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The Art of the Cookie: Baking Up Inspiration by the Dozen Hardcover – November 1, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Shelly Kaldunski (Santa Rosa, CA) is a Northern California-based food stylist, culinary teacher, and expert in all things sweet.  As a pastry chef, Shelly worked in restaurants in San Francisco before becoming a food editor at Martha Stewart Living.  She was the food stylist for and contributor to Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook and is the author of Sweet Scoops and Ice Pops. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Vanilla Spritz Sandwiches
21⁄4 cups (111⁄2 oz/360 g) all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3⁄4 cup (6 oz/185 g) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (4 oz/125 g) confectioner’s sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate Glaze (page 116), chilled
tools needed
1 pastry bag with a 3⁄4-inch (2-cm) star tip
one pastry bag with a 1⁄4-inch (6-mm) round tip
*Makes about 15 cookies,
1 Have ready 3 baking sheets.

2 In a bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 2—3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on low speed until the egg is completely incorporated. Beating on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture and continue to beat until just incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Transfer the dough to a large pastry bag fitted with a 3⁄4-inch (2-cm) open star tip (page 15).

3 Pipe rosettes of dough onto the sheets, using firm pressure to extrude the dough in a circular motion. Make cookies about 11⁄4 inches (3 cm) in diameter, spacing them 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Chill in the refrigerator or freezer until firm, about 15 minutes.

4 Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C).

5 Bake until the cookies are firm to the touch but have not yet taken on any golden color, 15—17 minutes. Let cool on the sheets for 5 minutes. Using a metal spatula, transfer to wire racks and let cool completely, about 30 minutes.

6 Spoon the glaze into a pastry bag with a 1⁄4-inch (6-mm) round tip. Turn half of the cookies bottom side up. Pipe a layer of glaze over each cookie bottom. Gently press the remaining cookies, bottom side down, onto the filling. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

7 Store the cookies in an airtight container, layered between sheets of parchment paper, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Weldon Owen; 1 edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616280352
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616280352
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,193,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book and gave it 5 stars!!! I think it is a GREAT book.

In response to the review that stated this book was too complex for the "typical home baker:" I could not find a "Candy Cane" recipe, so I'm assuming you're refering to the "Peppermint Stick" recipe as being too complex. I would think that a "typical home baker" would read through this recipe and modify it to her skill level. For example, the author does give a lot of detail on how to make different shades of red dough and how to pipe this dough in different widths to obtain the striped effect. However, I would think that a "typical home baker" would realize that the coloring of the dough is just for show and does nothing to the taste of the cookie. This baker would omit this part of the recipe all together and just make the cookies with the plain dough.

I really enjoyed this book!! I like how well it is organized. The first half of the book is devoted to Basic Cookie Baking and Decorating Techniques. There are 5 Cookie Recipes used throughout this section of the book: 1)Vanilla Sugar 2)Lemon-Buttermilk, 3)Brown Sugar, 4)Chocolate Sugar and 5)Gingerbread.

This section focuses on how to make different types of cookies using one of the 5 Basic Cookie Recipes. For example, there is a recipe for Lemon Window Panes that uses the Vanilla Sugar Cookie recipe to make sandwich cookies with Lemon Curd filling. This section also contains information on decorating different shapes of cookies, i.e. alphabet cookies, flower cookies, etc. All the decorating techniques are throughly described. However there are no templates provided, but the shapes are relatively simple and can be easily duplicated.
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Format: Hardcover
Chapters include

Decorated Favorites
Hidden Classics

The beginning of the book includes descriptions of helpful tools and how to use them. Almost every page spread in this book has a beautiful photo, as does almost every recipe. These cookies look so pretty! The recipes are easy to understand and call for ordinary ingredients. The ingredients and tools needed for each recipe are clearly listed. I always find it helpful if prep and cooking time are listed but I don't really think they could be here since a good amount of handiwork is involved with the decorating and that could be different for everyone. Recipes that especially caught my eye were the Jam Swirls, Bird's Nests, Graham Cracker Sandwiches, and Chocolate Chip Wafers. This book was be great for anyone who enjoys baking and for those that would like to take their baking to a new level.
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Format: Hardcover
Books like this get my creative juices flowing. Each cookie, even recipes that are somewhat familiar like Almond-Marmalade Spoonprints - reminiscent of thumbprint cookies, look sufficiently different to appear to be a new creation. So, in addition to exploring new recipes, this book made me look at my old standby recipes in search of a way to make them look fresh. The author of this book has the heart of an artist, and while not a necessity in cookie baking, that quality results in not only delicious pastries, but a feast for the eye.

I've picked up cookie books that were all about the decorating - one basic sugar cookie recipe and lots of pretty visuals of cookies coated in fondant or made into three dimensional critters, etc. And although they fill a need, I primarily want to create delicious cookies and secondarily make them beautiful. This book helps me accomplish that goal.

The required baking skill level is basic, but it helps if the user has a desire to spend a little extra time on the appearance of the cookies. I found nothing particularly complicated within the covers of the book and often the difference in appearance is accomplished simply by changing the expected shape of the cookie - something that takes no additional time. I prepared three recipes, Tree Rings, Chocolate-Butterscotch Crackles and Apricot-Pistachio Biscotti. All were excellent and I will make them again,

This is a quality hardback book that thankfully stays open while laying on a countertop and the paper quality permits quick clean-up of any spills without damage. The ink color used throughout the book is black which helps read the small size font (approximately nine point) from a standing position while looking down at the book on the counter.
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Format: Hardcover
There are some neat ideas here, but it is oddly dedicated mostly to painting standard sugar cookies in cool ways.
We have tried three of the recipes. One is a keeper - the sables, which we have made with molasses, are great, very delicate and delicious. But the chocolate butterscotch crackles did not flatten out and crackle as they were supposed to. And the maple triangles were so-so at best.
Has anyone had good luck with the chocolate butterscotch crackles and offer suggestions about how to make them work?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Full of solid cookie recipes that work. I especially like the jam-swirls. Most recipes are a riff on the vanilla sugar cookes, decorated in different ways, but there are enough original recipes that I haven't really seen anywhere else to make this one worth buying. One of my favorite cookie cookbooks.
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