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Cookie Cookbook Recommendation Needed

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. 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.