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Cookie Craft Christmas:
Dozens of Decorating Ideas for a Sweet Holiday
By Valerie Peterson and Janice Fryer
ISBN: 1603424407
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Publication date: October 2009
Format: Hardcover
Number of recipes: 78
List price: $14.95
Type: Holidays: Christmas; Desserts: Cookies; Entertaining
Sample recipe:Snow-Dusted Pinecones
Ambitions
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive encyclopedia coffee-table
Meal part: breakfast brunch lunch dinner dessert
Competition: outclassed a bit behind in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Content
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: airfare required online specialty store supermarket pantry
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose minimal complete educational
Time conscious: not conscious bald lies white lies realistic scout's honor
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant ample generous
Photos/drawings: none drawings b&w photos occasional color all color
Art contribution: disappointing distracting decorative beautiful glorious
Recipe results: ≤dorm food casual food family meals fancy food fit for royalty
Diet/Nutrition/Health
Nutritional info: none overwhelming hit or miss adequate comprehensive
Format/Ease of Use
Layout: ugh cluttered fine kind work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging ok clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy delicate years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: hard-to-find spotty sufficient most pages every page
Table of contents: missing frustrating minimal helpful excellent
Index: none confusing adequate nice a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Author
Writing history: beginner writer/journalist food writer writing cook personality
Cooking heritage: unknown self-taught teacher chef celebrity
Summary
Fulfills ambitions: falls short satisfactory successful exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward good friend mom
Value: ouch! a little pricey worth splurging on the money a deal
Overall rating: skip it good very good excellent Ochef Top 100

Comments:†Some people have the vision, creativity, and ideas (and the time to develop them) for coming up with fancy party decorations, elaborate place settings, Christmas cookie designs, and more. The rest of us turn to magazines, friends, TV, books, Web sites, etc. for a little inspiration or help getting started.

Cookie Christmas Craft is an ideal example of clever people coming up with great ideas for Christmas cookies that the rest of us can put right to use. We might have thought of any of these ideas if we had put our minds to it, but with full-color pictures of every design, we appreciate the help getting started, the innovative ideas, and the thorough instructions. The cookies are all beautiful; and most are reasonably easy to decorate.

The book starts out with step-by-step recipes for sugar cookies, chocolate cookies, gingerbread cookies, and royal icing in various consistencies* for piping and flooding, a section on decorating and icing tips and techniques, and then launches into more than 6 dozen specific designs for decorating cookies (including a few for New Year's). There is also information on shipping cookies, planning a cookie-swap party, and a list of online and mail-order sources for cookie equipment (which may be necessary, because some of the cookie cutters may be hard to find).

*There is an error in the chart that gives ingredient quantities for making royal icing with meringue powder. You are to use 4 teaspoons of meringue powder for 2 cups of confectionersí sugar in both the piping and the flooding recipes, not 4 tablespoons, as printed. (There are also royal icing recipes that use powdered egg whites and pasteurized egg whites, and the quantities for those are correct.) We also thought there were one of two photographs where the color of the decorations didn't exactly match the description in the text, but who is going to complain if you use yellow instead of green icing for the balls on a Christmas tree? It will be beautiful either way.



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