Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets

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9780609609699: Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets

Carole Walter’s fans know her as an award-winning author, teacher, and mentor, and her new book will keep them cheering, as she turns her attention to the most popular theme in home baking: cookies.

Packed with more than 200 delectable recipes and more than 150 tantalizing photographs, Great Cookies skillfully and joyfully answers the call for a colorful, all-inclusive cookie book. From traditional favorites like Snickerdoodles, Oatmeal Raisin, and Favorite Lemon Squares to future stars of the cookie jar like the trail mix–inspired Teton Trailers and chewy, chocolaty Midnight Macaroons, Great Cookies provides something to satisfy every taste and every occasion.

There’s even a section devoted to the quintessential American cookie—chocolate chip. With nuts or without? White chocolate or milk? Chocolate dough? Oatmeal in the dough? Carole provides a dozen chocolate chip recipes in all, plus definitive research on a crucial issue: “Not All Chocolate Chips Are Created Equal.”
Drop cookies. Bar cookies. Piped, pressed, and rolled. Great Cookies covers every conceivable method for baking these tasty confections. In the more than thirty years that she has studied and taught baking, Carole has cataloged a wealth of helpful tips and troubleshooting hints that for the first time are gathered in one collection.

With guidelines for measuring and substituting ingredients, storing and freezing, recapturing that fresh-from-the-oven flavor, decorating, even gift-wrapping and shipping, Great Cookies addresses all the basics and then some. And this ultimate guide is rounded out with authoritative information on ingredients, equipment, and the foolproof techniques for which Carole is known, including the essential “Secrets To” hints for every type of cookie.

With master baker Carole Walter by your side, you may never look at a glass of ice cold milk the same way again.

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About the Author:

Carole Walter has studied patisserie and the culinary arts with notable chefs in the United States, France, Austria, Italy, and Denmark. A master baker, cooking teacher, writer, and consultant, she is the author of the James Beard Award–winning Great Cakes and the Julia Child Award finalist Great Pies & Tarts. She lives in northern New Jersey.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

oatmeal raisin cookies

Makes about 4 dozen 3-inch cookies

Savor the flavors of this favorite comfort cookie made with old-fashioned oatmeal, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, raisins, and lots of toasted pecans. The orange zest really complements these ingredients.
Pan: Cookie sheets
Pan Prep: Moderately buttered
Oven Temp: 350°
Baking Time: 15-17 minutes
Difficulty: U

2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
1 teaspoon grated Navel orange zest
2/3 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark unsulfured molasses
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup broken, toasted pecans or walnuts
1 cup dark raisins, plumped (see page 000), drained, and patted dry on paper towels
1. Position the shelves in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 350°. Moderately butter the cookie sheets.

2. Strain together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

3. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, soften the butter with the orange zest on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute; add the brown sugar, then the granulated sugar and mix until light in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Blend in the molasses and mix to combine. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and mix for 1 minute longer.

4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and pour in the dry ingredients, half at a time, mixing only to incorporate the flour, then blend in the oatmeal. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the pecans and raisins.

5. Drop by rounded tablespoons 3 inches apart onto the cookie sheets. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back toward the end of baking time. Do not overbake or the cookies will be too crisp and difficult to remove from the pan. Let cookies stand for 2 minutes, then loosen with a thin metal spatula. Cool on wire racks.

Storage: Store in an airtight container, layered between strips of wax paper, for up to 1 week. These cookies may be frozen.
spiked apple cookies

Makes about 4 dozen 21/4-inch cookies

Here is a recipe that was inspired by hermits, the classic New England cookie. Flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg, the dough is flecked with bits of dried apples that have been macerated in apple liqueur. Try these along with a mug of hot mulled apple cider. What could be better to warm the tummy when there is a chill in the air?
Pan: Cookie sheets
Pan Prep: Moderately buttered
Oven Temp: 350°
Baking Time: 12-14 minutes

Difficulty: U

1/2 cup firmly packed dried apple slices
3 tablespoons Calvados or applejack liqueur
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup (1 1/3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup broken walnuts

1 recipe Vanilla Glaze (page 000)
1. Place the apple slices in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes to soften. Drain well and cut into 1/4-inch dice. Toss the apples with the Calvados in a small, deep bowl and let macerate while preparing the cookie dough.

2. Position the shelves in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 350°. Moderately butter the cookie sheets.

3. Strain together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

4. In the large bowl of an electric mixer, on medium-low speed, using paddle attachment, mix the butter until creamy and lightened in color. Add the brown sugar, then the granulated sugar, and mix for 1 to 2 minutes. Blend in the egg, then the sour cream and vanilla.

5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three additions, mixing just until well combined. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the apples and walnuts.

6. Drop from the tip of a teaspoon, making walnut-size mounds of dough (about 1 1/4 inches), onto the cookie sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until lightly browned. Toward the end of baking time, rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back. Remove from oven and let stand for 2 to 3 minutes. Loosen with a thin metal spatula and place on wire racks set over wax paper.

7. Using the back of the spoon, apply 1/2 teaspoon of Vanilla Glaze while the cookies are still warm.

Storage: Store in an airtight container, layered between strips of wax paper, for up to 3 weeks. These cookies may be frozen before glazing.

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