The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe From Each Year 1941-2009 and Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy Melt in Your Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich
Posted by Book Mavens on December 10th, 2010
Title: The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe From Each Year 1941-2009 and Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy Melt in Your Mouth Cookies
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, November 2010 and Artisan, November 2010
Author: Gourmet Magazine and Alice Medrich
Summary: Two great new cookie books – just in time for holiday baking.
Many people who bake for the holidays understand the role tradition plays in cookie selection. If I don’t include almond cookies, butter cookies decorated with red and green sprinkles, peanut butter blossoms, molasses crinkles and the traditional chocolate chip on my cookie platters I’ll probably hear about it. So don’t neglect the favorites, but these wonderful books will inspire you to try a few new recipes that might become next years asked for cookie.
The Gourmet Cookie Book offers up the “best” recipe each year from 1941-2009. I would have loved to have been on that selection committee.
According to Gourmet, Speculaas, baked in the Netherlands for centuries were left in the fields as offerings to the gods to ensure a good harvest. A cross between a spice cookie and a shortbread I think this will definitely find its way onto my list of holiday cookies.
It’s fascinating to see how the presentation of the recipe evolves over the years. The earlier recipes read like someone transcribed their grandmother’s directions as she was explaining how to make the cookie. It wasn’t until 1982 that Gourmet started to separate the list of ingredients from the instructions and not until 1984 were the ingredients presented in the shopping list format that we’re used to today.
Each recipe is accompanied by a picture of what you’d like your cookie to look like when you’re done. Chewy,Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy Melt in Your Mouth Cookies organizes the recipes by texture. I skipped immediately to gooey and can say that the cocoa brownies are most excellent. I received no complaints from my test group – my fellow co-workers who are always ready to help out. But seriously, if you’re giving away baked goods they have to be truly awful for people to complain so it’s kind of tough to judge based on that. Next on my list of recipes to try out – the Chocolate Pudding Bars.
Alice Medrich has written a number of cookbooks and you can view her blog at http://alicemedrich.blogspot.com. Read the introduction and User’s Guide in Chewy Gooey. She gives some excellent advice – especially if you really do want your cookie to not only taste good but also look like the cookies in the pictures.
Both books were on my holiday wish list, but I can’t wait that long so I’ll be placing my order this week.
Here’s an idea – give one, or both, of these books as early holiday gifts for someone on your list who loves to bake. Give them with book marks - to mark the pages of one of the many recipes that I’m sure you’d like to try. You might luck out and get back a cookie platter that you probably won’t want to share.
Recommended by: Sue D’Anum, staff member