Monday, August 29, 2011

book review: the cookiepedia

Full disclosure I received a free copy of Stacy Adimando's new book published by Quirk Books, "The Cookiepedia" in order to do this review.  You can purchase it here.

First of all, how cool is Eric at Quirk Books for letting me review so many awesome books.  Thanks, Eric!

Ok, on with the review.  First impression:  I love the cover.  I'm a huge fan of kraft paper so whenever it gets applied in an unexpected way (like the cover of a cookbook) I love it!

"The Cookiepedia" contains what the author considers the top 50 classic cookie recipes.  The interior of the book is wire-bound and the cookie contents are divided by genre of cookie: Buttery, Chocolaty, Fancy, Fruity, Spicy, and finally Nutty and Seedy cookies.  I thought the interior design of the book was easy to follow, cool-looking with the hand-drawn elements, and I really like a section at the end of each recipe to write personal notes about the recipe.  I usually end up writing on the margins of my cookbooks so this was a nice touch.  One thing that I wasn't too impressed with was the photography.  The beginning of each cookie chapter as a collage of all the different cookies in that section and to me the design solution wasn't very appetizing.  I thought the photographs of each specific recipe was much better but that's just my opinion.  

I tried out Stacy's recipe for Lemon Chewies.  I'd never heard of these cookies before (maybe it's an Asian thing, lol) but from the list of ingredients it looked like a winner and for me I wasn't disappointed.  The cookies were lemony and chewy!  Go figure!  ;P  Now, of course, since I'm a meddlesome little twerp and as my father would say "a very stubborn and will-full person" (we have a normal dysfunctional relationship) I HAD to make my own adjustments to the original recipe.  My additions were made basically in hopes of boosting the lemon flavor.  I added lemon juice in the cookie and glaze and probably tripled the total amount of lemon zest used in the entire recipe.  

Lemon Chewies (adapted from The Cookiepedia), yields about 25 cookies
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 egg
1/3 cup honey and lemon juice (fill 1/3 cup half with juice then finish off with honey)

1. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside.  Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add lemon zest and mix to incorporate.  

2. In a separate bowl, crack in the egg and stir in honey and lemon juice until fairly well mixed.  Add it to the butter mixture and beat until combined.  Add flour mixture a third at a time and let it mix in fully each time before adding the next third.  Don't forget to scrape the bowl as you go along.  

3. Scoop out a round Tbsp of dough and roll gently into a ball.  Place on a lined cookie sheet or on a Silpat 2 inches apart.  Flatten and shape with your fingers.  Bake for 13-15 min or until the cookies are set and the bottoms are golden brown.  Cool for 5 min before removing from baking sheet.  Cool for 15 min before glazing (should not feel warm at all).

Lemon Glaze
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice, add more as needed
1 Tbsp lemon zest

1. Mix the sugar and lemon juice together.  It'll take a while but keep at it.  Add more lemon juice if needed.  You want to get the consistency of shampoo or conditioner.  Once you get to this point mix in the lemon zest.  

2. Place the cooled cookie "face down" in the glaze and roll the "face" in the glace and lift out.  Let the extra glaze run off the cookie back in the glaze bowl.  Scrape any excess with a spoon.  Let the cookie drip off additional excess on a wire rack.  

3. Let the glaze dry until it's set (around an hour or so) and put cookies in an air tight container with parchment paper between each layer of cookie.  

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