All traces of willpower dissipate somewhere between the rich, moist, and chewy Cheese Cake Brownies; the delicate, crispy Palm Beach Lemon Cookies; and the flaky, tender Portland Fig Cookies, bursting with an unbelievably decadent filling of dried figs, currants, walnuts, and spices. Trust Nick Malgieri, award-winning author, James Beard nominee, and director of the baking program at Peter Kump's Cooking School in New York, to gather a collection of more than 350 cookie recipes that we can't live without.
Each mouthwatering recipe begins with a short introduction. Sometimes Malgieri tells us what the cookies will look and taste like, sometimes he tells us a bit about their origins, and sometimes we meet the people who first shared the recipes with him. In each case he is sure to pique interest. If Malgieri says that nothing is homier or more comforting than his old-fashioned moist Currant Squares, how can we not make them on the next cold, rainy Saturday that comes along? And if he says he helped Pierre Hermes (the famous Parisian pastry chef) make his extremely delicate Orange Tuiles, and that it wasn't difficult, that should be enough impetus for us to make them just to impress our friends.
Malgieri has divided the book into chapters by type of cookie (bar, drop, refrigerator, rolled, molded, piped, filled, etc.), just what we'd expect from a great teacher like him. The chapters begin with hints and tips for the kind of cookie and recipes follow. If we had lots of time, and plenty of hungry friends, we could work our way through the book and arrive triumphant, at the end, master cookie makers, but we're probably more likely to skip around a lot--everything sounds so tempting! From "heavenly" Caramel Pecan Cookies and "elegant" French Vanilla Sables to "delicately flavored" Little Italy Pine Nut Macaroons and "nutty, fragrant" Almond and Hazelnut Biscotti, Malgieri's enthusiasm for his subject is contagious.
Most of the recipes fit on one page, a detail anyone can appreciate because there's no need to mess the book with sticky, buttery fingers. The instructions are detailed when they need to be, such as the exact Ateco plain tube number to use for the piped Butter Almond Fingers, and are beautifully clear and simple when that's all that's necessary, such as with the quick, easy Golden Coconut Macaroons. Even if you think that the last thing you need is another cookie cookbook, think again, because this one is simply chock-full of recipes you'll make, and make again. --Leora Y. Bloom
From Library Journal
Cooking teacher Malgieri (Chocolate, How To Bake, etc.) offers more than 200 recipes for cookies of all sorts, from homey favorites like Cheesecake Brownies to more unusual sweet treats such as Ricotta Drops and Swiss Hazelnut Bars. Some are as American as Loaded with Chips Chocolate Chip Cookies; others are lesser-known European specialties, with a good number from Italy, reflecting Malgieri's heritage. Most are easy, as cookies should be, and the recipes are clearly written. A good companion to Holly Garrison's excellent Cookie Book (Macmillan, 1996), this is recommended for most baking collections.
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