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Cookie Swap! Paperback – October 13, 2010
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About the Author
Lauren Chattman is a former professional pastry chef and the author of several books, including Bread Making: A Home Course and The Baking Answer Book. Her other books include the IACP-winning Local Breads, which she cowrote with Daniel Leader, and Dessert University, written with White House pastry chef Roland Mesnier. She lives with her family in Sag Harbor, New York.
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Top customer reviews
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Every cookie that made the cut here has an accompanying photo. I don't know why that's so important to me, because you would think by now that I could visualize a cookie based on the title. However, there's just something about casually flipping through the pages and using the photos to make initial decisions about which seem most appealing. Honestly, I probably would have passed right by Flaky Pastry Pinwheels, but the photo nabbed my interest.
The recipes are organized by type: drop cookies, brownies & bars, icebox cookies, etc. I like when cookie books are organized like this, because chances are, I already have know they type of cookie I would like to make. When I'm ready to bake, I can gauge if I'm in the mood to roll out dough and bust out the cookie cutters or feel the need for the ease of a bar cookie. In addition to the traditional categories, Chattman also offers a few more unique chapters. The Savory Cookies seem so interesting to me; I can definitely get behind rich buttery cookies studded with nuts, cheese, olives and sea salt!
We tried holding a cookie swap one year at my office, with less than desirable results. After reading Lauren's tips and hints, I am inspired to take another crack at it. I think she provides exactly the information I need to put together a super fun and successful swap.
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Each of the 71 cookie recipes includes a color photograph of the cookie. The instructions are clear and the cookies I prepared - Incredibly Fudgy Brownies, Gingery Chocolate-Orange Slice-and-Bakes and Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies -- were all delicious and ones I will make again. I look forward to systematically working my way through the rest of the book.
Beginning with a chapter on the specifics for organizing cookie swaps the remaining chapters are Swapper's Delight (The Cookie Baker's Bag of Tricks,) Drop Everything (drop cookie recipes,) Raise the Bar (bar cookie recipes,) Best of Both Worlds (flaky pastry cookies,) Refrigerator Madness (insanely good ice box cookies,) Play Dough (shaped and cut cookies,) Slam Dunk (biscotti and Mandelbrot,) Something for Everyone (special diet cookies,) Snack Attack (savory cookies,) Easy Peasy (shortcut cookies) and Beyond Milk (drinks to serve at the swap.)
The back of the book contains a liquid conversion table for Metric and Imperial, a weight conversion table, an oven temperature table for Celsius and gas mark along with approximate equivalents. There is a list of resources for materials and ingredients along with a solid index so recipes can be located by primary ingredient or proper name, etc. This is a paperback book so it won't lay open on its own, so a cookbook holder will be useful. Black ink is used for the actual recipes in a readable font size, making it easy to see from a distance -- like laying flat on a kitchen countertop.
Hints and tips are noted in the recipes indicating what can be frozen and how to pack the dough for the deep freeze. The author crammed just about everything a cookie baker might need to know within the covers of this book making it useful for all skill levels from novice to advanced cook. I appreciate the obvious care taken by everyone involved in the production of this book. I whole heartedly recommend this terrfic cookie cookbook.
As a cookie consumer, my greatest temptations are soft cookies, so the chapters on drop cookies and bars hold more interest for me than the rest of the book. The recipes provide reasonable variety, not just redecorations of recipes on previous pages. Many of the recipes are classics, like Chocolate Chip cookies, Peanut Butter cookies, and Oatmeal Raisin cookies. Chattman also includes reasonable variety, like Gingerbread Chocolate Chip cookies, Double Peanut Butter Cup cookies, and Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies.
I rate cookbooks based on the number of interesting recipes I find. This book lays out 71 recipes in a very usable format, so it's a bit lightweight in a market with some massive competitors.