Saturday, October 1, 2016

Cookies, Cookies, Cookies!

October is "National Cookbook Month" which is interesting and not something we've focused on yet here on The Chocolate Cult. Normally we spend the entire month on Halloween but since October 1st is a Saturday and Halloween may not quite yet be on your mind, let's look at one of the cookbooks that I was sent to review this year: The Southern Cookie Book from Southern Living. The temperatures and humidity was excellent for baking two weekends in May, so I spent two entire days trying recipes from all five of the main chapters in this book.

As most cookbooks do, this one offers information about the types of ingredients and equipment you'd need to make the recipes inside however I note that of the five recipes I choose, one ingredient that I had not heard of (sanding sugar) was not mentioned in the ingredient section. I think if you are going to have an ingredient section, you need to make sure that you mention all the ingredients that will be showing up. Other tips for making cookies are laid out before the recipe chapters but also included  at the beginning of each chapter and sometimes with the recipes themselves. Some tips were located in very useful places, others not really so it was a mixed bag.

Chapter: Drop Cookies does not necessarily mean just by the normal teaspoon or tablespoon full but also by cookie dough scoop. The tips here to chill the dropped dough did make a difference in terms of texture and shape of the final cookie. You could also chill the dough itself and achieve the same results I discovered. I tested "Brownie Cookies" (p 44) but substituted out the pecans for mini chocolate chips because of allergies.

Chapter: Filled Cookies was a touch disappointing because it included not just cookies you put a filling inside of but basically different ideas for the "sandwich" or "whoopie pie" cookie. I tried the "Cream-Filled Chocolate Chip Wafers" (p 111) and found two issues -- the wafer are very fragile and there needed to be advice about using them in the recipe; also the amount of chips and nuts you are supposed to use makes a filling that was really too thick to spread on the wafers.

Chapter: Rolled Cookies includes recipes for cookies that you roll out with a rolling pin to cut, that you roll out by hand, and that you roll into a dough tube that you later cut. I tested "Molasses-Spice Crinkles" which are basically a variation of other types of Crinkles that I've made with cocoa.

Chapter: Bars and Brownies... not really cookies, right?I tested "Peanut Butter Streusel Brownies" and discovered a very serious problem-- the streusel is far too dry and there is too much of it. It really did not want to stick on the brownie and was very crumbly. I'd recommend using 2-4 times the amount of crunchy peanut butter unless you want to eat it with a spoon like we did.

Chapter: Confection... why is this in here? Not cookies, Southern Living! Anyway I tried out "Sweet and Salty Popcorn Snack Mix" was was easy to make but I was annoyed that the candy piece are not meant to stick to the popcorn... what's the point then? Just have caramel popcorn with a side of candies?

Southern Living is a magazine that has been around since 1966 so I was hoping they'd have some wonderful Southern cookies that I, a Midwestern gal, wouldn't know. Sure there were many things I hadn't hear of but my spot testing didn't result in products I felt very happy about. Maybe you'll have better luck. If you are interested in this cookie recipe book, check it out using our links. Not only will you be able to buy it, but you'll also be supporting The Chocolate Cult when you do so.

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