The product of a big Italian family, Borelli has always been fascinated by cooking, especially where cookie baking was concerned. She taught baking to troubled teens and adults and witnessed the power of “flour therapy.” And so, in her debut cookbook, Borelli pulls together her favorite cookie recipes, which she claims are easy enough for her poodle to understand. She starts with a chapter on baking 101, covering subjects such as the basics of common ingredients, baking equipment, storing the cookies for future eating and so on. The recipes themselves are arranged by type of cookie—bar cookies, drop cookies, rolled cookies, etc.—including an entire chapter on biscotti and their Jewish cousin, mandelbrot. The recipes are accompanied by scrumptious color photographs of the final products. For the most part, Borelli’s recipes are as simple as she claims, and she provides very clear directions. Recipes range from old favorites like brownies (“the quickest cookies to make”) and chocolate chip cookies to oddballs like eggnog logs and figs in blankets, which for the most part seem mouthwateringly good. Borelli uses cereal in several of her recipes, not just the standby Rice Krispies Treats; Cocoa Pebbles work, too. Her cookbook is clearly aimed at first-time bakers, but Borelli occasionally fails to explain terminology for such newcomers: For example, she doesn’t define what “stiff peaks” should look like when beating egg whites. She doesn’t include nutritional information for her recipes, either, which would be helpful for dieters trying to decide how much to indulge or diabetics needing to limit sugar intake. Likewise, the therapy aspect is barely sprinkled on.
Despite a few flaws, this cookie cookbook is worth a try, though unwary readers may gain 5 pounds just looking.