Summer is all about fresh pies and cobblers and slumps and buckles. I'll bake off an occasional batch of cookies, but I like to take advantage of fresh fruit whenever I can. Now though, enter September: the perfect time to crack open Staci Adimando's wonderful little cookie book.
First impressions:This is a very sweet, charming cookie book. The first thing you'll notice is that it has a spiral binding so it lies flat. In my kitchen, this is always welcome as I'm usually trying to balance something on top of whichever cookbook I'm using to keep the pages down. Then, you'll notice the hand-drawn illustrations and the Table of Contents that's organized into logical categories: Chocolaty Cookies, Fruity Cookies, Spicy Cookies and so on. This works because a lot of the time you're craving a certain type of cookie or taste, but most Table of Contents' don't necessarily speak to that. There are photos at the beginning of each chapter giving a quick visual introduction to each cookie. For those of us for whom photos are an integral part of the 'I want to make that recipe' process, you'll be happy with this decision. It is an easy book to dive right into and quickly find ten recipes you're dying to make.
Number of recipes: 50
The angle: Adimando certainly leans towards the classic cookies that so many of us grew up with or are already familiar with. These include Snickerdoodles, Butter Balls, Sables, and Shortbread. So in that sense, some may excuse it as old news. But Adimando moves far beyond the classics into fun, nostalgic territory with her Animal Cookies, Thin Mints, and Chocolate Sandwich Cookies. Whether you're a simple Butter Cookie fan or a real chocolate lover, everyone will find something they're excited about.
The other stuff: There is a "Kitchen Tools" section that's great because it's geared solely towards cookie baking. So often baking books will give you a "Tools" chapter that's all-encompassing and, therefore, overwhelming. Adimando avoids that. I also appreciate her section on "Cookie Speak:" detailing for her readers exactly what we mean when we say "Creaming" vs. "Beating." A lot of home bakers take so many of these terms for granted when they can so affect the outcome of the cookie. Last, Adimando leaves a space for "Notes" at the end of each recipe which I appreciate because I tend to mark up recipes and leave notes at the end regardless. Now, I'm given a little box and encouraged to do so!
Strengths: The real strength of this books are the clear, concise directions. Adimando aims for brevity, which makes each recipe feel approachable and her tone seems like a sister or a close friend is guiding you through each step. At the end of each recipe, there is a "More to Try" Section with other cookie suggestions to try if you happened to like that particular recipe. In this way, Adimando encourages you to continue baking and trying new things that might interest you. Shouldn't every cookbook aim to do something similar?
Recipes for right now: Cardamom Cookies with Slivered Almonds, Alfajores, Pistachio Butter Cookies.
Recommended? Absolutely. If you don't already own a great cookie baking book with standards and classics, this one will do the trick. If you own a million cookie books, you're still going to want this one. It's accessible, fresh, fun, and inspiring.
Buy the Book: The Cookiepedia by Staci Adimando, $12.50 on Amazon
Related: 5 Cookie Cookbooks Worth Owning