Hear ye Hear ye, the holiday season has arrived! Sparkling lights, holiday music, travel plans and lists. Lots and lots of lists. If you are like me, you enjoy giving mouthwatering, food centric gifts. I’ve taken it upon myself (really tough task – ha!) to review a number of cookbooks so that I may knowledgeably suggest a few winners for holiday gifts.
When I receive a new cookbook, it sits on my nightstand for a few days as I read it usually cover to cover like a novel. By the time I reach the back, loads of paper scraps, or usually postcard sized inserts that have annoyingly dropped out of magazines are tucked in here and there marking the recipes that I most want to try. With my favorite cookbooks, I fall asleep with culinary endeavors dancing in my head.
For the beginning of my cookbook review series, I am suggesting the book you may most want to purchase for yourself. If you have cookie exchanges in your future, this one is for you! Stay tuned for a few more cookbook recommendations as well as homemade food gift ideas and my favorite mail order edibles.
Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy
Melt-in-your-mouth cookies by Alice Medrich
This book is cleverly arranged by cookie texture. Complete with baking tips and cookie secrets, this book is a cookie lovers paradise. From basic chocolate chip to meringues to biscotti to sandwich cookies there WILL be a cookie for every occasion. So far, I have found the recipes easy to follow and the results delicious. The photography is so pleasing, I just wish there was a bit more of it throughout the book.
I always think it is nice to give someone a cookbook along with something edible. An obvious choice would be a batch of one of the cookies found inside. Another consideration would be some high quality baking chocolate like Valrhona. Or, a reusable nonstick baking pan liner like this Silpat.
Though I have always loved them, I had never made Snicker Doodles myself! This recipe was perfect. I tested baking them on Silpat liners and parchment paper. I found that it is essential that the bottoms of these cookies do not get browned. The Silpat required a touch longer cooking than parchment. And, my darker cookie sheet cooked faster and the cookies got a touch overdone. The overly cooked Snicker Doodles were too crunchy and the brown bottoms changed the flavor. So, keep an eye on that oven and be sure it is calibrated.
Classic snicker doodles taste like delicately crunchy rounds of cinnamon-topped French toast.
Makes about sixty 2 ½ inch cookies
3 cups (13.5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups (10.5 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Cookie sheets, lined with parchment paper or greased
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk or fork.
In a medium mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter with the 1 ½ cups sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in the eggs just until blended. Add the flour mixture and stir or beat on low speed just until incorporated. Gather the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.
Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl. Form level tablespoons of dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in the cinnamon sugar and place 2 inches apart on the lined or greased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 or 12 minutes, until the cookies puff and begin to settle down. Rotate the cookie sheets from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. For lined pans, set the pans or just the liners on racks to cool; for unlined pans, use a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to racks. Cool the cookies completely before stacking or storing. May be kept in an airtight container for several days.
Nutmeg Snicker Doodles – Substitute 1 teaspoon lightly packed freshly grated nutmeg for the cinnamon
Caroline Lubbers blogs at Whipped.
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