Now, I am not a girl with an overly sweet tooth. I can pass up a slice of most cakes without so much as a backward glance… but cookies, or biscuits if you are British, that’s a different story.
The appeal of a cookie is its size. They offer a delicious sweet treat in just a couple of bites. A wedge of cream-filled gateau is sometimes outfacing but a well-timed cookie is almost always welcome. A cool glass of milk for the kids and a nice cuppa for the adults and a relaxing interlude is assured.
This is another in the 500 series published by Apple Press. They are chunky, colourful and well-written volumes and very good value for money. They look great on the shelf but they will spend more time on the kitchen counter.
Philippa Vanstone has penned 500 Cookies. She gained her formal catering qualification at Westminster College in London and that establishment has one of the highest reputations around. She has travelled the world researching bakery products and has also worked as a lecturer at Thames Valley University. Philippa now works as a freelance cookery writer specialising in sweet things. That’s got to be a dream job.
Cookie making is a good introduction to baking. They are, for the most part, simple, attractive and versatile. Philippa gives you all the basic techniques, equipment and even storage… of cookies, not equipment. But you’ll be eager to get cooking and eating and that’s another advantage of cookies: they will be ready in no time.
Every cookie imaginable must be listed between these covers. Classic, Teatime, Chocolate, Bars and Savoury chapters are all here as well as others for special diets. There are lots that will be familiar family favourites. Scottish Shortbread for the Scots, Biscotti for Italians, Peanut Butter Cookies for Americans, Anzac Biscuits for those from down under, Snicker Doodles for … umm, well, not sure about the ethnic origins of that one!
Cookie Bars are baked in a tray rather than being individually cut, pressed or shaped. They fill that void between cookie and cake and are often layered. Lemon Bars are tangy and the bar of choice for those of us who prefer a less sweet confection. Honey Nut Squares are another two-layer bar much appreciated by those who enjoy a rich taste with a crunch.
If you are looking for a dedicated cookie book then 500 Cookies is well worth a look. The recipes are broad-based, easy to follow and many of them would be ideal for children who would love to make, decorate and eat almost all of them; but there is also much that is sophisticated and adult.
Author: Philippa Vanstone
Published by: Apple Press
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018