This week’;s TBT cookbook is from 2014 and is one I often turn to. When I first got this book, I wnet through, recipe by recipe, and scanned in the ones I “had” to try. Fifty-three of them. I think that’s strong evidence that you’ll find this cookie encyclopedia to be invaluable.
Better Homes and Gardens has titled this The Ultimate Cookie Book. And, doubling down, on the back cover there is the claim, “The only cookie book you’ll ever need.”
These are bold claims, but valid ones. Suzen and I have hundreds of cookie books. Seriously, hundreds. We have old friends there on our cookbook shelves with dog-eared pages. Yet there is the ultimate question: if you were headed to a desert island and could only take one cookie book with you, which one would you pick?
I’d be very happy to be put on that island with my copy of The Ultimate Cookie Book. Of course, I would want a large supply of butter, eggs, chocolate, flour, nuts and sun screen. This truly is an ultimate book. And the new second edition has just been published. It’s the perfect holiday gift for your cookie-loving friends. If you are a holiday cookie baker, you’ll want to begin using this book now. There are 500 lively recipes here and not that many days to Christmas.
The book’s fourteen chapters are cookie odyssey. If you take the whole journey, there will be many sweet spots for you. Here are the highlights from some, but not all, of the chapters.
Cookie Basics is the starting point if your cookie experience consists of opening store-bought packages. You are swiftly, deftly instructed in making cookies from scratch. There are guidelines for knowing when you cookies are truly baked — nobody like cookies baked into bricks. And you’ll learn how to freeze both the dough and the final products.
Delicious Drops provides a variety of popular drop cookies. Old friends are here: Chocolate Chip, of course. But there is a wide range of new ideas to populate your cookie jar: Caramel Apple, Sweet Potato Pecan, Chocolate and Candied Tangerine Peel.
Creative Cutouts entices you to make cutout cookies year round, not just for the holidays. Here you’ll discover Mocha Wreaths with Bittersweet Chocolate Glaze, Spearmint Dips, and Eggnog Frosted Nutmeg Sugar Cookies.
Slice & Bake gives you a portfolio of refrigerator cookies, the perfect remedy for busy people who want their cookies fresh and aroma dense from the oven. Here you’ll find Pistachio Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Mint Checkerboard Cookies, and Meyer Lemon Rosemary Slices.
Sumptuous Shapes gives you thumbprint cookies filled with jam, buttery spritz, lovely madeleines, and nut-crusted delights: Red Currant Poppy Seed Thumbprints, Sugared Lemon Fennel Cookies, Eggnog Nut Thumbprints, and Toffee Crackle.
Stuffed & Filled cookies satisfy that unending craving for cookies that are gooey or sandwiched or both: Caramel Apple Triangle Treats, Cherry Almond Half Moons, Mexican Chocolate Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies, and Rosemary Lemon Sandwich Cookies.
Worldly Favorites presents an international cookie tray for you to select from: Lacy Florentines, Walnut Crescents, Linzer Jam Sandwiches, and Brandy Snaps
Irresistible Brownies provides lovely — and of course mandatory — brownie inspirations: Milk Chocolate Truffle Brownies, Caramel Hazelnut, Dulce de Leche Fluff, and Crème de Menthe.
Unbeatable Bars address the “drop or bar” debate. Treats here include: White Chocolate Blondies with Macadamia Nuts and Figs, Milk Chocolate Toffee Bars, Lemony Glazed Shortbread Bars, Banana Bars with Butter-Rum Frosting, and Pecan Crusted Mojito Bars.
No-Fuss No-Bake offers solutions to the demand: “I want something now.” Here a little time with a saucepan or stovetop leads you to dough that requires no oven baking time at all. Here you’ll encounter Caramel Apple Bars, Chocolate Cheesecake Bars, and Butterscotch Bites.
Cocktail Cookies transforms the notion of cookies, extending them from just dessert to meal-round usage. Enjoy these gems with wine or a cocktail: Cranberry and Pepper Shortbread Bites, Pesto and Cheese Shortbread Spirals, Rosemary and Cornmeal Shortbread, and Pepperoni Biscotti.
Holiday Sweets presents a basket of ideas that you can begin cooking now: Christmas Thyme Cookies, Cinnamon Spiced Wreaths, Gingerbread Madeleines, and Peppermint Snowballs.
It is not easy at all to work your way from beginning to end in The Ultimate Cookie Book. There are too many temptations. Half the recipes come with a color photo that truly urges you to stop turning the pages and begin baking now. Right now.
You’ll be impressed with these recipes. I’ve included many recipe titles above to give you a flavor, literally, for the range and quality of the cookies in this large and comprehensive book. There are new ideas, new flavor combinations, will intrigue you. And old concepts — those brownies — come forth here in very accentuated creations.
If you love cookies, if you want new cookies ideas, and if you want them all in one big package, then The Ultimate Cookie Book will be resource you can treasure. And, even enjoy on a desert island.