by Lauren Chattman
Harvard Common Press, $21.05
Chocolate chip, oatmeal and peanut butter cookies are the "big three" in the cookie biz. But black forest chocolate chip, oatmeal with apricots and pistachios, and peanut butter and honey cookies can make for scrumptious spin-offs.
Lauren Chattman's Mom's Big Book of Cookies caters to one of the pickiest demographics: kids. As many school foodservice directors might agree, kids don't hold back on the criticism. But with 200 kid-tested recipes, this cookbook will satisfy even the most scathing cookie critics (even grown up ones).
This book boasts an imaginative and expansive collection of recipes. There is even a chapter cleverly devoted to "heirloom cookies."
Rich in illustrations and designed with a convenient lay-flat binding, the cookbook's recipes are easy-to-follow. They feature simple flavors beside more sophisticated modifications. The congo bars rock. The sugar cookie flowers are super delicious. And the raspberry cream cheese brownies are a nice change from more traditional versions.
Chattman offers dozens of "good excuses" to bake the days away. My favorite: Make the Reese's pieces autumn oatmeal cookies for a screening of the movie E.T. to satisfy the inevitable cravings that arise when the candy makes its famous cameo appearance. Scores of other highlighted "excuses" can help you match many other recipes to theme meals and special events.