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