Wednesday, 4 May 2016


Title: The Cookie Companion: A Decorators Guide
Author: Georganne Bell
Genre: Baking, Cookie Decorating
Publisher: Front Table Books, Cedar Fort
Release Date: 10th November 2015

BLURB from Goodreads
The Cookie Companion not only teaches the basics: recipes, baking and getting that icing on the cookie; it goes beyond traditional cookie decorating project books and addresses the single most difficult aspect of cookie decorating: using color formulas to re-create over 75 different popular colors and hues. The Cookie Companion also teaches techniques and skills listed alphabetically for easy searching.

Beginners will be able to pour over the first chapter to immediately gain the most basic skills necessary to begin decorating right away, while a skilled decorator will enjoy spending hours reading through the hundreds of entries to glean new tips and tricks they’ve never heard of before.

Cookie Companion will be the ultimate resource and design inspiration book for cookie decorators of all ages and skill levels. New decorators won’t want to make cookies without it and skilled decorators won’t want to put it down.

So my first thoughts approaching reading this book is. . . how complicated will it be? From the snippets I have read about the book, it should be appropriate for beginners as well as still appealing to a more advance cookie decorator.

I was given a free e-copy of this book by Cedar Fort Publishers in exchange for my own honest opinion.
The cover with it's bright colours and gorgeous looking cookies is appealing to look at  There is a sub title of "A Decorators Guide"so I guess this is a cookie makers equivalent of a how to manual. Would the cover make me pick this one up from a book store shelf? I would most probably pick this one up to browse through it. I aren't all that into cookie making/decorating so if I bought it, it would probably be for a gift for someone.
The Author Georganne begins the book by describing cookies as "scrumptious little bites of love" she then goes on to say that cookies can look fantastic! The Author continues the introduction in a chatty friendly manner that has the familiarity of a friend speaking to a friend.  Georganne goes on talking about the perfect cookie to match your individual needs from it. Georganne explains there are three basic cookie recipes you need to be able to make, such as, vanilla sugar cookies, chocolate sugar cookies and ginger cookies. The page numbers for these individual recipes, so you can easily skip to the relevant page. This book has great well described step by step instruction that are detailed enough for the novice decorator. There are lots of photographs/pictures throughout the book to add more to the individual descriptions too. That is one thing I have noticed about non fiction books published by Cedar fort, they always have these fantastic illustrations!
There are icing colour charts. explaining how to create available base colours together to recreate whatever shade or colour you may need. This section is very detailed and well organised into "yellows, reds, greens" etc. 
One recurring theme throughout this book was that you don't absolutely have to spend a fortune just make the most of what you already have with a touch of lateral thinking. 
Here are some examples of using cookie cutters for more than just the obvious, such as a Christmas Tree Cutter can be turned upside down and icing added to make the cookie into an angel! A Folk Heart cutter can be turned to a side position and made into kissing lips! A rubber duck cutter can become a mermaid and a paw cutter turned into a monkey!
Then there's actual cookie decorating using items like cornstarch, corn syrup, food colouring, sanding sugar, scribers, spreading cookies, stencils, sugar pearls, royal icing transfers, sugar veils. and adding lettering. The book covers different tools, equipment and making your own cutters are also spoken about within the book too. Even storing cookies in the correct manner is discussed to keep your cookies their best for as long as possible.
This really is a very comprehensive handbook it is literally an Aladdin's cave of information, 
I think this book should be every cookie decorators "go to best friend manual" with idea's for cookie decorating for any and every project you may have.
I'd recommend this title to local schools, Brownie/Girl Guides/Girls Brigade (and the equivalent male counterpart clubs) as a resource of ideas to create original cookies from instead of churning out the same old recipes and designs. Give children something great to aim for, allow them their individual creativity to bake a cookie they have designed! I think parents, grandparents etc who love doing, and making things with children would enjoy this book too. I know my daughter (though she is now 20 years old) would have loved to have recreated some of the cookies within this book as well as coming up with her own designs. It's something both myself and my mum would have loved to have done with her. This book is the type of book to be passed down generation to generation. The author presents the information and instructions in a friendly, helpful, non preaching way and constantly reassures the reader throughout the book that these creations are not as daunting as you may at first think them to be. I will point out that yes, you may find the book is a little Americanised but hey things aren't that different to in the UK and with the baking trend becoming ever popular I think UK readers will find this book just as useful. The most I think you'll notice the US/UK division is the store listings for supplies that Gerogann has added at the end of the book. Having said that she has also listed online retailers too that may supply the UK. 
So did I enjoy the book? Yes, I really did. It made me think back to baking and cookie decorating with my mum back when I was young, as well as the creations my own daughter made both with myself and her grandmother my mum).
Would I recommend the book? Definitely, I've mentioned within my review that I could see lots of different people that this book would be a valuable tool for.

What a great handbook, thoroughly enjoyed reading this one along with the other titles I have on my list. If you love cookies then this book has to be a must buy. This book contains a cookie for every person and every possible occasion, along with tips to make the most of your baking.

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