cover image Big Fat Cookies

Big Fat Cookies

Elinor Klivans. Chronicle Books, $17.95 (132pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-4216-7

Cookies don't always get much credit for being desserts, partly because of their small size. Klivans's creations, however, give cookies the size they need to hold their own at the end of a meal (or anytime). Though she is a former pastry chef and a second-generation cookie fanatic, her recipes are wonderfully clear and appropriate for bakers of all skill levels; in the opening section, she gives basic advice about ingredients, utensils and techniques and offers tips on storage and ingredient substitution. The cookies come in all varieties, supersized, and few are difficult when following the detailed, step-by-step directions. Some are classics or variations thereof (Chocolate Chip-Stuffed Cookies, Big City Black-and-Whites); others, like the Cornmeal Currant Crunch Cookies and the Pineapple and Macadamia Islands, are less traditional; but all look divine, especially as depicted in Antonis Achilleos's luscious photographs. Klivans's writing is friendly and enthusiastic (""This cookie is ready to party"") and filled with anecdotes about her family, friends and recipes. The cookies are divided into three categories-chewy, crispy and sandwich-with something to please everyone. Even those who spend very little time in the kitchen will be inspired to break out their baking sheets after thumbing through this enticing book.