Totally Cookies

Recipes: Cat's Tongues; Fudge Mint Brownies;
Florentines; and Chocolate Pizza

Totally Cookies

You don't have to be a monster to love cookies (although the transformation can happen at any time). Forty recipes showcase icons (chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin), kids' cookies (oatmeal toffee thin, cookie clay, chocolate pizza, and coconut cherry haystacks), and brownies and bars (lemon, butterscotch blondies). The International Section touts ginger hazelnut biscotti, rugelach, palmiers, and rice madeleines plus Marge's Mandelbrot (the Jewish answer to biscotti). Grown Up Tastes rounds out the bill.

About the Authors

Helene Siegel is the author of the Ethnic Kitchen Series (Harper Collins, 1992-1994) including Italian, Chinese, Mexican and French Cooking for Beginners and co-author of Mesa Mexicana (Morrow, 1994), City Cuisine (Morrow, 1990) and Ma Cuisine (Random House, 1988). She is a contributor to the Los Angeles Times, The Times Syndicate, Bon Appetit and Fine Cooking magazines and has appeared on numerous radio and television shows. She is a member of the Southern California Culinary Guild and International Association of Culinary Professionals and resides in Los Angeles with her husband, two sons, and a well-fed dog. Previously she produced children's pop-up books, and was production director for Workman Publishing.

Karen Gillingham is a popular Los Angeles food stylist. She is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she also wrote a syndicated column, "Quick and Classy."

Totally Cookies
By Helene Siegel and Karen Gillingham
$4.95, 96 pages (paperback)
Celestial Arts
ISBN 0-89087-757-2
Publication Date: January 10, 1996


Keeping Cookies

Cookies are best stored in cookie jars or tins, but be finicky about what you store together. Do not mix crisp and chewy types or they are likely to change character dramatically.

All but the crispiest cookies may be frozen for future munching. Just wrap in aluminum foil or in ziplock freezer bags. Remove from packing and defrost at room temperature. It only takes about 15 minutes to defrost most cookies.


Chocolate Baking Tips

Since chocolate has a tendency to scare new cooks, here are a few pointers. Chocolate can be melted in an ordinary heavy bottomed pan—no double boiler necessary—if butter is melted along with it. Always melt chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently, to keep the temperature down.

Compared to chocolate, cocoa produces lighter flavor and color in baked goods. Dutch process cocoa, available in the baking section of the supermarket, is best for baking since it gives a darker color and better flavor than the others. Bear in mind that all cocoa is unsweetened.


Chocolate Pizza

The perfect ending to a pizza party. Make sure the kids help spread the dough and sprinkle their favorite toppings.

  • 4 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (1-ounce) square semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup vanilla chips
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease 11-inch pizza pan.

In saucepan, combine chopped chocolates and shortening.

Place over low heat until melted. Stir in 1/2 cup sugar and milk, mixing to blend well. Cool to lukewarm.

Combine flour and salt. Set aside.

In large bowl, beat eggs until lemon colored. Beat in remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Beat in cooled chocolate mixture until blended. Stir in flour mixture. Turn out onto prepared pan, spreading to make even layer to within 1/2 inch of rim.

Combine coconut, candy pieces and pecans. Sprinkle evenly over dough. Bake 25 minutes. Cool, then cut into wedges.

Makes 16


Fudge Mint Brownies

A thin layer of glossy mint chocolate frosting elevates these fudgy brownies to the upper echelon of browniedom.

  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons water
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips


  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper.

In heavy, medium saucepan, combine chocolate, butter, sugar and water. Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. Let cool and then pour into large mixing bowl.

Whisk eggs into chocolate mixture. Stir in flour and salt. Then stir in chips. Pour into lined pan and smooth into even layer. Bake 30 minutes, until sides begin to pull away and center is set. Cool in pan on rack for 1 hour.

To make glaze, melt chocolate, butter and water together in small heavy saucepan over low flame, stirring frequently. Stir in extracts and remove from heat. Let sit while brownies cool. When cool, invert brownies on rack, peel paper and turn over onto serving plate. Spread thin layer of glaze over top. Refrigerate until set and shiny, about 30 minutes, then cut into small squares.

Makes 25



These elegant chocolate-coated wafers are special enough to serve as a light dessert.

  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 stick butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped candied orange peel
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour baking sheets.

In saucepan, combine cream, butter, and sugar. Stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and butter is melted.

Remove from heat and stir in almonds, orange peel, and flour.

Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of batter about 3 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden, watching carefully to prevent burning. Carefully transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

With spatula, spread chocolate over bottom of each cookie. Cool chocolate side up, on rack until hardened. Store in a an airtight container with wax paper between layers.

Makes about 24


Cat's Tongues

Leave it to the French to come up with such a delicately textured and poetically named cookie. If you don't have a pastry bag, you can substitute a ziplock bag with a 1/4-inch slit cut at on corner.

  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick butter, softened
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped or ground blanched almonds

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease and flour baking sheets.

Sift flour with salt. Set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and almond extract. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.

Alternately stir 2 tablespoons flour mixture and half of egg whites into butter mixture, stirring well after each addition. Stir in almonds. Spoon mixture into pastry bag fitted with 1/4-inch plain tube and pipe batter in 3-inch lengths onto prepared baking sheets. Bake about 6 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool on racks.

Makes about 36

Totally Cookies

Totally Cookies
By Helene Siegel and Karen Gillingham
$4.95, 96 pages (paperback)
Celestial Arts
ISBN 0-89087-757-2
Publication Date: January 10, 1996
Reprinted with permission


This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified February 2007

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