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Forget milk, got cookies?

October 10, 2004

October is National Cookie Month. Of course, you knew that, but more

importantly, have you baked any cookies lately? The wafting aroma of

sugar, vanilla, spice or chocolate is just about the best way to

welcome the little ones as they come home from a hard day hitting the

schoolbooks, tired from playground activities or hungry for

attention.

It doesn't hurt to have delicious baked goods on hand for the

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"older kids" too. But do it the right way. Don't resort to

prepackaged cookie dough when it's not much more trouble to combine

the best quality ingredients and bake them from scratch.

For help with recipes and tips on technique, the Newport Beach

Public Library has an outstanding collection of cookbooks replete

with baking suggestions.

"Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets," by Carole Walter,

is a good place to start. This James Beard Award-winning cookbook

author includes all the classics and standard favorites of American

cookie fans -- oatmeal raisin, hermits, lemon bars, brownies and

gingerbread people, just to name a few. There's a special section

devoted to the all-time favorite chocolate chip cookie. Did you know

that it's the brown sugar that makes for a chewy texture?

"The Good Cookie: Over 250 Recipes from Simple to Sublime," by

Tish Boyle, is about as comprehensive as you can get when it comes to

cookies. This professionally-trained pastry chef is also food editor

for Chocolatier and Pastry Art & Design magazines, so it's no wonder

you can rely on her recipes. Boyle has the ever-popular peanut butter

and chocolate chip offerings, but also goes beyond those with more

advanced temptations, such as buttery lattice-pastry topped Linzer

bars -- everyone's favorite Austrian confection -- and bittersweet

chocolate biscotti from Italy.

Nancy Baggett traveled across the country in search of America's

favorite cookies to include in "The All-American Cookie Book." She

visited small-town bakeries and combed through community cookbooks

and finally distilled all this knowledge into one volume. You'll find

detailed recipes, as well as lots of cookie lore and history, while

you learn to make Pennsylvania Dutch soft sugar cookies, New York

black & whites, biscochitos from New Mexico or key lime frosties from

Florida.

Of course, you'll want to share the fun of fixing all these

tempting treats, so pick up a cookie book for kids while you're at

the library. "Bake the Best Ever Cookies!" by Sarah Williamson is a

thorough practical approach for beginning chefs, grades 3 through 6.

Youngsters can get the satisfaction of creating their own granola

bars or even special creations with a cookie dough that can be

twisted and shaped. Williamson encourages creativity and gives

suggestions for party ideas holiday fun.

With the holidays in mind, start now to plan the refreshments.

Consult "Sugarbaker's Cookie Cutter Cookbook" by Diana Collingwood

Butts to find a recipe and a look for every season. Witches for

Halloween, pilgrims for Thanksgiving, Santas for Christmas can all be

configured as delectable cookies. Her book is full of sweet ideas for

you and your family and loved ones.

* CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public

Library. This week's column is by June Pilsitz. All titles may be

reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at

http://www.newportbeach

library.org. For more information on the Central Library or any of

the branch locations, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library

at (949) 717-3800, option 2.

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