as you read this, i am most likely flagging a cab into the city from la guardia, to start my weekend NYC/NJ teaching gig. i won’t be home until monday. erica will fill in with another post on sunday, but i thought that for today, it would be fun to leave you with something to dream on—weekends are, after all, full of possibility.
and what possibility could be more alluring than that of cookies??
it might be a little too warm already where you live to be firing up the oven, but if it is one of the last temperate weekends, it could also be a good time to bake several batches and freeze them to eat over the summer when it’s really just too hot to even consider baking.
just a thought.
but if you find that thought really, REALLY appealing, you might be interested in this book—cookies, another volume in the at home series produced by the culinary institute of america.
as with the other at home books, this one includes a well-rounded combination of both instructional content and recipes.
a quick lesson at the start in appropriate equipment and ingredients to have on hand with an explanation of why they are right for cookie baking will get you off on the right track.
this is all really good stuff to know and if you haven’t heard it before, worth exploring before you go shopping.
why spend money on stuff you don’t need, only to end up trying to store it in space you don’t have? better to spend that money on good ingredients.
i also love the illustrated explanation of techniques—if you didn’t learn to cook at home or in school, these basics can really help pull together the concepts of baking—the bonus for reading this stuff is that many of these techniques apply in other areas of cooking and you’ll be adding to a growing stock of knowledge.
you can read these parts of the book at a separate time, well before baking day—no need to plod through them when you are ready to get your hands in flour.
once you get past the science, the book just gets more and more fun. first, a chapter about packaging and decorating—who doesn’t love that?
handmade baked good can be the loveliest of gifts, but if you plan to go this route, presentation makes a difference.
this chapter is full of great ideas for preparing gift packages that are a cut above for holidays or for any time.
included as well are some baking projects that can be tackled alone or in a small group, to learn a new technique and/or create something out of the ordinary.
after this, we get into the recipes; as with many other books, these are divided into sections according to cookie type—drop, bar, rolled, pressed, shaped, etc
included are many, many recipes for old-fashioned favorites, the every day cookies favored by many bakers for their ease of preparation and universal appeal.
most of my own favorites fall into this category; i’m not as attracted to fancier cookies as i am to good old drop cookies and bars.
what’s nice is seeing a few variations on these recipes that elevate easy-to-bake favorites into fussy-looking results, with a minimum of actual fuss. for instance, these cream filled sandwiches made with drop cookies.
of course, if you enjoy fussing, you will not be left out—there is plenty here to choose from.
get a load of these
and if that’s not fussy enough for you, i can put you to work sorting out my yarn room—that should keep you busy for a while.
the last chapter is very interesting and one that you don’t normally see in a cookie book—savory cookies.
from what i can tell, this mostly means crackers and other unsweet thins that act as vehicles for cheeses and toppings.
i especially like the inclusion of this chapter in the book.
throughout the book a nice layout style is used that will help keep your eyes on the important material as you move from book to task and back again. clean, bright graphics accent the chapter changes and gorgeous photography supports the instructional segments as well as the recipes. the large, wide format allows the book to lay open in a relaxed way to the page of choice.
so what do you think? are you now the hopeless hostage of thoughts that circle back to cookies every five minutes or so? maybe you need to succumb and bake yourself up a batch or two. just a thought . . .
if this book has you all lathered up to shop for flour, butter, and nuts on the way home, then this next port is for you—leave a comment at the end of this post by 9pm EDST on monday night, for a chance to win your very own copy of cookies, generously provided by the culinary institute.
we will draw a name and let you know who the winner is in my next post, probably tuesday morning. happy baking!