While these might resemble Oreo cookies, Ellen claims them to be better, smarter, and more likely to succeed than any boxed chocolate sandwich cookie you have ever tried. I can see why. Just looking at the ingredient list you notice the high proportion of cocoa powder relative to flour, the generous amount of butter, and the modest amount of sugar in the dough. That sounds like my kind of cookie—rich and dark, and not too sweet.
With the holidays just around the corner, this is an ideal book for gifting to those who love to bake. The chapters are arranged by technique—cookies you scoop, ones you slice and bake, those that get sandwiched, or rolled, or spread in a pan. The final chapter is cookies for the holidays such as pretty Peppermint Meringues, Laura’s Gingerbread People, or Hazelnut Tassies.
What give the classic cookies their twist are the inspired variations at the end of each recipe. For instance, traditional Almond—Olive Oil Biscotti flavored with aniseed, vanilla, and orange zest and textured with almonds are changed up to become Double Espresso-Hazelnut Biscotti or Cocoa-Cacao Nib Biscotti by varying the flavor and nut substitutions.
Ellen shares her grandmother’s recipe for Coconut-Lime Washboards. Oval-shaped and ridged, by imprinting the dough with the tines of a fork, they look old-fashioned and crispy delicious. The novel twist is Ellen’s substitution of coconut oil for shortening. And, as she suggests, not only are they better tasting, they are better for you—assuming you don’t eat the entire batch!
For the cookie monsters that can’t keep their hands out of the cookie jar, this is going to be a hard book to resist. For the bakers who love to putter in the kitchen on a rainy weekend afternoon, this book will inspire and delight.
Did I mention the Lemon Coconut Bars on page 117? Those are next on my list—bar cookies with a coconut crust, creamy lemon filling, and coconut on top. Hmmm, the directions indicate they need to cool before cutting—not sure I’ll be able to wait that long!