a "sweet" encyclopedia
Italian biscuits, recipe from "The Cookiepedia" by Stacy Adimando
With a title like The Cookiepedia this book intrigued me all'istante (instantly). Once I had it in my hands, I found a number of things to like about it:
- an appealing graphical layout, which includes nice icons and space allocated for notes after each recipe
- a binding that allows the book to open flat: I like it when a cookbook stays open on its own without clumsy arrangements
- variations for each recipe: variations send the message that it is acceptable to play with a recipe and so they stimulate one's creativity
- while it covers traditional cookies like peanut butter, chocolate chip oatmeal raisin, etc., it also contains innovative recipes, like Cornmeal Cookies with Rosemary and savory Salt-and-Pepper Cookies (see below)
- it is a nice book not only for adults but also for younger bakers.
A cheerful cookbook
Most important in the list of things I like about the book is that I have made five recipes from the book and they all turned out very well:
- Crinkles: a cross between a cookie and a truffle, they are a delight for the chocolate lover (photo on the left page above)
- Italian Biscuits (top photo)
- Green Tea Cookies (photo below)
- Dried-Fruit Cookies
- Salt-and-Pepper Cookies (photo on the right)
In all the cases, I halved the quantities and used some whole-wheat flour instead of white flour. In making salt-and-pepper cookies, I used flax meal and water as egg substitute, something that I had been meaning to try for a while: the substitution was fine.
As I write, I have made the Italian biscuits three times and the dried-fruit cookies twice. When I mentioned homemade cookies brought with us during a recent trip, I was referring to those two kinds. And I served the salt-and-pepper cookies with a soup that will be featured soon.
To see the first 16 pages of the book, go to this page and click on the link View interior spread. I have received permission to share one of the recipes I made: Dried-Fruit Cookies [pdf]. These soft morsels can be made with various types of dried fruit or a mix. I had flame raisins from the farmers market and that is what I used. I varied the recipe a bit by loweing the amount of sugar and increasing the amount of dried fruit (the latter move was unintentional, but it worked).
The language corner. The word cookie is actually difficult to translate into Italian and the Italian word biscotto is difficult to translate into English, though the dictionary tells you that their meaning is the same. As I have explained in this post, the difficulty lies in the evolution of the word biscotto in Italian and its adherence to the original meaning in the name of the baked product sold in the US (also featured in The Cookiepedia).
It doesn't help to clarify the matter the fact that it is difficult to find Italian biscotti in US stores and that their consumption is a totally Italian thing. In one of the recipes I tried, Ms Adimando uses the word biscuit in the British English sense, more similar to the Italian biscotto.
As I said, it's complicated. If I were to translate the book into Italian, I would probably title it something like enciclopedia di biscotti e pasticcini.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the un'enciclopedia "dolce" audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]
FTC disclosure: I have requested a review copy of the book mentioned in this post from the publisher and received it free of charge. I have not and will not receive any monetary compensation for discussing the book on my blog. The views expressed in the post are my own.