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The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009


The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009 Cover





Buy a cookie, and it's just a bite of sugar, something sweet to get you through the day.

Bake a cookie, on the other hand, and you send an instant message from the moment you

measure out the flour. Long before they're done, the cookies become a promise, their

endlessly soothing scent offering both reassurance and solace. And even the tiniest bite is

powerful, bringing with it the flavor of home. For anyone who is comfortable in a

kitchen, a warm cookie is the easiest way to say I love you.

and#160;Somewhere in the back of our minds, we all know this. It is the reason we bake

cookies at Christmas, why we exchange them as gifts. Not for nothing do we pack up our

cookies and send them off to our far-flung families. Like little ambassadors of good will,

these morsels stand in for us. There are few people who don't understand, at least

subconsciously, how much a cookie can mean.

and#160;But until we began work on this book, it had never occurred to us to look at

history through a cookie prism. When we decided to select the best cookie from each of

Gourmet's sixty-eight years, we knew we would end up with an awesome array of treats.

But we did not realize that we would also discover a way of charting the changes in the

way that we eat. Our cookie cravings, it turns out, offer a fascinating window on history,

a portrait of our country that reveals the way our appetites have evolved.

and#160;We were so captivated by the language of cookies that we have printed the recipes

exactly as they originally appeared. In the early years, they are remarkably casual, a kind

of mysterious shorthand that assumes that each reader is an accomplished cook who

needs very little in the way of guidance. "Bake in a moderate oven until crisp," is a

classic instruction. So is "Add flour until the dough is stiff." It's interesting to watch as

numbers creep into the recipes in the form of degrees, minutes, and cups. And it's

startling to observe the recipes growing longer and longer as they become increasingly


and#160;Although we have left the language of the recipes unchanged, we have removed

the guesswork; when we retested, we added notes, so that you'll know exactly how hot

your oven should be, and how many cups of flour it takes to stiffen that dough.

Cookies turn out to be an excellent indicator of what we have been eating. The instinct to

bake them is essentially conservative, which means that cookies are rarely the first place

that new ingredients appear. An ingredient must have a solid place at America's table

before it makes its way into the cookie cupboard. So when pistachios start showing up in

cookies in the eighties, you know that the luxurious nut has finally become part of the

American food landscape. And when, in the early nineties, espresso stops making the

occasional appearance and turns into a standard ingredient, it is no accident; this is just

when venti became part of our vocabulary, a sign that America's drinking habits had

undergone a serious revolution.

and#160;Looking at cookies in this way is a fascinating exercise. It is also a great predictor

of future trends. Work your way through this book and you'll be in a very good position

to know what cookies we'll be baking next year, and the year after that. But while new

cookies keep being invented, old cookies never die. They just get better and better. We

like to think that you'll be baking the ones in this book for many years to come.

and#160;and#8212;The Editors

1941 - Cajun Macaroons

America's first epicurean magazine had very

ambitious plans. Although war was imminent,

you wouldn't have known it from turning the

pages. In this, the second issue, Gourmet's

chef, Louis P. DeGouy ("de goo-ey"), taught

his readers how to cook a duck. They could

also read about "Famous Chefs of Today";

peruse the first installment of "Clementine

in the Kitchen," the story of a French cook

(the series eventually became a beloved

book); and shop vicariously at a store that

specialized in dates (it sold Deglet Noors,

Golden Saidys, and black Hyanas). Turning

to the menus, they found a rather elaborate

celebration of Mardi Gras in New Orleans,

complete with oysters rockefeller, Creole

soup, papaya balls, pompano fillets, pigeon

pie, poinsettia salad (canned pineapple,

pimiento strips, cream cheese moistened

with French dressing, and paprika), creamed

peas, and sugared yams.

But the best thing about the menu was the

finale: crisp, chewy little cookies with a

subtle almond scent. Although the recipe

required a lot of work, readers would beg

for it again and again over the years.

Happily, the food processor has taken most

of the labor out of these French-style

macaroons, and today they are a breeze to


Makes about 4 dozen 1 1/2-inch cookies

These should be baked a few days in advance. They will keep several months

when kept in a closed tin in a cool, dry place.

Work 1/2 pound almond paste with a wooden spoon until it is smooth.

Add 3 slightly beaten egg whites and blend thoroughly. Add 1/2 cup

sifted pastry flour, resifted with 1/2 cup fine granulated sugar and

1/2 cup powdered sugar. Cover a cooky sheet or sheets with bond paper.

The cooky mixture may be dropped from the tip of a teaspoon and

shaped on the paper, or may be pressed through a cooky press, or

shaped with a pastry bag and tube. Bake in a slow oven (300and#176; F) about

30 minutes. The cakes may be removed from the paper by means of a

spatula while still warm.

Variations: Finely chopped or ground candied fruits may be added to

the mixture before baking. Or the tops of the macaroons may be

decorated before baking by placing in the center of each a nut half, a

raisin (seedless, black or white), or a bit of candied fruitand#8212;such as a

bit of angelicaand#8212;cut fancifully, or by sprinkling with finely chopped nut

meats. The cakes may be decorated after baking by dainty frosting

designs formed with the help of a cake decorator or a pastry tube.

Recipe Notes

1. The almond paste should be at room temperature.

2. Rather than working the almond paste with a wooden spoon, use a food processor.

3. Use White Lily flour (see Sources, page 154) or cake flour (not self-rising) in place of

the pastry flour.

4. Use regular granulated sugar in place of fine granulated sugar.

5. In place of the bond paper that the recipe calls for, use parchment paper.

6. The cookies should be pale golden.

1971 - Speculaas

(Saint Nicholas Cookies)

A former minister of foreign affairs in

Holland offended many cooks when he

informed the world that the speculaas was

Europe's best cookie. That is a matter of

opinion, but it is a matter of fact that

they are among the oldest cookies on

record, for speculaas have been baked in

the Netherlands for centuries. They began

life as gifts to the gods, left in the

fields as offerings to ensure a good

harvest. But humans are equally enamored of

this cross between a spice cookie and a

shortbread because of their comfortingly

robust and old-fashioned flavor.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Into a bowl, sift together 3 cups flour, 4 teaspoons baking powder, 1 tablespoon

cinnamon, 1 teaspoon each of cloves and nutmeg, and 1/2 teaspoon each of ground

aniseed, salt, and ginger or white pepper. In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat 2 sticks, or

1 cup, butter, softened, with 1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar until the mixture

is light and fluffy. Stir in 3 tablespoons milk, dark rum, or brandy.

Gradually add the flour mixture, stirring until it is well combined, and form the dough

into a ball. Knead the dough on a board sprinkled with about 1/4 cup flour and roll it out

into a rectangle 1/4 inch thick. With a sharp knife or cutter, cut the dough into rectangles

2 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 inches. Put the rectangles on a buttered cookie sheet, decorate them

with blanched almonds, halved or slivered, and brush them with lightly beaten egg white.

Bake the cookies in a moderately hot oven (375and#176;F) for 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are

browned and firm.

Recipe Note

Gently push the nuts into the dough before brushing the cookies with egg white

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin
Compiled by:
Gourmet Magazine
Gourmet Magazine
Gourmet Magazine
Courses & Dishes - Cookies
Methods - Baking
Holiday - General
Cooking and Food-Cookies
Edition Description:
Paper Over Board
Publication Date:
More than 60 4-color photos throughout
8.5 x 8.5 in 1.08 lb

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Related Subjects

Cooking and Food » Baking » Cookies
Cooking and Food » General
Cooking and Food » Special Occasions » Holidays
Home and Garden » Interior Design » Featured Titles

The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009 Used Hardcover
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$8.95 In Stock
Product details 176 pages Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) - English 9780547328164 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , For this stunning collection, the editors of "Gourmet" delved deep into their archives and selected the most delicious cookie for each year of the magazine's 68-year existence. Each recipe includes abundant tips and recipe notes.
"Synopsis" by ,

The best cookie from each year of the premier food magazineand#8217;s nearly seventy-year history.

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