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Showing 1-10 of 74 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 98 reviews
As a longtime subscriber to both Gourmet and Bon Appetit, I used to tell people that I liked Gourmet for its savory recipes and Bon Appetit for its sweets. This new compilation of the best cookie recipes, decade by decade, from Gourmet confronted me with the fallacy of that statement. Some of my long-time favorite cookie recipes, including strawberry tart cookies and cranberry pistachio biscotti, can be found here. The best part of this book, however, is not the recipes, as good as they are, but the history behind them. The division of the recipes by decades offers glimpses into trends, subscribers, changing culinary tastes and abilities, and, of course, the focus of the magazine itself.

Interestingly, when the magazine was first published in 1940s and people baked more than they do today, the cookie recipes were much more simple, with tastes that highlighted a few ingredients: butter, nuts, spices. Even in the 1950s, when baking ingredients were more available, the cookies remained somewhat homey and classic, with gingerbread men, lace cookies, and sesame-seed-coated queen's biscuits taking center stage. In the 1960s, however, Gourmet's cookies started taking on a more international note; as the editors note, commercialized air travel and growing national unrest led to more daring recipes. As the book states, "not a single one of the four cookie recipes that appeared in Gourmet in 1963 was of American origin." With this new internationalism came other recipes with more sophisticated lists of ingredients and flavors. By jumping ahead to the 2000s, Gourmet's final decade, one can see how much American tastes have changed: many of the cookies are classics with gourmet twists that make them look more like professionally baked treats than homemade lunch box snacks. Because the book contains a full page photograph of each recipe, it is obvious that later recipes focused as much on aesthetics as taste, while most earlier ones were content with a plain appearance.

Because this book contains recipes exactly as they appeared in the magazine (with some recipe notes for clarification), contemporary bakers may be somewhat taken aback by the format in the earlier decades, as their directions are "remarkably casual, a kind of mysterious shorthand that assumes that each reader is an accomplished cook." While I dispute that these early recipes require any sort of advanced experience, they are definitely written out as though one person is describing the process to another, with ingredients not listed separately but as part of the instructions. (Separate lists of ingredients don't appear until 1982, when recipes were "no longer able to count on the readers' experience.") In some ways, I found the earlier recipes easier to follow because I didn't have to worry about going back and forth between adding sugar and reading how much sugar was called for. The amount was right there in the text.

But how are the recipes themselves? Absolutely wonderful. Not a single one of the recipes I tried missed, although, obviously, some recipes, such as the sparkling lemon sandwich cookies, took more time and effort. From the humble honey refrigerator cookies to the sophisticated coconut macadamia shortbread, these recipes will please contemporary palates.

-- Debbie Lee Wesselmann
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on January 4, 2017
Great cookie recipe book. There is some time travel involved while reading recipes. Yes, I actually enjoy reading recipes when I can carve out the time. I've started reading them in bed, like I do my other books, until I fall asleep. I use post-it-notes to mark the recipes I'm making.

The Scotch Oat Crunchies (oatmeal cookie sandwich) recipe from the 1940s is very good. It reminded me of a cookie my grandmother made. After I made the Old-Fashioned Christmas Butter Cookies, I thought they were the very same ones my mom made when I was a kid. They are so good--they melt in your mouth. I have to confess that I used the Chocolate Wafer cookies I made, from the 1950's section, in an Ice Box Cake I put together...delicious. The lemon thins from the 1970's are very good--my daughter could not eat enough according to her. Cloudt's Pecan Treats from the 1980's is fabulous (I love pecan pie, so this is right up my palate). I am a huge biscotti fan, so I very much enjoyed making and eating the Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti. One of my sons enjoyed his with some decaf tea.

The recipes are well laid out and descriptive. Each step you need to take is listed to make a cookie. The type is a little smaller so be prepared to pull out glasses. Some recipes are more advanced than others. The book leaves it up to the reader which one is right for them. The pictures are terrific and very tempting.

These cookies are not just for holidays. I will be baking them year-round.
If you like to bake, and if you like to bake with kids, this is a great book to have. It is also fun to learn some history and share that with others.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 26, 2015
If you love cookies & baking cookies, this cookbook has the "Single Best of the Year" cookie recipes from Gourmet Magazine from 1941-2009. I checked this out from the library & realized I had to own this book. Not only is it beautiful with a large photo of each recipe but the recipes are fantastic. There are some really old fashioned, delicious cookies in here. Some of my favorites are the "Speculass"/1971, "Scotch Oat Crumbles"/1943, "Honey Refrigerator Cookies"/1942 & the "Bourbon Balls/1980. I've baked my way through about half the recipes so far & every single one is wonderful.

The recipes are in order by year. On the left side is the recipe with a description of where it came from & how it ended up in the magazine. On the right side is the full color photo of the baked cookie. The index is organized by ingredients such as "Almond, Anise, Fig", etc., by name of the cookie, type of cookie such as "Bar, Christmas", etc. It is very easy to find a specific cookie.

I ordered my hard cover copy from ebooksweb. It was in excellent condition, as described.
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on April 9, 2015
This is one of five cookie swap cookbooks I bought for a group of 15 "swappers." I bought this based on the reviews, and we were not only pleased, we were ALL thrilled. DO YOU KNOW THE ODDS OF THRILLING 15 WOMEN WITH THE SAME COOKBOOK?!?!?! (too many zeros) We had such a blast with the results for our Thanksgiving bake-a-thon and swap, that we all did it again not just for our own Christmas dinners, but for our churches and needlework/quilting clubs. Since then, most of us have baked from these books for charity fundraisers, taking to the local Fisher House and Veterans hospitals/homes, and other charity work.

Just guess what we're doing again this fall - yep: finding new recipes to try from these same five books!
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on April 14, 2015
Beautiful photos & thumbnail photos, recipes by year. This is gourmet magazine, so of course the recipes are delicious. : My faves: Moravian white Christmas cookies, cottage cheese cookies, cranberry turtle bars, Scandinavian rosettes & polish apricot filled cookies Contents include:

1941 Cajun macaroons * 1942 honey ice box cookies * 1943 scotch oatmeal crunchies * 1944 cinnamon sugar crisps * 1945 date bars * 1946 Moravian white Christmas cookies * 1947 old fashioned butter cookies * 1948 jelly centers * 1949 brandy snaps * 1950 chocolate wafers * 1951 navettes * 1952 palets de dames * 1953 coconut bars * 1954 benne wafers * 1955 biscotti di regera * 1956 oatmeal raisin cookies * 1957 lace cookies * 1958 brazil nut crescents * 1959 gingerbread men * 1960 pine nut macaroons * 1961 brown butter cookies * 1962 cottae cheese cookies * 1963 curled wafers * 1964 fig cookies * 1965 ginger sugar cookies * 1966 apricot chews * 1967 Mandelbrot * 1968 Florentines * 1969 galettes de noel * 1970 shoe sole cookie * 1971 speculas * 1971 dutch caramel cashew * 1973 crescent cheese cookies * 1974 kourambiedes * 1975 almond bolas * 1976 lemon thins * 1977 irish coffee crunchies * 1978 bizcohitos * 1979 lezar bars * 1980 bourbon balls * 1981 cloud pecan treats * 1982 chocolate meringue biscuits * 1983 switz * 1984 souvaroffs * 1985 pecan tassies * 1986 pastelitos de boda * 1987 pistachio tules * 1989 cornetti * 1990 mocha cookies * 1991 joe hagels * 1992 cranberry pistachio biscotti * 1993 strawberry tart cookies * 1994 basler brunsli * 1995 coconut macadamia shortbread * 1996 giandia brownies * 1999 castle ginger crunch * 2000 walnut acorn cookies * 2001 cranberry turtle bars * 2002 Scandinavian rosettes * 2003 biscotti quadriati * 2004 polish apricot filled cookies * 2005 triomini black & white cookies * 2006 chocolate peppermint bar cookies * 2007 trios * 2008 glittering lemon sandwich cookies * 2009 grand marnier glazed pain d'epiice cookies

TIP: the first time you make a recipe; follow it exactly ... do not make substitutions. If it says butter don't substitute oleo & then wonder why it doesn't taste really good.

For small gifts (like a teacher's gift) make drop cookies in muffin tins. Take empty Pringle cans & decorate the outside of the can ... you will be able to slip a dozen cookies into the can. By using the muffin tins, the cookies are exactly the right size & are uniform.

If you want to really know if this book is for you, go to your local library. If they don't have a copy there is always the option of the Inter-Library Loan procedure (books usually take about 3 weeks to arrive). I almost always preview books from the library before purchasing ... it has saved a lot of disappointment.
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on September 21, 2014
I collect cookie baking books since I like to bake, decorate and eat cookies! I hesitated at first to buy this one because of a few reviews saying it was hard to read and/or difficult to understand. I have pretty rotten vision since I'm extremely nearsighted, but don't have any problem reading this. Plus, perhaps because I've been baking from a very young age and started out using recipes from a great grandmother's handwritten cookbook that definitely doesn't list ingredients separately, I don't find the earlier recipes in this book difficult at all to follow. It's important to remember that these recipes are printed as they appeared in the original magazine issue; the older ones haven't been rearranged to conform to modern ideas of how recipes should be laid out. The tips (not original to the magazine) are very helpful. Lastly, I found recipes in this book I haven't seen in other books. In sum, well worth purchasing, in my opinion.
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on May 3, 2017
Great recipie book. Excellent quality paper, photos, and it is a hardcover book. Very nice perusing the favorite cookies from each year.
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on February 1, 2016
Very interesting book. Not too sure if I will bake many of the cookies, but it is interesting reading as you can see the changes in tastes and recipe format throughout the years. I tend to read cookbooks more for inspiration rather than actual recipes and this is great for that.
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on May 9, 2016
I loved this book. It gave great histories of the recipes and the recipes were great. Cant wait to try them. Even the pictures were delicious.
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on December 16, 2016
Bought it for office gift exchange; came in great shape, and it's a beautiful full-color book.
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