Sweet Reads Box Review: The Cook’s Box (Baking Day) December 2020

A baker bakes 73,247 baguettes in a year and sells each for $2.73. What does he make?

Bread.

Whether you’re new to baking or it’s second nature orrrrrr you just enjoy reading cookbooks and dreaming of all the things you’ll make, I think you’ll really like today’s Sweet Reads Box. It’s the first one to feature a cookbook rather than a novel, and I am here for it! The limited edition Cook’s Box offered a choice of two stunning new titles, Ottolenghi Flavor: A Cookbook or the one I was lucky to see on my doorstep, Baking Day with Anna Olson: Recipes to Bake Together. Let me show you what’s inside. *

* They kindly sent us this box for review

Like the monthly Sweet Reads Boxes, this one opened with a product card describing the contents. (I like to be surprised so I always set it aside to read after I’ve pulled everything out. Do you do that too?)

First up, the main event: Baking Day with Anna Olson: Recipes to Bake Together. Here’s the description from the publisher:

“Canada’s baking sweetheart, Anna Olson, returns with an essential guide to baking for and with those you love.

Baking Day is the book we have all been waiting for. In this new cookbook, Anna Olson encourages you to spend time with your loved ones, baking along with her easy-to-follow, delicious recipes for all your favourite treats. This is a cookbook to bring family and friends together, and to bond over quality time spent baking. With over 120 recipes for all skill levels, there is a baking project in Baking Day for everyone.

Anna helps you find the right recipe by marking each one with difficulty level, necessary time commitment, required tools, and modifications for allergies or dietary restrictions. Anna’s savoury and sweet recipes are suitable for every level of home baker, as she encourages you to challenge yourself and develop new skills in the kitchen. Her voice is truly encouraging, as she coaches you through each step, hoping to pass on the expertise she has learned throughout her 20-year career. She is especially mindful of her younger readers, or those of you baking with kids, making sure to point out the most important details for younger budding bakers. Step back from the craziness of life and connect with those you love over shared time in the kitchen. Very soon, “baking day” will become your favourite day of the week.

Try making your own “Gourmet Goo” Skillet Brownies, Classic No-Bake Vanilla Cheesecake with Raspberry Coulis, or Toffee Pretzel Baklava. Anna also brings together comforting classics including Dutch Baby, Giant Glazed Cinnamon Bun, and her Signature Chocolate Chip Cookies, and recipes to show your loved ones how much you care–breakfast in bed for Father’s Day, maybe, or a special homemade birthday cake for your best friend. There are even treats for your pets!”

We have another Anna Olson book that we’ve baked from for years and every recipe we’ve tried has been delicious and easy to follow (highly recommend Anna’s Chocolate Layer Cake with Caramel Frosting — my teen made it for her dad’s birthday last fall and it was amazing!). Baking Day looks like it’ll be a fast favourite too. We really like how the table of contents includes a picture of each recipe (the photography is STUNNING and styled in a simple, approachable way) and the wide variety — from sweet to savoury and simple to more complex. If you follow my Instagram stories you’ll know that yesterday we made the Japanese Cheesecake Loaf (which wasn’t as fluffy as the store-bought we’ve tried but still really, really delicious) and today we’re doing the Giant Glazed Cinnamon Bun. Baking days are the best days!

Christmas Cranberry Dark Chocolate Bar (Chocosol)

“Perfect for nibbling on while creating your own sweet treats.”

I prefer milk chocolate for nibbling but dark choco is great for baking and I’m sure we can use it in a recipe. (Some subscribers got this bar, some got Merry Mint.)

Chocolate Pu-Erh Tea (Pluck Tea)

“The perfect tea to accompany your sweet treats. Made with a rich black tea and roasted cacao shells from Chocosol.”

I don’t know why I haven’t tried this yet. I drink black tea like it’s going out of style and chocolate-flavoured sounds interesting. Have you tried chocolate tea?

Kitchen Timer (Kikkerland)

“Keep track of your cooking times with this cute timer.”

We’ve been using this little guy this weekend. Works like a charm and adorable too.

Conversion Spatula (Danica)

“No need to look it up on your phone, this baking spatula has the conversions in your mixing bowl.”

We’ll get a lot of use out of this spatula too. The business end is nice and large, great for folding and incorporating.

All Out Of Grocery Pad (Knock Knock)

“A handy shopping list — keep track of what you need, meal plan and more.”

Knock Knock notepads are the best. Now if I could just get my hubby to read the list!

Sprinkles (Sweetapolita)

“Simply the best sprinkles around. Beautiful and they taste great.”

I literally gasped when I saw these sprinkles. I have about a dozen of these Sweetapolita sprinkle medleys but not this one. I won’t go so far as to say my collection is complete, ha ha, but I love this mix!

Baking Dish Cover (Danica)

“A baking dish cover that saves you from using plastic wrap — great for storage or to transport your dish.”

We’ve used this cover a few times now for leftovers and it’s such a great idea. I wish we’d had them in rotation years ago!

Happiness is Homemade & Bees Eco-cloths (Ecologie)

“Brighten up your kitchen and save paper towels with trendy and functional cloths.”

Great for mopping up spills and crumbs and cute too. And compostable!

I think The Cook’s Box might be my favourite limited edition from Sweet Reads Box yet. We love the cookbook, the timer, the baking cover, the spatula, the sprinkles (!), the cloths, the notepad — really everything but the chocolate and it’ll probably be delish in one of Anna’s recipes. The Cook’s Box was a delight to open and even more fun to use. The Cook’s Box sold for $100 CAD including Canada-wide shipping and shipped in December. Love it!

To find out when the next limited edition releases, sign up for the Sweet Reads Box mailing list (scroll to the bottom of the home page to enter your email address), and/or follow Sweet Reads Box on Facebook (and if you’re so inclined, join the Sweet Reads Box Facebook Group.) Sweet Reads Box is also on Instagram and Twitter.

What’s do you think of The Cook’s Box? Are you a baker? An Anna Olson fan?

Try Small Things – https://trysmallthings.com

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