Posted by: Pat O'Brien | September 4, 2012

Some of My Favorite Books on the Subject …

Well, here it is – another first day of school …. And although it’s been more than a few years since I looked at the excited faces of my children as they watched for the school bus, I still feel a little wistful for summer days; ok, to be fair it’s not all wistful – I do remember thinking that 15 minutes on a school bus undid years of my teaching my boys how to behave in a group.  So in trying to think of something I enjoy about “back to school,” my thoughts quickly turned to the excitement of books – old favorites as well as brand new titles.

People often ask me whether I have favorite “how to” books for cookie decorating, so I thought I’d share with you some of my favorites and why I enjoy them and refer to them often.  If you were in my kitchen, you’d easily be able to tell my favorites — they have the most royal icing crust on the cover and between some pages ….

One of my go to reference books is Cookie Craft – From Baking to Luster Dust by Valerie Peterson and Janice Fryer.  It is so well organized (encouraging the reader to be organized as well – with step by step instructions for organizing work area, cutter storage, what tasks to do ahead of time) and defines just about every tool and helpful piece of equipment you’d ever want to use in your cookie decorating.   I like the layout as well – cookies for holidays throughout the year – with excellent color photos.  Techniques are explained clearly with illustration for every step.  If you are new to cookie decorating, or interested in building on your expertise, this is an excellent addition to your library.  At the back of this book is a short but excellent list of resources.  You’ll feel more capable and organized just from having paged through this pretty book!

I also LOVE Meaghan Mountford’s cookie sensationscreative designs for every occasionMeaghan explains the cookie baking and decorating lingo simply and breaks down the cookie decorating project into encouragingly manageable steps.  One of my favorite sections of the book is her templates.  You can lay a piece of wax paper over a page and practice your piping before you attempt it on the cookies – what a great idea! She also explains in clear detail both in text and in color charts how to mix colors (what to mix with what to achieve the desired color) and shows palettes that work well together.  If you’re feeling adventurous, this is a book that will inspire you to create your own cookie shapes, design and decoration .  If not, you won’t go wrong if you follow Meaghan’s suggestions.  This is a book I’ve referred to frequently over the six years since I started my business and I always see something new — it’s not that I don’t retain what I read, really…. The book is just that good!

The lovely book painted cookies by Akiko Hoshino shows some very precise, detailed decorating techniques with beautiful photos of little cookies.  The techniques and illustrations are lovely and I’d suggest this one for someone who already has some serious piping skills….

I’ll do another post in a few weeks that will talk about Christmas cookie books – that’s an entirely separate sub-category and there are some wonderful titles that will spark your imagination, not to mention feeling really ahead of the game this year for reading about Christmas prep in October ….


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