With a title of “Martha Stewart’s Cookies” and her smiling picture plastered on the cover one would expect Martha Stewart to have written the cookbook. Instead it’s “From The Editors of Martha Stewart Living” magazine and as such appears to be a compilation of recipes and features that have run in the magazine.
After the table of contents, there is a multi page section of pictures of various cookies with their name and what page the recipe is on. The cookies are listed in general categories such as “light and delicate, crumbly and sandy, chunky and nutty, cakey and tender, crisp and crunchy” and “rich and dense” with the corresponding page number for the section.
“Light and delicate” section begins our journey through 175 cookie recipes. The section starts off with “Meringue Porcupines,” before moving through “Fortune Cookies, Bratseli, Langues-De-Chat, Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars” among many others listed in this section which began on page 20. Most of the recipes are not simple and require some dexirity with kitchen appliances, pastry bags, etc. to achieve anything close to the items picture here. There are a few pictures of items in various stages of preparation, but the pictures are small and therefore doing not provide much detail.
The “soft and chewy” cookies take over starting on page 56. Of course, one would expect a recipe for “Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies” and there is one. Also included are recipes for “Coconut Macaroons, Chocolate Macaroons, Chocolate Malt Sandwiches, Whole-Wheat Date Bars” and many others. The same format is used with most of the pictures in this section depicting the finished product.
At page 104 the book shifts to consider “crumbly and sandy” cookies. “Almond Horns, Pecan Logs, Springerle, Apple-Cheery Crumble Bars, Sand Tarts” and many more cookie recipes make up this section. The same format continues and again in this chapter, most of these are labor intensive cookies requiring lots of experience in the kitchen.
“Chunky and nutty” is the next section starting on page 164. “Rocky Ledge Bars, Banana-WalnutÂ Chocolate-Chunk Cookies, Pine Nut Cookies, Magic Blondies” and many more appear here. All appetizing and all carried in the same format as earlier ones in the book.
Page 188 marks “cakey and tender” with items such as “Lemon Madelines, Lebkuchen, Raspberry Almonds Blondies” and many others. All delectable and nearly all very complicated to make and depicted in the same format used throughout the book.
Page 218 marks the start of “crisp and crunchy” with such one as “Chocolate-Orange-Espresso Thins, Chocolate Pretzels, Striped Icebox Cookies, Chocolate Sandwiches” and others.
“Rich and dense” begins onÂ page 264 with items such as “Baci di Dama , Chocolate Thumbprints, Truffle Brownies, Rugelach Fingers” and many others.
Starting on page 306 there is a section on “tools and techniques.” Here you will find information on ingredients, tools for making dough or shaping the dough, and information on how to drop dough, decorating cookies and other useful items. There are pictures, but they are small like most of the pictures in this book so detail is hard to come by.
Now that you have made the cookies you have to know something about “packing and giving.” Starting on page 328 this section is devoted to various ways to present the efforts of your hard won labor via sacks, cookie drums, window boxes, etc.
A list of sources for ingredients and supplies, a listing of photo credits and an index bring this paperback cookbook to a close. A cookbook that you will have to pin down in some way without breaking the spine to use. And a cookbook that does feature delectable recipes which are very complicated.
Beyond the fact there is no reference to dietary information at all as well as the fact that is done by the editors of her magazine instead of Martha which is a bit misleading since this info is inside and not on the cover, the biggest issue is the recipes themselves. No doubt they are “the very best treats to bake and share.” They are also very complicated, very labor intensive and rather impossible to do unless one has numerous people under their command to take care of things while one is the kitchen or anything to do beyond being in the kitchen. While the book is decent, except for the small pictures, it doesn’t really matter because the book isn’t practical for many cooks. Like most of her books, her magazines and her TV show, it operates in the principal that there is nothing else to do.
For those of us who truly have our hands full with a job, child care, and a host of other issues, the book simply doesn’t work.
Martha Stewart’s Cookies
Editors of Martha Stewart Living
Clarkson Potter/ Publishers
Review copy provided by the staff of the Plano, Texas Public Library System
Kevin R. Tipple Â© 2008