The 5 Books That Changed the Cookie Game

Cocoa powder and chopped nuts and chocolate chips, oh my!

December  9, 2020
Photo by Julia Gartland

This post is part of our new community-driven book tournament, The Big Community Book-Off. With your help, we're finding the best books across categories (from bread to pasta, one-bowl to weeknight-friendly, and cake to cookies, to name a few), and putting them through a series of rigorous reviews—considered, tested, and written by none other than you.

Two months ago, reviewers Ruth, Erin, and Shereen exhausted their CSA boxes, looking for the best vegetable book out there.

Last month, F52ers Robin, Sarah, and Rosa made a commitment to the Instant Pot, on a quest to find the ultimate book for the device.

This month, we’ve got our eye on cookies—because what is December if not Peak Cookie Season? These are the five cookbooks our community turns to for their favorite icing-dipped, sanding-sugar-topped, crispy, chewy, and, of course, chocolate-chip-studded cookies.

Your 5 Best Cookie Cookbooks

Photo by photo by amazon

1. Dorie's Cookies by Dorie Greenspan

Dorie Greenspan is no stranger to cookies of any kind (one of her uber-popular World Peace Cookies is the cover star of the book). With “everyday” cookies that come together in a jiff and “weekend” cookies that require a bit more effort, and even a “Cookie-Making Handbook” in the front, Greenspan wants every recipe to turn out as delightful as if she’d made it herself.

Photo by photo by amazon

2. The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion by the Editors of King Arthur Flour

You hear King Arthur Flour, and your mind immediately goes to baking. It’s no shock that the company’s cookie book is packed with hundreds of recipes, step-by-step tutorials, how-to drawings, as well as a substitution guide. No glossy photos here, it’s all about the recipes.

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3. BraveTart by Stella Parks

Editors’ note: This is not strictly a cookie book, but we're allowing it! If you’re into baking, you already know Stella Parks. In addition to being an all-around pastry whiz, she’s practically bursting with cookie tips—so much so that even though her book is about desserts in general, a cookie recipe graces the cover (they’re her take on Oreos, by the way.)

Photo by photo by amazon

4. The Cookie Collection by Brian Hart Hoffman

A classic cookie book for those who like to cook with the seasons, Hoffman guides readers throughout the year, from fresh berry-studded cookies in summer to winter’s coziest gingerbread. The classics are there (Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies; Linzer Cookies), but you’ll also find skillet cookies and creatively cut shortbread for a bit of extra fun.

Photo by photo by amazon

5. Martha Stewart's Cookie Perfection by the Editors of Martha Stewart Living

This cookie anthology’s goal was to “redefine what cookies can be,” featuring cookies made from pastry doughs or egg whites or requiring a bit more assembly than scooping dough. Still, they cover the classics: The cover features a perfect chocolate chip cookie resting just inside a glass of milk—with Martha’s name on the cover, we’d expect nothing less than, well, perfection.

Meet the Reviewers

Jody “I nominated The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. Don't judge a book by its cover! It's not the flashiest, but it's not meant to be just a pretty book on your kitchen shelf. It's a textbook, utilitarian and authoritative. This volume provides not only reliable and repeatable recipes, but the foundation to create new hybrid versions of your favorites—and the confidence to throw together a cookie batter by memory with a bit of practice. And who needs an impressive-looking cookbook when you have impressive-looking cookies.”

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“A cookbook collection without either of Maida Heatter's cookie books is seriously deficient.”
— Smaug

Matt “I nominated BraveTart by Stella Parks primarily for its reliability and relatability. Parks clearly puts in the work to ensure that her recipes succeed! I've used this book for everything from birthday celebrations to rainy-day baking with my son and would recommend it to anyone.

Laura "There is always that dream of baked-good perfection. For me it came true the first time I tried the World Peace Cookie, whose picture graces the front of Dorie Greenspan's eponymous cookie book. Just scrumptious. My excitement for Dorie's Cookies is simple: I trust her. I can indulge in the full joy of baking at home, from sweet anticipation, through careful execution, to indulgent consumption. I know her recipes will celebrate any moment, from a chocolate chip cookie for my kids' "treat day" to a fancier cocktail-hour cookie. And would I have thought to put coffee and cardamom together? No, but mmm, so good.”

Deliciousness. Pretty obviously, how addictive were the sweets? How mind-blowing was the chocolate chip cookie?

Binge-worthiness. Do you want to read the book cover to cover? Is there a genius, rockstar recipe in there that makes it an essential book for every cookie lover's shelf? Do the photos provide added value and make you want to keep flipping through the pages?

Accessibility. Are the recipes reasonably easy to recreate, and are the ingredients easily accessible? Do most recipes call for pantry staples instead of highly specialized components? Are the tools required standard and modest?

Educational Value. Do you learn something new from the book, becoming a better baker as you work your way through? This requires more than simply a few standout recipes; it means that the reader becomes a student, learning skills and tricks and developing understanding that goes beyond one cookie recipe. For example, does the author explain how to balance flavors or the science behind a baking phenomenon?

Which one of these has your vote? Tell us about it in the comments!

This post contains products independently selected by Food52 editors. As an Amazon Associate, Food52 may earn an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Cazcaric
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Cazcaric December 20, 2020
You seriously missed out on Chewy Gooey, Crunchy Crispy by Alice Meldrich. THE best cookie books of all time.
Sharyn K. December 18, 2020
I have been loving Sarah Kieffer's 100 Cookies too!
Ruth December 17, 2020
I'd vote for Maida Heatter's Book of Cookies, though, sadly, I think it's out of print. And Rose Levy Berenbaum's Book of Christmas Cookies. I think Dorie Greenspan's a wonderful teacher, but her recipes don't make enough cookies for the trouble she makes you take.
Elaine G. December 17, 2020
Maida Heatter wrote recipes in a very exacting way... I learned to bake from using her books.
Smaug December 17, 2020
She actually had several cookie books- the "Book of Great Cookies" (1977) is OP (but not too hard to find). The "Book of Cookies"(1997) was reprinted in paperback fairly recently, I think that's available; I got a hardback copy on Amazon 3-4 years ago, not sure if that's still available. There are also a "Brand New Book of Great Cookies" and one called just "Cookies" that I know nothing about.
Smaug December 17, 2020
Sorry, that's "Cookies are Magic", not "Cookies".
3jamigos December 11, 2020
Small but mighty, Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies should be on this list. Two others that should make the list , Rose's Christmas Cookies and Flo Bracker's Sweet Minatures oldies but goodies.
Cazcaric December 20, 2020
Check out her book about cookies! Chewy, Gooey, Crunchy Crispy. It’s amazing
M December 9, 2020
Milk Bar: A Cookbook - There's a night and day difference between food personalities who bend over backwards to seem accessible at the expense of helpful knowledge, and professional bakers who explain the how and why. Still sad that after numerous baking shows and cookbooks, it was the very first time I saw an explanation for proper creaming.
Smaug December 9, 2020
A cookbook collection without either of Maida Heatter's cookie books is seriously deficient.