Review by Maggy Woodley of Red Ted Art
Now, I am a big crafter, but I like to get crafty in the kitchen too; I particularly like baking for the kids’ birthdays, and at Christmas we bake LOTS AND LOTS of Austrian Cookies, (plus some Gingerbread Men), it is a bit of a tradition. However, it does mean, that for the rest of the year, we don’t bake much. We make the occasional cupcakes or muffins, especially if we have overripe bananas to use up or if we have been foraging for damson plums and berries and want to make a simple berry cake, but that's about it. So it makes me wonder, when baking and the resulting cakes and cookies are so lovely, why we don’t do it all year round. I need to do more of it more often. This is where the The Cookie Jar comes in handy – and why I was so keen to take a look at it. I needed motivation for some delicious treats to add to the kids after football or after swimming snack packs, we also like to bake together and it is always fun to try out new things.
Firstly, the book is a nice size and has a lovely matt texture (yes, I know, it shouldn’t matter what the book looks and feels like, but this time it does!!), the layout and photography are inviting and tempting; this is brilliant as I do like see what I am making. I like how the book is structured too, you get basic baking tips, and you should NEVER SKIP the basic baking tips! Always read the tips section! I find that people who write books know their stuff and they write tips for a reason, it saves you learning through trial and error over the years and gives you short cuts to great results!
I love all the recipe categories: Any Occasion Cookies, Around the World, Holiday Season, Something Special and Savoury. I am particularly drawn to Around the World and in particular some of our FAVOURITE Austrian cookies (especially Vanille Kipferl and Linzer Cookies). I love exploring cultures through food and I think that if there is a typical cookie, from a certain region, that is well known and frequently made, then there must be a reason for this i.e. the cookie will be reliably good. Why else would it be a national treasure? Checking through the Vanille Kipferl recipe (our family’s favourite) it does indeed look to be traditional and correct, which fills me with confidence for all the other recipes I haven’t tried.
I love crafting around the seasons and we do make special foods at certain times of year, but apart from the Christmas cookies, we don’t have any special cookies. I think I will be introducing more seasonal baking, afterall our memories are built up of all the senses, right? The Witchs’ Fingers look fabulous and are high up on our cookie to do list!
Finally, I love the idea of savoury cookies, again it is something I haven’t explored much (apart from some cheesy cookies), but the bacon bites look ever so inviting. We also have tons of rosemary in the garden and I am keen to turn that into the Rosemary and Pine Nut savoury cookies! This book gets a big thumbs up from me and I can’t wait to dive in and start baking!
The Cookie Jar
Published by Ryland Peters & Small