I don’t consider myself a baker. I do bake, but not nearly as often as I cook, and I rarely make changes to recipes for fear that I will throw off the chemical balance and end up with rocks in my oven. So what I have come to value in a recipe for baked goods is precise, easy to follow instructions that have been tested and perfected by the writer. I have found all of these things in Joanne Chang’s cookbook Flour, which provides all of the recipes from her incredibly successful Boston bakeries of the same name (they are heavenly if you haven’t visited). Chang is a Harvard graduate that left a position in the business world to pursue a love of baking. She’s so good Bobby Flay challenged her to a sticky bun throw down and lost. I’ve tried a dozen recipes from the cookbook, each time confident that the directions were so good I could not possibly misinterpret them, and each time I’ve been rewarded with something that tastes 4 star restaurant worthy (Scones! Peanut Butter Cookies! A Milky Way Tart! Oreos! Corn Muffins with a gooey jam center!!). The magic is not in the ingredients (which are as basic as can be), but in the perfected methods. Some of the recipes are complex, but you can be sure your efforts will yield fantastic rewards. So, if you’ve always wanted to bake grand impressive desserts (or easy breakfast goodies), I can’t praise this book enough.