In her recent compilation, Tracy Zabar gathers her favorite recipes from world-renowned chefs, bakers, and food personalities into one inspiring, beautiful and delicious little cookie book.
The back story? Zabar wanted to have a cookie swap with her friends, but excuses and impossible scheduling continued to get in the way and it became clear pretty quickly that it wasn't going to happen. So she started thinking: she could have a similar swap with her chef friends and share recipes through a virtual cookie swap book. The recipes started coming in via email and snail mail, some written up in precise recipe form while others were scrawled on scrap paper with little instruction other than the mention of ingredients. As Zabar experimented in the kitchen and fell in love with recipe after recipe, the idea grew to become an actual cookbook. Lucky for us.
Title and Publisher: One Sweet Cookie: Celebrated Chefs Share Favorite Recipes by Tracy Zabar with photographs by Ellen Silverman. Published by Rizzoli, 2011.
First Impressions: My initial thoughts were that this book was almost too pretty to bake from. The photographs are all beautiful in a church wedding kind of way (lots of pastels and china dishes), so the recipes can feel a little off-putting at first. Even a little stuffy. But once you start reading Zabar's headnotes and introductions, it becomes clear that most of these recipes are really approachable everyday cookies, not necessarily fine desserts.
The Angle: This book focuses solely on cookies. Plain and simple, although you will find variations and iterations of cookies such as brownies or bars. Home cooks, regardless of where you live in the country, can find the ingredients easily and approach each recipe without any overly intensive prep.
The Recipes: The recipes are divided into logical categories like Brownies, Bars and Cakey Cookies and Biscotti, Spice Cookies and Seed Cookies. I found some of the chapter headings to be a little odd: doughnuts and sugar cookies don't really belong in the same chapter, do they? But overall, you can find what you're looking for pretty easily. And regardless of what kind of "cookie person" you are, you'll stumble upon something in Zabar's compilation. From classic sugar cookies to French macarons to modern-day Linzers -- inspiration abounds.
Other Stuff: The chapter, "Notes on Baking," was a little too basic with tips under the Recipe Instructions section that include "follow instructions carefully." Many of the tips seem just plain intuitive. That being said, once Zabar gets into really talking about the recipes, they really do come alive. You're going to want to bake many of these cookies.
Overall Impressions: A pretty book that will draw you in visually at first and hold you with a nice variety of enticing, well-written recipes.
Recommended? Yes. The beginning baker can gain confidence and inspiration while seasoned bakers can experiment with old favorites and discover a few new gems.
Recipes for Right Now: Carrot Cake Cookies with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting, Coconut Nutella Almond Macaroons, Banana Chocolate Chip Sandwiches, Red Fife and Pumpkin Seed Cookies.
Buy the Book: One Sweet Cookie: Celebrated Chefs Share Favorite Recipes by Tracy Zabar with photographs by Ellen Silverman, $19.80 at Amazon
(Image: Rizzoli New York)
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.