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The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion: The Essential Cookie Cookbook (King Arthur Flour Cookbooks) Hardcover – November 9, 2004
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The Cookie Companion is in the King Arthur tradition, which means that it's a teaching cookbook--one overflowing with tips, pointers, lore, and other compelling information. Thus, for example, the introduction to Special Roll-Out Sugar Cookies informs readers that thorough dough-rolling creates thin, snapping-crisp cookies, but roll the dough a bit thicker, and "youve got crunchy." Their no-detail-too-small introductory basics are greatly aided by the tour-de-force illustrations of Laura Hartman Maestro. For example, a box on bar-cookie cutting shows readers the five basic size configurations, depending on pan dimensions. Bakers who have routinely paused, knife in hand, before a pan of just-baked brownies, trying to decide how to end up with, say, 24 large squares, won't, following the illustrations, do so again. A section on cookie decoration is equally definitive, as is a final chapter on ingredients, which offers, for example, a full discussion of sugars, plus asides like "Is Splenda the Answer to Low-Calorie Baking" (maybe) and "Can I Substitute a Liquid Sweetener for a Dry One to Make My Cookies Sifter?" (sometimes, but never measurement for measurement).
With "Create-a-Cookie," a section that focuses on manipulating basic dough mixtures to make checkerboard and pinwheel cookies among others; recipes for glazes, icings, dips and finishes; illustrated equipment profiles; plus color photos that depict the cookies in all their edible glory, the book is, simply, a must-have for cookie bakers everywhere. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
If you live at altitude, page 22 alone is worth the price of the book. Photocopy it and tape it at your baking prep area.
The chapter division in the Companion is very baker friendly. How many times do you say, "I think I want to bake a drop/bar/cutout cookie" and how many times do you just think, "I would like an oatmeal cookie." Go to the chapter for the flavor or main ingredient of what you are in the mood to bake (or have the ingredients for). You will be sure to find a cookie that interests you.
I really liked the wide range of choices offered by the multiple recipes for the old standards. Do you want an oatmeal cookie that is soft, chewey, crisp, etc. You can select a recipe that meets your needs and wants for the moment.
The recipe headers are fun to read. The descriptions are sometimes amusing and it seems that the author is being very friendly and honest...almost like a friend handing you a recipe with his or her opinion of the results to be achieved.
I enjoyed the wonderful illustrations. It is obvious that the artist is quite familiar with baking techniques. The art really enhanced my appreciation of the recipes and the book.
Step by step and easy to follow--trademarks of baking with King Arthur recipes. These could be used by a beginning baker as well as by more experienced cooks. The sidebars contain interesting tips on ingrediets or techniques.Read more ›
It is important to say that the value of the book is not based on its exhaustive coverage of cookie recipes, although in over 500 pages, the book certainly covers all but a few corners of the far flung land of cookie baking. While it does leave out some important recipes, such as the famous thin Moravian ginger cookies of North Carolina, its real value is in its meticulous description of all those factors that influence great cookie baking.
While a lot of cookie baking is a lot more forgiving than, say, pastry or biscuits or cheesecake, it is still baking, which means that a change in ingredients which would mean nothing to a sautee or a braise will mean the difference between a great cookie and a disappointment. The clearest example of this sensitivity is in the selection of shortening, where the major choices are butter, lard, margarine, or vegetable shortenings such as Crisco. Each option has a significant effect on taste and the degree that a drop cookie will rise or spread. And, that's before you even take nutritional aspects into account with tradeoffs between the saturated fats of butter and the transfats of margarine. Add in the effects of different sugars and different flours and you start to wonder how a cookie ever manages to get made.Read more ›
I would have rated this book a 5 except for 1 glaring omission. There isn't one mention in the book about softening the butter or having ingredients such as eggs at room temperature. When I first noticed this, I thought I must be imagining it. They are standard instructions in any other baking cookbook. But I have searched the book from front to back and still don't see any mention of this. This is no big deal for an experienced baker but could cause problems (and discouragement) to new bakers.
I also agree with the other reviewer that it was annoying that some of the recipes included ingredients that were not readily available to most home bakers. Sure, you could order these ingredients from King Arthur Flour. But it takes away the spontaneity of making cookies to have to pre-order an ingredient.
So, I didn't need this book, but I was looking for a cookie book to give as a gift for my daughter -- who is a scientist and bakes on the fly -- that would present the standard variety (and hopefully more) in an accurate and easy to follow manner. None of the books I had on my own shelves fit all my criteria, so I did a little exploring on Amazon and found this one. I liked what I read enough to buy a copy for myself, first and have now given it as a gift to many people. I am very happy with it.
Once you know the ratios for each baking product [after all, the same four basic ingredients make up 95% of all baking: flour (base), water/liquid ('reagent'), eggs (leavening), butter/oil (fat)] what matters are the details and particulates added along with the proportions. In culinary school students memorize these ratios so they know the difference between a pancake and a crepe, a biscuit and a muffin. The trained eye can also recognize incorrect 'recipes' and wrong proportions that mean many bookstore baking books are useless and lead to failed projects (this is not a problem in Europe where formulas are considered sacred and product names reflect a standardized version of any baked product - almost as controlled as wines and cheeses!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I've only made a couple of recipes from this so far, but it contains the best brownie recipe I've ever made. Dense, rich and thoroughly cooked. I'll be making that one often.Published 28 days ago by 2kidfrenzy
I checked this out from my local library before purchasing. Love this book so much I gave it as a Christmas book to my sister who loves to bake all sorts of cookies with her... Read morePublished 1 month ago by KariAnne
Great book! Have made most of the chewy versions of chocolate chip, sugar, and PB cookies. Haven't found a dud yet.Published 3 months ago by Molly W
This is a big book, but cookie recipes are built off of one basic recipe. But results are reliable.Published 5 months ago by Eric P. Jeanise
I love that you can choose crunchy versus soft versions of old favoritesPublished 5 months ago by Marianna Kunow
I received the book in time and the recipes are wonderful, but the first pages are not bound into the book. Disappointing as it was a gift.Published 6 months ago by Angela Smith-Butterwick
I love this book so much that I don't want to return it. However, I received it yesterday and the first time I open it the pages ripped away from the spine of the book. It is sad. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Sharon Munden