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Cookbook Review: Cookie Swap

Must Read: Cookie Swap

With Thanksgiving over, it's good-bye pumpkin pie, hello cookies. Right now — that window of time before the holiday party rush — is the ideal time to host a cookie exchange. As if on cue, an exciting new book landed on our doorstep: Cookie Swap: Creative Treats to Share Throughout the Year ($14) by Julia M. Usher. I took it as an auspicious sign — but did the book live up to its enticing title? Find out when you read more.

Pros:

  • This isn't just a recipe book; it's a full-on party planning book that makes the case for year-round cookie exchanges, with suggestions for themes and causes for celebration, unparalleled invitation ideas, and coordinating decorations.
  • Catchy-named cookies like "The Brown(ie)-Noser" include prep notes, a level of difficulty rating, and time required.

Cons:

  • Some ideas are creative, but not so compelling: Should a bridal shower really involve a cookie swap?
  • With photos, sidebars, and text in varying colors, the overall visual layout of this book may be too much for some readers.

Recipes: A compilation of 40 spreads, including the following:

  • Sweet note-things
  • Pink spritz daisy cookies
  • Cocoa-mint sandwich cookies
  • S'mores brownies
  • Chocolate-peanut butter yule logs

Imagery: Each recipe has a corresponding picture, although it may require a few minutes of searching to locate. The food styling, combined with photography by Steve Adams, makes for magical pictures. The book isn't just filled with images of cookies, as it also includes shots of invitations, party favors, and decorations.

Overall Rating: With its thoughtful invitation, decorating, and cookie-making suggestions, Cookie Swap reads like one giant cookie-themed Come Party With Me! Move over, Martha. This book, with its cute-named cookies, stunning food styling, personalized party ideas, establishes Usher as a serious pastry party authority.

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