With the gift-giving and gut-filling holiday of Chanukah fast approaching, it’s time to start planning what to get your friends and family. For someone who loves food, there’s nothing better than a new cookbook to snuggle up with during the cold months of winter. Also, it’s a gift that gives back, since you’re sure to be invited to enjoy whatever gets made from your gift!
Many new cookbooks come out in the fall, making Chanukah the perfect time to discover a new favorite or gift a classic to all the foodies in your life. From sweets to modern Jewish eats, these cookbooks will inspire even the microwave-obsessed to pick up an apron and try out something new in the kitchen.
Smitten Kitchen Every Day: Triumphant and Unfussy New Favorites by Deb Perelman
Fans of the Smitten Kitchen food blog will rejoice with her second cookbook. Full of “real recipes for real people,” this book doesn’t sacrifice flavor for ease. The recipes are exciting, yet don’t require hours over a hot stove—Perelman wants you to enjoy cooking, not stress out about it! Highlights include: Meatballs Marsala with Egg Noodles, Bakery-Style Butter Cookies and the Ultimate Party Cake Builder—one-bowl cakes for every occasion.
Zingerman’s Bakehouse by Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo
Even if you’re not from Ann Arbor, MI, you probably have heard of Zingerman’s Bakehouse. To celebrate their 25th anniversary, the bakers share 65 of their best recipes, including the famous sour cream coffee cake, Jewish rye, challah and those ooey gooey brownies. With detailed instructions for fearful bakers and plenty of colorful pictures, this book will have a place both in the kitchen and on your coffee table. Now for a trip to Ann Arbor!
Federal Donuts: The (Partially) True Spectacular Story by Michael Solomonov and others
While many know Michael Solomonov as the genius behind the Jewish Israeli restaurant Zahav, he is also the owner of a fried-chicken-and-donut chain called Federal Donuts. From frying falafel to frying dough, this cookbook details the chefs’ donut dreams and provides some recipes that will have you making foolproof donut at home. With flavors ranging from strawberry lavender to pomegranate Nutella, there’s lots of oil to fry up this Chanukah.
Sweet: Desserts from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi and Helen Goh
Beloved in the food world for his savory and vegetarian dishes (he has two whole cookbooks devoted to plants), Ottolenghi keeps the spice, but adds in some sugar for a cookbook of over 110 sweet recipes. You can count on his signature flavors of fig, saffron, cardamom and rosewater, yet, this time, on a new adventure. With recipes ranging from simple Chocolate, Banana and Pecan Cookies to showstoppers like the cover’s Cinnamon Pavlova with Praline Cream and Fresh Figs, this book will inspire even those without a sweet tooth to try something new.
Downtime: Deliciousness at Home by Nadine Levy Redzepi
Dinner parties are all too familiar for Nadine Levy Redzepi, wife of Michelin-starred Noma co-owner and chef René Redzepi. With culinary stars dropping in regularly, she needed a menu of go-to recipes to take the family meal to the next level. Her cookbook is full of favorite dishes like tomato bruschetta and slow-roasted salmon, making deliciousness at home something all of us can enjoy. She takes the time to explain her techniques, helping even the most novice chefs build confidence in the kitchen.
Gluten-Free Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich and Maya Klein
Fear not, gluten-free foodies, there’s something out there for you as well! This book is full of delicious baked goods made with flavor flours—oat, sorghum, teff, coconut and nut—with each chapter dedicated to a flour. Even if you’re not gluten-free, you’ll definitely want to pull this book out for Passover, since a lot of the recipes are chametz-free as well.
Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking by Bonnie Frumkin Morales and Deena Prichep
Growing up with Russian Jewish immigrant parents meant lots of dinner parties with tables full of appetizers (zakuski) for Bonnie Frumkin Morales. This cookbook brings those dishes and others into our own homes, with more than 100 recipes from Kachka, the restaurant Frumkin Morales and her husband opened in Portland, that change the way we think about Russian food. The name of the restaurant (and book) actually has an interesting Jewish backstory, too.
With books covering all ranges of cuisines and dietary styles, the hardest decision you’ll make this year is which to buy for each person on your list. No matter what you choose, chances are it will be covered in food stains and dog-eared by next year’s Chanukah!