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Italian baking cookbook? Cookies & Cakes specifically


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We have a local Italian bakery my mom loves, but they are very expensive and hard for her to get to. She also really likes cookbooks (she reads them even if she never cooks from them :) ) so I was thinking for her birthday I could get her a cookbook that has similar cookies and cakes, and offer to make a few things for her on request also.

 

I'll obviously look myself, but eGullet is always well informed about the quality of cookbooks so I wanted to know if anyone has any recommendations. The thing about the Italian bakery is that the stuff they make seems to me to be not as sweet as classic American recipes, and often have more complex flavors and also are usually on the light end for whatever the item is. (Like even something that's intended to be dense doesn't have a very heavy sensation in the mouth.)

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I second Nick Malgeri's Great Italian Desserts; it's a wonderful book.  Anything by the late Carol Field is also excellent; I have all of her books and the recipes work, they are accessible and are not heavy or dense.  If your mom enjoys reading cookbooks, there is one called Bitter Almonds by Maria Grammatico (she has a co-writer Mary Taylor Semiti) that tells her story of a childhood in a convent to leaving the convent and opening a bakery. The first month the only tool she had was a chef's knife.  Her recipes are old fashioned, but it is an enjoyable read.

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