Last Christmas, I was given the Gourmet Cookie Book as a gift, but I hadn’t made anything out of it until now.
This book is awesome, filled with recipes from 1941 up to when the magazine shut down in 2009. The recipes are accompanied by info about the cookie, or the history & time period surrounding it.
The recipe I chose was coconut bars (since I’m on such a coconut kick lately), a recipe from the October 1953 issue. The book states that despite that months sophisticated offerings (poached bone marrow, neck of lamb Grecque, goose liver pies), readers responded to readers Miss Hope Austin's request for a cookie recipe “made with coconut and sprinkled with powdered sugar, that have a cake like bottoms and chewy tops”, much like a blondie.
I wasn’t so sure about the recipe when I started out, the base is described as “cake-like”, but it’s quite dry and more like a cookie. I was pleasantly surprised when I tried the finished product though, It’s absolutely delicious. The crisp bottom works perfectly with the gooey top.
I would definitely recommend this cookbook, if not for the recipes then for the history and beautiful photography. It’s great for those of us who still mourn the loss of the great Gourmet magazine!
From The Gourmet Cookie Book
(This is how the recipe is written in the book, much different from the style of today. The recipe calls for walnuts, but I substituted pecans because I’m allergic to walnuts. Either would be great!)
Cream 1/2 cup of butter. Add gradually 1/2 cup brown sugar and beat until smooth. Stir in 1 cup sifted flour and spread batter in the bottom of a 8 inch square cake pan. Bake in a moderate oven (375) for 20 minutes.
Beat 2 eggs and 1 cup light brown sugar until smooth. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup chopped walnuts, and 1/2 cup shredded coconut tossed with 2 tablespoons of flour and a pinch of salt. Spread this batter over the baked crust and continue to bake for 20 minutes longer. Cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into squares or bars.