Review: The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941-2009

by Gourmet Magazine

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The whole premise of The Gourmet Cookie Book was to feature the best cookie recipe from each year of Gourmet Magazine’s existence (1941-2009). Released by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt ($18), it is a unique compilation of recipes that integrate historical data with culinary trends. I love the historical filter through which the book is written, one that uses cookies as a way of detailing American history while highlighting our evolving eating habits. It is a book that people will want to read from cover to cover.

The photography is stark and simple; an artistic approach that I think works well and compliments the overall historical tones of the book. Even the index itself was appealing and very user friendly, incorporating thumbnail photos of each cookie.

However despite the fact that I love the overall concept for this book and think that it is both interesting and informative, in terms of recipes tested I was disappointed. I don’t know if I just happened to pick flops, but you’d think that with only one cookie recipe included from each year that all of them would have to meet the criteria of being…well, edible. That being said, I haven’t given up completely on this book and would like to try a couple of other recipes before deciding whether or not to relinquish ownership of my copy. Perhaps because the recipes included were printed as they originally appeared in the magazine, I should give the editors more credit for authenticity and leeway for results that may not necessarily be compatible with today’s tastes.

As a loyal fan of Gourmet Magazine, I mourned alongside numerous other foodies once publication ceased. I had such high hopes for this book, but I think editors will have to rely entirely on brand recognition and subscriber nostalgia when it comes to sales.

Has anyone else tried this book? I would love to hear if others had similar (or differing) experiences to mine!

To read the results of my recipe tests for The Gourmet Cookie Book, please click HERE