Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

This classic cookbook (160 pages) was published in September of 1963 by Golden Press. The book takes you to a vanilla-scented kitchen. Melissa read Betty Crocker's Cooky Book and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if she didn't recommend it.

Betty Crocker's Cooky Book

Betty Crocker, Eric Mulvany (illustrator)

This technicolor marvel was originally published in 1963, and it remains a kitchen necessity for anyone who loves cookies. Sure, you can find cookie recipes on the internet or in magazines at holiday time, but they can’t compete with this old-school classic.

Although Betty Crocker is a fictional character created by an advertising agency in 1921, her baking advice is legit. In addition to hundreds of rigorously tested recipes, this cookbook includes troubleshooting tips for baking disasters, advice to perfect your cookie-making technique, guidance to plan holiday baking, and a how-to for an afternoon tea for 12, 50, or 100 guests.

But let’s be honest: The recipes are why we’re all here. Divided into categories that include ‘Holiday Cookies,’ ‘Family Favorites,’ ‘Company Best Cookies,’ and ‘Betty Crocker’s Best Cookies,’ there are treats for every occasion. Forget modern recipes that churn out hubcap-sized cookies with giant chunks of mix-ins. These are old-fashioned recipes with traditional appeal and charming names. Snickerdoodles, Magic Carpet Cookies, Coconut Belles, Hurry-Up Chocolate Chip Drops, Gateau Bonbons, and the inspirationally titled Dream Bars. In our family, we make Snickerdoodles (page 23) and Russian Teacakes (page 25) every Christmas.

The text that accompanies the recipes is a retro goldmine: ‘Think back… how many happy family memories are bound up with the tradition of the cooky jar? The little girl passing miniature cookies at her dolls’ tea party… the young serviceman proudly passing a box of Mom’s homemade cookies to his friends; the traveling businessman discovering a packet of favorite cookies tucked into his luggage… the wicked thrill of snitching from Grandma’s cooky jar! Who can doubt the commonplace bu significant role that cookies play in a family’s day-to-day life?’

The pages are liberally sprinkled with mid-century line drawings, and in the Cooky Primer section, the pages are bordered by true-to-life-size photos of each cookie (or cooky?) in full-color glory. There are also full-page color photos of holiday spreads, sidebars with helpful tips, how-to illustrations, and patterns for fancy cooking decorating.

The design is delightfully dated, and the text describes a romanticized version of life in the kitchen, but there is nothing like the smell of freshly baked cookies to warm your heart. This book still delivers that in spades.

There is no aroma quite so inviting as that of cookies baking, whether ginger or chocolate or caramel. And there is no snack quite so satisfying as two or three fresh-from-the-oven cookies with a cool glass of milk. Nor is there a gift quite so welcome as a lovingly wrapped package from home, brimming with cookies. — Betty Crocker

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