"Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap." (Robert Fulghum)
This quote, which would probably result in world peace if taken on board by everyone, greeted me on opening The Cookiepedia by Stacy Adimando. I have been sent this book to review and I'm pleased to say that my first dedicated cookie recipe book has lived up to its quirky layout and its inspiring opening quote. Stacy is the deputy lifestyle editor of Every Day with Rachael Ray, the US food magazine (think a cooler Martha Stewart - the website is worth checking out for Rachael's amazing Tuscan wedding photos alone!). Being a US author the recipes are in cups but the back inside cover has a fantastic conversion chart into imperial and metric. The book is divided into different types of cookies such as buttery, fancy, nutty & seedy etc and is peppered throughout with helpful tips. For example, did you know that to get a taller, chewier oatmeal cookie, you should chill the dough for 10-15 minutes before baking? Well you do now!
Overall this is a really practical cookbook with spaces for notes, suggestions for alternative ingredients etc, while managing to have a fun kooky feel to it (excuse the pun). I chose to try out the Chocolate Sandwich cookies from the Chocolaty chapter - when I presented them to Mr CB for the official tasting he said 'Ooh Oreos'. I took that as a compliment! The chocolate biscuit is quite salty, which I really liked. I made the cream filling as per the below but as it was very sweet I added some peanut butter to the last half to give an alternate filling, which worked really well against the chocolate biscuit. It also gave the filling the perfect sandwich making consistency.
I generally make cakes more than cookies/biscuits but this book might just make me try out a few more.
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups plain flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tspn baking powder
1 tspn salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces at room temperature
1 tspn vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tspn vanilla extract
1/4 tspn salt (I didn't add this as I felt the cookies need sweetness against them but in hindsight should have added it)
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 - 2 tablespoons milk
1. In a mixer of a food processor, mix together the sugars, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt on a low speed. With the motor running, add the butter a few pieces at a time and pulse to incorporate. Add the egg and vanilla and continue pulsing until the dough starts to form.
2. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and form it into a disk. Chill at least 1 hour, until firm.
3. At this point preheat the oven to 175C.
4. When you're ready to bake, cut the dough in half and roll out each piece to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out small 1 to 2 inch rounds and place them baking sheets lined with parchment about 1 inch apart. Bake for 12 - 15 mins.
5. Set the sheets on wire racks for about 5 mins before transferring cookies directly onto racks to cool.
6. While the cookies cool, make the filling. In a mixer, beat together the butter, vanilla and salt until they look light and fluffy. Add the icing sugar slowly and beat until fully incorporated. Add the milk one tablespoon at a time unit the filling is a spreadable consistency.
7. Spoon, spread or pipe a small dollop of filling into the centre of half the cookies. Top with another cookie, pressing until the filling spreads to the edges. Makes 1 1/2 dozen cookies.