Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies

Renowned pastry chef Alice Medrich reveals 50 of her favorite recipes for sensational and foolproof desserts, including shortbread, brownies, chocolate chip cookies, coconut macaroons, and more! Readers will discover that details do make the difference between an exquisitely decadent cookie and a mundane snack. Easy directions, expert, rarely published, detailed tips on measuring and handling dough, and over 20 full-color photos make this one cookie book that is irresistible and indispensable. From the Publisher

I first encountered Cookies and Brownies when I was in pastry school. I was browsing a bookstore's shelves and came across this tiny masterpiece, but I didn't think much about it when I picked it up. I was always on the lookout for little books like this, something cheap and easy to stuff into my baking kit, and from a pastry chef whose name I knew. Little did I know how lucky I was to get my hands on it. Ten years later, the book's out of print and if you try to find it on online, and you're likely going to be in a bidding war with other folks who want one of the precious copies.

I'd loaned my copy to a friend who, after about 5 years, rediscovered it in her garage - and that set me on a path to reacquaint myself with all the book had to offer. In the short time I'd had it, I didn't have time to get through every recipe - so I decided it was time to take a stab at the book and post my comments as I went. I figured a decade had passed since the book was first published and things had changed a bit, so I wanted to share some of the things I discovered as I baked.

One of the first challenges I had was how to present the original recipes. Should I share them as they are in the book, or with corrections? Should I adapt them to modern techniques (like measuring flour by weight and not by volume), or stay true to what she had shared with all of us when she first published Cookies and Brownies? I did the only thing I could do. I contacted Alice Medrich to find out.

From that initial conversation, I got a wealth of great ideas and even had the opportunity to test a few recipes for her newest version of this book to be published in 2010, called Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Cookies. She had already updated several of the recipes for Pure Dessert, but wanted to publish a complete cookie book organized by texture, and that's what Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Cookies will be. Until then, she said I could share all of her recipes intact on Purple House Dirt, so that's what I am doing. The recipes are written as they were originally published (with a few changes for abbreviations and the addition of numbered steps), with my commentary at the beginning of the recipes.

I'm very excited to share these with everyone, and welcome any comments, questions, feedback, or suggestions.

Update May 2010:
I received an e-mail from Alice this morning about her upcoming book (Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Cookies) and she will be on a book tour in the fall to promote it. Look for it - she's revised (many times over) the recipes from Cookies and Brownies and has added plenty of new treats, including wheat-free recipes. A highlight she mentioned were some new recipes for meringues (you know how much I love meringues!), including Banana Meringues with Pecans, Sesame Meringues with Rosewater, and Peanut Butter Meringues. Sounds divine, I can't wait!

Update July 2010: I just noticed that Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-your-Mouth Cookies is now available for pre-order at Amazon.com!

Update December 2010: I got lucky and met Alice at a book signing recently! More details are coming soon, but the next time you take a peek at Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-your-Mouth Cookies, look at the Acknowledgments in the back of the book! Woo-hoo!



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One of the absolute, hands-down best cookie and brownie books I have ever seen, used, owned. Never mind that I paid $14.95 for a paper back copy in 2001 and it's now only available used and for the insane sum of $89 or so...for that same paper back copy. Hmmm...
BUT - the cookies and brownies are always all good. Well worth finding a copy of if you are at all committed to baking confections of the delicious variety.
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