Thursday, May 12, 2016

Awesome Cookies

My family's favorite cookies are the ones made with recipes from my mom, grandmother, and great-grandmother.  But, that only leaves me with a small handful of recipes and my family loves variety.  I have looked over the years for more cookie cookbooks because I enjoy making cookies.  A few years ago, I was blessed to find King Arthur's Cookie Companion.  In it, I found several good recipes that I could add, which my family enjoyed.  Even so, I am always up for trying new recipes in the hope of finding some treasures... and this week I was ecstatic to find a new cookie book that has already added two new recipes to my family's cookie list.

The cookbook is a small one that won't take up a lot of room on anyone's shelf.

Cookie Classics Made Easy by Brandi Scalise surprised me.  A few of the old standards are there along with some new ones.  We made the Apples Rolled in Autumn and Chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter.  Both were very flavorful cookies and my family loved them!

The first cookies, Apples Rolled in Autumn, had a strong spice flavor to them and were nice when baked a little crispy.  The crispiness helped them last more than one day because normally apples make cookies get mushy the day after.  The second cookies were an even better surprise.  My family happens to love chocolate cookies.  I don't usually make larger cookies because they don't cook through very well, but these did!  They had a sort of brownie like texture in a cookie.  My 10 year old daughter made them (with just a little help from me).  We used a size 40 ice cream scoop to scoop out the dough onto the cookie sheets.

Some of my determiners of whether or not a cookbook is a good one is whether the ingredients work together, whether the directions are clear and work, whether the timing is correct or close to accurate (in my experience), and whether the formatting of the book makes the recipe easy to follow.  

Here's how this cookbook did.

1.  Ingredients:  The combination of ingredients was great for both recipes we made.  A few of the recipes did use something called Bischoff butter, which is cookie butter.  Cookie butter is super-duper high in calories so I think I'll hold off on making these recipes unless it's a very special occasion.

2.  Directions:  I did use parchment lined cookie sheets when I baked them and the oven temperatures that the cookbook calls for.  But, I did make one change.  I have been a one bowl cookie baker for years like this author (she explains this in her introduction).  My mom and I feel very strongly, though, that you must cream the butter and sugars together first thoroughly to make sure that there are no lumps of sugar in the batter.  This author recommends using room temperature butter instead and mixing a bunch of ingredients together at the beginning.  Other than this difference (creaming the butter and sugars first), I did find that the directions were clear and easy to follow.  My ten year old daughter and twelve year old daughter (who made the other recipe) successfully made the cookies (using my added direction of creaming the butter and sugar first).

3.  Timing:  This isn't an essential determiner for me, but the closer the better.  The first recipe was off by quite a lot.  The apple cookie recommended baking time was 20 to 25 minutes.  I baked them for only 16 minutes.  The second cookie, Reese's, was closer.  The recommended baking time was 15 minutes and I found that 13-14 minutes was better.  That was a lot closer.  Even so, I'd recommend starting to check the cookies from this book 3-4 minutes before the shorter baking times and 5 minutes before the longer baking times.

4.  Formatting and Graphics:  The photography is done well and makes the cookies appealing.  The formatting is mostly easy to follow.  I wish she had separated her second step into two or three steps. Spacing would have made it easier to follow each recipe and keep track of where I am in adding ingredients.

Given all of these comments, it's probably surprising that I'm ecstatic that I have new recipes from this cookbook to add to our family's cookie repertoire.  In all four of the areas above, this cookbook isn't perfect.  But, the fact that the first two recipes we made tasted wonderful trumps all of that in my mind.  Normally, I won't even consider reviewing a cookbook until I've made several recipes, but I wanted to review this cookbook after we made only two batches of cookies because the cookies were so good!

If you don't have a lot of space and are looking for a good cookie cookbook, check this one out!

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Storey Books.

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