It is no small secret that I love to bake, especially cookies, which is why I was so excited to get The Cookiepedia. What could be better than an entire book devoted to cookies? The answer: not much! This collection does not disappoint either. It has something to interest everyone. For the break-and-bake types it explains the science behind cookies and “cookie speak” so that you can bake like a pro and actually sound like you know what you’re doing. For more advanced bakers, there are easy to follow recipes for some of the cookie world’s more daunting creations, such as macarons. All in all, The Cookiepedia is a solid collection of classic, easy cookie recipes that will give even the most baking-averse person the confidence to whip up a batch of homemade cookies.
What really sets this collection apart, though, are the variations on the recipes at the end. I loved this because I’m, admittedly, a bit of a baking schizophrenic. My usual M.O. is to make a recipe once and never go back to it again. With these recipe variations, it’s like I’m making a whole new cookie. There is even a notes section where I can write down observations or my own mixes.
If you can’t already tell, I had a lot of fun testing these recipes—so much so that I had a hard time choosing which recipe to feature. I recruited some taste-testers who so selflessly sacrificed some their time (and their diets) to help me make my decision, and, after much deliberation, the favorites were the alfajores. What is an alfajor you ask? Three words: Caramel. Sandwich. Cookie. Try them, now. I know I will be making them again…promise!
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— Emily Olsson, and the Small Kitchen College Team
Makes 3 dozen cookies
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Store-bought dulce de leche
Cream the butter and sugar together for a minute or two, until they look light and fluffy.
In the meantime, sift the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt into a bowl and set it aside.
Add in the egg and egg yolk one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add in the vanilla extract and mix briefly. Add in the flour mixture and mix just until the dough starts to come together.
Working quickly, turn out the dough and use a little heat from your hands to make it a solid ball. Pull out a large piece of plastic wrap and flatten the dough on top of it to make a disk. Double wrap it and refrigerate for 1 hour, until firm.
Line several cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Roll the dough to ¼ inch think on a lightly floured surface. Rotate the dough between rolls to make sure its not sticking to the surface. Using a 2-inch fluted or round cutter, cut out cookies and carefully transfer them onto the sheets, placing them about 1 inch apart.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Chill the sheets again for about 15 to 20 minutes, until the dough is very firm. Then bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the tops of the cookies have just firmed and bottoms are starting to color slightly. Cool the sheets on wire racks before assembling the sandwiches.
Drop, pipe, or spread a teaspoon of dulce de leche into the center of each cookie, then top with another. Sift powdered sugar over the assembled sandwiches.