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Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets Hardcover – Deluxe Edition, November 4, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 61 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

If you want to know how to make a chocolate chip cookie that doesn't run or how to cut Lemon Squares so the edges are neat, Walter (Great Cakes, Great Pies and Tarts), winner of a James Beard Award, has just the careful advice. All of the classic American cookies are here-Hermits, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Carole's Best Brownies and Gingerbread People-as well as treats like Hamentaschen and Athena's Baklava that have been assimilated into the North American palate. Most recipes make three dozen (or more, as in Blondies), so unless you have five children, you'll be halving ingredients. Missing, too, are recipes that kids can make. However, directions are easy to follow-even on the first try, home cooks will enjoy attractive, predictable results for tidbits like Sesame Coins or Coconut Lemon-Lime Tassies. Special sections, like secrets for making Chocolate Chip Cookies, tell how to reheat cookies and explain how brown sugar provides a chewier texture. A glossary of ingredients and methods covers everything from the right temperature for ingredients to the difference between jelly roll pans and cookie sheets. Some recipes are time-consuming and require special ingredients, such as superfine sugar for Florentines or rice flour in Scotch Shortbread, and most require electric mixers or processors, resulting in more refined and reliable cookies, rather than homey creations.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Inside Flap

Carole Walter?s fans know her as an award-winning author, teacher, and mentor, and her new book will keep them cheering, as she turns her attention to the most popular theme in home baking: cookies.

Packed with more than 200 delectable recipes and more than 150 tantalizing photographs, Great Cookies skillfully and joyfully answers the call for a colorful, all-inclusive cookie book. From traditional favorites like Snickerdoodles, Oatmeal Raisin, and Favorite Lemon Squares to future stars of the cookie jar like the trail mix?inspired Teton Trailers and chewy, chocolaty Midnight Macaroons, Great Cookies provides something to satisfy every taste and every occasion.

There?s even a section devoted to the quintessential American cookie?chocolate chip. With nuts or without? White chocolate or milk? Chocolate dough? Oatmeal in the dough? Carole provides a dozen chocolate chip recipes in all, plus definitive research on a crucial issue: ?Not All Chocolate Chips Are Created Equal.?
Drop cookies. Bar cookies. Piped, pressed, and rolled. Great Cookies covers every conceivable method for baking these tasty confections. In the more than thirty years that she has studied and taught baking, Carole has cataloged a wealth of helpful tips and troubleshooting hints that for the first time are gathered in one collection.

With guidelines for measuring and substituting ingredients, storing and freezing, recapturing that fresh-from-the-oven flavor, decorating, even gift-wrapping and shipping, Great Cookies addresses all the basics and then some. And this ultimate guide is rounded out with authoritative information on ingredients, equipment, and the foolproof techniques for which Carole is known, including the essential ?Secrets To? hints for every type of cookie.

With master baker Carole Walter by your side, you may never look at a glass of ice cold milk the same way again.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 edition (November 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609609696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609609699
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.2 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #735,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By B. Marold HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 17, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Carole Walter belongs to a select group of women writing on baking in the home. Leading this group with Walter is Maida Heatter, the queen of cakes, Rose Levy Beranbaum of the baking `Bible' series and Susan Purdy, also a writer on both pies and cakes. I suppose we should give an honorable mention to Nick Malgieri, who has written on pastry, cakes, cookies, and breads. The book in my library which most closely compares to Walter's cookie book is Nancy Baggett's `The All-American Cookie Book'.
These two books are of similar length, these two authors have both won awards for their books on baking, and, of course, both are devoted entirely to cookies. Both books have sizable bibliographies. Both books have general chapters on technique. The scope of Baggett's book is somewhat limited in that it is focusing on cookie recipes born or nurtured in America. For that reason and for her larger bibliography, I give a few points to Baggett at the outset.
Baggett's introductory chapter on technique is, I believe, a little gem. Walter gives a much larger chapter at the end of her book on ingredients, tools, and techniques, which has a much more academic air about it. To even things up and actually come off ahead of Baggett in the pedagogical arena, Walter has page long sidebars with pointers on making each different type of cookie.
The chapter headings are quite different in the two books. Both divide cookies by type. Baggett's classification is largely based on ingredients. Walter's classification is largely based on technique. If I owned neither, I would pick Walter's book for this reason alone.
Both authors give entertaining headnotes to each of their recipes. This feature is a wash. Baggett provides photographs for a small minority of her recipes.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm an experienced baker who has tried many cookie recipes and Great Cookies is the best book I've come across (better than The All-American Cookie Book or Maida Heatter's Cookies or The Good Cookie). Not only are her recipes good but I loved having high quality photographs for almost ever recipe and the "cookie characteristics" information, like about whether the cookie travels well or whether it can be frozen or how long it lasts. Every fall I start making Christmas cookies and I store them in the freezer until they're ready for distribution, so this information really helps. I also like how she pays attention to making the cookies look appealing, like pressing peanuts into peanut saucers or topping midnight macaroons with a blanched almond or dipping the ends of pignoli crescents in chocolate. My only complaint is that I wish that she had also included weights of ingredients like flour and "lightly packed brown sugar" since these ingredients can vary depending on how they're scooped up.

I've tried 18 recipes so far. One was excellent (chocolate macaroon bar p. 212 -- but I'm a fan of chocolate and coconut); 7 were "very good" (spanish peanut saucers, chocolate shortbread nuggets, midnight macaroons, chocolate-dipped pignoli crescents, chocolate coconut devils, Stephen Schmidt's white chocolate macadamia squares, black beauties); 9 were "good". Only one recipe bombed: fudgy nutwiches with caramel mascarpone filling, p. 26. The cookies didn't spread so they were tiny and I couldn't get the filling ingredients to blend. Still, that is the best track record that I've ever had with a cookie book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully written, beautifully photographed book of cookie recipes; some classics, some new to me. On the plus side, for the most part, the recipes are clearly written and explained. And I feel that even a novice could turn out a great batch of cookies following the recipes in this book. What I have tried, Chocolate, chocolate chocolate Biscotti; Coconut Lemon Lime Tassies; Tipsy Date Nut Gems; Chocolate Snowcaps; Mississippi Bayou Bars, Yoceved Hirschenstein's Passover Mandelbrot--all delicious and turned out well. However, there are shortcomings. There was a cup of glaze leftover from the biscotti, so I don't think the quantity required was worked out; you cannot cut Mississippi Bayou Bars neatly without chilling first, which was not in the directions; and Tipsy Date Nut Gems turned out very wet, and even repeated coatings of confectioners' sugar continued to soak in. I would suspect that either the baking time is not correct, or that there should be more flour/cocoa in the recipe. Keeping these cookies chilled helped, but was not suggested. All this does not mean that all these recipes were not extraordinarily delicious, but rather that a beginning baker may get discouraged. For reasons known only to the publisher, all the information about ingredients and techniques, and equipment is put in the back of the book, following the recipes, rather than before the recipes. Since it is much better to know this information before you begin, this part of the book design makes no sense. I have a copy of one of Ms. Walter's previous books, and this information was up front, where it should be. It is also unclear how a quantity equal to "walnut size" is achieved, and does she mean in or out of the shell?Read more ›
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