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The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion

Americans spend over $550 million annually on Oreos, some indication of our cookie infatuation. Meeting that passion head-on, The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion offers 400-plus recipes for almost every cookie under the sun–from traditional favorites like oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies (13 recipes including the soft and crisp kinds, plus 11 variations, such a Orange-Pistachio Milk Chocolate Chippers); to global treats like shortbread, tuiles, springerle, and biscotti; to all kinds of bars and soft bites such as brownies, Whoopie Pies, and Hot and Sweet Ginger Squares.

The Cookie Companion is in the King Arthur tradition, which means that it’s a teaching cookbook–one overflowing with tips, pointers, lore, and other compelling information. Thus, for example, the introduction to Special Roll-Out Sugar Cookies informs readers that thorough dough-rolling creates thin, snapping-crisp cookies, but roll the dough a bit thicker, and “you’ve got crunchy.” Their no-detail-too-small introductory basics are greatly aided by the tour-de-force illustrations of Laura Hartman Maestro. For example, a box on bar-cookie cutting shows readers the five basic size configurations, depending on pan dimensions. Bakers who have routinely paused, knife in hand, before a pan of just-baked brownies, trying to decide how to end up with, say, 24 large squares, won’t, following the illustrations, do so again. A section on cookie decoration is equally definitive, as is a final chapter on ingredients, which offers, for example, a full discussion of sugars, plus asides like “Is Splenda the Answer to Low-Calorie Baking” (maybe) and “Can I Substitute a Liquid Sweetener for a Dry One to Make My Cookies Sifter?” (sometimes, but never measurement for measurement).

With “Create-a-Cookie,” a section that focuses on manipulating basic dough mixtures to make checkerboard and pinwheel cookies among others; recipes for glazes, icings, dips and finishes; illustrated equipment profiles; plus color photos that depict the cookies in all their edible glory, the book is, simply, a must-have for cookie bakers everywhere.

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