"The Field Guide to Cookies" is one sweet read

McClatchy NewspapersOctober 16, 2008 

BOOK COOKIES MCT

The "Field Guide to Cookies" by Anita Chu. (Quirk Books, $15.95.)

HANDOUT — MCT

Why buy another cookbook on baking cookies? What makes the "Field Guide to Cookies" stand out? The scope and size of this tiny book lift it out of the norm.

After collecting recipes from all over the world, Anita Chu, a design engineer, food blogger, and pastry chef who formerly worked for the Bittersweet Chocolate Cafe in the San Francisco Bay Area, has produced a book that's easy for the beginner and the expert to use. The recipes are easy to understand, tailored for an American audience, and diverse enough in their origins for everyone to use.

Australians will find ANZAC Biscuits with oats and brown sugar. Indonesians have "Kue Nastar" or Pineapple Cookies. Japan has Green Tea Cookies. Austrians can be beguiled by Viennese Almond Crescents.

And Americans can indulge their sweet teeth with an all-American favorite: Animal Crackers.

The one item missing from each cookie recipe is a calorie count.

Ever wonder where the cookie you're wolfing down started? The Stroopwafel, "also known as the syrup waffle cookie," is "a particular specialty that was created in the Gouda region of the Netherlands in 1784." It is a thin double wafer cookie with a caramel filling, and the book suggests that "Stroopwafels should be served with a cup of hot coffee or tea to soften them and cut the sweetness."

Our testers — the newsroom — thoroughly enjoyed taste testing three recipes — Jam Thumbprints, Maple Cookies with pecans, and Apple Crumb bars. None went uneaten.

Europeans don't need to feel left out: At the end is a metric conversion chart for teaspoons, tablespoons and gallons to milliliters and liters. British Gas Marks are included under "oven temperatures." An extensive index will help you find your indulgence easily. The one negative is that it's difficult to keep lying the book flat when you're mixing ingredients.

The "Field Guide to Cookies" is available in some bookstores now, more by early November.

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