Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Rhi-view: COOKIES FOR GROWN-UPS by Kelly Cooper

Cookies for Grown-Ups by Kelly Cooper
Cookbook, Baking
Release Date: December 1st, 2012
Hardcover $23.99 (136 pages, RED ROCK PRESS)
Cookie-love is forever and yet for all the remembrances it evokes, our favorite childhood cookie is not always what we want. Even Proust lived on more than madeleines. Our tastes change. As adults, we're allowed to say no to milk, choosing instead a cup of good coffee or tea, a glass of wine, an icy cocktail or a stein of what's on tap. Kelly Cooper knows this. She also knows how to concoct delicious, handheld treats sweet or savory to go with those libations. Yet many of Kelly Cooper's most inspired cookies are built on memories. Her mother taught her to bake in California's orchard-rich Santa Clara Valley, where apricots, figs, almonds and berries overflowed. Her sweet cookies brim with these and other fresh flavors, enhanced by surprise grownup ingredients, such as Gruy√©re or orange liqueur. You may not be able to imagine precisely the favor fresh thyme does chocolate until you've sampled the cookie called Dark Desire. Her savory cookies are also amazing. No solo baker invented the piquant cookie, but leading culinary writers are beginning to note that no one creates cocktail cookies better than Kelly Cooper does! Indeed, a bite of her Antipasto cookie (featuring bits of Italian salami and cheese) may well convince you to bake for your next cocktail party. Her whimsical cookies are for adults not only because each is carefully paired with a drink but because they're deliciously suited for the discerning palette. We're talking hearty breakfast cookies with dashes of maple syrup and bacon, manly game-time cookies that incorporate beef jerky and late-late night cookies to stir the senses. For any occasion, Kelly Cooper knows just how to mix beloved, familiar flavors with enlivening, new ones and that's the true secret of successful sophistication. 
Publisher Site: redrockpress.com

Not your grandma's cookies... (4 stars)

When I stumbled on this title I was instantly intrigued. I'm a geek for all the weird cupcake trends out there (I make a pretty tasty Bacon Peanut Butter one my friends constantly ask me to make for social occasions) so a book with cookies made in unexpected combos sounded right up my alley.

Cooper's concoctions are definitely not your granny's classic staples so don't expect to see a lot of oatmeal, chocolate chips, or raisins in this collection. From liqueurs and fresh herbs to cheeses and meats this unexpected series of recipes is not for the unadventurous baker.

While I found the overall tone of the recipe inspirations and explanations of each cookie dull and unmemorable, the recipes themselves are mind-blowingly clever. Each recipe also includes a beverage pairing that is equally inspired. Think of this book as the perfect gift for your friend who loves to throw cocktail parties or your secret weapon for New Year's Eve.

My favorite recipe from the bunch was the effervescent 'Man Cookie'. Made with beer, sunflower seeds, lime zest, and chopped Slim Jims it sounded like the perfect one to test on my Sunday night TV guests. While many of the recipes require a lot of work or fresh herbs (which are costly in my area) the most difficult part of this one was zesting the limes. My guinea pig guests, husband, and even my kids (thank goodness the alcohol cooks out lol) all thought they were surprisingly good. My husband even smuggled some to work to share with his crew who shared in the sentiments of them being 'weird but good'. I will definitely be making them again with another type of beer just to see the results.

The great thing about COOKIES FOR GROWN-UPS is that there's something for just about everyone. From the wine drinker to the tea drinker, the chocolate fiend to the not-so-sweet-tooth, chances are you'll find something creative and fun to try. As with the strange cupcake trend this book lends itself to being an idea book. While many incorporate things that wouldn't go over well in my home (rotten tree nut allergies) the recipes have served as inspiration for experimentation of my own. Many could also be adapted and Cooper offers many suggestions for ingredient switches.

I highly recommend this as an idea book for the advanced baker seeking inspiration and those seeking something memorable to bring to holiday get-togethers. I think many of the cookies themselves would make awesome homemade gifts for friends and co-workers, I'd even gift the book itself to a pal who thinks baking is just for ladies. Gentlemen, this book has plenty of Monday Night Football friendly treats that won't get your mancard revoked.



Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.


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