Even the most scurrilous Scrooge on my gift-giving list seems to appreciate the appeal of cookbook gifts.

“BAKE! Essential Techniques for Perfect Baking” by Nick Malgieri
(Kyle Books, $29.95), 224 pages

“This book is meant to have enough easy, straightforward baking recipes that people who haven’t baked before can use successfully,” says author Nick Malgieri, who heads up the baking program at the Institute of Culinary Education in New York City.

There are more challenging recipes as well, desserts that require more than just a couple of hours to complete.

“A lot of beginners are seduced by a very elaborate dish,” he says, “they start baking for a dinner party the night of the event. Even I wouldn’t do that.”

My days of spending long hours on baking projects are behind me. I ask for his favorite easy-peasy recipe.

He says that he hesitates to tell me because there is an addiction factor involved with the   Lemon Ginger Bars. Even people who think they don’t like ginger can’t stop downing them. He says that the trick is to put on the lemon glaze on the bars when they are piping hot, right out of the oven. On the hot bars the glaze becomes smooth with the look of fondant.

Click here for Lemon Ginger Bar recipe