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Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share Throughout the Year [Paperback]

Julia M. Usher , Steve Adams
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 1, 2009
Cookie Swap Long Product Description:

Looking for a unique cookie swap theme or cookie? Look no further than Cookie Swap by Julia Usher where she takes the popular idea of the cookie exchange party to new heights and new directions. Cookie Swap is filled with delectable recipes and tasty treats sure to please at any gathering whether you're looking for something colorful and chewy like the Bunny Trail Mix Cookies or feeling a bit nutty for the Under her Thumb(print) Cookies rolled in hazelnuts and topped with a creamy, white-chocolate ganache.

This elegant entertaining book shows that the cookie swap is perfectly suited not only to holiday gatherings but also to garden parties, showers, children's birthdays, summer get-togethers, and more. Talented baker Julia Usher reveals that cookies are infinitely adaptable to different party themes and times of year, resulting in scores of delightful possibilities. Themes and events include: Affairs of the Heart (Valentine's Day, Anniversaries, Birthdays), Spring Fling, Vision in White: (Weddings), Fun in the Sun (Summer), Garden Parties, Deck the Halls (Christmas), and even a theme for going back to school!

Discover a mouth-watering cookie for your next swap:


Art of Floral Arranging

Frequently Bought Together

Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share Throughout the Year + Julia M Usher's Ultimate Cookies + Cookie Craft: From Baking to Luster Dust, Designs and Techniques for Creative Cookie Occasions
Price for all three: $43.78

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Encouraging Christmastime cookie swappers to up the ante with plans for eight themed swaps-including Valentine's Day, bridal shower, garden party and Halloween (plus Christmas)-Usher produces a wealth of eye-catching bakery, decoration and entertainment ideas for hosts of all experience levels. Recipes are helpfully categorized by skill level, time commitment and type, allowing readers to decide quickly if they're up for the task of Eggnog Cheesecake Streusel Bars, a one on Usher's scale (meaning novice-appropriate), or the mini Chocolate Chai Burgers on Sesame Seed Buns, a considerably more complicated recipe that merits a three. The result is a book that bakers can come back to as their experience and confidence grows, with at least one recipe worth tackling in each theme. Usher's suggestions for transporting cookies via vintage lunch box or Christmas ornament box, and party ideas like dish towels imprinted with vintage postcards, are easy and ingenious, sure to appeal to fans of the Barefoot Contessa and Martha Stewart (no surprise from the designer dessert maker whose work has appeared in Chocolatier, Better Homes and Gardens, Bon Appetit and Modern Bride).

Review

A cookie is one of life's most precious, delicious gifts. Swapping them with friends is all the better. Julia Usher's gorgeous and doable ideas inspire us not only to trade cookies at holiday time but the whole year through. Filled to the brim with mouthwatering recipes and delectable photographs, Cookie Swap is a sweet treat to savor and celebrate. Nancy Wall Hopkins, Deputy Food and Entertaining Editor, Better Homes and Gardens Magazine
(Nancy Wall Hopkins Better Homes & Gardens 2009-05-12)

This creative book has become my new gold-standard guide to cookie decorating. Talented baker Julia Usher provides foolproof recipes and teaches us decorating techniques, from the simplest bar cookie to elaborate showpieces. Her whimsical designs and ideas make this book as fun as it is informative. Open it to any page-you're bound to be inspired. — Tish Boyle, Editor, Dessert Professional (formerly Chocolatier) and author of The Good Cookie and The Cake Book

(Trish Boyle Dessert Professional 2009-05-12)

"Julia Usher's lovely cookies will inspire you to become a dedicated cookie decorating hobbyist."
Nick Malgieri, Author of The Modern Baker, How to Bake, and Cookies Unlimited

(Nick Malgieri Author of The Modern Baker, How to Bake, and Cookies Unlimited 2009-05-12)

Julia Usher is one smart cookie . . . and luckily, we can now all be invited to her Cookie Swap! Her new book has it all: complete basics for beginners, everything a home baker needs to perfect the simple art of "something out of nearly nothing," and imaginative creativity for pros. Well-tested recipes are reliable, fun, and scrumptious; photos are enticing; and party ideas are both practical and budget conscious. Essential for all bakers, this excellent guide to year-round cookie swap parties is a winner. Susan G. Purdy, author of Pie in the Sky
(Susan G Purdy author of Pie in the Sky 2009-05-12)

Julia Usher's over-the-top cookies and detailed, theme-inspired swaps promise joyful sharing and sweet memories for year-round entertaining. Flo Braker, author of Baking for All Occasions, The Simple Art of Perfect Baking, and Sweet Miniatures
(Flo Braker author of Baking for All Occasions, The Simple Art of Perfect Baking, and Sweet Miniatures 2009-05-12)

Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share Throughout the Year
Julia M. Usher. Gibbs Smith, $19.99 paper (160p) ISBN 9781423603788
Encouraging Christmastime cookie swappers to up the ante with plans for eight themed swaps-including Valentine's Day, bridal shower, garden party and Halloween (plus Christmas)-Usher produces a wealth of eye-catching bakery, decoration and entertainment ideas for hosts of all experience levels. Recipes are helpfully categorized by skill level, time commitment and type, allowing readers to decide quickly if they're up for the task of Eggnog Cheesecake Streusel Bars, a one on Usher's scale (meaning novice-appropriate), or the mini Chocolate Chai Burgers on Sesame Seed Buns, a considerably more complicated recipe that merits a three. The result is a book that bakers can come back to as their experience and confidence grows, with at least one recipe worth tackling in each theme. Usher's suggestions for transporting cookies via vintage lunch box or Christmas ornament box, and party ideas like dish towels imprinted with vintage postcards, are easy and ingenious, sure to appeal to fans of the Barefoot Contessa and Martha Stewart (no surprise from the designer dessert maker whose work has appeared in Chocolatier, Better Homes and Gardens, Bon Appetit and Modern Bride). (Aug.) (2009-09-01)

"No wonder Usher - who grew up to get a degree in mechanical engineering from Yale University, earned an MBA from Stanford University and at 47 is an accomplished pastry chef and cookbook writer - is intent on drawing folks back to the kitchen. She knows, firsthand, the heart-filled connection that's sparked there. And she has just the ticket to get us all baking the honest-to-goodness way."

(Barbara Mahany Chicago Tribune 2009-12-03)

Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith; 1 edition (August 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423603788
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423603788
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 9.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #501,036 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Former owner of the boutique bakery AzucArte, Julia made her first mark on the food world in 1997 as a wedding cake decorator and pastry chef. Her desserts have since appeared at the James Beard House and in the pages of Vera Wang on Weddings, Pastry Art & Design, Modern Bride, Elegant Bride, Brides, and Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, among others.

Julia now pours her passion for sweets into food writing and styling for a number of local, regional, and national magazines. She is Contributing Editor at Dessert Professional (formerly Chocolatier) and a 2008 James Beard-nominee for her monthly column Prep School in St. Louis-based Sauce magazine. In recent years, her work has appeared in Bon Appetit, Fine Cooking, Better Homes and Gardens, Yankee, Mary Engelbreit's Home Companion, Gastronomica, The Herb Companion, and St. Louis At Home. Her first book, Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share Throughout the Year (Gibbs Smith, August 2009), won three prestigious Cordon d' Or Cookbook Awards and is currently in its ninth printing. Julia's latest book, Ultimate Cookies, releases on November 1, 2011 and promises to set the standard among cookie decorating books.

Julia graduated valedictorian from The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts in 1996. She also holds degrees in mechanical engineering from Yale and U.C Berkeley, and an MBA from Stanford. In addition to serving as Secretary/Treasurer of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Julia is a three-time President and two-time Program Chair of the St. Louis Culinary Society, and a founding member of the St. Louis chapter of Les Dames d' Escoffier International. Prior to beginning her career in food, Julia worked as nuclear reactor systems engineer for General Electric, as a management consultant for Bain & Company, and in marketing research for industries ranging from pharmaceuticals to industrial design.

To schedule an event or interview with Julia, contact:

Ron Longe, Account Manager
Media Masters Publicity
ron@mmpublicity.com
101 West 104th Street #8
New York, New York 10025
Office: 212-866-2906
Cell: 917-312-5571

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
69 of 70 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely to Look At But Difficult to Use November 28, 2009
Format:Paperback
Cookie Swap contains over 50 cookie recipes and is organized into eight themed parties which feature five or more different cookie varieties. The book contains sumptuous photographs of each cookie and each party. The reader is treated to a visual feast of all the cookies in the group, imaginatively arranged for optimal impact. The photographs and layouts are top rate and any magazine would be delighted to feature them.

Party planning and design are the main emphasis in the book. That is not to say there aren't some good cookie recipes in the book because there are, but 50 plus recipes are not very many and some of them are quite basic with ingredients identical of recipes I've used for years although the names given to the recipes are more imaginative - like the Butter Horn cookies I make are called Sugar Between the Sheets in this book.

Fondant is used to decorate a number of the cookies, and the taste of fondant simply isn't very good. Unlike a cake enrobed in fondant which has a crumb coat of delicious butter cream frosting under the fondant, there really isn't anywhere to go with a cookie. Either you eat the fondant or the cookie is for display not consumption.

Additionally, detailed directions for decorating each cookie are not always provided. On the cover of the book, in the upper left-hand corner is a cute owl cookie. I paged through looking for the cookie. I finally found a photograph of a small display tree with cookies hanging from the branches. On the tree was a tiny picture of the owl cookie which although so prominently featured on the cover appeared as an afterthought within the confines of the book. The accompanying text referred the reader to a gingerbread recipe somewhere in the book and the appliqué technique instructions in another area.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You Can't Eat a View November 18, 2009
Format:Paperback
This is the second time I've reviewed this book. The other review was either omitted or lost in the ether. At any rate, this cookbook reminds me of a restaurant that had the most wonderful location, overlooking a river. But as was stated by a restaurant critic, you can't eat a view!

Upon reading the absolutely glowing reviews of this book I immediately purchased it locally as it was not then available through Amazon. It IS a beautiful book. As several have noted, it looks great on a coffee table or in a bookholder decorating your kitchen. But I've never seen such a collection of truly unappealing recipes with strange ingredients. Further the details as to decorating the cookies so that they look good enough to swap or sell at your church's bake sale are MIA. Perhaps the writer anticipates a very experienced cookie decorator to be reading the book. I wasn't even tempted to try the recipes and found the book a new happy home.

I had to wonder if the other reviewers are friends or fans of the writer. The reviews were so over the top raves that I wondered if they were inspired by something other than actual appreciation for the content of the book.

Again if you want a pretty book for your coffee table or if you like cookies that "aren't sweet" (huh...if you want a cracker make a cracker) or if you like wierd ingredients this is the book for you. If you're looking for something that will have your cookie swap friends begging for your recipes...maybe look somewhere else.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars lots of cookie recipes November 29, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was looking for a book on decorating sugar cookies. Based on the cover, this is what I expected. This book had recipes for lots of different types of cookies. The photos were beautiful and the cookies looked yummy, but this book didn't fit my particular needs. It would be a good book if you wanted many recipes for different types of cookies.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars better than most June 27, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have bought other less expensive books and really was not happy in the overall book to begin with and then disappointed in the content; but as they say you get what you paid for.

I must say that this book was worth every penny. If you love to bake for your family or friends and enjoy all the oooohhhss and ahhhs when you present them with your creations, this is the book for you.

I have loved every page of this book and that is not something I say all that often. I am a true believer that anything can be made better. I will be waiting for the next book to see what they can o to top this one. I know I will be using this book for many many years
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sneak Peek at Cookie Swap October 18, 2010
Format:Paperback
Length: 3:54 Mins
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This is a great book for those interested in baking and cookie/treat gift giving. There are recipes for everything from wedding to halloweens; with creative decorating ideas and skills. Not necessarily a beginner cookie book, but if you are willing to learn and open up your creativity you are going to enjoy this book!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not what I thought May 14, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The cookies were very labor intensive and not very appealing. Would not recommend for quick or large parties. And rating a product for Amazon requires too many rules!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cookie Swap Review February 26, 2013
Format:Paperback
The illustrations and images are wonderful and makes you oohs and aahs as you flipped the pages! The only minus points I would give is that this book is definitely not for beginners because it doesn't show you the steps / procedures except text text text.. Again, if you are a beginner or learning to decorate, this book may not be for you.. But worth investing if you want ideas OUTSIDE of the box, because this book has fantastic ideas!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Free in youtube
I bought this videos, they are great, but now are for free in youtube :( that is not fair, nooooo!
Published 3 months ago by Victor M. Feliz Esteva
5.0 out of 5 stars One f the best book I ever bought.
It was one of the best book I bought. Im very very happy having this treasure, is unvaluable for people like me who enjoy making wonderful and good tasting things for my family... Read more
Published 4 months ago by lucis payano
5.0 out of 5 stars great holiday ideas
Love the book, especially pleased with the Halloween cookie section. I'll be using it this Halloween! I definitely recommend it.
Published 10 months ago by Regina Elliott
5.0 out of 5 stars Cookie Swap
This book offered great decorating ideas and the cookies were beautiful. It offered many ideas for future cookies. Thank you.
Published 15 months ago by Lisa Newcomb
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicious reading!
Deliciously written. Very explicit. Would've loved a little bit more pictures, but text is very easy-reading for beginners like me.
Published 15 months ago by Maries
2.0 out of 5 stars In theory, this book is wonderful....
This book is beautiful, but once you start to read the recipes and realize how cost and time intensive they are, reality sets in. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Kaitlyn
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book for cookie decorating ideas.
This is a really nice book for getting ideas for making and decorating cookies. I believe I will get many good ideas from it.
Published 16 months ago by SC gal
5.0 out of 5 stars cookie book
This book has such pretty cookies in it. Haven't made anything out of it yet, but plan to real soon.
Published 17 months ago by C J A
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful cookies
Anyone receiving some of these cookies at a cookie swap would be delighted to have them. They are both beautiful to look at and delicious. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Jinni1
4.0 out of 5 stars I liked it
A lot of ideas and loved the pictures some times the instructions on some of the more complicated projects would have been nice to have a picture but since I have an ability to... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Beatrice Sarver
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