500 COOKIES SECOND EDITION by Philippa Vanstone and Carol Beckerman

500 cookiesPUB. INFO: Sellers Publishing, 9/2013
ISBN: 9781416209089
ORIGINAL PUB: Sellers, 10/2005
FORMAT: Hardcover, 288 pages

From Publisher: 500 Cookies truly is “the only cookie compendium you’ll ever need.” With this second edition, home cooks will find 150 scrumptious new recipes that are sure to be crowd pleasers. The newly-added Indulgent Cookie chapter includes tasty ingredient combinations such as Peanut Butter & Praline Chunk Swirl cookies, Chocolate & Lemon Pinwheel cookies, and Coconut & Cherry Macaroons.

The front of the book includes helpful tips on making drop cookies, rolled, piped, and shaped cookies, as well as bars, icebox cookies and no-bakes. Essential tools and equipment are listed plus ingredient information and professional advice on baking, cooling, and storing your baked treats. Since 2005, 500 Cookies has been the go-to cookie book for thousands of home bakers — join the happy crowd!
PEANUT BUTTER AND CHOCOLATE SWIRLS: This is a good cookie recipe but I made a very necessary change to it before mixing the dough. The full recipe calls for 1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder and I knew that was entirely too much. I made just half the recipe, as I normally do, and instead of using 1/2 c. cocoa, I cut that down to 1/4 c. and that amount was perfect. If you use the full amount of cocoa they're going to be so bitter you won't be able to eat them.

I added mini semi-sweet chips, 1/4 c. of them, not 1 c. chopped semi-sweet chocolate as called for for half the recipe. Recipes use unsalted butter. If you're using salted butter, omit the salt completely in this recipe. Peanut butter is always very salty and in this recipe it gets swirled throughout the dough and I noticed the salt from it. Next time I'm using half the salt.

I refrigerated the dough 30 minutes like I was supposed to. I scooped the dough out using a small 1 1/2" diameter scoop (# 50). My cookies got really puffy, like in the photo, but flattened nicely at the end of the baking time. They had nice crackle tops and was a good looking cookie, better looking than the photo. I baked them for 11 minutes. The baked cookies were 2 1/2" in diameter and I got 31.

WHITE CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIES: I used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of white chocolate, as I don't like white chocolate, which isn't even chocolate anyway. Mine didn't look like the photo which showed them having crackle tops. The tops of mine were smooth. They taste very good and are made with all white sugar, no brown, so they're pale. The edges got golden brown which gave them great flavor. I used a small 1 1/2" diameter scoop (# 50) and got 27 cookies that were between 2 1/4"-2 1/2" in diameter after baked. I lowered the temperature to 350° and they baked in 11 minutes. They're a little too sweet so I'll cut back on that next time.

CHOCOLATE PINWHEEL COOKIES: This is a super easy recipe. Unfortunately they're extremely bland and I wasn't at all happy with it and wouldn't make them again. They aren't sweet enough nor do they have enough salt. They were dry too. The dough is firm, not sticky, which makes it easy to work with and roll/pat out. I froze my dough and sliced it from frozen when I was ready to bake some. It'll be easier to cut if you let the dough sit out for about ten minutes before slicing it.

The instructions are terrible and someone who's never made pinwheel cookies would be confused. They also tell you to wrap each part of dough and refrigerate until firm, then roll out. That's not necessary and all you need to do is press the dough into a rectangle, the size they never gave, and you don't really need a rolling pin.

If you don't have two silicone baking mats that are close to or are larger than 12" x 8" you'll need to use two sheets of wax paper or parchment paper and with a ruler mark each into a 12" x 8" rectangle, then with clean hands press each part of dough out into that size rectangle. That's what I did and it's how I always do pinwheel dough. Invert one part of dough over the top of the other (I put the chocolate dough on top of the other) and gently peel it off the paper. The dough felt too soft to roll so I picked up the silicone mat, put it on a smaller cookie sheet and put it in the freezer for eight minutes, took it out then rolled it up jelly roll-style. You lift the log up, place it onto a long piece of plastic wrap or your used piece of waxed/parchment paper, roll it up and refrigerate until firm or freeze it to use another day.

When you roll dough into a log and freeze or refrigerate it the bottom of the log as no choice but to go flat. An excellent trick I learned months ago to prevent that from happening most of the time is to take an empty paper towel roll, cut it open and place your wrapped log of dough in it (it's ok if your log is longer than the paper towel tube), put at least two rubber bands on it to hold it tight and keep it round, then store it in the refrigerator or freezer. I froze this dough and used it a few days later. My dough log was 2.1" in diameter.

MY THOUGHTS: This is a cute book due to its size. The whole book is full color. The recipes are easy and for lots of them there are variations listed on a separate page. Directions for a couple of recipes need to be a bit more detailed. There's a fair amount of photos too. I plan to make more from the book but for now I've only made three.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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