Who doesn't love cookies? Taste of Home, the multiplatform cooking-content brand, is bringing 633 of its most popular recipes and a year's worth of cookie recipes to home cooks in two new cookbooks: Taste of Home Most Requested Recipes and Taste of Home 365 Days of Cookies. Both books, with recipes sourced from Taste of Home magazine, Taste of Home online, and the brand's social media platforms, are beautifully designed and feature mouthwatering full-color photos.
Taste of Home took advantage of its massive reader base—the website boasts 12 million unique monthly visitors and the print magazine has 2.5 million subscribers—to curate Most Requested Recipes. 'We're the world's largest recipe swap," says Mark Hagen, Taste of Home's managing editor of print and digital books. 'We searched our expansive database and relied on usage reports from our digital platforms to find recipes with the highest user ratings, the dishes that were shared the most, and the items that had the highest page views; we also worked with our magazine editors to see which recipes received the most feedback from subscribers."
365 Days of Cookies was conceived as 'a visual book that celebrates the joy of home-baked cookies," Hagen explains. It is indeed a visual feast. There are 365 cookie recipes in the book, organized by seasons rather than dates, with lavish close-up photos and spreads occupying most of the pages—such as the one below of Peanut Butter Penguins with mini-M&M feet.
'It's a visual tour of the year, represented in cookies," Hagen says. 'Even the colors of the cookies cycle through a seasonal pattern, from frosty blues and wintry tones to spring pastels, then summer brights, and, finally, harvest shades and festive Christmas colors."
Hagen points to Best Lasagna as a representative most requested recipe. 'It received an average of five-stars on our website and has been reviewed by dozens of readers. Both experienced cooks and newbies alike sing its praises," he says, also noting that it follows the Taste of Home tradition of utilizing commonly available ingredients. For 365 Days of Cookies, Hagen singled out the recipe for Malted Milk Cookies as 'easy, quick, and impressive in flavor, a special cookie that anyone can bake."
One of the standout features of both books is the inclusion of reader reviews from the Taste of Home site. Not only do these short write-ups give a sense of how actual cooks are using the recipes but they also often contain additional tips and tricks, such as substitution ideas, shortcuts, and serving suggestions. For instance, the reader review of Best Lasagna offers this suggestion: 'When I make this again, I'll add in some red pepper flakes to the sauce for extra zing." The editors included the most useful comments they could find.
'We often turn to the web platform when creating a book," Hagen explains. 'Not only can we pull reader reviews and feedback on specific recipes from our site, but we can see which recipes are resonating with users." Before publishing a recipe, Taste of Home tries it out in its test kitchen, another reason Taste of Home stands out among cooking-content brands.
Taste of Home is planning an ambitious launch for the two books. Most Requested Recipes, which goes on sale September 12, will be featured in a segment on QVC's In the Kitchen with David on September 3. 365 Days of Cookies goes on sale on October 24, just in time for the holidays. Both books will be advertised across the Taste of Home print and digital publications, as well as on social media. The books will also be published in a new format for Taste of Home—hardcover with concealed wiro—so they'll lie flat while readers cook. Taste of Home is marketing these books, each priced at $24.99, as ideal holiday gifts, individually or as a set.
A version of this article appeared in the 08/14/2017 issue of Publishers Weekly under the headline: