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Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share Throughout the Year Paperback – Bargain Price, August 1, 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 69 customer reviews

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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

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 20091203)

"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 )

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 )

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 )

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 )

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.)

"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 )
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith; 1 edition (August 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423603788
  • ASIN: B0055X5XAE
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,073,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Hill TOP 100 REVIEWER on 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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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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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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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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Love this book. Julia Usher has done a fantastic job of creating a book that works for both novice and experienced cookie decorators. This book is full of useful information, both basic and advanced. In addition to great advice and tips, this book is full of beautiful photos of her projects. You won't regret this purchase.
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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. I need to practice to make mine look as lovely as Julia's but my family will reap the tasty benefits of my practicing.
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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 figure things out it was okay but could be alittle frustrating for a beginner.
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