Crispy, chewy, crunchy, soft: cookies are comforting but can also be contentious. James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Mindy Segal knows this all too well. Best known for her restaurant and dessert bar Mindy's HotChocolate in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood, Segal is the author (along with Kate Leahy) of the forthcoming Cookie Love, set to be released this April. NYC-based pastry chef Christina Tosi (Momofuku Milk Bar) calls Segal her "soul sister on all things sweet;" one look inside Cookie Love is proof that Segal's a sugar fiend. "I can't tell you how many times I've eaten an entire package of Milanos in one sitting," she admits to Eater. "I'm not the only one though, right?"
"I can't tell you how many times I've eaten an entire package of Milanos in one sitting."
She's absolutely right.
But that's not the only reason Segal decided to write a book about cookies. "Everyone knows me for my hot chocolate, yes, but that's not the only thing I do," she says. After meeting with different publishers over the years, the idea of writing a single subject book became obvious. "I have wanted to write a book for a long time. At some point, I looked through all of the book ideas I had put together and realized they were like 'body of work' books, and then I started thinking about how I had so many ideas about every category of pastry," Segal says. She had done a lot of research and had a lot to say. "So why don't I write single subject books, and start with cookies?"
Segal writes in the forward:
"[For] Hanukkah when I was thirteen, my parents bestowed a KitchenAid mixer on me. Immediately, this new powerful piece of equipment became my instrument of choice. While my brother practiced the piano, I performed solo in the kitchen, one off-the-cuff baking project after another. Cookies were prime territory for experimentation."
Cookie Love contains 60 recipes in eight different categories divided by technique, from drop cookies to spritz to bars to shortbread. Each chapter builds upon techniques mastered in the previous chapter, and each recipe within each chapter builds upon skills learned in the recipe before it. There are classic recipes — snickerdoodles and chocolate chip ("I think I've mastered the perfect combination of crispy and chewy," Segal says) — as well as novel creations like malted milk spritz and blueberry jam kolachkes with orange blossom almonds. Elsewhere, the flavors of peaches and cream are translated into a thumbprint cookie, where the peaches are cooked into a honey-spiked jam and baked atop a walnut-whole wheat cookie. Once cool, the thumbprints are topped with a dollop of vanilla custard.
And of course, there's a recipe for those Milk Chocolate Milanos. "Pepperidge Farm really gets crunch, and I've always loved that wafer cookie texture. It honestly took me years to perfect this recipe," Segal admits. Does she eat the whole batch? We wouldn't hold it against her.
Cookie Love is published by Ten Speed Press and hits shelves on April 7. Pre-order on Amazon, or snag an exclusive sneak peek below: