Review: Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy melt-in-your-mouth cookies

by Alice Medrich


Published by Artisan Books

Now THIS is a cookie book.

For those of you unfamiliar with Alice Medrich, she is commonly referred to as the master of all things cookie and after testing this book I realize just how worthy she is of that title! Her culinary career began with truffles, which eventually led to her opening a chocolate dessert shop. She is the author of eight cookbooks (three of which have won cookbook of the year awards), teaches cooking classes across the country, and works as a well respected chocolate consultant.

This book takes cookies seriously. There is zero tolerance for fooling around when it comes to technique or quality ingredients, the importance of which is emphasized throughout the book. Divided into sections based on cookie texture (chewy, gooey, crispy, crunchy), you will find a wide variety of recipes that include updated traditional, wheat-free, whole-grain, dairy-free and Weight Watchers options. The biggest challenge you’re going to have with this book is choosing which recipe to try first!

What I love the most about Alice’s approach to her cookbooks is her unyielding commitment to testing and resting recipes until they are absolutely perfect. Specific techniques are used to garner specific results. For example; beating salt with the eggs and sugar rather than adding it to the flour will produce brownies with a mousse-like texture. Bake the brownie batter at a high temperature and then plunge the pan into an ice bath and the end result will be dense and creamy. The book is littered with these kinds of helpful tips and tricks guaranteed to be of interest to more experienced cooks, while helping to guide the novice cookie maker through the process of creating amazing cookies.

To say Alice is a detail oriented cook is an understatement, and I had to laugh that she included a note about the difference between “1 cup nuts, chopped” (measure whole nuts prior to chopping) and “1 cup chopped nuts” (measure chopped nuts) which funnily enough is something I’ve often wondered.

Some people have mentioned that they were initially turned off of this cookbook due to the limited number of photos. This is an ongoing debate when it comes to cookbooks and is one that I don’t see everyone ever agreeing upon. Personally I do not consider this a deterrent, and when reading through Alice’s well written and expertly organized recipes I was able to visualize and virtually taste each cookie to the extent that my mouth began watering. But that’s just me – and lord knows I’m a bit of a cookbook nerd.

(Which side of the argument do you support? Should cookbooks include a photo for each recipe? Would you ever buy a cookbook that did not include photography? I would love to hear your comments on this debate!)

To read the results of my recipe tests for Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy, please click HERE

7 comments on “Review: Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy melt-in-your-mouth cookies

  1. I love the title of this book and had seen it featured in several magazines recently. I thumbed through a copy a week or so ago and thought it looked great. If I made more cookies, I’d definitely get a copy. If you’re looking for an excellent cookie book, I also think the Martha Stewart Cookies because is pretty great.

  2. Stay-At-Home-Chef on said:

    Thanks for your comment Clay! The Martha Stewart Cookies is on my list for sure. So many great cookbooks…so little time ;)

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  4. Jessica on said:

    This looks like a fabulous cookbook, and I have read it over carefully and enthusiastically, but I do wish it had photos. I generally ignore recipes without photos! I want to see what I’m aiming for.

  5. Stay-At-Home-Chef on said:

    Jessica – a number of friends have said the same thing about the lack of photos. Please don’t let this deter you from trying any of the recipes! The instructions are clearly laid out and so far everything I’ve tried from the book has turned out fabulous. Thanks for your comment :)

  6. Thank you for your review of Alice Medrich’s latest book. Since I purchased this title, I’ve been madly hunting down her other books (some Out-Of-Print and extremely expensive!).
    I buy cookbooks based on the strength of the recipes. The photos are only a visual bonus. I collect cookbooks and have lately been trying to add Out-Of-Print and classic titles to my heirloom collection. Many of the classic cookbooks hail from a time when photography and professional photo-styling and photo-editing was still very expensive and I would not let that prevent me from adding a wonderful book to my shelf.
    With the onset of digital photography modern cookbooks have certainly been more generous with images and I think it’s a nice touch to have photos of every finished item but I’ve had books filled with gorgeous photos accompanied by only very average and even poorly written or badly edited recipes. These are the books I most regret buying and I wouldn’t even re-gift the them to a ‘frenemy’ for fear of being cursed.
    I also have made an effort to collect Maida Heatter’s cookbooks and in these there are almost no photos of the finished product (a few feature on some of her book covers but that’s it) and yet the recipes are amazing.
    I agree, there are some really wonderful things going on in some very plain cookbooks.

  7. Stay-At-Home-Chef on said:

    I am in love with Alice Medrich’s books. Irresistible results with recipes that are consistant in terms of accuracy. I am in the middle of her newest book (Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts) which is shaping up to be my new favourite! I agree with you that photos are lovely to have in a book but I am by no means deterred from purchasing books without pictures. I find the more I cook the better I’m able to look at a recipe and visualize it for myself. And yes – a book with poor recipes is my biggest pet peeve! I dislike how often times a book is rushed through the publication process simply to capitalize on the author’s celebrity. Thank you for your comment!

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