by Nancy Baggett
"Nancy Baggett's clearly written, easy-to-follow recipes are bound to delight cookie monsters young and old, while her far-ranging short takes on cookie lore and history are just what curious bakers crave. This is the perfect book for every cookie-loving American."
--Dorie Greenspan, author of Baking with Julia
Nancy Baggett is cookie-obsessed. She has been for some time now. It's not unusual for a cookbook author to throw themselves into their work (researching and testing like crazy), but Baggett has taken it to extremes—and that is a very good thing for us cookie lovers. In preparation for The All-American Cookie Book (Houghton Mifflin Company), Baggett traveled the country going to small town sweet shops, country fairs, bed and breakfasts and chic urban cookie boutiques—looking for cookies familiar or unique. She baked nearly 30,000 of them to come up with the best versions of our national favorites. Now I think you understand what I mean by cookie-obesssed!
Nancy Baggett is an award-winning cookbook author and one of America's most respected baking teachers. Her stellar teaching skills are apparent in her well-written, easy to follow recipes and dozens of helpful sidebars filled with tips. When she set out to tackle American cookies she wanted to include their evolution, lore, regionalisms and personal stories she discovered while researching this delicious project.
The All-American Cookie Book has more than 150 recipes gathered during her culinary journey across the country. It celebrates regional favorites from every comer of the country: Pennsylvania Dutch Soft Sugar Cookies, New York Black and Whites, New Mexican Biscochitos, Key Lime Frosties from Florida, and Mocha Espresso Wafers from Seattle. It also contains homey classics like: Chocolate Whoopie Pies, Caramel Apple Crumb Bars, and Chocolate Chunk Brownies. There are also devastatingly delicious contemporary creations like Chewy Chocolate Chunk Monster Cookies and Cranberry Cherry Icebox Ribbons. One of the most lavishly illustrated chapters is on cookie decorating and crafts—which includes everything from simple projects like Christmas cookies and Chocolate Gingerbread Bears to an elaborate gingerbread house.
"This is a wholly American repertoire," writes Baggett in the introduction. "It includes little known gems, decadent modern creations, homespun classics, rediscovered heirlooms, and some of my own favorite cookie inventions." You'll find brownies to blondies, dozens of chocolate chip and sugar cookies, peanut and oatmeal cookies, monster and miniature cookies, drop cookies and rolled cookies, icebox and sandwich cookies, cookies full of fruit, cookies full of nuts, cookies filled with candy—and more.
As Baggett tells the story of America's heritage, she slips in fascinating bits of history, showing the evolution of our homegrown baking traditions. Cookies not only stir up warm memories, but provide insight into our national baking traditions and the skill and resourcefulness of home bakers over several centuries. You can see how life in America has changed through cookies—how our European baking traditions evolved into American ones. Our modem-day recipes are based on American grown ingredients and have been created to fit our busy lives by inventive home cooks who want great tasting cookies that aren't fussy or affected. Seventeenth and Eighteenth century cookies were limited to the ingredients available and most were flavored with molasses, rose water, caraway seeds, lemon, almonds and coconut. It wasn't until the mid-nineteenth century that peanuts and oats were used for cookies, and the chocolafication of American cookies didn't arrive until 1780.
Nancy Baggett isn't just a great historian of baking in America, but a fabulous instructor. There is a section in the book called "How to Make Great Cookies Every Single Time" and you realize that most cookie-making techniques are basic and easily mastered. Remember: measure, don't guess; read and follow directions; use fresh good-quality ingredients; and beware of substitutions. The vintage recipes in The All-American Cookie Book have been lovingly updated for the best results by Nancy Baggett, but still remain true to the original premise.
About the author
Nancy Baggett is the author of the best-selling International Cookie Cookbook, and The International Chocolate Cookbook, which was named best dessert cookbook by the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Her articles have appeared in Gourmet, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, and Ladies Home Journal. She lives in Elliott City, Maryland.
The All-American Cookie Book
by Nancy Baggett
Publication Date: October, 2001
Hardcover, 395 pages
Full-color photographs throughout
Information provided by the publisher.
This page created January 2002
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