American Cookie: The Snaps, Drops, Jumbles, Tea Cakes, Bars & Brownies That We Have Loved for Generations
I just love cookbooks that read like a book and this Anne Byrn's American Cookie is worth the headnotes of each recipes alone, if anything to remind us all of the proud melting pot the United States is. American Cookie reaches across the wide expanse of the historical, regional, and cultural breadth of our beloved snacks to provide us with a veritable roadmap of comfort food and cultural lore.
American Cookie begins its story in the colonial area with the very simple and still incredibly satisfying molasses drop cookie, but then we're off to explore the origin of the Nabisco Fig Newton (it's the Italian Christmas 'cucidati' which, I find fun to say, but understand why it was renamed to 'Newton'), Ella Brennan's eponymous New Orleans praline recipe, the South Carolina benne seed wafer, and the original 1922 Girl Scout Cookie. In the middle there are chapters on the various cookie types (dropped, rolled, shaped, iceboxed, candied, fried, etc.). There are recipes in this book that I haven't seen in years, but the methods of preparation remain practical and simple, which makes this a great book for beginning bakers and baking with children. Gourmet bakers can get a lot of satisfaction here as well.
As I read through the recipes, I can see the arc of baking methods passed on from generation to generation, including tricks and tips that I see repeatedly in wildly popular modern professional pastry chef tomes. Certainly, there's nothing wrong with a new spin or breakdown on old favorites, but this book's strengths are that 1.) You will end up with a comforting and delicious treat generally without a whole lot of fuss and 2.) a reminder that everything comes from somewhere, including all of us. And isn't that something to celebrate?
From the Publisher:
A delicious tour of America's favorite treats, cookies, and candies from the beloved author of the bestselling Cake Mix Doctor series and American Cake
"Every recipe comes with a story as delicious as the small bite it describes. And best of all, every small bite begs to be baked."Dorie Greenspan, James Beard Award–winning author of Dorie's Cookies
Each of America's little bitescookies, candies, wafers, brittlestells a big story, and each speaks volumes about what was going on in America when the recipes were created. In American Cookie, the New York Times bestselling author and Cake Mix Doctor Anne Byrn takes us on a journey through America's baking history. And just like she did in American Cake, she provides an incredibly detailed historical background alongside each recipe. Because the little bites we love are more than just baked goodsthey're representations of different times in our history.
Early colonists brought sugar cookies, Italian fig cookies, African benne wafers, and German gingerbread cookies. Each of the 100 recipes, from Katharine Hepburn Brownies and Democratic Tea Cakes to saltwater taffy and peanut brittle, comes with a lesson that's both informative and enchanting.