Sara Moulton Picks This Year's Best Cookbooks

"GMA" food editor Sara Moulton picked her favorite cookbooks of 2012. From street food to bread bakers, these books cover it all. Take a look at Moulton's cookbook picks from last year.

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Deb Perelman, also a famous blogger (The Smitten Kitchen), is the kind of serious home cook who goes through the same process of making a recipe as a restaurant chef does - she considers every possible way of making the best rendition of whatever dish and then proceeds to make the recipe over and over until it is perfect. She is a very thoughtful cook; I loved reading her headnotes. And the recipes and photography are extremely come hither.

Recipes: Deb Perelman's Cranberry Crumb Bars with Mulling Spices

Charred and Scruffed

Many grilling books have come out in the last 10 years and they all cover roughly the same thing - the basics. I am not much of a griller but this book got my attention. Adam Perry Lang introduces new "active grilling" techniques. Charred and Scruffed takes grilling to new heights. Any serious backyard barbecuer needs this book. Heck, I might even start grilling.

Recipe: Adam Perry Lang's Clinched Strip Steak

Small Plates Sweet Treats

Gluten-free continues to be a huge cookbook theme and mostly I have not been all that impressed but this book stands out. The author was raised in the Basque region of Spain but now lives in Florida with her husband and 2 kids. She has writes a very popular blog Canelle and Vanille and is an amazing photographer. In fact, I think that is what grabbed me first about this book - the pictures. But the recipes, organized by season, look very appealing and are quite healthy. "Small Plates Sweet Treats," is for the home cook who thinks he or she is in a rut and needs a little inspiration.

Recipe: Hazelnut, Vanilla Bean and Cinnamon Soup Shots

Vietnamese Home Cooking

Charles Phan is the chef/owner of the iconic Slanted Door restaurant in San Francisco, a place I always eat at when I am in that town. He opened that place in 1995 and has since expanded his empire with six other restaurants. But he has never written a cookbook. His restaurants introduced American diners to a new world of Vietnamese food - fresh pure and vibrant with flavor. Here he presents a landmark collection based on the premise that with an understanding of it central techniques and fundamental ingredients Vietnamese home cooking can be as attainable and understandable as America, French or Italian. This book is for the home cook who wants to branch out and try a new exciting cuisine.

Recipes: Steamed Whole Fish with Ginger, Scallions and Soy

Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts

This book is for the dessert impaired, like me. However we are not talking about opening up cans and boxes with tons of additives and throwing them together, we are talking about elegant desserts based on good ingredients and a few simple techniques. To quote the dust jacket:

"You'll find the quickest lemon tart, a lattice free linzer torte (mixed entirely in the food processor), the best one bowl chocolate cake, imaginative ways with ice cream, as well as gooey pies made with indestructible crusts that just get pressed into the pan - no rolling pin required. Even souffles that anyone can do the very first time. And you won't need a stand mixer, a pastry brush, or fussy baking skills…Plus there are more than a hundred spur of the moment desserts from the pantry that don't involve a trip to the grocery store."

Recipe: Easy Blueberry Tart

Tiny Food Party

I believe that most people would rather eat many little tastes of different items than dig into a whole entree. That is what this book is all about - from one bite appetizers, to mini entrees, desserts and even cocktails. They offer mini versions of many classics - onion rings, mac n cheese bites, caprese bites, eggs benedict, bloody marys, philly cheesesteak sandwiches, eclairs, pop tarts and more. This book made me want to throw a party.

Recipe: Mini Kimchi Deviled Eggs and Mini Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Sticks

Web Extras:

For the DIY fanatic

The Mile End Cookbook

There is a huge ongoing DIY trend. In my research I have seen many recipes for butter, homemade cheese, jams, etc but this book stood out as offering something new in the DIY category. The authors are a couple who own and run a small deli/restaurant in Brooklyn called the Mile End. They have recipes for all the beloved deli building blocks as well as recipes for brunch, lunch and soups that use these basic items.

For the home cook who wants to step out with new ingredients:

Gran Cocina

This is the first comprehensive book ever written about the whole of Latin cuisine - including Mexico and Central America, The Caribbean Islands and South America. And there is no better person to write this scholarly tome than Maricel Presilla. There are over 500 recipes in the book as well as maps, photos and drawings.

Hiroko's American Kitchen

Hiroko Shimbo, the author of the ground-breaking, award-winning, "The Japanese Kitchen," has stream lined Japanese cuisine for the American home cook in this new book. She starts with 6 easy sauces and turns them into 125 delicious simple modern recipes


Two authors, one Israeli, one Palestinian, who both grew up in Jerusalem, share the ingredients, recipes and rich culture of a unique part of the world.

Susan Feniger's Street Food

Susan has traveled the globe to find these ridiculously delicious examples of international street food and, having eaten at her restaurants, I know she is a genius at preparing this kind of food. Her book is perfect for home cooks looking to shake up their cooking repertoires with exciting new flavors.

For the home cook who wants to cook healthier (without sacrificing flavor)

101 Recipes You Can't Live Without

This is a book about what you should eat, not like most diet books about what you shouldn't eat. "101 Recipes You Can't Live Without" is designed to pack every dish - from breakfast to dessert - with disease fighting nutrients. But who knew what the agenda was? These dishes are just plain old delicious - you won't notice the hidden message.

For the home baker

Nick Malgieri's Bread

From an extraordinary teacher, this book guides the home cook with the aid of step by step photos and detailed instructions to make the best bread along with bread friendly savory and sweet dishes.

The Dahlia Bakery Cookbook

This is a cozy book with seriously delicious recipes, from a very popular bakery in Seattle. These are the kind of recipes your grandma made and you can make them too.

The Bouchon Bakery Cookbook

The Bouchon Bakery Cookbook is a rare book because it translates the skills of excellent professional chefs for the home cook. I looked at many of the recipes in this cookbook that I had thought were way beyond me and concluded, you know, they explain this so well I could do it. And the Bouchon Bakery in Yountville is the gold standard for bakeries so maybe they will make me look like a genius pastry chef.

Two essential comprehensive books for anyone

The Great Meat Cookbook

Bruce Aidells, meat expert and founder of Aidell's sausage company, helps to make sense of all the meat choices home cooks need to make at the supermarket these days. He covers every thing you need to know about meat from purchase to preparation along with hundreds of spectacular recipes.


It is about time someone focused on roots. Diane opens up a whole new world with more than 225 tasty recipes focusing on these hearty, healthful, nutrition packed, budget friendly vegetables.

Great stocking stuffers

Tacos Tortas and Tamales

Roberto Santibaniez is an amazing teacher who adeptly explains how to make all the delicious street food of Mexico. Whether you make all the components from scratch or cut a few corners, this book will get you cooking authentic tacos, tortas and tamales at home.

Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones

Who knew ice cream could be so easy and fun to make? 90 unique frozen desserts from the chefs at the Bi-Rite Creamery where there is a line out the door every day in San Francisco's Mission District.

My Pizza

Pizza is one of those food recipes that you can put any ingredient together and it will taste delicious. This book has simple instructions to follow and it's all about the tasty crust to really spice up the flavor on just a plain pizza pie.