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The Great Cookie Project – 26 Days of Cookies

Cookie Books

I recently read a post by Heidi from 101 Cookbooks about maintaining a long-term blog.  She says:

Here’s how I approach this site, and have for a long time. I think of it as my practice. It’s something I’m committed to, and look forward to being committed to for years to come. Contributing something new each week helps me develop in areas that I find important creatively – cooking, writing, taking photographs – and the only way I’m able to grow is through experience, experimentation, and regular practice.

Although you can scratch off the photo part for me since Jonathan takes all of my photos, I could have written the rest of it myself.  This blog is a place for me to grow, learn, and keep my creative juices flowing.  In the process, I hope that I am able to inspire you to do the same in your lives and in your kitchen.

This is the first year that my son has been in school all day and 8:30-3:30 is now my time.  So, I had a chance to tackle a new project.  I decided to give myself a challenge of posting every day for a month and baking something that I haven’t focused on in the past, cookies.  From the day after Thanksgiving through December 23, I’ll be posting a new cookie recipe here every day.

A challenge has to have rules; since I work for myself, I got to write my own:

  1. Each cookie will be inspired by a different cookbook.  I’m not a cookbook collector; I typically rely on blogs for recipes.  While I could find individual cookie recipes on blogs, I wanted to do a complete survey of cookies, learning everything I could about them, and cookbooks are still the best way to do that.  
  2. The cookbooks had to specifically be cookie cookbooks, not general baking cookbooks.  Because I wanted to learn from cookie masters, I wanted to read books by authors who were devoted enough to cookies to write a whole book about them.  I received some of the cookbooks directly from their authors/publishers while others (as you can see from the photo above) I checked out of the library.  I am a huge fan of the library system.
  3. No cookie decorating books.  This project is not about cookie decorating .  Maybe I’ll tackle cookie decorating some day, but that isn’t my goal here.  I’m looking for “wow” taste not “wow” beauty (although some of these cookies ended up looking quite pretty).
  4. No bar cookies or brownies.  While almost all of these cookie cookbook had recipes for bar cookies, I opted not to include any bar cookies in this project – bars felt like cheating to me since they aren’t really cookies.  Every cookie I make in this project must be made on a cookie sheet.

Let’s go back to rule number one for a little bit.  You’ll see when the project starts on Friday that I take the definition of inspired very loosely.  In some cases, where I adore the recipe and I have the author’s permission, I share a recipe directly from a cookbook.  In other cases, a recipe in a cookbook gets me thinking about an ingredient or technique which leads me to a long train of Google searches which then leads me to an entirely different recipe which has nothing to do with the cookbook other than the fact that the cookbook got me started down the rabbit hole.  All of this is OK in my self-imposed rule book.

What To Expect In The Coming Days

Tomorrow, I’ll share my shopper’s guide for cookie bakers – highlighting my favorite tools from this project.  In some cases I’ll recommend specific brands (the post isn’t sponsored – these are just my favorites); I’ll also let you know when the brand doesn’t matter.  Then, beginning Friday, expect to see a new cookie recipe every day until Christmas Eve.  Some days during this period, I’ll have two posts; one will be a Cooke Project recipe and one will be another dessert post that I think you’ll love.  In the history of Cupcake Project, I’ve never posted this often – I hope you enjoy the sweet ride!

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