The Chicago Tribune has been hosting an annual cookie contest for almost 30 years. Thousands of readers submit their classic family favorites and their innovative new creations in the hopes of seeing them in print in the paper. Holiday Cookies: Prize-Winning Family Recipes from the Chicago Tribune for Cookies, Bars, Brownies and More features more than 100 of the contest’s best recipes. The recipes are tested by the Chicago Tribune’s test kitchen – it is one of the few newspapers to still maintain one – to ensure that they come out perfectly every time, and they have also been tested many times over in home kitchens of cooking-loving Chicago Tribune readers.
The book is divided into chapters by both type of cookie and by flavor. The chapters include: Simple Drop Cookies, Sugar & Spice, Fruit & Nut Treats, Chocolate Delights, Sandwich Cookies and Brownies & Bars. The recipes are all written very clearly, with straightforward directions that are good for both experienced and novice bakers. Most of the recipes are accompanied by a few sentences describing the history of the recipe – some come with great little family stories – and the winning recipes are marked with a blue ribbon, so you can easily identify those that won top prize the year they were entered.
The recipes are illustrated with full color photos that show you what the cookies you’re baking will look like when they’re done. This is particularly helpful with some of the shaped cookies, such as the almost too-cute-to-eat Mexican Mice cookies. There are also several photos of prize winning recipe creators scattered throughout the book, which gives it a nice personal touch and reminds you that these recipes are alread holiday staples in many homes. It’s a great book for the cookie-lover to have in their collection, both for holiday and year-round baking.