Thursday, January 27, 2005

Cookies Galore

This is a fascinating cookbook to read, although with over 400 recipes eventually I was tired of all the variations and varieties. However, I do admit that is not really the point as a cookbook is to cook from, not to read, and chances are, if you are looking for any type of cookie, you will find what you want here. I especially was intrigued by the King Arthur approach to the essential American cookies, which offered recipes to encompass every taste from Chewy to Crisp and in-between; including Chocolate Chip, Sugar Cookies, Brownies, and Biscotti (although the variations on that cookie ran between Italian and American styles). Frankly, I probably will never care enough to make their version of Oreos or Whoopie Pies (that is what grocery stores are for in my estimation), but those sorts of recipes are included too for the avid do-it-yourselfer.

This definitely is a great resource book also as it has all sorts of charts, tips and "how-to's" scattered throughout the pages. For instance, we used their staggered pan layout for making chocolate chip cookies to fit more on the sheet ... and it worked like a charm. Now, why didn't I think of that? Helpful illustrations walk the reader through techniques that may be difficult to understand from the written word alone. An ending section on ingredients not only has all the basic information but answers questions such as "What's the difference between an extract, an oil, and a flavor?" or "What if I run out of baking powder?"

We tried the Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies from this book and, although I have another recipe I like better, everyone else raved over them ... obviously that is a matter of personal taste. The recipe worked like a charm, was simple and well explained, and delivered just what it promised. I'll post the recipe tomorrow.

So the bottom line is, do I like this cookbook enough to buy it? Yes. I'd like to work my way through all the variations of the essential cookies and the tips and hints are practical enough to make this book a worthwhile investment.

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