My husband Bill is the original cookie monster. He could eat cookies every day and never tire of them. It doesn’t even matter what kind of cookie, he loves them all. If I need an idea for a cookie to bake for him, this book is where I turn first. If you love cookies, then most likely you know all about this book. Maida Heatter is a genius. She has such devotion to her craft which makes each recipe superlative. What makes Maida’s recipes so special is that she provides such precise information that you can’t go wrong if you follow her instructions to a T. If Maida says use Jumbo eggs, for heaven’s sake, don’t use medium! That’s how precise she is. This is not the time to experiment and use your own twist on things, or make substitutions. Follow Maida’s directions and you will not fail.
I don’t know if this is an urban legend, but I once was told that after Maida wrote one of her cookbooks, she used an industrial oven for preparing the recipes. When it was pointed out to her that most home cooks do not have industrial ovens, she did all the recipes over again in a regular everyday type oven. I would love to know if that’s a true story, but it sounds like something she would do since she is so precise and particular with her recipes. This doesn’t mean her recipes are difficult or hard to follow – quite the opposite. Maida also explains about equipment, ingredients, storing, and procedures. I love that she tells you to write in the book, make scribbles in the margins about the cookie you made so you remember next time. I don’t think I own too many cookbooks I haven’t made notes in, and they are such fun to read ten years later.
The cookies in the book are the ones you usually see in cookie books – drop, bar, icebox, rolled, and hand-formed, but they are far from ordinary. There are chocolate cookies with hidden chunks of chocolate and with a baked on coconut meringue; Palm Beach Pineapple Squares, Viennese Marzipan Bars, French Filbert Macaroons, and Italian Sesame Sticks, along with the comfort ones like pinwheels, chocolate-chocolate chip, and peanut butter. Whatever to decide to bake, you will feel like Maida is there guiding you along.
No, this is not my Bill, although he has that crazed look on his face when he eats cookies..
I have three brownie recipes that I loaded into my computer (can’t imagine you ever doing that–it would be a life-long project!) but 2 of them are Maida Heatter’s–Maida Heatter’s Palm Beach Brownies and Maida Heatter’s Barron Brownies. I really should make them again. And it’s possible the over-stuffed brownie recipe I have is Maida Heatter’s–but I don’t have it identified that way. I know I cut them out of the newspaper (that sure shows my age!) and I first made them in 1989 as I date each recipe as I use them.
Hi Barb! I will have to try those brownies. I love how you keep old recipe clippings from newspapers. I have endless numbers of newspaper recipes in files, some decades old. They are some of the best recipes I have! I worry that some are so old and yellowed, that they will disintegrate one of these days.
That’s why I started loading them into my computer–and I really date them because I like to “rotate” my recipes so I don’t make something twice until I have used all my recipes once. Well I try to do that, some recipes are just too good not to repeat sooner. You could never do that. I only load the “worthy” ones on my computer–ones I would make again.
You’re right, Barb. I have way too many recipes to load them all on a computer, but I do have some favorites stored, mostly family favorites for Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Debbie, this is my all-time favorite cookie book. I bought every Maida Heatter book as it was published decades ago, and these are still my favorite baking books. My fantasy has been to go to Maida’s house and bake with her someday.
Hi Priscilla! I hope someday you will get to do that! There should be a contest (non-voting, of course!) where that would be the prize. Maida’s recipes are superior.