A season for cookies: Cookbooks and recipes

Baking by Flavor
Baking by Flavor
Baking by Flavor

Happy December, everyone!  For me, this season means it's time to hold an annual cookie baking party. In this vein, I decided to find some stellar cookie cookbooks avalable at Anythink, as well as some recipes to share. 

So just what makes a stellar cookie cookbook you may ask? First, it is vital that the book have good pictures, preferably a picture of each cookie recipe. Second, the book must contain a variety of cookie types, from difficult to easy recipes. And third, each book in this list should be unique in some way with something to offer that is out of the ordinary.

In addition to these cookbooks, I also have cookie recipes that are staff favorites here at Anythink Brighton. Let us know what you think of them, and if you have a different favorite to share.

Cookie Cookbooks  

Cookie Craft: From Baking to Luster Dust, Designs and Techniques for Creative Cookie Occasions by Valerie Peterson and Janice Fryer

If you are into frosting cookies, this is the ultimate how-to book for you. Cookie Craft has patterns for all the big events (birthdays, New Year’s, Father’s Day and more), tips on icing, planning pages and a few cookie and icing recipes. 

Cookie Swap! by Lauren Chattman

While targeted toward those of us who participate in cookie swaps, this book has a lot to offer in the way of recipes. After a section on swaps, ingredients and tools, Cookie Swap delves straight into recipes that have simple clear instructions, and lots of tips on how to make the best cookies with the least amount of hassle.  Sections include "Raise the Bar" (bars, brownies and blondies), "Refrigerator Madness" (insanely good icebox cookies) and my favorite, "Something for Everyone" (cookies for special diets).    

Baking by Flavor by Lisa Yockelson

Don’t be fooled by the cupcake on the cover of this cookbook – it has cookie recipes, as well. The reason I am including it in our list is the unique organization of the recipes. Yockleson chose to put all the recipes with the same main flavor together, so if you want something with blueberries, cinnamon, spice, or a number of other flavors, you can turn to that section and pick the recipe you that works for you.  

Recipes from Anythink Brighton staff

White Chocolate Cherry Cookies found by Dee Dee Remer on Mariani Premium Cherries package in 2013. See the Mariana website for the full recipe.

Molasses Snaps, courtesy of Lisa Jensen

  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup black strap molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • sugar (sprinkled on top)
In large bowl, with the mixer at low speed, beat together margarine and 1 cup sugar until creamy. Add molasses and egg, beating until well blended. In medium bowl, blend flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, cloves and ginger. Add to molasses mixture; mix well. Cover and chill. Form dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each in sugar; place on non-stick cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand 1 minute and remove to wire rack to cool. Makes 5 dozen. 

Mom's Biscochitos, courtesy of Jowanda Campion

  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon liquid anise
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1/4 cup milk
Sugar-Cinnamon Mixture
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Cream shortening and sugar. Add egg and beat until fluffy. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt, and then flavorings. Gradually add milk to make a soft dough. Roll out dough on floured board to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut into squares or fancy cookie shapes (the fleur-de-lis design is traditional). Sprinkle sugar-cinnamon mix on top of cookies. Bake in 350-degree oven for about 12 minutes, until golden brown. Makes 4 dozen.

Lemon Drops, created by Mary Lee Reinstein

  • 1 large egg (or substitute egg replacer)
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 1/2 ounces non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
  • 1 package lemon cake mix
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat egg. Add lemon zest, lemon extract and juice. Stir in whipped topping and cake mix. Mix well. If desired, drop by teaspoon into confectioners sugar and coat well. Place on well-greased cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks to cool. You can also decorate with sprinkles, or put a slice of candied lemon on each cookie prior to baking. Makes 4 to 5 dozen cookies.

Jacquelyn Dennis' Prizzelle Cookies

  • 9 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups margarine
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 grated orange peels
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce anise oil, or 2 ounces anise extract
Melt margarin and let cool. Combine melted margarine, sugar and eggs in extra-large mixing bowl and cream together with mixer. Add in the grated orange peel, vanilla, lemon juice and anise and combine. Slowly add the flour one cup at a time and continue to beat with the mixer – the dough will get stiff.  After all of the flour is mixed in, you may need to add 1/4-cup more if the batter is still loose – it should be thick. Chill the dough, at least 4 hours or overnight. Preheat pizzelle iron. Drop dough onto hot iron following the pizzelle iron's manufacture instructions. Cook until a light brown color and remove immediately. Let cookie cool, and stack to dry.

Jane Vienot's Viennese Almond Sandwich Cookies

  • 3/4 cup whole blanched almonds
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup apricot preserves

Blend almonds in blender (1/2 at a time) until finely ground. In a large bowl, measure flour, butter, sugar and salt, then add ground almonds. With hands, knead ingredients until well-blended – dough will be very dry. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Between two sheets of wax paper, roll dough (1/2 at a time) to be 1/8 inch thick. Cut out cookies with a 2-inch round cutter. Place 1/2 inch apart on cookie sheets. Repeat with remaining dough and trimmings. Bake 8-10 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. Cool on wire racks. On one half of the cookies spread with 1/2 teaspoon preserves; top with remaining cookies.

Chocolate glaze:

  • 1/2 semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup

In double-boiler hot (not boiling) water, melt semi-sweet chocolate chips and butter or margarine. Remove from heat; stir in milk and light corn syrup until blended. Dip filled cookies edgewise into chocolate glaze to cover half the cookie. Place cookies on wax paper; cool and store in fridge. Refrigerating sandwich cookies prior to dipping them is helpful.

Happy baking everyone!


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