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Very Merry Cookie Party: How to Plan and Host a Christmas Cookie Exchange Paperback – September 29, 2010
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About the Author
Barbara Grunes has written more than 45 cookbooks, including The Best Bake Sale Ever Cookbook. She lives in the Chicago area.
Virginia Van Vynckt is a writer, editor, and Web designer. She lives in the Chicago area.
France Ruffenach is a San Francisco-based photographer.
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Additionally, less than a third of the recipes have a photograph, so if a picture of the finished cookie is an important part of the preparation process, this might be an issue. I find that I use pictures of cookies to help me decide which ones to prepare, particularly when they will be on display at a cookie exchange party and looks are important. The lack of photographs could be easily remedied by taking group shots of the cookies so that each is pictured but additional pages of photographs don't increase costs. This is a publisher's decision, not the author.
Divided into Parts, and the first one is Planning and Hosting a Cookie Exchange which has sections on Cookie Exchange "Rules," How to Make Your Cookies Look Their Best, Presentation and Packaging, Party Themes, Party Menus and About the Recipes. Part two covers Cookies to Build a Party Around which includes Dear Santa: Dressed-up Classics, Ginger and Spice, For Chocoholics and Cookie Ornaments. Cookies by Technique is the title of part three with sections on Drop Cookies, Bars and Squares, Rolled and Cut-Out Cookies, Slice and Bake Cookies, Filled Cookies, Molded and Stamped Cookies and finally Pressed and Piped Cookies. Each recipe contains a helpful tip or comment.
A good index is located in the back of the book which aids in locating a specific recipe quickly. There is also a metric conversion table for measurements along with a small list of sources for spices, cookie molds, etc. The paper quality is good and most spills should wipe up easily. And, paperback cookbooks are notorious for not laying open on the countertop, but this one did reasonably well no matter what page it was on. The font size used for the ingredients is a little small - probably nine point -- so make note if that is an issue.
I prepared two of the cookie recipes and they turned out perfectly and were quite delicious. First, Malted Milk Chocolate Cookies were really good but I substituted semi-sweet chocolate for the chopped milk chocolate and the result was excellent. I also prepared the Pistachio and Cranberry Biscotti primarily to see how it compared with my usual version of the recipe. This one fared well and I would be happy to prepare either recipe.
The book accomplishes its purpose and should be helpful to anyone who is new to cookie exchanges or in search of basic cookie recipes.