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Very Merry Cookie Party: How to Plan and Host a Christmas Cookie Exchange Paperback – 1 Nov 2010

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About the Author

This book is not author-driven. Barbara Grunes is the author or co-author of more that 45 cookbooks, including The Best Bake Sale Ever Cookbook and Wok Every Day (co-authored with Virginia Van Vynckt), from Chronicle Books). Nationally known as a food consultant and historian, Barbara has also written on food and dining for the Chicago Sun-Times. Virginia Van Vynckt is a longtime writer, editor, and web designer. She bakes dozens of cookies every year for family and friends, and is the webmaster of She lives in the Chicago area.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 12 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Cute Festive Book to Plan Cookie Exchange Parties & Recipes 1 Nov 2010
By M. Hill - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book includes over one hundred cookie, and a few cupcake recipes along with tips to help the user plan and host a holiday cookie exchange party. The recipes cover most of the basic cookies found around the holidays but some also possess a twist or slight alteration or addition - like Eggnog Madeleines. But if already in possession with a good general cookie cookbook, there may be quite a few duplicate recipes.

Additionally, less than a third of the recipes have a photograph, so if a picture of the finished cookie is an important part of the preparation process, this might be an issue. I find that I use pictures of cookies to help me decide which ones to prepare, particularly when they will be on display at a cookie exchange party and looks are important. The lack of photographs could be easily remedied by taking group shots of the cookies so that each is pictured but additional pages of photographs don't increase costs. This is a publisher's decision, not the author.

Divided into Parts, and the first one is Planning and Hosting a Cookie Exchange which has sections on Cookie Exchange "Rules," How to Make Your Cookies Look Their Best, Presentation and Packaging, Party Themes, Party Menus and About the Recipes. Part two covers Cookies to Build a Party Around which includes Dear Santa: Dressed-up Classics, Ginger and Spice, For Chocoholics and Cookie Ornaments. Cookies by Technique is the title of part three with sections on Drop Cookies, Bars and Squares, Rolled and Cut-Out Cookies, Slice and Bake Cookies, Filled Cookies, Molded and Stamped Cookies and finally Pressed and Piped Cookies. Each recipe contains a helpful tip or comment.

A good index is located in the back of the book which aids in locating a specific recipe quickly. There is also a metric conversion table for measurements along with a small list of sources for spices, cookie molds, etc. The paper quality is good and most spills should wipe up easily. And, paperback cookbooks are notorious for not laying open on the countertop, but this one did reasonably well no matter what page it was on. The font size used for the ingredients is a little small - probably nine point -- so make note if that is an issue.

I prepared two of the cookie recipes and they turned out perfectly and were quite delicious. First, Malted Milk Chocolate Cookies were really good but I substituted semi-sweet chocolate for the chopped milk chocolate and the result was excellent. I also prepared the Pistachio and Cranberry Biscotti primarily to see how it compared with my usual version of the recipe. This one fared well and I would be happy to prepare either recipe.

The book accomplishes its purpose and should be helpful to anyone who is new to cookie exchanges or in search of basic cookie recipes.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A definite DO NOT buy! 24 Dec 2010
By Cookie Lover - Published on
Format: Paperback
My mom bought this book so we could make cookies for my family and I to enjoy. I am 14 and was very excited for all the cookies we were making that day. We found a few great cookies that we wanted to make. We were very excited to start baking. Right from the start the cookie recipe was wrong. The first thing we tried to bake were the linzer squares. They were horrible! The book said it was supposed to be "doughy" when it really was more like crumbs, and it stayed that way. We tried this twice and had the same result each time. We then tried to make oatmeal cookies, these came out as rocks, and it had so much oatmeal in it, the cookies were more like dust. We double checked everything and it still came out that way. The last "experiment" we wanted to try were the Black and White cookies. These came out alright, but not good enough that you could bring to a party. We were all very disappointed after spending money for this cookbook, which cooks probably didn't even try! I would not recommended this book to anyone. It would be a disgrace to bring these cookies to a party, you can't even call them cookies, mush or rocks would be a better fit. I definitely would avoid this cookbook if your looking for good cookies.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
an enjoyable cookie book! 17 May 2011
By Montessori Mommy - Published on
Format: Paperback
I don't really understand all the negative reviews for this book-I personally really enjoyed it! Great pictures, graphic design, colorful and fun- it put me in the mood to do some Christmas baking! Of course you can find numerous cookie recipes online, but I would argue there are some wonderful, unique ideas in this book, in addition to old favorites, and it's nice to have it all in one, printed package. At the current amazon price, I would highly recommend!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
not good 22 Dec 2013
By jaime - Published on
Format: Paperback
My mom got me this book last year for Christmas. It has nice pictures and a ton of recipes but they just aren't good. The dough is too dry, the cookies are hard and dry.... just a disappointment and I've been baking for days and not happy with my cookies.
I only baked a few recipes so some might be good but so far no such luck and I'm not sure I even want to waste my time at this point.
Great cookie recipes 11 Feb 2014
By Donna - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
this book has very good cookie recipes, whether you are interested in hosting a party or not. I was really glad I bought it!
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