Thursday, January 14, 2010

Review: Martha Stewart's Cookies

Yes, yes, I was one of those twentysomethings who subscribed to Martha Stewart Living magazine straight out of college, tearing out recipes and scrapbooking them like precious family photos. It's no great surprise, then, that I'm delighted to be rid of those greasy pages in favor of this professional, tape-free collection of cookie recipes. And unlike some greatest hits compilations, this one actually includes all of my favorites.

Of the seven major cookie categories listed, I prefer. . . uh, many, multiple. I'm nearly equal in my benevolence. In the spirit of cookie madness, I'm highlighting the recipes I've already tried below, with their varied results.

Light and delicate
Peppermint Meringue – featherlight and deliciously minty candy cane replacements
Chocolate Meringue – my family disliked these, but I thought they were good

Soft and chewy
Chocolate Crackles – one of George's favorites and they look fun on a plate
Chewy Molasses Crinkles – mine didn't turn out chewy either time, but still great tasting
Snickerdoodles – a standout recipe, and probably my most often used
Cashew Caramel Cookies – delicious and beautiful
Almond Macaroons – super chewy with a delicate taste

Crumbly and sandy
Dried-Cranberry Shortbread Hearts – a hit every single time
Cranberry-Pistachio Cornmeal Biscotti – my favorite biscotti recipe
Icebox Spirals and Bull's-eyes – good, but more work than they're worth
Lime Meltaways – lovely, light and simple cookies
Rosemary Butter Cookies – you'll be blown away by these, I promise

Chunky and nutty
Pine Nut Cookies – soft and chewy and fun to make
Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies – my brother-in-law's favorite
Magic Blondies – I hate these, too sweet for me, but made them to sell over and over at the bakery; people love 'em.
Banana Walnut Chocolate-Chunk Cookies – interesting texture and new take on choclate chips

Cakey and tender
Brown-Butter Toffee Blondies – yes, it says 'brown butter' so go ahead and drool

Crisp and crunchy
Lime Flowers – oh so good, very light mouthfeel
Chocolate-Pistachio Biscotti – surprising texture and very lightweight
Striped Icebox Cookies – good and pretty
Chocolate-Black Pepper Cookies – taste like a homemade oreo upgrade; these were the hit of my 2007 cookie swap and copied over and over
Hazelnut Jam Thumbprints – I adore anything with jam, and these are crisp and nutty besides
Sugar Cookie Cutouts – George's favorite sugar cookie recipe that I make
Gingerbread Cookies – great, pliable recipe for rolling and cutting; good flavor

Rich and dense
Coconut Swirl Brownies – eh, just okay. I wanted more from them than they gave me.
Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies – yummmmm
Rugelach – easier to make than I expected, crumbly and tender in the mouth
Lemon Squares – one of my summer favorites

My point? Loads of delicious recipes, ones I've been collecting for years, are now grouped droolingly in a softcover edition with gorgeous, full-color photographs next to single-page directions. Bake and enjoy.

Martha Stewart's Cookies:
The Very Best Treats to Bake and Share

Martha Stewart Living Magazine
Paperback, Crown Publishing Group, March 2008

View this book at Barnes & Noble

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