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A Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies Paperback – October 11, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

PRAISE for A BAKER'S FIELD GUIDE TO CHRISTMAS COOKIES "With "A Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies" firmly in hand, this delectable selection of recipes will expertly navigate you through all your holiday expeditions! But this is more than just a book for Christmas. Dede Wilson's extraordinary range of cookie recipes provides a full year of sweet exploration for cookie lovers all over the globe." --David Lebovitz, author of "Ripe for Dessert "and "Room for Dessert" "Dede Wilson's "A Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies" is not only an entertaining and informative volume on the subject, but a supremely practical one as well. What relaxing fun the next holiday season will be--I'll simply pull out this beautiful book to find every recipe I need for perfect cookies to serve at home and give as gifts."--Lauren Chattman, author of "Mom's Big Book of Baking, Icebox Pies, "and "Instant Gratification" "Dede Wilson's book is chock full of information, with a delightful range and variety of recipes. It makes you want to run, not walk, to your kitchen and start baking cookies!"--Jennifer Appel, author of "The Buttercup Bake Shop Cookbook"

About the Author

Dede Wilson is the author of A Baker's Field Guide series, Christmas Cooking for Dummies, Appetizers for Dummies, and The Wedding Cake Book. She is a contributing editor to Bon Appetit and the host of Seasonings with Dede Wilson, a PBS cooking show. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.

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Product Details

  • Series: Baker's Field Guide
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard Common Press; Reprint edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558327517
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558327511
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.5 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,398,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover-spiral
Having purchased many, many cookie cookbooks, I have gotten really picky about buying new books. When this book first published, I found it on a bookstore shelf and fell in love with it. This book has almost everything one could ask for.....BEAUTIFUL photographs with EVERY recipe, history and description of each cookie, type of cookie, place of origin with it's international name if it has one, very well written directions for baking, batch yield, "lifespan" (length of storage)and "field notes"...little tidbits of information regarding the cookie itself or the ingredients within. This book includes the good ole American AND International favorites. In addition to recipes, Ms. Wilson has included directions for things such as tempering chocolate, toasting nuts and decorating cookies. She has very detailed information regarding equipment, ingredients, storing and mailing cookies, and resources for supplies and ingredients. It is very simply written and elegantly designed. This book is excellent not only for the novice bakers, but the seasoned ones as well. It would make the perfect gift for anyone. I have been baking cookies every Sunday for many years and this is, by far, one of the best books I have used. I highly recommend it to everyone.
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Format: Hardcover-spiral
What a creative idea for a cookbook! The book literally follows the standard format for a field guide to animals or plants. For each cookie it provides the type, habitat (country the recipe is from), description, field notes (where the recipe came from, origin of name, etc.), and lifespan (how long the cookie will keep). Of course it also has ingredients and directions for making the cookie, and total yield for the recipes.

These are some truly creative recipes that children will love, like the Night Before Christmas Mice, which actually look like mice, and traditional favorites like snickerdoodles or pizzelles. It even has a recipe for salt-dough ornament cookies - totally inedible but can be decorated to make permanent Christmas ornaments. A Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies is fun, creative, and recommended.
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Format: Hardcover-spiral
This `A Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies' by Dede Wilson is a perfect example of how the same subject can be served well in two very different ways. The obvious touchstone against which to proof this volume may be Rose Levy Beranbaum's book on Christmas cookies. But, this would be an unfair comparison. Beranbaum's work covers the very high end of Cookie making, ending with a truly glorious creation of a gingerbread cathedral of Notre Dame. Beranbaum also covers just about every little issue you may possibly encounter in baking cookies and provides us with lots of unusual recipes.

Dede Wilson, on the other hand, has given us a very practical kitchen reference for lots and lots of common cookie recipes baked for Christmas, including several ethnic favorites such as the relatively difficult Moravian Ginger Cookies.

My favorite thing about Ms. Wilson's contribution aside from its spiral binding which lays flat on the table is the fact that you often have more than one recipe for a particular type of cookie. For a rolled gingerbread / spice cookie recipe, there are at least three alternatives, not even including the difficult Moravian cookie. That generally means that if you want to make a particular kind of cookie, you have your choice between an easy, intermediate, and hard recipe.

Other very nice features are the fact that every recipe falls on two facing pages, begins with a very clear picture of one or two of the cookies, states the type and (very cute here) habitat, gives a description of the cookie and alternatives, gives the shelf life under proper storage conditions, and gives appropriate tips on making this and similar cookies.
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Format: Hardcover-spiral
I have gone through two Christmas seasons using this cookbook with many compliments on the resulting baked goods, but have also found many recipes we use all year long. Some of the best features are:

Symbols with each recipe to indicate if the dough can be frozen, if the cookies keep well, if they are kid-friendly to make, quick to make or sturdy enough to mail.

The binding is a sturdy covered spiral so the book lays flat on the table and the pages do not tear or come loose from the binding.

The introduction has excellent information on ingredients, storage, baking and cooling advice and equipment needed

There is a listing of Resources in the back for equipment mentioned or required in the recipes so you can order items by phone or over the internet.

PICTURES! Excellent photos of each cookie so you know how it is supposed to look. This is especially helpful when making cookies with children; they like to have an idea of what they are making.

The recipe for Kris Kringle's is the best I have found. The same for the Snickerdoodle recipe (I make these at least once a month).

My children have made many of the recipes with me. Their favorites are the Peanut Butter Chocolate Kiss Cookies, Night Before Christmas Mice, Pepparkakor (ginger snaps), Easy Christmas Wreaths, Candy Cane Cookies and Mocha Orange Pinwheel Cookies.

There are also a whole range of more complicated, interesting cookies, which one would want to make without their kids help.

The format is easy to follow, easy to read and less intimidating than Rose's Christmas Cookies (also a great book).
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