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Cookie Cookbook Recommendation Needed

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A friend of mine loves baking cookies and always is on the hunt for new recipes. She only recently started this baking frenzy but she seems to really enjoy it. I think that a cookie cookbook is in order as a holiday present but I have no idea which one(s) is best. Any recommendations from the bakers among you?

One other question - do you like cookie presses? I was thinking about getting that as part of her present.

Thanks!

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  1. See this recent discussion of a couple of cookie cookbooks.

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/468397

    Can't comment on cookie presses. Haven't used one since I was about six years old. And, no, I'm not going to tell you how long ago that was.

    1. http://www.amazon.com/Heatters-Cookie...

      I like Maida Heatter's cookie book.

      17 Replies
      1. re: fern

        Second this, and Rosie's cookie cookbook is also good. I baked her Gingerbread People this Christmas & it's just a fantastic recipe. But, you cannot go wrong with Maida, every cookie baker must have that book.

        As far as cookie presses ... I personally hate them, they are the one piece of cookie-related equipment I refuse to own.

        Check out www.houseonthehill.net for more cool cookie stuff ...

        1. re: foiegras

          Just about the time I'm sure I have enough cookbooks, someone comes along and says something like "Rosie's cookie cookbook is also good." I didn't know there was one. And it's too late to get for Christmas.

          1. re: yayadave

            Barnes & Noble stocks her books last I knew ;) One of her cookbooks is actually the only good one I've ever gotten as a gift. That one was Rosie's Bakery All-Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed, No-Holds-Barred Baking Book. But I also have and like Rosie's Chocolate-Packed Jam-Filled, etc. cookie book.

            1. re: foiegras

              Time out! Time out! I think we're getting all mixed up here. "Rosie" is Judy Rosenberg, a pastry chef from Boston. I think she has a bakery called Rosie's Bakery. She is the author of "All Butter, etc." and "Chocolate-Packed, etc." But as far as I know, she's never published a book solely on cookies. I *think* foiegras was referring to "Rose's Christmas Cookies" by Rose Levy Berenbaum. The RLB book does indeed have a recipe called "Gingerbread People." I'm quite certain Judy Rosenberg's books do not.

              1. re: JoanN

                See, that's how I get into this cook book trouble. It's another trip to Amazon for me. So I may as well pass it on. Here 'tis.

                http://www.amazon.com/Rosies-Chocolat...

                1. re: yayadave

                  Okay, got it. But does that book have the recipe, "Gingebread People," that foiegras was referring to? Foiegras, where are we when we need you?

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Pages 220 - 21. Amazon actually has the index.

                    1. re: yayadave

                      Uncle. And sincere apologies. But how odd is it that there are two cookie cookbooks by authors with similar names with recipes with exactly the same name? I will now go stand in the corner. Anyone have a dunce cap?

                      1. re: JoanN

                        And this Rosie's name isn't even Rose! Try to find a corner with the computer.

                2. re: JoanN

                  No, "we" are not confused ;) I am referring to Judy's cookbooks, and she does include a recipe called Gingerbread People--and a really fabulous recipe it is too, the best gingerbread cookie I've ever made. Baked them this past Monday night.

                  The Chocolate-Packed cookbook is cookies only. The full title is Rosie's Bakery Chocolate-Packed Jam-Filled Butter-Rich No-Holds-Barred Cookie Book by Judy Rosenberg.

                  PS I see now this has already been resolved ;) Just wanted to note what was so great about the recipe. One, you make it in a food processor so it's really fast to put together. Also, it includes orange zest, which really adds to the cookie but normally causes problems with a cutter cookie--but not once it gets all chopped up in the food processor. Two, it's super easy to work with and rolls out very thin. But, the thin dough survives in the oven just fine. I even forgot to set the timer for the first batch and it didn't burn. Three, nice mix of spices and it's a gingerbread cookie I actually like. I'm not that fond of gingerbread but make it for the color on the cookie plate, people who do like it, and the fabulous smell while it's baking. I used to live in a second floor apartment & my definition of baking bliss was standing at the foot of the stairs outside and being able to smell my baking :)

                  1. re: foiegras

                    But the crux of this question is, are the two "Rose's" recipes the same? And, of course, do I really need another cookie book with a very long title.

                    1. re: yayadave

                      I do not know since (should I be embarrassed to admit this?) I don't have the Berenbaum book. The Rosie recipe is quite unusual with its cold butter/food processor/etc. I suspect it is unique to her, and you can definitely see its commercial origins. I quite like the cold butter part--getting butter perfectly softened but not too soft is the bane of my Christmas baking.

                      1. re: foiegras

                        Even without knowing, I'm sure two such strong personalities would have diferent takes on Gingerbread People.

                        1. re: foiegras

                          And I, obviously, do not have the Rosenberg book. But RLB's recipe includes instructions for making them in either a food processor or an electric mixer and the food processor method does indeed use cold butter.

                          1. re: JoanN

                            Does Berenbaum's call for water?

                            1. re: foiegras

                              No, it doesn't. Only liquid is 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses and 1 large egg.

                              1. re: JoanN

                                The Rosie recipe calls for I believe 2 T molasses and 1 T water.

          2. I own a number of cookie cookbooks (my name isn't just a reference to my eating habits), and my favorite is the All-American Cookie Book:

            http://www.amazon.com/All-American-Co...

            Nicely organized by types of ingredients (nuts, chocolate, fruit, etc.), good photos, easy to follow recipes, and interesting tidbits of cookie history.

            The cookie book I grew up on is Betty Crocker's, and I still sometimes refer to my mother's 1967 edition:

            http://www.amazon.com/Betty-Crockers-...

            And cookie presses are a pain in the *&%, imho. I've owned several different types over the years and found that they break easily, cookie dough gets jammed in crevices where you can never get it completely cleaned out, and they only work well for forming the simplest shapes. But others may disagree.

            5 Replies
            1. re: cookie monster

              We love the Cooky Book in our house - great retro pics, good solid recipes (including some that make mass quantities - great for swaps or feeding a crowd).

              I like my cookie press - my MIL gave it to me as a wedding shower gift years ago, along w/her "tried and true" spritz recipes (all of which are in the Cooky Book, I don't have the heart to tell her!). The key is chilling the dough enough, but not too much - can be tricky but they are fun and small and you can make a zillion of 'em easily.

              1. re: cookie monster

                another vote for the BC's Cookie Book. Retro in looks, very practical advice and photos of nearly everything! Plus, Cookies That Ship Well, Baking Cookies In Quantity, Classics of Each Decade, etc. This book is an heirloom classic, and spiral bound. Just re-issued last year, in identical format to 1960's version.

                1. re: toodie jane

                  Yep. After looking at this thread, I picked up our copy from the bottom shelf and started going through it. Recipes for cookies I like to eat, like to make, couldn't find, been wanting to make - all in there. Straight-forward instructions, nothing precious going on here. And pictures. This one may really be the answer for the OP. It's a great beginner's book and it will serve her well for a long time.
                  http://www.amazon.com/Betty-Crockers-...
                  Same picture on cover.

                  1. re: yayadave

                    I love my good old Betty Crocker. Especially the Thumbprint cookies filled with powdered sugar icing. Also the Russian Tea Cakes and Snickerdoodles are so, so good!

                    Happy baking!

                2. re: cookie monster

                  Here's (another) belated vote for the Nancy Baggett Cookie book. The recipe for Supreme Brownies makes just about the BEST brownies I've ever eaten.

                3. Great selections by fern and cookie monster! And the Betty Crocker's is a strong stand-by.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: yayadave

                    I can't believe how well the "Betty Crocker Cooky Book" holds up. Not only do you get some very good recipes (I've never found recipes I liked better for classics like russian teacakes or chocolate crinkles), it's also a neat slice of Americana.

                  2. I happen to love Dede Wilson's Baker's Field Guide to Christmas Cookies -- it's a less weighty tome than some others mentioned (more of a fun or casual gift) but has some of my really go-to holiday recipes that I've made every year since I bought the book -- I used her recipe for mincemeat in Thanksgiving pie, I make the bourbon balls every year, and the pfeffernusse, and I've made the zimsterne ... each recipe has a picture of what the cookie is supposed to look like, a note about the provenance, and information about shipping and storage. And every recipe I've tried has worked beautifully.

                    1. I have a number of cookie cookbooks and especially like the Maida Haetter, Nick Malgeri's Cookies Unlimited and the Rosie's Bakery books. As to a cookie press, I have a recipe for Danish butter cookies that require a press. I have a Wearever Cookie Shooter- an electric cookie press. When it dies no more Danish butter cookies :( especially since they don't make the Cookie Shooter anymore.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                        My favorites are Maida Heatter and Rose Berenbaum Levy's Christmas Cookies (recipes I make all year). I love cookie presses - have actually worn out a couple of the tree disks over the years, but have had good luck finding replacements in thrift stores. They're easy to use, great for quantity and can be used for cheese crackers et al. Fun. Go for electric rather than battery or crank powered.

                        1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod

                          Just wanted to note that for unknown reasons, I have had bad luck with every Nick Malgieri recipe I've ever tried (all from How to Bake). Dry and flavorless ... I was just puzzling over this last night. But Maida is absolutely foolproof, and great for all levels of bakers.

                          1. re: foiegras

                            That last sentence sums it up.

                            1. re: foiegras

                              I'm happy to hear I'm not the only one who has had problems with Nick Malgieri's recipes. I've only used ones from "Perfect Light Desserts" and they just were not good. The last one I tried for chocolate spice cookies was decent, but needs some tweaks.

                              I will definitely have to get Maida's book.

                              1. re: foiegras

                                I, too, have had issues with Nick Malgieri's How to Bake book, especially the lack of instructions. I did make some excellent Fig Newton-esque cookies from it, but it (and the other recipes I've tried) suffer from incomplete instructions. I wouldn't recommend it for a novice cookie baker. Haven't looked at his Cookie book,t hough.

                                1. re: nofunlatte

                                  It's been several years or more since I tried anything from it. I was like, ummm, how can you get several cookbooks published if they're as bad as they seem to be from my experience ;)

                            2. I have to second the recommendation of Nancy Baggett's All-American Cookie Book. It's got nice photos and, as mentioned, good organization and a great variety, with recipes of varying difficulty and time commitment. Most importantly, I've found that the recipes are fail-proof - every recipe she writes delivers a great cookie through clear instruction. (Her All-American Dessert Book is also great, and neither book is of as narrow a scope as the titles might suggest - great variety of crowd-pleasers!)

                              1. My favorite cookie book is the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. This has a huge variety of recipes that almost always come out well.
                                True story if I may digress: I made the graham crackers from this cookbook (quite tasty) for my 15-month-old grandson when his family came to visit. My husband asked. "What're you making next, saltines?"
                                I actually looked up a recipe, and one of these days ...
                                As far as cookie presses ... I have to admit, I've never been able to figure one out -- and I LOVE spritz cookies.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Fuser

                                  The King Arthur cookie book is terrific. I made 3 recipes from it in one night as soon as I got it in the mail. The salty oatmeal cookies are delicious. The brownie recipes are good too. I especially like the fact that the book gives you the option for cakey, fudgie and in-between brownies.

                                  I also like Tish Boyle's "The Good Cookie". The peanut butter cookies are delicious, although I don't make them as large as she recommends. The cookie section in her book "Diner Desserts" pleases too.

                                2. Many thanks to everyone's suggestions. I wound up buying the Nancy Baggett book in the end not for any other reason except that it was readily available at my local Borders bookstore. I was shocked at how few cookbooks there were in many of the stores and in particular cookie cookbooks. I am going to keep the Heatter and the Berenbaum books in reserve....but I'm going to start looking for them on the Amazon used list. I bet there are some in very good condition out there. Happy new year to all and thanks for your great input! This board is fabulous.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: KingsKetz

                                    That's interesting--suspect you are not in the right neighborhood. There are tons of cookbooks (including baking ones) in the bookstores I frequent. And of course B&N usually has a better selection than Borders of most things ...

                                    1. re: foiegras

                                      Maybe so. There's a bookstore that I like a lot on Court Street in Cobble Hill. One of the last independents and they had virtually nothing. I didn't have a lot of time to look so I wound up at the Borders on Broadway near Wall St. The selection was really slight. Luckily I managed to find one of the 'good ones'!

                                      1. re: KingsKetz

                                        After all is said etc, you did get a book full of good recipes of favorites and, with any luck, you should be the beneficiary of lots of new cookie making.

                                        1. re: KingsKetz

                                          Don't tell me those Wall St guys and gals don't bake!!! <shock>

                                          1. re: foiegras

                                            I think they Shake 'n' Bake, but it ain't cookies.

                                    2. I suppose it's too late now, but if you are still looking for another cookie cookbook, I heartily recommend Carole Walter's Great Cookies.

                                      I'm surprised she doesn't get more attention. The book won the James Beard award. I've cooked from Maida Heatter, Rose Levy Berenbaum, Nick Malgieri, and Nancy Bagget, and Carole Walter is hands down the best.

                                      Everyone else offers excellent cookies (well, Maida Heatter and Nancy Bagget are slightly too sweet, IMHO), but Carole Walter elevates the cookies to the next level. Truly superb.

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: Roland Parker

                                        i'll 2nd the carole walter book. i've made 3 dozen or so of the recipes over the last 2 holiday seasons, and i haven't found many negatives; 3 of them were good but not worth the effort, a few of the recipes have made considerably more/less cookies than specified, the more basic/common cookies are the weakest (for instance ci's chewy chocolate chip & pb cookie recipes are superior), her springerle recipe uses too much leavener. recipes and directions are generally very good, and there are pictures of many cookies. results from this cookbook have been so consistently good that i intend to exhaust it's possibilities before looking for another (next holiday season i'm making the entire biscotti section).

                                        1. re: mark

                                          Never too late. There's always next year!

                                          1. re: mark

                                            I'll third Carole Walter's book. Everything I've made from there has been delicious. And the lemon cookies are SO good.

                                            But then, I'd say tied with that one is Dorie Greenspan's Baking book. It's not all cookies, but every cookie recipe I've tried has been fabulous (including my beloved World Peace cookies and the lemon sables, which I've been ordered to make for the holidays next year, lol.)

                                            1. re: Chocolatechipkt

                                              Help, I also need a cookie cookbook recommendation! My friend is a cookie lover and I want to get her a cookbook for her birthday. She is only an amateur baker and I want to get her a book that covers the basics. Right now I am deciding between Carole Walter's "Great Cookies" (which seems to be recommended by lots of Chowhounders), Tish Boyle's "The Good Cookie", and "The King Arthur Cookie Companion". Any ideas or recommendations? Thanks in advance.

                                              1. re: dreamsicle

                                                I think the KA Cookie Companion probably addresses more of the basics. You could save the Carole Walters book for another year, lol. :)