Anita Chu’s “Field Guide to Cookies”

Today, I am very, very excited to share with you these wonderful cookies from Anita Chu’s “Field Guide to Cookies: How to Identify and Bake Virtually Every Cookie Imaginable”. As you know, Anita is the mastermind behind Dessert First, one of the most popular food blogs today. She approaches the classics with a modern and sophisticated touch and her photography is simple, clean and very evoking. And this book follows very much her style.

The first thing that surprised me when I read through “Field Guide to Cookies” was the amount of recipes and photos that were in it given its small size. It is a pocket book but features over 100 recipes and photographs. Really a well written cookie recipe book. I walked into Barnes and Noble on Monday to find this book on the shelves next to established pastry chefs and food writers. I was so proud Anita!

During the holiday season, I really like to bake for friends and family. Cookies make such great homemade gifts and I took this opportunity to review Anita’s book to start thinking about what cookies I will be making for the holidays this year. Certainly a few out of this book like these chocolate crinkles, rosemary and parmesan biscotti and my favorites, raspberry linzer cookies.

For the chocolate crinkles I used 72% chocolate which made them really dark, bitter and rich. I love how these cookies look too, the contrast of black and white.

Chocolate Crinkles

adapted from “Field Guide to Cookies”

6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 Tbs cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
confectioners sugar for rolling

Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler. Remove from heat and set aside.

In the meantime, whip the eggs with the sugar until thick. Add the vanilla extract and the melted chocolate and mix.

Sift flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder into a bowl and add this to the chocolate mixture. Mix until combined.

Place this bowl in the refrigerator for about 2 hours until the dough hardens enough to scoop out.

Preheat oven to 325F. Scoop one inch balls. Roll these in powdered sugar and place them on sheetpans lined with parchment paper. Flatten the tops of the cookies a bit with your fingers and bake until set for about 12 minutes.

Rosemary and Parmesan Biscotti

adapted from “Field Guide to Cookies”

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp baking powder
2 springs fresh rosemary, chopped
3 1/2 Tbs freshly grated parmesan
2 eggs
3 Tbs unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350F. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the first six ingredients. In a bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and the melted butter and add to the dry ingredients. Mix until combined.

Divide the dough into two and roll each half into a log that is 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the logs on a sheetpan lined with parchment bout 5 inches apart. Flatten the logs a bit and bake for about 30 minutes until lightly golden.

Let them cool completely and cut with a serrated knife into individual biscotti that are about 1/2 inch wide. Place them on the same sheetpan and bake at 250F for another 30 minutes until dry.

Linzer Cookies

adapted from “Field Guide to Cookies”

1 1/4 cups almonds
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cardamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup raspberry jam
Powdered sugar for dusting tops

Finely grind the almonds with the flour in a food processor. Combine this mixture with the spices, salt and baking powder.

Cream the butter and sugar together. add the egg and mix. Scrape the bowl and add the dry ingredients. Mix until combined.

Turn the dough on a clean surface and flatten to a rectangle that is about 1 inch thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Roll the dough to about 1/16″ thick. Sometimes these doughs tend to get soft easy so tpicking up the cut out dough and manipulating it too much can result in deformed cookies. To avoid that, I tend to roll the dough on a silicon mat so it is easy to transfer to the refrigerator if I need to. Once dough is rolled, cut with desired cookie cutters and place on sheetpan lined with parchment. Using a small cutter, cut a shape out of half of the cookies which will be the tops. Refrigerate the cookies for an hour before baking.

Preheat oven to 350F. Bake for approximately 8 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely.

To assemble, dust the tops with powdered sugar. Pipe a little bit of raspberry jam on bottom cookies and place the top on the jam, applying a bit of pressure so the cookies stick.

I hope you go out to your bookstores today and take a look at this great book and please visit the following blogs to read this book’s reviews, interviews with Anita and other great recipes.Thanks Anita for sharing this book with us!

Nov. 11th – Jen of Use Real Butter
Nov. 12th – Ari of Baking and Books
Nov. 13th – Sara of Ms. Adventures in Italy
Nov. 14th – Ivonne of Cream Puffs in Venice
Nov. 17th – Helen of Tartelette
Nov. 18th – Veronica of Veronica’s Test Kitchen
Nov. 19th – Cannelle et Vanille
Nov. 20th – Bea of La Tartine Gourmande
Nov. 21st – Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

And I also have to thank the lovely Suann from Simplesong for printing these cute cookie boxes for me!

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75 Responses to “Anita Chu’s “Field Guide to Cookies””

  1. Mrs.French says:

    wow…I am the first commenter…that never happens! so exciting! Anyway, I am a chocolate crinkle kind of gal…I like the idea of using darker chocolate…I want this book! xo t

  2. nadia says:

    wow these are lovely! I am a huge linzer cookie lover. I am so glad about this cookie post and’s perfect timing. the photographs well they are edible right?

  3. leaca says:

    These look wonderful. I need to check out this book. I have been hearing so much about it.

  4. I love the way your crinkles came out, and I can’t wait to make the Rosemary biscotti. Beautiful!

  5. Gabriela says:

    Egunon Aran!!!, Que pinta más estupenda tienen estas pastas!!! ¿no será que podrás guardarlas hasta la tarde y nos las tomamos con un cafecito ….? !quien podria!
    ¿sigue el cielo azul?, aquí no para de llover, casi no nos acordamos de lo que es un buen día.
    Te sigo y me gusta lo que haces. Disfruta y besos para todos.gabriela

  6. I am partial to the chocolate crinkles! They look amazing. As always all the snaps look such beauties! The cookie box with your design etched looks beautiful too – Congrats to Suann!

  7. Mobula says:

    Me he comprado el libro hace una semana en Amazon y esoy deseando que me llegue, todas las galletas están deliciosas, pero lo que no me puedo creer es que tengas esas cajas tan monas para las galletas con el nombre del blog, donde has conseguido esas maravilla… esto de los blogs me va a matar de envidoa…


  8. I have no words enough to express my absolute devotion to your blog! And today I have seen that little box where you put your cookies gift: you have printed it with your signature!!!!

  9. Y says:

    Great packaging, Aran. That specially printed box is highly covetable! I also love the look of those deep and dark chocolate crinkles.

  10. A fantastic review Aran, my book is dispatched so am waiting for it to arrive, dying to get my hands on it!!!

  11. Aran says:

    Mariela- Eskerrik asko! Aqui todo muy bien con un tiempo de cine. Como unos 17 grados y cielos azules azules. Jon coo un rey con aitite y amama. Gorantziek danori!

    Ana- Las cajas las compre de Nasville Wraps ( Son baratitas pero hay que comprar grandes cantidades. Luego le pedi a Suann de Simplesong que me imprimiera unas cuantas con el logo de mi blog. Estos seran mis regalos de navidad. Un beso!

    Thank you everyone!

  12. creampuff says:


    Couldn’t you send me just one of the Chocolate Crinkle Cookies??? Beautiful!

  13. Manuela © says:

    The person that will receive this homemade gifts is a very lucky person :)

  14. Adri says:

    OMG! it seems so tasty… Yuuuuuummmy!

  15. idu says:

    Ufff, Nik olentzerori honelako kaxatxo bat eskatu behar diot!!
    jeje. Ea liburua erostea lortzen dudan, internet bidez edo.
    Aurreko post-ean, nire familiko bazkari-afariak gogorarazten dizkidazu, mahaiak montatzen, ahulki ezberdin mordo bat mahai inguruan, zarata…eta aitona presidentzian, aurten 33-ra iritxiko gara, lehengusuaren tripa barruko bixkiak zenbatuta!

  16. Aran says:

    Idu- Horrek bai gabon afariek, horrek! zelan botatzen dodan falta zarata, leku falta, langostinoak plantxan… Aitortu behar dot ez garala domekero mezatara joaten garen familie, baina gabon gaban 12etako meztara (misa de gallo-ra) joaten ginen beti eta hori be faltan botaten dot. Ai nostalgia…

  17. Bea says:

    A lovely rendition of these delicious cookies!

  18. veron says:

    I had my eye on those rosemary-parmesan biscottis too. Great job with all the cookies, Aran…now i am off to check those cookie boxes.

  19. Anita says:

    I am beyond thrilled to see my cookies on your gorgeous blog! They all so lovely, better than I could have made them! And thanks for checking at the bookstore – it’s still a little funny to walk in to one and see my own book there! thanks so much and I hope you enjoyed the book!

  20. Maria says:

    I can’t wait to get my hands on Anita’s book. She is wonderful! I love all of the cookies you made! Fantastic!

  21. when are you opening the bakery, you already have the boxes, yeash its too professional, ahhhhhh i love it!!!

  22. Serena says:

    awesome! I was just looking for a book about cookies. Thanks for the rec! :)

    As usual, great recipes and great pics!

  23. Aran, when are you moving to Connecticut so you could have me over for tea and cookies and dinner and lunch and breakfast? I’ll give you a discount on Malandrino dresses. Deal?

  24. cindy* says:

    i have been following the reviews of this book and i have to say i am sold.

    and aran, i love the little gift box with your logo!

  25. ana dane says:

    i can’t wait to see the book. your pictures have gotten my mouth watering.

  26. Angela says:

    These all look amazing, Aran and Anita! I am surprised to find myself so drawn to the Parmesan and Rosemary biscotti, but a savoury cookie is especially welcome at this time of year.

  27. Tea says:

    It is that time of the year! The cokies are very elegant and appealing, as always! I didn’t know you had your own signature boxes!! It’s amazing.
    I was surprised to see Anita’s book, I didn’t know she had one!

  28. Claudia says:

    Yeah, the cookies certainly look delicious, specially under your signature.

    Just couldn’t avoid noticing the boxes, gorgeous boxes. So you are packing your brand now?

    Great new projects I suppose!


  29. Aran says:

    Thanks everyone!

    Claudia- These are boxes that I had made for the holiday cookies I give out every year. Not commercial production I’m afraid…

  30. All of them look so good! I especially love the chocolate crinkles though. Also, I was wondering “Where did you get the adorable packaging in your last photo?”

  31. Anonymous says:

    Arantzazu: Como siempre, genial… ¿es que poner alma y pasión en lo que uno ama se puede mejorar?

  32. Tartelette says:

    I can tell you that the parmesan rosemary biscotti would have been devoured in a flash around here! Great choices :)
    You are right seeing the book on the shelves was def. a surreal moment!

  33. Aran says:

    Melody- thank you! I ordered the boxes through Nashville Wraps and then had them printed by Suann at Simplesong. She did an amazing job!

    Bego- Eskerrik asko. Leiste el post en que hablaba de aitite y los desayunos de la paste? esas cosas me han dejado marcada de por vida! Mosu handi bet!

    Helen- I can’t wait to see yours on the shelves. I’m going to freak out then! :)

  34. Cakespy says:

    Wow! Oh Mr. Cakespy, I think I have a new addition to my christmas list…this book! Wonderful work, Aran!

  35. Lori says:

    I just love linzer cookies. So this posting of ANita’s book is tempting me supremely!

  36. Julia says:

    If the pictures are any indication, this must be a mos fabulous book :) I’ll have to look it up the next time I’m in Barnes!

  37. Mmmmmm chocolate crinkles are one of my favourite cookies!

  38. I hate when blogs get a bad rap, like they can’t cook. I mean take your blog for instance, incredible, deserved to be next to any pastry book in Barnes and Noble. Good for her…

  39. ChichaJo says:

    How exciting! I love it when a blogger gets published :) I am keeping a lookout for this book! :)

    The cookies look and sound wonderful and your personalized box looks fabulous! What a great present to give :)

  40. Inne says:

    I’ve been following the cookie tour all week and everything looks equally delicious, although I think I have a soft spot for the chocolate crinkles. Your styling is beautiful as ever, Aran, and the gift boxes are such a nice touch!

  41. pia says:

    Unlike the fabulous Mrs. French I am the 42nd person to comment, but I strive one day to be the first :-). Anyway, wow wow wow – this book looks wonderful, your post about the book is wonderful, your photos of the recipes you tried from the book are divine and THOSE COOKIE BOXES!! I have nothing more to say today. Oh yes, this too: thanks for sharing!! px

  42. Eileen says:

    These are all fabulous recipes. I must take a look at the book. I especially like the rosemary and parmesan biscotti. How wonderful would those be with a glass of wine?

  43. Incredible photos – AS ALWAYS – that make we want to just bite into the screen…

    Besides the creative recipes and the so evocative photos (I can only hope to improve my dessert presentation skills by practicing – pastry not being my forte), I appreciate the links you provide to other relevant food sites/blogs that I may not have found on my own.

    Thank you, Aran.


  44. paula says:

    your photography makes me drool. yum!

  45. I made these last night as soon as I saw them, I used a bittersweet chocolate because I didn’t have the really dark stuff at home. They are sooooo good. I made 2 dozen and I have 3 left!!!
    I am for sure putting this book on my Xmas list this year!
    Also, Aran your pictures are amazing as always.

  46. Anita is SO lucky to have you review her book for her! The cookies all look delicious in your expert hands.

  47. Gis says:

    Oh my!!! This post is making me hungry!! hihihihi xD

  48. these look beautiful Aran…it’s so nice to see everyone baking her cookies! Oh and linzer cookies are my favorites!!! I love the way your pretty!

  49. PheMom says:

    So gorgeous as always! I can’t wait to go get this book! I stopped by to tell you I made the chocolate macarons again, followed your tip about them being a bit underbaked last time and they turned out perfect this time! I will be posting them in just a bit. Thanks so much!

  50. Jen Yu says:

    I can only imagine what a delight it must be for your friends and family to open up any present from you. The cookies are lovely. You always have a terrific eye for presentation!

  51. chefectomy says:

    Incredible and thanks for introducing me to Anita. I continue to marvel at your photography Aran – beautiful.


  52. My gosh, everything you create is so beautiful. I have sweet dreams after reading your wonderful posts.

  53. Alexa says:

    What a great display of wonderful cookies… hard to resist. I love the pictures!

  54. Véronika says:

    love it! i just want to know how many cookies can i make for these 3 recipes???

  55. giz says:

    Great cookie combos – I love the cookie gifting idea. I have my Chinese colourful food take out containers but love the little boxes – so much nicer.

  56. mforr says:

    Nice chocolate crinkles, our cookie czar has put together some of her favorite cookie recipes also, I hope you enjoy them!

  57. Dani says:

    your choc crinkles look much better than mine LOL
    but that doesnt surprise me :)

  58. Elizabeth says:

    Cookies are my daily weakness. This book might just be my downfall! It looks great.

  59. Maris says:

    I love your blog! Cookies are my favorite thing to make – I’ve never met a cookie I didn’t like :o)

  60. taanie says:

    the crinkles have just come out the oven and are fantastic! i used a dark choc with almond pieces for the mix and pushed a few slithered almonds into the cookie just before baking. Mmmmmm Thank-you for a lovely recipe, they will go down so well at our Christmas table.

  61. Cristina says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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  62. Made those chocolate crinkles adapting it to vegan – they tasted great and were a hit with the children! Thanks for some simple recipes too – my daughter wanted something from your blog and to say the truth I was a little intimidated!

  63. moratmarit says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  64. Marie says:

    All so lovely looking! I tried the chocolate crinkles and they were wonderful! One question though, do you roll them in powdered sugar again after baking; to get that look they have on the photographs? On mine the sugar nearly everything melted onto the cookies.. Thank you!

  65. Marie says:

    All so lovely looking! Just one small question though; I made the choclate crinkles (delicious!) – but the powdered sugar nearly all melted when baked. Do you roll them again after baking to get the look on your photographs? Thank you for always taking the time to answer all of our questions!!

  66. Marie- no, if you roll them in powdered sugar after baked, they won’t have the nice crinkles. just make sure you roll them in abundant powdered sugar before baking. some will melt but it should stay white like in the photos.

  67. Fra says:

    Hi, forwell compliments for your blog, it is so lovely! I have just discovered it and I can’t resist trying to cook something!I would like to try your chocolate crinkles, I like them because they are really dark if compared with other recipes. There is a problem, I’m italian and I can’t understand american measures :( …Maybe do you have them in grams?

    Thanks a lot if you can help me..


  68. Fra says:

    Sorry another question, is it a problem if I use dark chocolate? I don’t think we have semisweet chocolate in Italy..

  69. Fra- i don’t have it in grams. this recipe is from Anita Chu’s book and i never did the conversion. bittersweet chocolate is dark chocolate, so yes, you can use it. Thank you!

  70. Emma says:

    I hope this isn’t a stupid question…what can I use as a gluten free substitute for all purpose flour? I’m a novice!

  71. Emma- you can use a premixed GF baking mix or mix your own. I like Cybele Pascal’s mix of 4 cups superfine brown rice flour, 1 1/3 cups potato starch and 2/3 tapioca starch. Then you will need to add a little xanthan gum, about 1/4 tsp per cup of GF flour. Hope this helps!

  72. Sini says:

    Made the crinkles and linzer cookies. I loved especially the crinkles and I am definitely making a few more patches for Christmas!
    I found the linzer cookie dough extremely hard to work with… breaking all the time.

  73. Sgt.Pepper says:

    Complimenti, sono bellissimi e buonissimi…..copierò sicuramente…
    a presto

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