Milk Jar Cookies Bakebook: Cookies, Cakes, Pies, and More for Celebrations and Every Day, written by Courtney Cowan, features 75 fun cookie recipes and other delicious treats perfect for the upcoming holiday/baking season. A few highlights include Milk and Cereal Cookies, Pumpkin Pie Cookies, Bacon Cheddar Scones, Salted Butterscotch Cookies, PB&J Krispy Treats, and more. I will also be sharing her recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies following the review.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Rizzoli in exchange for my honest review. All comments and opinions are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Courtney Cowan is the owner of the Milk Jar Cookies shop in Los Angeles, California. A passion for baking turned into a new career when she left her job working on major network television shows to start a made-to-order cookie business out of her studio apartment. This led to the opening of her first brick and mortar Milk Jar Cookies shop in the spring of 2013. She has been featured in The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, Forbes, and on the Today Show. This is her first cookbook.
We have actually been to Milk Jar Cookies a few times. We love the assortment of homemade cookies with locally-sourced milk, ice cream, and coffee. It is just a short half mile walk from the La Brea Tar Pits, so we would often stop by after a visit to the museum. Currently (for 2020), they are open for curbside pickup, local delivery, and nationwide shipping. All cookies are individually wrapped and there is a 10 min street parking spot in front for pickup.
Milk Jar Cookies Bakebook
After a short introduction and story behind the making of Milk Jar Cookies, Courtney dives right into the classic and seasonal recipes along with helpful hints and preferred products. Many of the cookie recipes have the same base dough, but Courtney has written out the step-by-step instructions for each one so you don’t have to flip back and forth between pages. For those using gluten-free flour, she has even shared notes on what flour she has found to work the best and tips for consistency.
The photography is provided by Ashley Maxwell. Every single recipe is paired with a full-page photo, usually of the finished product. Measurements are listed in US Customary. Each recipe includes a headnote with background information, serving size, helpful tips, and possible variations. A few of the treats are even followed by QR codes to add some extra fun to your baking with special playlists. Most of the ingredients are readily available in the average American grocery store.
The chapters are divided based on type of treat: Cookies, Cakes and Bakes, Pies, No Bake Treats, and Breakfast Bakes.
Peanut Butter Cookies
To go along with the book review, I went with Courtney’s Peanut Butter Cookies! These classic cookies come together in under 30 minutes for a delicious and easy treat. They were a particular favorite with my often chocolate-averse husband.
Cold, cubed butter and vegetable shortening are beaten together with granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and both creamy and crunchy peanut butter to form the base before mixing in eggs, vanilla extract, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as you add in the ingredients to make sure everything is evenly mixed. 1/4 cup scoops of the dough are lightly rolled into round balls and the tops are covered in additional granulated sugar to add a bit of texture. The tops are then pressed in a crisscross pattern with a fork before baking until hairline cracks for on the sides, about 11 to 13 minutes.
The cookies are cooled on the baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Once cooled, they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or frozen for up to a month.
This recipe uses 1/3 each of both crunchy and creamy peanut butter. If you don’t want to use both, just add 2/3 cup of whichever is preferred.
Other Sweet Treats
I also made Courtney’s Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies, Birthday Cookie, and Perfectly Fudgy Brownies.
The classic Chocolate Chip Cookie is the very first recipe in the book and what Evan picks when we visit the shop. Perfect for pairing with a glass of milk, these cookies come together easily and have crisp edges that give way to a soft, doughy center.
I went with the variation of the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies to make the Inside-Out Chocolate Chip Cookie. The chocolate cookie base is studded with white chocolate chips which Courtney states (and I agree) “is reminiscent of a chocolate toaster pastry.” Another option is to include frozen raspberries to make Chocolate Raspberry Cookies.
The Birthday Cookie is a variation of the Cinnamon Sugar Cookie. This is the cookie Claire picks every single time we go to Milk Jar Cookies. Instead of coating the sugar cookie dough in cinnamon sugar, each ball is rolled in rainbow nonpareils (the shop is also currently doing a festive fall version with yellow, orange, and brown nonpareils) to create a fun pop of color along with a nice contrast in texture.
In addition to the wonderful collection of cookie recipes, you will also find an assortment of cakes, pies, breakfast items, and other treats. There are so many I can’t wait to try, but I was immediately drawn to the Perfectly Fudgy Brownies. These brownies are packed with chopped semisweet chocolate, melted chocolate, and cocoa powder to create a rich, fudgy center (or bake for a few extra minutes for a more chewy texture) and a delicate, crisp top layer.
Milk Jar Cookies Bakebook is a great pick for those looking for classic and new cookies/desserts. There are plenty of options for every season and occasion with quick and easy cookies in under 30 minutes to more intricate pies and cakes. We only have a couple of years left in Los Angeles, so I am personally excited to be able to take a piece of our current home and its memories with us wherever we go next.
Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe
Excerpt from Milk Jar Cookies Bakebook
Peanut Butter Cookies
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 5 1/2 tablespoons (or 1/3 cup) unsalted butter cold and cubed
- 5 1/2 tablespoons (or 1/3 cup) vegetable shortening room temperature
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar plus more for topping
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 extra large eggs cold
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, shortening, creamy and crunchy peanut butters, sugar, and brown sugar and beat on medium speed until creamed, approximately 1 minute. Every time you mix ingredients, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to be sure all ingredients are included in the mix- every bit matters!
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until combined and the mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Add half the bowl of dry ingredients and mix on medium speed until it's fully combined and no flour is visible, about 20 seconds. Add the remaining flour and mix until just combined, about 20 seconds.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop the dough 1/4 cup at a time and lightly roll into round balls approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Roll the top of each dough ball in a bowl of sugar, coating the top. Place 6 cookies on each prepared baking sheet, spacing them out well, and using a fork, make a crisscross pattern on top of each.
- Bake on the middle and lower racks of the oven, until the tops are a light golden brown and you notice hairline cracks forming on the sides, 11 to 13 minutes, spinning each pan 180 degrees and swapping their positions halfway through.
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then use a wide spatula to transfer them to a wire rack or parchment paper on the counter to cool completely. Let the baking sheets cool before repeating with the remaining cookies.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days or freeze for up to a month.