“MasterChef Junior Bakes! Bold Recipes and Essential Techniques to Inspire Young Bakers,” Clarkson Potter, 256 pages paperback, $19.99
I’m always impressed with the creativity of the talented young contestants who appear on the television show "MasterChef Junior." The 8- to 13-year-old youngsters face the program’s culinary challenges with imagination and skill. While savory cooking is the show’s main focus, it also offers the contestants a chance to showcase their sweet dishes.
Now, a new cookbook offers young home cooks — and grown-ups, too — a chance to try 100 recipes for both sweet and savory baked goods inspired by contestants’ creations during the show’s seven seasons.
“MasterChef Junior Bakes! Bold Recipes and Essential Techniques to Inspire Young Bakers: A Baking Book” opens with a foreword by Christina Tosi, owner of the bakery Milk Bar and one of the show’s judges, then moves into information about preparing to bake, essential tools and equipment, basic techniques and the baker’s pantry.
The book also offers “MasterChef” lessons with step-by-step photographs for such techniques as tempering custards and preparing pie crust.
The recipes, divided into nine chapters, are marked with stars to indicate skill levels — beginner, intermediate and advanced. Some are identified as being from or inspired by the show while others are identified as classic recipes and contestant favorites.
There are recipes for biscuits, muffins and breakfast treats like Cornmeal-and-Bacon Waffles; cookies; bars and bites; cupcakes; cakes; pies and tarts; sweet pastries and fancy desserts like Caramelized Banana Cannoli and Chocolate Soufflé; and custards, puddings and ice cream.
The final chapter is about breads, snacks and savory pastries. That’s where to find the easy-to-make recipe for Puff Pastry Pinwheels with Spinach and Feta, which I think would be a fine choice to serve at a New Year’s Eve or Twelfth Night party.