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

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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 sixty-eight-year existence. After marathon testing sessions and winnowing from thousands of recipes—many sent in by readers—they chose an amazing array, from the almond-scented French-style Cajun Macaroons, from the mag 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 sixty-eight-year existence. After marathon testing sessions and winnowing from thousands of recipes—many sent in by readers—they chose an amazing array, from the almond-scented French-style Cajun Macaroons, from the magazine’s beginnings in 1941, through Mocha Toffee Bars (1971), to the contemporary Glittering Lemon Sandwich Cookies. The enticing assortment includes   Cookies of every type and description, from the homey (Aunt Sis’s Strawberry Tart Cookies) to the exotic (Grand Marnier-Glazed Pain d’Epice Cookies), including balls, bars, refrigerator cookies, drop cookies, even deep-fried cookie confections.   Cookies from around the world: from Dutch Jan Hagels to Irish oatmeal sandwich cookies filled with cream and Irish whiskey, to Scandinavian Rosettes.   Dozens of Christmas cookies: Old-Fashioned Christmas Butter Cookies, star-shaped Moravian White Cookies, Chocolate Peppermint Bar Cookies.   Printed exactly as they originally appeared in the magazine, with abundant tips and recipe notes from Gourmet’s test kitchen, and with headnotes describing their cultural context, the recipes present a fascinating bite-by-bite history of how our appetites evolved.


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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 sixty-eight-year existence. After marathon testing sessions and winnowing from thousands of recipes—many sent in by readers—they chose an amazing array, from the almond-scented French-style Cajun Macaroons, from the mag 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 sixty-eight-year existence. After marathon testing sessions and winnowing from thousands of recipes—many sent in by readers—they chose an amazing array, from the almond-scented French-style Cajun Macaroons, from the magazine’s beginnings in 1941, through Mocha Toffee Bars (1971), to the contemporary Glittering Lemon Sandwich Cookies. The enticing assortment includes   Cookies of every type and description, from the homey (Aunt Sis’s Strawberry Tart Cookies) to the exotic (Grand Marnier-Glazed Pain d’Epice Cookies), including balls, bars, refrigerator cookies, drop cookies, even deep-fried cookie confections.   Cookies from around the world: from Dutch Jan Hagels to Irish oatmeal sandwich cookies filled with cream and Irish whiskey, to Scandinavian Rosettes.   Dozens of Christmas cookies: Old-Fashioned Christmas Butter Cookies, star-shaped Moravian White Cookies, Chocolate Peppermint Bar Cookies.   Printed exactly as they originally appeared in the magazine, with abundant tips and recipe notes from Gourmet’s test kitchen, and with headnotes describing their cultural context, the recipes present a fascinating bite-by-bite history of how our appetites evolved.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lily

    I don't usually read cookbooks all the way through - but this one was really interesting in the way it was put together. I appreciated the historical perspective, it gave meaning to the way the recipes changed. A really thoughtful and well put together cookbook. Can't wait to try some of the recipes! :) I don't usually read cookbooks all the way through - but this one was really interesting in the way it was put together. I appreciated the historical perspective, it gave meaning to the way the recipes changed. A really thoughtful and well put together cookbook. Can't wait to try some of the recipes! :)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tara Nash

    If you are a fan of Gourmet magazine or want to know more about the history of the cookie recipe in America and abroad, this would be a good book for you. If on the other hand you were looking for cookie recipes, I think you could do better buying another book. The notes and history of the recipes were often longer than the recipes themselves. A personal pet peeve of mine is when the ingredients are not listed separately and the directions do not start with the prep work needed for the baking of If you are a fan of Gourmet magazine or want to know more about the history of the cookie recipe in America and abroad, this would be a good book for you. If on the other hand you were looking for cookie recipes, I think you could do better buying another book. The notes and history of the recipes were often longer than the recipes themselves. A personal pet peeve of mine is when the ingredients are not listed separately and the directions do not start with the prep work needed for the baking of the recipe.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kristl

    This straight-forward cookie cookbook gives you the top pick Gourmet Magazine cookie recipe from every year of the magazine's existence (since the early 1940s). Not only are there odd recipes and dated opinions, suggestions and preoccupations to marvel at, but there are tried-and-true recipes that should be added to your cookie repertoire right now. This straight-forward cookie cookbook gives you the top pick Gourmet Magazine cookie recipe from every year of the magazine's existence (since the early 1940s). Not only are there odd recipes and dated opinions, suggestions and preoccupations to marvel at, but there are tried-and-true recipes that should be added to your cookie repertoire right now.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Scottsdale Public Library

    A fascinating and comprehensive look at the cookie, this book showcases cookies from the history of Gourmet magazine's sixty-eight years. There is truly something for everyone in this cookbook, and recipes are basic and illustrated with attractive photography. A must-read for cookie lovers and bakers. -- Meagan A fascinating and comprehensive look at the cookie, this book showcases cookies from the history of Gourmet magazine's sixty-eight years. There is truly something for everyone in this cookbook, and recipes are basic and illustrated with attractive photography. A must-read for cookie lovers and bakers. -- Meagan

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dani

    This book is like tasting your way through history (albeit a curated and gourmet history).  As the introduction says, it's like "look(ing) at history through a cookie prism".  Of course, this is a selection of the one "best" cookie from each year (and the creators never say what went in to picking the "best"), so it's not a thorough or data-driven review of history.  But it does help point to a few trends:  "Cookies turn out to be an excellent indicator of what we have been eating... So when pi This book is like tasting your way through history (albeit a curated and gourmet history).  As the introduction says, it's like "look(ing) at history through a cookie prism".  Of course, this is a selection of the one "best" cookie from each year (and the creators never say what went in to picking the "best"), so it's not a thorough or data-driven review of history.  But it does help point to a few trends:  "Cookies turn out to be an excellent indicator of what we have been eating... 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." Furthermore, it turns out that "our cookie cravings...offer a fascinating window on history, a portrait of our country that reveals the way our appetites have evolved."  On top of that, it also shows how recipe-writing has evolved. As a reader perusing through history, I appreciated the approach in this book: They kept the original language of the recipes ("In the early years, they are remarkably casual, a kind of mysterious shorthand that assumes each reader is an accomplished cook who needs very little in the way of guidance".)  But, although they left the original language unchanged, they retested recipes to remove some of the guesswork by adding notes, hard numbers, and more detailed descriptors and indicators.  But as a modern home baker reading this book, I found this choice in recipe format frustrating and annoying.  Modern recipe format and design is just better!  Again, it's cute and fascinating for the sake of history, but not exactly baking-friendly. In many ways, this book is charming and delicious.  I'm sure fans of Gourmet magazine would especially appreciate it.  It's largely a cookie book with some history as a fun side perk.  Each recipe begins with a short paragraph or two about the recipe itself and the time period and zeitgeist the recipe hails from, mostly through the lens of what was going in Gourmet magazine at the time. There are a wide variety of flavors and countries represented, but there is a definite heavy focus on European-style cookies.  There are also a smattering of types and styles of cookies, but there are certainly repeats.  For example, thumbprint and jam-type cookies show up a handful of times, as do ginger/spice cookies (but classics like chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin are missing!) In some ways, this really is a lovely and tasty book.  It's beautiful and eye-catching, and it's like a baking book combined with a coffee-table book.  However, because of the way it's designed and how it's combined, it ends up being the weaker parts of both worlds:  it's not rigorous or detailed or thorough on history, and because it selects exactly *one* cookie recipe per year, it isn't necessarily as robust or diverse or thorough a cookbook as it could be. It's a fun book, but I wouldn't call it a go-to.  Other books have cookies as the first and main goal, with an emphasis on variety or accessibility or ease of baking or impressing your friends or any other number of things.  But this book seems to have another goal instead:  A mild but cute walk through a magazine's history, and a peek into greater American food trends through the years, as seen through the lens of cookies in a literally gourmet food magazine.  It's niche, and if that's your niche, you'll love it!  If you're after something else, then go for it!  Like most cookbooks, it has its own specific goal and lens.

  6. 5 out of 5

    superawesomekt

    While I appreciate the survey of American culture through a cookie lens, the strength of a cookbook lies in the selecting, and in gourmet magazine's case, curating of recipes. They are not entirely clear on their methodology, but the collection of recipes is lackluster. The presentation and text are stellar, and it was entertaining to browse, but there were many repetitive recipes (there must have been 3 variations of the jam filled cookies on the cover) and no representation of such cookie clas While I appreciate the survey of American culture through a cookie lens, the strength of a cookbook lies in the selecting, and in gourmet magazine's case, curating of recipes. They are not entirely clear on their methodology, but the collection of recipes is lackluster. The presentation and text are stellar, and it was entertaining to browse, but there were many repetitive recipes (there must have been 3 variations of the jam filled cookies on the cover) and no representation of such cookie classics as chocolate chip or gingerbread. They did have the classic NY black and white cookies, plenty of ginger/molasses flavored cookies, and a nice range of cultural influences, but I would consider this more of an anthropology book than a cookbook, in spite of the recipes. EDIT: another reviewer pointed this out, but the recipes are formatted minimally and are not up to the modern standard. Annoying.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kym

    The Gourmet Cookie Book has one cookie recipe with history from 1941-2009. Something for everyone!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    Fun to look over but inspiring. It is interesting to see the way cookies evolved through the years.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ana Mardoll

    The Gourmet Cookie Book / 978-0-5-473-2816-4 I love cookie cookbooks, so I was excited to pick up this Gourmet Cookie Book based on the yummy cover alone, not being overly familiar with the magazine that this book is meant to be representing. The recipes are yummy - although some are exotic enough to not really tickle my fancy - and the pictures are very pretty, but the book seems stymied by strange design choices. Each recipe represents the "best" cookie from a specific year of the magazine. Thi The Gourmet Cookie Book / 978-0-5-473-2816-4 I love cookie cookbooks, so I was excited to pick up this Gourmet Cookie Book based on the yummy cover alone, not being overly familiar with the magazine that this book is meant to be representing. The recipes are yummy - although some are exotic enough to not really tickle my fancy - and the pictures are very pretty, but the book seems stymied by strange design choices. Each recipe represents the "best" cookie from a specific year of the magazine. This is an interesting layout choice, but seems destined to celebrate the magazine as opposed to good cookies - some years apparently just didn't have a lot of great cookies to choose from, as they weren't currently in vogue at the time. I would have happily given up a few years worth to get some better recipes overall. Each recipe features a fairly large text "write up" about the cookie and that year as it affected the magazine, followed by the actual recipe... in relatively tiny text! This is a very strange layout choice: most people probably aren't going to want to read the history of, say, the 1971 cookie over and over again, but they will want to read the recipe instructions each time they make that cookie, so why is the "history of" text so much larger and more accessible than the recipe text? Also odd is that the recipes are, I guess, reproduced exactly as they were printed in the magazine, which means that the "ingredients lists" don't show up until the 1980s and oh-my-gosh is this *frustrating*. Note to recipe editors: ingredients lists are *mandatory*. Do *not* make your readers read the whole recipe just to find out what ingredients they will need. On the plus side, they did bold the ingredients in the recipe text to help as much as possible, so they at least tried to make up for the difference. Also on the bright side, the pictures included here are lovely, and there's one picture per recipe, which is a very good thing indeed. Some of the more tricky cookies could have had assembly instructions (there's some folded cookies and rolled cookies), but it's usually easy to divine the instructions from the finished pictures. If you're a big fan of Gourmet Magazine, this is a lovely and yummy homage piece, well worth checking out. But if you're just looking for a cookie cookbook, well, it's hard to say if this one will meet your needs. There's a lot of "historical" recipes here, and there's definitely plenty of pictures, but the layout sometimes seems like a barrier to using this book for its intended purpose - cooking - and sometimes the text seems more interested in celebrating a cooking magazine than celebrating good cooking. NOTE: This review is based on a free Advance Review Copy of this book provided through NetGalley. ~ Ana Mardoll

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gix

    This gourmet cookie recipe book is fabulous! This book is great for holiday occasions such as Thanksgiving or Christmas when you need holiday appropriate cookies. Skimming through the book, it is made to give direct information on the origins of the recipe. For example, specific sections in the book relate to the time period and what was most popular and delicious during that time. This book is also great for family recipes. During my spare time, I attempted baking the Shoe Sole cookies which w This gourmet cookie recipe book is fabulous! This book is great for holiday occasions such as Thanksgiving or Christmas when you need holiday appropriate cookies. Skimming through the book, it is made to give direct information on the origins of the recipe. For example, specific sections in the book relate to the time period and what was most popular and delicious during that time. This book is also great for family recipes. During my spare time, I attempted baking the Shoe Sole cookies which were very sweet and delectable. My younger cousins and friends enjoyed them thoroughly. Large serving sizes and amounts make no limits to amount you may want to consume (they are indeed delicious!). Although they are gourmet, these recipes are great with help from kids due to large, detailed,patterned pictures of the cookies and easy baking procedures. Connecting back to the origins of the recipe, the informational cookie book shows the need of the cookie and the occasion it is meant for. The well known cookie by the name of gingerbread men were made for Christmas purposes. By reading this book, you may, as I did, learn some ideas behind recipes. In the 1960's, for example, brought new, unusual, and unlikely ingredients. Bakers began to use candied orange peels, pine nuts and most unlikely and abnormal, in a cookie, cottage cheese. Cookies such as cottage cheese cookies contain a substantial amount of cheese and based on reviews, "water down" the harsh sugar taste and add a tangy addition. I suggest this book for any formal, as oppose to casual, needs for cookies. If you are seeking something more sophisticated then a simple chocolate chip cookie, this is your book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Excellent cookie book. It was interesting to see the way recipes were written change from the 40's where the ingredients were all in the instructions to what I grew up with where the ingredients stood out at the top of the recipe. The popularity of cookies was also interesting to track. They were barely there part way through the timeline. Now you can't pick up a magazine with recipes and not be bombarded with at least one sweet treat, either a cookie recipe or an advertisement for cookies. I thi Excellent cookie book. It was interesting to see the way recipes were written change from the 40's where the ingredients were all in the instructions to what I grew up with where the ingredients stood out at the top of the recipe. The popularity of cookies was also interesting to track. They were barely there part way through the timeline. Now you can't pick up a magazine with recipes and not be bombarded with at least one sweet treat, either a cookie recipe or an advertisement for cookies. I think I'm going to return my library copy of this and find it for my own cookbook shelf. Some of the treats may be old fashioned, but a recipe is a recipe, which means you can reproduce these cookies even if you'd never heard of a "moderate oven" (350F) before.

  12. 4 out of 5

    False

    A LOT of cookie recipes, and I didn't have the desire to try one. They were either the type of thing you could find anywhere: lemon thins, lace cookies, chocolate wafers, or they required specific tools to make, or unique ingredients, and in this economy, I lack that level of curiosity. I can't even think of one person this book might be geared too...not even the serious gourmet cook. So you've got a cookie book where you don't want to try even one recipe for a cookie...from 1941 to 2009. I thin A LOT of cookie recipes, and I didn't have the desire to try one. They were either the type of thing you could find anywhere: lemon thins, lace cookies, chocolate wafers, or they required specific tools to make, or unique ingredients, and in this economy, I lack that level of curiosity. I can't even think of one person this book might be geared too...not even the serious gourmet cook. So you've got a cookie book where you don't want to try even one recipe for a cookie...from 1941 to 2009. I think that says it all.

  13. 5 out of 5

    jennifer

    I've wanted this for a long time and finally it's mine. Divided by decade and year, each recipe has a little history about how it came to Gourmet magazine and is printed in the format of its publication, meaning that there was a time when ingredients and directions were written all together in a paragraph. There is one recipe for every year between 1941 to 2009, when the magazine folded. The biggest surprise for me are the cottage cheese cookies, which read and look quite tasty. I've wanted this for a long time and finally it's mine. Divided by decade and year, each recipe has a little history about how it came to Gourmet magazine and is printed in the format of its publication, meaning that there was a time when ingredients and directions were written all together in a paragraph. There is one recipe for every year between 1941 to 2009, when the magazine folded. The biggest surprise for me are the cottage cheese cookies, which read and look quite tasty.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bookstax

    I was completely underwhelmed at the cookies chosen for this book. It is hard for me to imagine that there is a cookie cookbook that has been published that didn't have at least one cookie I wanted to make. The whole focus of the book seemed to be more on creating some jazzy and edgy layout for each page's recipe and photo. The rest of it was really, really bland. I was really disappointed... I was completely underwhelmed at the cookies chosen for this book. It is hard for me to imagine that there is a cookie cookbook that has been published that didn't have at least one cookie I wanted to make. The whole focus of the book seemed to be more on creating some jazzy and edgy layout for each page's recipe and photo. The rest of it was really, really bland. I was really disappointed...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    This book was beautifully photographed. One cookie recipe per year for about forty years. I copied a Mexican wedding cookie recipe that was delicious and I took one or two more, but there were a bunch that I either had made before (pecan tastes) and a bunch that looked either very complicated or very dated. Typical Gourmet fare.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Deb White

    If you're stuck in the rut of always making the same kind of cookies every time you pull out the flour, this is the book to inspire you to try some new recipes. You don't have to be a gourmet baker to make some of these fine recipes. The little ginger cookies have become an all time favorite in our family. If you're stuck in the rut of always making the same kind of cookies every time you pull out the flour, this is the book to inspire you to try some new recipes. You don't have to be a gourmet baker to make some of these fine recipes. The little ginger cookies have become an all time favorite in our family.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    The concept of highlighting a single cookie recipe from each year was interesting. There were definite trends in style and flavours. The authors choose to print the recipe in the original format. I personally would have preferred if they would have written it in today's writing as well as the original formatting. The concept of highlighting a single cookie recipe from each year was interesting. There were definite trends in style and flavours. The authors choose to print the recipe in the original format. I personally would have preferred if they would have written it in today's writing as well as the original formatting.

  18. 4 out of 5

    ephrielle

    I really liked the tidbits of information regarding the background for each cookie. The way they chose to display each cookie was eye catching. I obviously haven't had time to make them yet but I am certainly going to make a few this holiday season. I really liked the tidbits of information regarding the background for each cookie. The way they chose to display each cookie was eye catching. I obviously haven't had time to make them yet but I am certainly going to make a few this holiday season.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Liz De Coster

    I liked this almost as much as a cooking history as I did as a cookbook. The stories about the recipes when they appeared were thoughtful, and reading the old-fashioned recipes and directions (calling for nut meat, for example) was interesting.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    For the stunning pictures and layout alone, this is a great book to peruse. The only recipe I tried (gingerbread), I didn't love, but this is a fun walk through history as it chronicles the single best recipe from each year, 1941-2009. For the stunning pictures and layout alone, this is a great book to peruse. The only recipe I tried (gingerbread), I didn't love, but this is a fun walk through history as it chronicles the single best recipe from each year, 1941-2009.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    I loved this cookie cookbook. It was cookie porn with a picture of each cookie. All of the recipes that I have made have been excellent. I also enjoyed seeing the changes of the recipes through the years.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Juliana

    Love how the book is organized. It's organized by the decade, each featuring the most popular cookies of that time period. Plus the photography is great, as they arrange each cookie in each picture a unique way. This is a great gift for any baker :) Love how the book is organized. It's organized by the decade, each featuring the most popular cookies of that time period. Plus the photography is great, as they arrange each cookie in each picture a unique way. This is a great gift for any baker :)

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    you will see many of these in real life come Xmas season.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    I found several nice looking recipes in this book. Maybe, just maybe my cookie exchange recipe is here!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I liked the historical perspective of Gourmet magazine as tastes' changed. I found about nine recipes I wouldn't mind trying. I liked the historical perspective of Gourmet magazine as tastes' changed. I found about nine recipes I wouldn't mind trying.

  26. 4 out of 5

    jennifer

    mom and chris/susannah, christmas 2010

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tanya

    The photography is amazing and I really loved reading the history of each year and its influence on what kind of cookie recipe was created as a result.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    Coookiee!!! (numm-numm.) Love this book. Timeless recipes from 1941 to 2009 and correlates with the award of "best cookie" by Gourmet Magazine. Great presentation ideas = premo design/photography! Coookiee!!! (numm-numm.) Love this book. Timeless recipes from 1941 to 2009 and correlates with the award of "best cookie" by Gourmet Magazine. Great presentation ideas = premo design/photography!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Junio

    Great pictures, interesting piece of history that shows how recipes have changed over the last 60 years.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

    I found the history associated with each cookie and the year it was higlighted interesting. I also enjoyed some of the creative photography.

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