I intended to wait to file a complete report, but after trying only 2 recipes, I am absolutely delighted with this book.
I've been baking for a million years, but I think a neophyte would have very little trouble following the instructions.
None of the recipes appear to be duds - all are appealing.
The author has come up with a few nice tricks, notably in the shortbread recipes which instruct you to put the dough in a gallon-size freezer bag before rolling and chilling. It seems obvious but is not something I would have come up with on my own.
The author has a marked fondness for peanuts, which I have not used very much in baking (with the exception of Maida Heatter's peanut thins and regular pb cookies), but intend to try.
Cinnamon appears in many recipes as well (not one of my favorites).
Beautiful book, nicely organized by types of baked goods (morning items, cookies plain and fancy, cakes ditto, etc).
Photography is gorgeous.
Two minor quibbbles:
The book is a bit too heavy to be read comfortably in bed...
The binding doesn't allow the book to lie completely flat on the counter if using one of the recipes in the front or back of it.
World Peace cookies - Pierre Herme recipe also in her Paris Sweets book, excellent slice and bake cookie
Bittersweet Brownies - the best brownie recipe I have ever made, bar none (including Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies, the previous winner and champeen...).
2 sticks butter + 9 oz. bittersweet chocolate
melt together over low heat
add 1 1/2 c. sugar
stir in 4 eggs one by one
add 2 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup all-purpose flour
stir just until blended
bake at 325 in greased 13x9" pan 20-22 minutes ONLY
I brought these to work today and they disappeared in a flash - "let me try one...oh my God...another..."
Can't wait to try more recipes. I've had the MS Baking Handbook for months, and while I enjoyed reading it, I have not made a single recipe from it yet.
Obviously: If you bake, you owe it to yourself to own this book.