You may have noticed that a certain book has been taking over the food blogging world thanks to an exciting virtual cookbook blog tour.
The book I speak of is none other than Anita Chuâ€™s Field Guide to Cookies: How to Identify and Bake Virtually Every Cookie Imagineable.
Most of you will know Anita from her sweet (literally and figuratively) and charming blog, Dessert First.
For those of you that donâ€™t know Anita, sheâ€™s a passionate baker who has turned her love of pastry and dessert into a livelihood that now includes her very first cookbook.
As I told her in an e-mail recently, this is proof that good things do happen to good people!
The blog tour for Anitaâ€™s book has already touched down on Jenâ€™s blog, Ariâ€™s blog and Saraâ€™s blog and today Iâ€™m happy to be hosting this great event. In the days to come you can visit Helene, Veronica, Aran, BÃ©a and Peabody to follow the book on its tour.
A Field Guide to Cookies is a small format cookbook thatâ€™s 304 pages in length. It features photographs, along with a glossary of ingredients, an index of recipes and a legend of symbols used throughout the recipes.
And when you read the subtitle, that itâ€™s a guide to every type of cookie imagineable, it really does include every type of cookie you could possibly imagine baking. In fact the first thing that struck me (pleasantly) when I flipped through the book is the variety of recipes included.
Clearly, Anita did her homework before and during writing this book. The variety of recipes alone would make this an indispensable cookbook for both the novice and more experienced cookie baker.
If youâ€™re familiar with Anitaâ€™s blog, then youâ€™ll know that sheâ€™s a very elegant writer. Her style is clean and conscise, as well as precise.
Her writing style in this book mirrors the standard sheâ€™s set on her blog. The recipes are very clear and simple to follow with uncomplicated instructions. For the first-time cookie baker, these are not intimidating recipes and for the more experienced baker, these are recipes that are attractive because in short order you can have a batch of lovely homemade cookies.
And thereâ€™s a cookie for everyone in here. Whether you like rolled cookies, filled cookies, drop cookies â€” whatever you fancy â€” youâ€™ll find it in here.
Put it all in a cute little package that is quite maneouvreable, and you have yourself a must-buy cookbook (Sometimes with small format books â€” this bookâ€™s dimensions are roughly 6 x 5 x 1 inches so itâ€™s not a large tome by any means â€” the books are difficult to hold or keep open on a page but Anitaâ€™s book definitely does not suffer from that problem.)
Okay so down to the nitty gritty. What did I bake and how did the cookies turn out?
I chose three cookies: Chocolate Espresso Cookies, Algerian Almond Tarts (Dziriate) and Swedish Sandwich Cookies (Syltkakor).
The Chocolate Espresso Cookies were intense. Almost truffle-like in texture, they had a wonderfully deep chocolate flavour enhanced by the espresso powder in the cookies. These were a huge hit as we are definitely chocolate lovers in my family. They were so good that I almost didn’t get a chance to snap a photo! What I liked about these cookies is that they were unfussy. Just mix the batter, roll the cookies into balls and bake. You end up with a cookie that has a sophisticated and elegant taste but doesn’t come with hours of prep work. Loved them!
The second cookie recipe I tried was for the Algerian Almond Tarts or Dziriate. Now, please don’t be put off by my photo. Unfortunately, my cookies did not hold their shape in the oven but this is through no fault of the recipe. When shaping the cookies, I was in a bit of a rush and didn’t wet the dough to ensure that the edges stayed together. As a result, the cookies lost their shape in the oven. But that aside, they were absolutely delicious. In fact, of the three cookies I tried I would say that these had the best taste thanks to the exotic (to me anyway) hint of orange flower water. I have a bottle of the stuff hidden way back in a cupboard and I thought it was high time I used it. This was one of the reasons that I chose this recipe. Add in the nuts, butter and vanilla and you have a truly beautiful cookie. Next time, though, I will take more care when shaping them so that they’ll actually look pretty, too!
Finally, I mixed up a batch of Swedish Sandwich Cookies (Syltkakor). All I can say about these is make them. The dough comes together so quickly and as these are sandwich cookies, you have lots of options in terms of what type of cutter to use and what type of filling to use. I brought these cookies to a famly function and everyone loved them.
I have to thank Anita for including me in her blog tour. This has been such a fun experience and I’m honoured to say that I own a copy of Anita’s first cookbook!
In the days to come, please be sure to check out the following blogs to find out how these bloggers feel about Anita’s book:
Nov. 17th – Helen of Tartelette
Nov. 18th – Veronica of Veronica’s Test Kitchen
Nov. 19th – Aran of Cannelle et Vanille
Nov. 20th – Bea of La Tartine Gourmande
Nov. 21st – Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody
Chocolate Espresso Cookies
From Field Guide to Cookies: How to Identify and Bake Virtually Every Cookie Imagineable by Anita Chu.
1Â¾ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
2Â½ teaspoons instant espresso powder
1Â¾ teaspoons baking powder
Â¼ teaspoon salt
12 oz semisweet chocolate
Â½ cup softened unsalted butter
1 cup dark brown sugar
Â½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (6 oz) chocolate chips
1. Sift flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set aside.
2. Melt chocolate in a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally so it will melt evenly; remove from heat when smooth.
3. In a stand mixer, cream butter and sugars on medium speed for several minutes until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
4. Pour in melted chocolate and beat until combined.
5. Add flour mixture and chocolate chips and mix on low just until incorporated.
6. Cover dough and refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes until it is firm enough to scoop.
7. Preheat the oven to 350â—¦F. Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
8. Roll dough into 1Â½-inch balls and place on sheets about 2 inches apart.
9. Bake for 8 to 10 minutesâ€”cookies will still appear soft but will firm up upon cooling. Cool cookie sheets on wire racks before removing cookies with a metal spatula.
Yield: About 5 dozen cookies.