Enjoy Life’s Cookies, But Please Life, We Need Better Book Titles.

Book Reviewed: Enjoy Life’s Cookies for Everyone!
Leslie Hammond and Betsy Laakso
(c) 2009 Fair Winds Press
ISBN-13: 978-1592333691

Seriously, nothing makes me feel like I have “special needs” more than a book with a lame title like this one. Except of course, when the title is even worse, like in the case of The Allergen Free Baker’s Handbook. Come on publishers, you can do us better, I just know it.

However, when my cranky-pants have been dutifully ironed and put away, it turns out this book, in fact, has lots to offer. It’s quite substantial–with oodles of recipes for all sorts of baked goods from the ubiquitous cookies you’d expect, to fancy creme filled sandwich varieties, to scones, to an entire chapter dedicated to bars, to even crepes, pancakes and the unexpected empanada. C4E is marketed as an “allergy-free” book, which means the book contains no peanuts, tree nuts, gluten, soy, eggs or dairy. It’s perfect for us vegans, if you can see beyond a few recipes riddled with gelatin filled marshmallow and honey; nothing you couldn’t fix with agave, maple syrup or a sprinkling of well aimed Dandies. 

Cookies for Everyone has actually become one of my go-to baking books. The recipes I’ve tried so far have made me a happy little bug.  They’ve required little tweaking and have worked as a baking GPS system, since ditching gluten got me super disoriented from my comfort spot on the baking superhighway I call yum.

Exhibit A:  Carrot Cake Mini Marvels

I’ve made the Carrot Cake Mini Marvels (page 167) twice now. The first time my baking pal, Amy, and I whipped them up, we followed the recipe exactly, but found them a little too sweet.

Exhibit A Closeup:  Carrot Cake Mini Marvels

The second time I tried ‘em, I cut the sugar down in the cookie part and sammiched them with my own cream cheeze frosting filling instead. I brought them to a friend’s book signing and they were wildly successful, no one had a clue they were gluten-free since they were so perfectly textured.

The second recipe I tried was for an office holiday party. I decided on the Glorious Glazed Citrus Cookies (page 78), because they had appealing components: a  simple but not boring production, a sugar glaze and a citrus-y bite.

Exhibit B: Glorious Glazed Citrus Cookies.  Yes, they do indeed dazzle the eye.

These reminded me of Mexican wedding cookies, they had crunchy shortbread like middles, but with an amazing burst of lime. I plan to make these again, I loved their zesty sugar glaze, as opposed to a more traditional powdered sugar coat.

I really appreciate how the recipes in this book don’t rely on specific flour blends; instead each flour or starch is listed separately.  Strangely, most of the recipes call for flours from Bob’s Red Mill, but I don’t see why you couldn’t use another brand if you wanted to.  Another boon–every recipe includes a small full color picture, so you can see where it’s headed before you commit, since gluten-free baking can be hard on the ol’ pocketbook.  So yes readers, I recommend this title, especially to those of you that aren’t xgfx, but desire a book to bake things from for gluten-free friends, co-workers, the community garden’s potluck, or other public bakery duties your life holds.


  • Lots of recipes to choose from, all with a color photograph.
  • No flour blends necessary.
  • The book has nice heft and lies flat easily for cooking.
  • Perfect for the soy-free vegan loves of your life.
  • Standard gluten-free ingredients, nothing hard to find.
  • Good intro with baking tips and guidelines.


  • Title makes me feel like I’m the Boy in a Plastic Bubble.
  • Even though there are only a few non-vegan ingredients, it frustrates me.  Seriously, can we kill the gelatin already?
  • The recipes call for specific brand names.

Reviewed by Kittee Berns

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