Our Favorite Recipes from Cookbook Authors
Double-Chocolate Layer Cake
According to Ina Garten, “This is the most fabulous chocolate cake that I’ve ever made." The buttermilk keeps the cake moist and light, and the bit of coffee in the cake and frosting keeps the sweetness in check. She's published plenty of cookbooks, including a great one with everyday recipes.
Barefoot Contessa at Home: Everyday Recipes You'll Make Over and Over Again, $19 at amazon.com
Grilled Strip Steaks with Sweet Potato Hash Browns
Chef Frank Stitt, author of Frank Stitt's Bottega Favorita with Katherine Cobbs, notices a marked difference between strip steaks cooked with the bone and those cooked without it: "There is this added flavor that the bone lends to the beef, and it keeps the meat around the bone especially tender," he says. Stitt pairs these steaks with smoky sweet potato hash browns.
Frank Stitt's Bottega Favorita, $27 at amazon.com
Vanilla Pudding With Macerated Stone Fruits and Shortbread
Macerating peaches, plums and cherries with vanilla and sugar creates a rich juice that is fabulous spooned over silky pudding. Thomas Keller serves the dessert with buttery, crumbly shortbread, a staple at his Bouchon Bakeries, (the namesake for one of his cookbooks).
Bouchon Bakery (The Thomas Keller Library), $35 at amazon.com
Orange-Cranberry Scones with Turbinado Sugar
Cooks are discovering that agave nectar, Indian jaggery and other natural sweeteners have nuanced flavors that white sugar doesn't plus, unprocessed sweeteners may be richer in minerals and less likely to cause spikes in blood-sugar levels. In Mani Niall's cookbook, Sweet!, he champions these ingredients. His pleasantly dense cranberry-studded scones, for instance, get a toffeelike flavor from light brown turbinado sugar, which has large, crunchy crystals.
Sweet!: From Agave to Turbinado, Home Baking with Every Kind of Natural Sugar and Sweetener, $5 at amazon.com
Smoky Glazed Asparagus
Chef Nate Appleman and Shelley Lindgren wrote A16: Food + Wine with Kate Leahy in 2008. Appleman swears by coating vegetables with a mayonnaise-based marinade; it creates a beautifully blistered crust when grilled. Here he offers a marinade for asparagus that is also fabulous on broccoli and fennel.
A16: Food + Wine, $25 at amazon.com
Sautéed Bass with Lemongrass
The famed French chef published The Complete Robuchon. "When you travel a lot," Joël Robuchon says, "you pick up ideas all over the place." Thai ingredients were the inspiration for this beguiling dish. Yet even though the cream sauce and finishing oil are infused with lemongrass, the refinement of the cooking is entirely French.
The Complete Robuchon, $30 at amazon.com
Butterscotch-Glazed Coffee Shortbread Bars
Roast Chicken Cacciatore with Red Wine Butter
Giada De Laurentiis is a chicken cacciatore expert: She's been making variations of it for years. For this exceptional version, the chef roasts a whole bird with red wine butter under the skin, on a bed of fennel, cherry tomatoes and Peppadew peppers. De Laurentiis published Giada's Kitchen in 2008.
Giada's Kitchen: New Italian Favorites, $12 at amazon.com
Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Fried Onions and Parsley
Alison Roman's tip for these potatoes: "Don’t oversteam or they will fall apart, never giving them a chance to hit that oil. Don’t understeam or you’ll never be able to crush them. Let them cool a bit before you smash them so they also dry out a bit, making them less likely to fall apart. The oil must be hot. Think of this as a shallow-fry: if the oil is not hot enough, it will soak into the potato rather than crisp it up.” Find more of her dinner wisdom in her cookbook Dining In.
Dining In: Highly Cookable Recipes, $20 at amazon.com
Strawberry-Pistachio Sweet Rolls
"After years of adapting recipes from superstar chefs, I know when you really have to sift the flour or peel the tomatoes and when it's OK to skip that step, or when a soup needs to be strained and when it's perfectly delicious as is." You can find all of Justin Chapple's tips throughout the recipes in Just Cook It!, including these sweet rolls. While both sweet and savory fillings are numerous, we love the combination of fresh strawberry preserves and chopped pistachios.
Just Cook It!, $17 at amazon.com
Za’atar Baked Eggs
In her teens, Gail Simmons spent a summer on a kibbutz in Israel working in her first professional kitchen. "I was assigned to breakfast duty and fell in love with scrambling, poaching, and frying eggs by the dozens. Today, one of my go-to brunches is baked eggs in a cherry tomato–pepper mix seasoned with the Mediterranean spice blend za’atar. It never fails to conjure happy memories of that magical time." Find these eggs and more in her cookbook Bringing It Home.
Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating, $20 at amazon.com
Pappardelle with White Bolognese
Andrew Carmellini and Gwen Hyman published Urban Italian in 2008. Carmellini serves this tomato-free take on the classic pasta sauce at Locanda Verde, his modern Italian taverna inside Robert De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel. He simmers ground veal and pork in white wine and half-and-half, creating a velvety cream sauce to toss with pappardelle.
Urban Italian: Simple Recipes and True Stories from a Life in Food, $30 at amazon.com
Mashed-Potato Casserole with Sage and Fontina
Carla Hall shows us that soul food is more than barbecue and mac and cheese. Traditionally a plant-based cuisine, everyday soul food is full of veggie goodness that’s just as delicious as cornbread and fried chicken. (But let's be honest, we still want that cornbread too).
Carla Hall's Soul Food: Everyday and Celebration, $20 at amazon.com