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Williams-Sonoma Collection: Cookies

Williams-Sonoma Collection: Cookies
A plate of homemade cookies, still warm from the oven, is a favorite childhood memory. Dense and chocolaty, crisp and spicy, rich and buttery . . . cookies come in an array of shapes, textures and flavors. And they're fun and easy to make, as you'll discover in Cookies, part of the Williams-Sonoma Collection series.

Author Marie Simmons knows that the aroma of fresh-baked cookies is one of the most enticing. She presents more than 40 tempting recipes, from simple to fanciful, each accompanied by a full-color photograph. You'll find classics like anise biscotti, the beloved Italian cookies—a second baking is the secret to their satisfying crunch. Delicate shell-shaped cookies known as madeleines, immortalized by novelist Marcel Proust, pair deliciously with a cup of tea or coffee, while tangy lemon bars highlight winter citrus at its peak.

Cookies are meant for sharing and make a welcome gift any time of year. A chapter devoted to gift cookies includes sweet treats that are sturdy enough to be shipped and still taste delicious, even though baked in advance. Pistachio-spice cookies, enhanced with cinnamon and cardamom, will improve over time as the seasonings have a chance to intensify. The ginger snaps boast a double dose of ginger.

When you're hosting a party, cookies are an ideal dessert because they're simple to bake in large quantities and can be prepared ahead of time. Beautifully layered Neapolitan cookies are formed from three flavors of dough. Almond crisps drizzled with chocolate would make an impressive presentation for a dessert buffet.

You'll also find recipes geared for young bakers, such as homey oatmeal cookies and crisp chocolate bites coated with confectioners' sugar. Children will love to stir chocolate chips into dough or create sandwich cookies using a creamy peanut butter filling.

An experienced food writer, Simmons offers a wealth of information to guide you as you bake. The basics chapter outlines the essentials, including selecting and measuring ingredients, plus ideas for packaging your creations. A chapter on decorating will help you transform cookies into delectable works of art. Sidebars include helpful tips, such as how and why to sift flour, and how to determine if butter is properly creamed. The glossary describes key ingredients and equipment.

Whether you're baking treats for an after-school snack or a gathering of close friends, you'll find something to satisfy every sweet tooth in Cookies.