By Victoria Ruvolo
As we head from Thanksgiving, our nation’s most food-centric holiday, towards Christmas and Hanukkah, the annual drive to both bake and consume large quantities of pies, cakes, cookies and candies that evoke joyful childhood memories is once again upon us. It’s this time of year, more than any it seems, that industry professionals from chefs to caterers are called upon by their clients and guest to create the warming, holiday inspired baked goods we all remember enjoying as when we were young and carefree.
Need a little help getting your recipe portfolio together this year? Milk & Cookies: 89 Heirloom Recipes from New York’s Milk & Cookies Bakery is it. Written by French Culinary Institute graduate and successful bakery owner, Tina Casaceli. Casaceli is the genius behind the now famous Greenwich Village bakery Milk & Cookies which opened in 2006.
For anyone who has never been, Milk & Cookies is the type of bakery that excels at bringing your childhood favorites spiraling back into your daily life. It’s everything you could ever want in a local cookie bakery, down to the sweet smells of vanilla, sugar, and butter wafting from the door.
Milk & Cookies the book has everything you could ever want in a cookie book. It’s filled to the brim with easy, straightforward recipes paired with beautiful photographs of mouthwatering cookies in every flavor. The recipes are simply organized by base, making it easy for any reader to find their particular favorites.
Putting pretty pictures and delicious recipes aside, most of us in the food industry have baked a plate of cookies before so why should we read Milk & Cookies? Easy; Casaceli gives her reader more than just recipes,she gives them a starting point. From the classic chocolate chip, to the elegant Candied Orange and Pistachio chocolate cookie, to the ever original “Aunt Fran’s Asian Noodle Cookies” Casaceli brings all her cookie talents to the table in this one stop shop cookie handbook.
Milk & Cookies can be much more useful for a caterer or private chef than any book of cut and dry baking directions. Casaceli reveals the genius of her scrumptious cookie simplicity by sharing her use of 5 simple dough bases, vanilla, double chocolate, oatmeal, peanut butter, and sugar, as well as their range of add-in possibilities. The reader is shown how one cookie slowly turns into another, and then another, and then yet another yielding a seemingly unlimited amount of variations. Also, all her recipes are listed in both US customary and metric measurements.
Anyone who knows what a pain in the butt it is to convert customary recipes to more specific metric measurements knows this is a gift; a gift probably geared towards her friends in the industry.