Cookbook Review: 100 Cookies: The Baking Book for Every Kitchen with Classic Cookies, Novel Treats, Brownies, Bars, and More by Sarah Kieffer

It's been a while since I've done a cookbook review due to feeling a little cookbook fatigued, but my sudden urge to bake all the things during this pandemic made the ARC of this book impossible to resist. Not to mention, cookies are my favorite thing to bake. Easy to whip together, easy to share, and enjoyed by all. Sarah Kieffer must be a kindred spirit because cookies seem to be her favorite thing to bake too. She is most well known for her viral pan-banging cookies. I've never actually made them myself but I've heard from many friends that they are very good. She has turned this technique into a whole chapter of the book with various riffs, but this is (thankfully) only one part of this book.

There are also chapters devoted to the classics, brownies and bars, fruity cookies, special cookies that take more work, cookies that are fun for kids and adults alike, and then cookie sandwich creations. While some of the cookie recipes definitely piqued my interest (toasted sesame caramel, anyone?), there are many others that are just variations of the same base but with different flavors. This is especially apparent in the brownie and bars section where there are cream cheese brownies, turtle brownies, swirl brownies, marshmallow peanut butter brownies, peanut butter crunch brownies, and chocolate basil brownies that all use the same base brownie recipe. Other baking books I have read and enjoyed like Bravetart and Dorie's Cookies have 4 or 5 variations of each recipe as well, but they are included at the end of each recipe as a footnote rather than counted as their own separate recipes. I would have appreciated if Kieffer had used the same strategy here. Not to mention, as someone who doesn't love brownies and rarely makes them (my family doesn't really like them either), it was a bummer that about 20% of the cookbook is just brownie recipes. If you like brownies though, rejoice because there are plenty of recipes for you.

In a similar vein, the pan-banging cookie chapter has many recipes, but they are all pan-banging versions of the classics that are already featured in the first chapter. Maybe this works better in a food blog than in a cookbook, but I was feeling major deja vu when I got to that chapter. The last chapter, which is cookie combinations, just throws together the cookie recipes from earlier in the book with some buttercream and no-churn ice cream recipes and counts them as new recipes as well. I do like some of the combos, but in a book that was already missing some variety for me, I thought they took away precious space from what could have been more cookie recipes.

Finally, I wish there were more photos in this book! I counted only two to three photos per chapter, and that's really not a lot for a modern cookbook. There were a lot of blank pages in the ARC I received, so I suspect there are some photos that did not yet make their way in, and I am hopeful when I eventually go to my nearest bookstore and see this book on the shelf that there will be more.

I do have my disappointments with this book, and maybe that's unfair because I had just finished reading Dorie's Cookies, which is so well-done that it's a tough act to follow. However, there are many positives about this book that I want to mention too. The photos that are included are done beautifully and make me want to get to baking immediately. The colors are bright and fun. The font and design are pleasing to the eye. The classics appear to be done well, and the blend of easy and challenging techniques makes this a nice book for both beginner and experienced bakers. While I don't think it would earn a space on my cookbook shelf, it has definitely won over others on Netgalley. It makes me want to check out her very well-reviewed first cookbook, as I think that may be more up my alley.

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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