I love cookbooks and have quite a collection. Over the years, it’s probably up to about 300+ and growing.

I’ve included 12 favorites, spanning various categories from general and overall cooking cookbooks to specialty baking books to bloggers with cookbooks.

It’s so hard to narrow it down, but these books are always on front and center on my shelf, and I reach for them frequently. Ironically, I don’t follow many (or any) recipes to the T, but I love reading cookbooks for ideas and inspiration, and others I admire for the food photography.

Favorite Cookbooks - See What's On My Bookshelf at averiecooks.com

1. The New Best Recipe from Cook’s Illustrated – In typical C.I. style, this book dissects why each and every recipe choice was made – from why to use brown rather than granulated sugar, in what amount; why 1 egg plus 1 yolk will work better than 2 whole eggs, and why you should cream something for 7 minutes not 5. There is not a stone left unturned in this 1100+ page book. A superb value.

The New Best Recipe from Cook's Illustrated

2. The Breakfast Book – From 1987, but classic techniques and solid recipes last the test of time. It’s interesting how much less descriptive this 26+ year old title is compared to today’s cookbooks, and I prefer that.

Rather than telling you every last little thing you should be aware of or, “To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, sugar, eggs, and cream together on medium-high speed for 5 minutes…”

Instead, she just writes, “Cream the butter, sugar, and eggs. Add the flour and soda. Drop cookies and bake.” I wish we could get back to that.

The Breakfast Book

3. What Katie Ate: Recipes and Other Bits and Pieces – After reading her blog, I had to get the book. It’s breathtakingly beautiful. It’s singularly the most beautifully photographed book I have ever read or owned.

If you’re into food photography, get this book. The recipes are great, but the photography is a case study onto its own. Food as art.

What Katie Ate: Recipes and Other Bits and Pieces

4. The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook – Down-home, Southern, comfort food with a modern flair, while staying true to traditional and historic roots. Gorgeous photography, and although  most recipes you’ll need to work in a little extra cardio after making them, they’re worth it.

The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook

5. Vintage Cakes: Timeless Recipes for Cupcakes, Flips, Rolls, Layer, Angel, Bundt, Chiffon, and Icebox Cakes for Today’s Sweet Tooth – If you want to be inspired to bake classic cakes, but updated for the modern cook, with pretty photography, this is your book.

Vintage Cakes: Timeless Recipes for Cupcakes, Flips, Rolls, Layer, Angel, Bundt, Chiffon, and Icebox Cakes for Today's Sweet Tooth

6. The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook – For an all-around baking cookbook, this one is hard to beat. Many of the recipe can be found on their site, but it’s so convenient to have them in one place. I trust their recipes implicitly, as I do their products – I’ll only bake with King Arthur flour, period.

The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook

7. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook – After reading Deb’s blog for years, it was only natural I buy her book. There are recipes that appear in both places, but it’s nice to have them all in one place.

This is probably not your everyday cookbook because many of the recipes, techniques, and ingredients go beyond what you’re going to do for dinner on a Tuesday with just a half hour to spare, but it’s inspirational. And after reading her blog and reading the stories she tells that accompany each recipe in the book, I feel like I really “know” Deb. And clearly, she doesn’t know me or have any idea who I am. Ahem.

The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

8. Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes – Joy’s book also falls into the same territory for me that Deb’s does; blogger who’s blog I read and had to get the book. I know Joy from meeting her at various blog events over the years, and she’s every bit as funny, witty, kind, and as fabulous in person as she comes across in her book and blog.

It’s important to me to support authors who are not only good cooks, but who are good people. And if I can chuckle while I’m whisking something together because of how the words are written, and actually laugh out loud, huge bonus. Her book does just that.

Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes

9. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking – This book changed my bread-baking life. As in, before it I didn’t do much and was pretty intimated by bread. Since then, I’ve made countless recipes that Ive created using their overall mentality and approach.

Make a wet, no-knead dough that just hang out in your fridge for up to a week or so, and the day you’re ready to bake bread, you shape the dough and bake  Bread-making made easy, approachable, and foolpoof.

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking

Some recipes I’ve made using their principles include: No-Knead Make-Ahead Dinner Rolls with Honey Butter, Challah, and Cinnamon Raisin English Muffin Bread with Cinnamon Sugar Butter

10. Peanut Butter Comfort: Recipes for Breakfasts, Brownies, Cakes, Cookies, Candies, and Frozen Treats Featuring America’s Favorite Spread – My own cookbook with 100+ of my own recipes, all in one place, all tested and re-tested to make sure they’re perfect in my eyes, and live up to my own expectations, and they all use one of my favorite ingredients, peanut butter. It’s the perfect book for any peanut butter fans you know.

Thank you to anyone who’s already bought the book. I sincerely appreciate your support!

Peanut Butter Comfort: Recipes for Breakfasts, Brownies, Cakes, Cookies, Candies, and Frozen Treats Featuring America's Favorite Spread by Averie Sunshine averiecooks.com

11. Taste of Home Cookbook – I reach for this book very frequently because I know the recipes are tried and true, not fussy, and chances are my family will enjoy what I make.

Taste of Home Cookbook

12. Another favorite is Taste of Home: Cookies with over 620 ideas for cookies and bar cookies. So many options to choose from. And I love my cookies and bars.

Taste of Home: Cookies

For the Giveaway, Taste of Home has a new, limited-edition cookbook, Recipes Across America, with 735 Recipes from around the USA. It’s only available for purchase here until September – or enter to win it.

Each year, thousands of home cooks from across the United States and Canada submit more than 40,000 recipes, of which 3,000 are published in Taste of Home magazines and online. Before being published, every recipe is tested in the Taste of Home Test Kitchen to ensure that it can be prepared with affordable, everyday ingredients from regular grocery stores.

Recipes Across America Cookbook

Divided into five regions (Northeast, South, Midwest, Southwest, and West), Recipes Across America offers 735 delectable specialties enjoyed by locals, including unforgettable dishes using regional produce. You’ll even discover ethnic specialties passed down through generations that became hometown favorites. Best of all, these dishes are shared by real family cooks just like you.

Recipes Across America cookbook

Here are some highlights from each region:

Northeast: Philly Cheese Steak, Yankee Pot Roast, New Haven Clam Pizza, Authentic Boston Brown Bread, Buffalo Chicken Wings, Amish Sugar Cookies and Brooklyn Blackout Cake

South: Shrimp Po-Boys, South Carolina-Style Ribs, Bacon Collard Green, Cheese ‘n’ Grits Casserole, Georgia Peanut Salsa, Sweet Potato Fries, Banana Pudding and Hummingbird Cake

Midwest: Church Supper Hot Dish, Onion Loose Meat Sandwiches, Cherry Wild Rice Salad, German Potato Salad, Chocolate-Covered Buckeyes, Golden Apple Snack Cake and State Fair Cream Puffs

Southwest: Arizona Chicken, Barbecued Beef Brisket, Chicken-Fried Steaks, Sizzling Tex-Mex Fajitas, Armadillo Eggs, Texas Caviar, Dr Pepper Barbecue Sauce, Classic Fruit Kolaches, German Chocolate Cake and Tres Leches Cake

West: Buffalo Steak Salad, Chicken Long Rice, Pacific Rim Salmon, California Sushi Rolls, Green Goddess Salad Dressing, Romaine Caesar Salad, Utah Buttermilk Scones, Caramel-Frosted Potato Cake, Oregon’s Best Marionberry Pie and Lemon Tart with Almond Crust

In addition, hundreds of snapshots of food festivals and landmarks are scattered among the pages. And as a bonus, you’ll also find food folklore, recipe histories and fun food facts.

Using Rafflecopter, enter to win the Giveaway by leaving a blog comment below in response to the first question and completing the other tasks to unlock additional entries.

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Good luck and don’t forget to enter the Chobani Greek Yogurt Giveaway!

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