Ask a cook if there's such a thing as too many cookbooks and here's the answer you'll get: "Never." That perspective comes in handy this time of year, when we're on the hunt for last-minute gifts and stocking-stuffers.

Good thing it's been another banner year for cookbooks, with more than a dozen top-shelf offerings from local authors alone. But it's a big, delicious world, and there are titles to fit every type of personality, cuisine and cooking method. Here are a handful of titles to consider for both well seasoned cooks and bakers or those just starting out. And while you're at your favorite bookstore, don't forget to pick up one for yourself. Remember, you can never have too many.

For 'Great British Baking Show' fans

The judges of the hit show have been busy during the offseason. Prue Leith just released "Bliss on Toast," which has 75 recipes ranging from simple to challenging. Toast can be anything from multigrain bread to panettone and naan in this book, which is colorful and genteel, much like you'd imagine Prue to be. (Bloomsbury, $26)

Paul Hollywood goes back to the basics in "Bake: My Best Ever Recipes for the Classics." Cakes, cookies, scones, pastries, pies, desserts — the longtime baking pro offers his tips and tricks to them all. Start simple (Victoria Sandwich) and work your way through more complex recipes (croissants) — all will be deserving of Hollywood's signature handshake. (Bloomsbury, $40)

And Edd Kimber, the show's inaugural winner, wrote and photographed "Small Batch Bakes," which is a brilliant book filled with recipes for one to six people, including one for an emergency chocolate chip cookie. Plus he has an affinity for our homegrown Nordic Ware. What's not to love? (Kyle Books, $23)

For the practical cook

Rare is the cook who hasn't encountered the red-and-white plaid tome "Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook." This year it turned 100, and celebrated with a spiffy update. It's still an expert guide on how to cook, but with fresh takes, more pictures, current trends, customizable meals and many meatless offerings. The only thing missing: It's no longer in binder form. An essential for everyone's collection. (IPG Publishing, $35)

With all eyes on food prices, these two cookbooks came at a perfect time. The always-reliable America's Test Kitchen's "The Complete Modern Pantry" has more than 350 recipes and thorough instructions on how to best stock a pantry (including a "freezer pantry") for today's recipes, what never to throw out (pickle juice) with pantry improv lessons sprinkled throughout. This is one to savor, even for experienced cooks. (America's Test Kitchen, $35)

"Cook What You Have" from Milk Street's Christopher Kimball applies the same logic but raises the bar — and gives the contents of your pantry a serious upgrade. A handy recipe breakdown by ingredient opens the book, which is helpful when you're looking for ways to use the six cans of black beans in your cupboard. We have yet to be disappointed by a Milk Street book, and this is no exception. (Voracious, $35)

The appetite for one-pot recipes isn't waning, and the New York Times' Melissa Clark enters the fray with "Dinner in One." The "one" can be sheet pans, skillets, Dutch oven, casseroles, multicookers and more, giving cooks plenty of variety without being beholden to a single cooking method. With ideas for pastas, breakfast, dessert and tips on how to add more vegetables to recipes or how to give them a "vegan upgrade," this is one you'll turn to time and time again. (Clarkson Potter, $30)

For your favorite baker

There are reasons King Arthur Baking Co. is royalty in the baking community, and this cookbook is among them. The Vermont-based baking school shares its 100 best recipes and techniques in "The King Arthur Baking School: Lessons and Recipes for Every Baker," a full-color cookbook that is a perfect lesson plan for winter. Let the experts guide you through puff pastry, Napoleons, bagels, cakes, pies, tarts — all stripped down to the basics. It's as if your favorite teacher wrote a book. (Countryman Press, $45)

Cook's Illustrated, which has mastered the art of no detail being too small, offers more than 600 recipes in the massive (and stunning) "Desserts Illustrated: The Ultimate Guide to All Things Sweet." It goes beyond baked goods with a trove of candies, custards and simple fruit-forward recipes. Accompanied by photos and Cook's hallmark line drawings, think of this as part handbook, part cookbook — and all fabulous. (America's Test Kitchen, $45)

For those who think all French desserts have to be fussy, award-winning author Aleksandra Crapanzano's "Gâteau: The Surprising Simplicity of French Cakes" is for you. She turns to classic recipes popular with Parisian home cooks that aren't quite as fussy, but are still irresistible. And still very French, with an entire chapter on madeleines and financiers. The book and recipes are both beautiful in their simplicity, but there's a caveat for visual learners: There are no pictures. (Scribner, $30)

Baking dynamo Rose Levy Beranbaum adds to her biblical series with "The Cookie Bible," a follow-up to "The Baking Bible" and "The Cake Bible." Beranbaum covers the classics (chocolate chip) and gets creative with them, too (caramel surprise snickerdoodle). There are, of course, lessons, tips and advice throughout. And if you need another reason to pick this up, here's one straight from Beranbaum: "Cookies are fun, and they make people of all ages happy." (Harvest, $35)

The author of "Sheet Pan Suppers" has turned her attention to "Sheet Pan Sweets." Through this fun, laid-back book, Molly Gilbert shows that using an 18-by-13-inch baking sheet doesn't mean you have to sacrifice creativity. Layer cake? No problem. Boston cream pie? Done. It's an ideal gift for someone who loves to bake but doesn't have the time or room for all the baking bells and whistles. (Union Square & Co., $24)

For the up-to-date foodie

Claire Saffitz has followed up her wildly popular "Dessert Person" with "What's for Dessert: Simple Recipes for Dessert People." There are more than 100 streamlined recipes made for people who love dessert, even if they aren't great at making it. (Clarkson Potter, $37.50)

New York Times contributor Ali Slagle makes mealtime easy with" "I Dream of Dinner (So You Don't Have To)." It's organized by main ingredients and recipes come together with fewer than eight ingredients — and in less than 45 minutes. (Clarkson Potter, $30)

The popular family-run culinary and travel blog "The Woks of Life" is now in cookbook form. The Leung family, parents Bill and Judy and daughters Sarah and Kaitlin, offer not only a source of recipes and techniques, but a lesson in traditional Chinese cooking updated for today's cooks. (Clarkson Potter, $35)

"Diasporican: A Puerto Rican Cookbook" is Illyanna Maisonet's ode to not only her family, but to the preservations of the island's foodways. (Ten Speed Press, $32.50)

"Mi Cocina," by Rick Martinez takes readers along on a culinary journey through Mexico and re-creates recipes from his travels. (Clarkson Potter, $35)

And author Kwame Onwuachi weaves stories of his travels, connecting food and culture, in his first cookbook, "My America: Recipes From a Young Black Chef." (Knopf, $35)

Smoked Salmon, Wasabi and Avocado on Granary Bread

Serves 2.

"This is not on toast, but it is bliss," writes Prue Leith in "Bliss on Toast" (Bloomsbury, $26). "The texture is so decadently soft, it seemed a pity to spoil it with crunchy toast, so I have stuck to bread. I had something like this, made with home-cured gravlax, in a Michelin-starred restaurant. As gravlax (which is raw unsmoked salmon cured with salt, sugar and lots of dill) is not easy to find and takes at least two days to make, I thought bought smoked salmon would be easier. But if you can get gravlax, give it a try. It's sweeter and milder." Note: You can sometimes buy wasabi paste in tubes, but it's usually sold as dry powder and must be mixed to a paste with a little water.

• 2 tbsp. cream cheese

• 1 tsp. wasabi paste (see Note)

• 2 slices of granary bread

• 1 ripe avocado

• 6 oz. smoked salmon or gravlax

• Finely grated zest of 1 lime

• 1/2 tsp. each of black and white sesame seeds

• Pea shoots or tendrils, optional


Mix the cheese with the wasabi and spread it on the bread.

Slice the avocado thinly and put it in an even layer on top of the wasabi-cheese mix, then cover with the smoked salmon.

Sprinkle on the lime zest and sesame seeds and garnish with the pea shoots or tendrils, if you have found any.

Victoria Sandwich

Serves 8 to 10.

"If you're new to baking, this should be your very first cake. If you get it right, everything else will be easy," writes Paul Hollywood in "Bake: My Best Ever Recipes for the Classics" (Bloomsbury, $40). "You can make a Victoria sandwich using the all-in-one method, where you mix everything together in a bowl at the same time, but I encourage you to cream the fats and sugar together before adding the eggs, flour and raising agent, as you'll learn a lot about baking this way."

• 4 large eggs (keep in shells)

• 1 1/4 c. superfine sugar, plus more for sprinkling

• 1 3/4 c. plus 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

• 3 tsp. baking powder

• 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease the pans

• 1/2 c. (1 stick) margarine, softened

• 1/2 c. quality raspberry preserves


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8-inch cake pans and line the bases with parchment paper. Weigh the eggs first (in their shells), then weigh the same quantity of sugar and flour. For the butter and the margarine, you need half the weight of the eggs.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, margarine and sugar together using an electric whisk until pale in color and light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again.

Beat the eggs together in a pitcher, then gradually add to the mixture, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again. Sift the flour and baking powder over the surface of the mixture and gently fold in, using a large metal spoon.

Divide the mixture between the prepared cake pans. To ensure the cakes are exactly the same size you can weigh the cake mixture into each pan. Gently smooth the surface with the back of the spoon to level it.

Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes until risen, golden brown and the cakes spring back in the center when lightly touched with a fingertip. They should be slightly shrunken away from the edges of the pan. Leave the cakes in the pans for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. Leave to cool completely.

When cold, sandwich the cakes together with the raspberry preserves and sprinkle the top with a little superfine sugar.

Harissa-Spiced Tuna Tartines

Serves 4.

From Milk Street's "Cook What You Have" by Christopher Kimball (Voracious, 2022). Here, instead of basic tuna salad sandwiches, we make tartines and give them a Mediterranean spin by spicing things up with harissa, a North African chili sauce and an essential Milk Street pantry ingredient. Olives lend brininess, orange zest brightens the flavors and coriander adds floral notes. Instead of stirring mayonnaise into the tuna mixture, we spike mayonnaise with harissa and citrus juice, then drizzle it over the open-faced sandwiches.

• 10- to 12-oz. baguette

• 5 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided

• 3 (5-oz.) cans olive oil–packed or water-packed tuna, drained and flaked

• 1/2 c. pitted green olives or pimento-stuffed green olives, chopped

• 2 medium celery stalks, chopped or 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, halved lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced

• 5 to 6 tsp. harissa paste, divided

• 2 tsp. grated orange or lemon zest, plus 1 1/2 tbsp. orange or lemon juice

• 1/2 tsp. ground coriander or ground cumin

• Kosher salt and ground black pepper

• 1/4 c. mayonnaise or plain whole-milk yogurt

• Optional garnishes: Fresh flat-leaf parsley, fresh dill, thinly sliced radishes


Heat the broiler with a rack about 6 inches from the element. Cut the baguette in half crosswise, then split each half horizontally to create 4 similarly sized pieces. Place the bread cut side up on a broiler-safe rimmed baking sheet. Brush with 3 tablespoons oil.

In a medium bowl, stir together the tuna, olives, celery, 2 to 3 teaspoons harissa, the orange zest, coriander and the remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Taste and season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, orange juice and remaining 3 teaspoons harissa; set aside for serving.

Divide the tuna mixture evenly among the baguette pieces. Broil until the edges of the bread are golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Drizzle the tartines with the mayonnaise, sprinkle with garnishes, if using, and serve.

Tahini-Banana Snack Cake

Serves 8.

From "The Complete Modern Pantry" by America's Test Kitchen (2022).

• 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

• 1/2 tsp. table salt

• 1/2 tsp. baking soda

• 1/3 c. tahini

• 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened

• 1 1/4 c. sugar

• 2 large eggs

• 1 c. mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3 bananas)

• 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

• 1/4 c. milk

• 2 tsp. sesame seeds


Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 8-inch square baking pan, line with parchment paper, grease parchment and flour pan.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda.

Using stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat tahini, butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined. Add bananas and vanilla and beat until just incorporated. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk in 2 additions, scraping down bowl as needed. Give batter final stir by hand.

Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top with rubber spatula. Sprinkle top with sesame seeds. Bake until deep golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking.

Let cake cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove cake from pan, discarding parchment, and let cool completely on rack, about 2 hours. Serve. (Cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.)