I love cookies! In fact, I love almost any type of desert, but since boyhood, cookies do it for me! I am pleasantly satisfied with a Chips Ahoy, a Girl Scout Cookie ( in particular the Thin Mints, which I can down in mere minutes). So when I was asked to read a new book, “Cookie Love” written by Chicagoan Mindy Segal with Kate Leary, I said, “Why Not?”. Ms Segal owns a very unique little bakery cafe in town called Mindy’s Hot Chocolate. While bakery goods are her specialty and cookies her love, her cafe offers a full menu of great looking entrees, so it looks as if a trip to Bucktown for a restaurant review is in order, the sooner, the better! In fact, I have requested an actual sit down interview with her on location after she gets through with her book tour. My mouth is watering, just thinking about this prospect.
Her cookbook is filled with more than 60 recipes and lots of tips that allow the ordinary baker to become the extraordinary baker. Baking to Ms Segal is like painting to an artist. Her creations take time and while each creation might be what the typical person would call perfect, being the “cookie nerd” that she is, she keeps trying new techniques and combinations in order to make them even better. That is the sign of a true Artist!
Her restaurant was opened with the same concept- meals prepared as imagined by a pastry chef. She tells us how she compares her meals to a cookie plate, often the last thing served as part of a special meal. The cookie plate is composed of different items and textures (again, art) and her entire menu is designed to keep your interest and your taste buds teased. I know mine were and that I am anxious to taste some of the items she describes in her “introduction” called TOUGH LOVE!
There are nine chapters in this book:
Chapter One- Drop Cookies
Chapter Two- Shortbread ( my grandkids love these recipes)
Chapter Three- The Sandwich Cookie (not even close to the store bought type)
Chapter Four- Egg white cookies
Chapter Five- Spritz & Thumbprints
Anyone who grew up in Northbrook during the 1960’s that recalls Country Maid
Chapter Six- Twice Baked Cookies
Chapter Eight- Bars (Brownies and Blondies and bars, oh, my!)
Chapter Nine- Basics: sauces, preserves, crunches and fudge- lots of fudge!
Ms Segal also goes on to tell us how to stock our pantry so we are always prepared to bake a cookie recipe. After all, one never knows when the urge to bake, or eat a cookie batch, might just take over the kitchen. No matter what, the odors left from the baking of cookies is always sweet, and often for days and days. Who could ask for anything more?
“Cookie Love” is a tasty book that will win your heart and probably have you stocking your pantry with all the good stuff she tells you about. I know that I went right to Sunset Foods so we could be ready in case of a major emergency. Let’s face it, when an emergency takes place, as long as the oven works, baking these fabulous recipes will take your mind off the situation and by the time the cookies are done, and maybe a few eaten, the emergency will probably be over.
“Cookie Love” is published by Ten Speed Press, www.tenspeed.com and can be purchased at any bookstore. I would be sure that it can also be picked up, along with some tasty goodies at Mindy’s Hot Chocolate , her bakery/cafe located in Chicago at 1747 N. Damen Avenue. They are closed on Mondays, open at 5:30 p.m. -10 p.m. and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Yes, these are not your normal cafe hours, but then again, this is not your normal cafe. Enjoy! For reservations call 773-489-1747 or visit www.HotChocolateChicago.com