get through the front door.  Her chocolate bourbon spiked banana bread is insanely good.  She’s got a recipe for practically everything in here, and everything I’ve tried came out beautifully and deliciously.  If you can’t get your hands on Alicia Bakery goods and simply must make it at home, here’s the book you reach for.

3. Mastering the Art Of French Cooking – Julia Child


Well of course.  It would be wrong to leave Julia off the list, and why would I? It took me far too long to acquire this one for my collection, but when I finally did, I was so glad. It’s a classic for a reason.  All the technique, all the classic recipes, and laid out for the home cook to realistically pull off. A must have for anyone looking to put together a comprehensive cookbook collection.

4. Jamie’s Food Revolution – Jamie Oliver 

He’s written a slew of books, and I have a bunch of them.  I have a few favorites, but for this list, I’m going to recommend this one because it’s a good, basic, comprehensive compendium for the home cook.  On these pages you’ll find recipes for home made salad dressings, spice mixes, everyday meals, the classics like soups, stews and roasts and how to do them perfectly, as well as an entire section of Indian recipes complete with spice mixes. There are easy, yet elegant desserts and Oliver’s ever present fish and home made pasta recipes.  Here are recipes that don’t rely on long and expensive ingredient lists or intimidating technique. It’s good cooking for everyday and dinner parties for everyday people.

5. 5 Ingredient Fix – Claire Robinson 


The former Food Network Star who hosted her own show with the same name as the cookbook, gets my vote for number 5 because she means it when she says that every recipe is comprised of 5 ingredients. There are so many good ones here. I love her cocktail party small bites and her cocktail recipes are terrific, especially one that I have adopted as a regular at my house: the espresso martini.  The breakfast section provides some of my favorites right off the bat. Brioche french toast and maple bacon? Get outta town!  Desserts, amazing entrees, all incredibly doable and yes, the photography is lush.  I do enjoy some good food photography.

What are some of your favorite cookbooks?

Featured Image