Pros: A large variety of cookie recipes to include gluten free. There are lovely photos of every recipe. Great tips section.
Cons: I couldn't find any way to improve this cookbook.
I have to admit that at first I was a little worried about a cookbook put out by Betty Crocker. After all who is Betty Crocker anyway? My fear was that every recipe would require a box mix to be used. I am not against boxed mixes; however, that is not what I usually reach for when baking at home. Perhaps I feel it is a bit like cheating and find myself peeking over my shoulder, making sure no one sees me, as I pull the box out of my cupboard and quickly empty the contents into my mixing bowl and the evidence is swiftly disposed of. Besides, shouldn’t I be measuring every single gram of flour and spices precisely on my own scales? Surely, only then would the cookies be worthy to be served to my family and friends! I am about to find out if these recipes are what I consider worthy as I embark on discovering the secrets of this newest cookbook by Betty Crocker; The Big Book of Cookies.
The Big Book of Cookies is all about baking and decorating cookies and bars. It is a nice mid-sized soft covered cookbook that measures about 8 x 9 and is an inch thick. It has a nice glossy cover that is easy to wipe clean. The pages are durable but still easy to write on which is very important for personal notes. Every recipe has a nice colored photo of the finished product and most of them are full page photos. I found the photos to be a great benefit especially when it comes to decorating. It is really nice to be able to see just how they should look.
The book itself is broken down into several sections to make it easy for you to select which cookies/bars you would like to make. The first section of the book is “Cookie Baking Success Secrets.” I found this section to be very informative. It covers a little bit of everything that has to do with cookies. There is even a nice little section on how to troubleshoot a test cookie and fix the mix before you bake the whole batch. For instance if the cookie spreads too much add more flour, if it is too hard add some milk. You can read about greasing vs not greasing, storing, softening butter and making sure you use the right ingredients. Next there are five sections on cookie types: Cookie Jar Favorites, Holiday Cookies, Gift-Giving Cookies, Brownies and Bars, and Contest-Winning Cookies. Only 55 of the over 180 recipes use a pre made Betty Crocker mix as a base. Most of these recipes will be found in the “Contest-Winning Cookies and Bars” section of the book.
Betty Crocker has set out to make a cookbook that can supply you with a recipe for just about any occasion or simply to just enjoy. I feel they have actually succeeded in doing that. There is a wide variety of recipes to choose from. I was pleased to find that they have several Gluten-Free recipes as well. The problem I ran into was which ones to make first. Thankfully, there are always people around that are happy to try these new recipes. Furthermore, if you want to get ahead for the holidays you could turn to the Tip’s section where you can read about freezing cookies! The recipes are all straight forward and the decorations, while varied, are still quite simple in nature. I found the recipes very easy to replicate right out of the book, even the beginning baker will be able to execute these recipes with success. The nice thing about this cookbook is that every single recipe I tried came out perfect. This is proof that the recipes had been tested prior to publishing. However, the decorating part will all depend on your own level of competence and creativity. All of the ingredients are easily found at your local grocery store. The actual recipe I chose to share is made with a box mix and has turned out to be a huge favorite in my house and has even been requested for our Thanksgiving family party! Who would I recommend this cookbook for? I would recommend it to any baker on your holiday gift giving list. Although I hesitate to think a professional baker would benefit from this particular cookbook. Crocker’s lovely section on “Gift-Giving Cookies” is complete with packaging suggestions that just might tempt you to start baking right now for the holidays that are right around the corner.
Now to answer my question “Who is Betty Crocker?” According to Who2 Biographies Betty Crocker was invented by The Washburn Crosby Company (now General Mills) in 1921 to personalize response letters to customers. Soon Betty Crocker’s name and signature became a representative for the company’s flour and home economics projects including a chain of cooking schools designed to test and demonstrate products and recipes. For me Betty Crocker is a very good friend that I will be inviting into my kitchen a lot more often. No longer will I sneak in a boxed cookie mix and quickly dispose of the evidence. Now she has a prominent place in my baking pantry. I hope you enjoy the recipe I chose to share with you, and perhaps soon there will be the alluring aroma of freshly baked cookies coming from your kitchen!
Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookie Cups
(Celebrate the Season – Holiday Cookie Contest Winner Michelle Bowman)
Prep Time: 55 minutes Start to Finish: 1 hour 30 minutes 5 dozen cookies
1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free chocolate chip cookie mix
½ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon gluten-free vanilla
½ cup creamy peanut butter
60 miniature chocolate covered peanut butter cup candies, unwrapped. (I used Reeses)
1. Heat oven to 375°F. Place mini paper baking cup in each of 24 mini muffin cups.
2. In large bowl, mix cookie mix, egg, butter and vanilla with spoon. Stir in peanut butter. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place balls in muffin cups.
3. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until just lightly browned. Immediately press peanut butter cup candy into center of each cookie. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pans to cooling rack; cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.
*Cooking Gluten Free? Always read labels to make sure each recipe ingredient is gluten free. Products and ingredients can change.
1 cookie: Calories 100; Total Fat 5g (Saturated Fat 2g; Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 10 mg; Total Carbohydrate 11g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 1g Exchanges: ½ Starch, ½ Other Carbohydrate, 1 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 1