Seriously now, have you ever seen such a descriptive and appropriate title for a cookie recipe book? It makes my mouth water just to read it. As advertised, Medrich categorizes all of the recipes in her book by texture, a completely sensible and somehow novel approach. Everything is in here, from biscottis and bars to sticky wafers and a couple of variations on the ubiquitous chocolate chip cookie. Medrich includes both gluten-free and whole wheat cookies (to cover all the bases), and several recipes call for flours other than wheat: kamut, spelt, buckwheat, oat, and chestnut. Seeds and nuts play starring roles in some recipes, such as “Crunchy Seed Cookies,” which feature black and white sesame seeds, poppy seeds, flax seeds, AND fennel seeds. She doesn’t skimp on international flavours, either: “Spicy Carrot Masala Macaroons” include a dash of garam masala, while “Spicy Salted Peanut Toffee Cookies” count in Thai curry paste, hardly a traditional cookie ingredient. There are Scandinavian cookies, Austrian cookies, Scottish cookies, and even a baked take on Canada’s claim-to-cookie-fame, the Nanaimo bar.
The book’s indices further break down the texture categories into easily accessible lists, perfect for the baker who has that certain something in mind: “Ridiculously Quick and Easy,” ‘Cookie Doughs That Freeze Well,” “Dairy-Free,” and “Cookies That Keep At Least 2 Weeks,” among others. Medrich has also devoted an entire chapter to icings, frostings, and fillings, presenting recipes for butter cream, ganache, spiced sugars, dulce de leche, and other choice extras. To top it all off, there is another section offering tips on proper mixing, as Medrich’s whole philosophy on cookie making is that it really does matter when you put the salt in, and with what. The order of ingredients and how you combine them is the difference between a good cookie and a not-so-good one (although, in my humble opinion, any cookie is a good cookie!).
A beautiful, comprehensive volume in every other way, this book is sadly short on photographs…but it’s easy to see why. It’s a seriously massive tome, written in completely accessible language, with precise instructions and an easy-to-use layout. Many recipes cover three pages, with extra space for variations. The addition of photographs for each recipe would have rendered it impossible to heft and use. The photos it does include only serve to make me hungry…mission accomplished!