Claire Saffitz’s ‘Dessert Person’ is the Cheerleader of Cookbooks


(Courtesy of NBC/Getty Images)

By Jacqueline Mumford, Managing Editor


The only thing that could rival the rush of dopamine that comes from queuing up an episode of “Gourmet Makes” is unboxing your signed copy of “Dessert Person,” Claire Saffitz’s first cookbook.

You might recognize Saffitz from her time on Bon Appetit’s YouTube channel. Everyone in my family is a huge fan of Saffitz’s — we all have to be home, and able to watch the “Gourmet Makes” videos together, otherwise serious drama ensues — and has continued to follow her work since her (and much of the original hosts’) departure from the Test Kitchen.

In fact, I’ve spent most of quarantine searching up  “____ recipe Claire Saffitz.” I’ve learned to make cherry cobbler, biscuits, different versions of pasta… Long story short, I’ve been on the pre-order waitlist for the cookbook since May.

Even if you aren’t familiar with Saffitz, the formatting of the cookbook alone makes you want to display it as some sort of art piece. With stunning photos, a beautiful color scheme, and cleanly designed pages which include fun facts and advice in addition to the recipes, you could flip through the book for hours. In fact, that’s what we did — my family and I sat around the book, gasping as we surveyed each page.

The functionality of the cookbook is simply a bonus — a big one, at that.

Trying to narrow down a recipe to start with from Claire Safftiz’s debut cookbook.

There are two ways to find the recipes you’re looking for: “Dessert Person” is split into seven sections of recipes, ranging from pies and tarts to breads and savory baking, all listed in the table of contents, or, the recipe matrix. Here, each recipe is plotted by the time it takes to make, and their difficulty. If you’re a data nerd like me, you’ll spend plenty of time pouring over the graph before you even get to the baking.

No matter your mood, the season, or your skill level, you’ll find plenty of recipes (and variations of them) that you’ll love. Only about halfway through the cookbook, I had to pull out a new set of sticky notes to mark the recipes we wanted to try. 

And that’s my favorite thing about ‘Dessert Person’ — it instills confidence. Plenty of cookbooks promise that “anyone can do it,” but Saffitz really follows through. She has a knack for teaching, guiding a novice through step by step, and challenging the experienced baker all at once. Each recipe features a blurb from Saffitz about its creation, and a small pep talk to get you started. 

Saffitz’s love of baking, and her excitement to share her favorite recipes, pour out of each page. She’s cheering you on through the book. In this way, “Dessert Person” is more than a collection of recipes: it’s a story, a hype-man and a celebration of our relationship with food.

Being a dessert person, to Saffitz, means recognizing that “food holds no moral weight at all.” She rejoices in the flexibility and freedom of living (and baking) without any antiqued, constructed restrictions, and it’s pretty much impossible not to join her for the ride. With Saffitz, baking isn’t only guilt-free — it’s confidence-building.


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