Jean Hwang Carrant's Cookie Love cookbook review: 'Fun, easy and delicious' 

Cookie love cookbook
We put a new book, dedicated to American-style treats, to the test  Credit: AKIKO IDA

Jean Hwang Carrant grew up watching her mother make traditional Taiwanese desserts at their home in Kansas, but it was American-style cookies, with their golden edges, gooey centres and smattering of chocolate chips, that became Carrant’s obsession.

She is now the owner of an eponymous cookie boutique in Paris, and her debut book, Cookie Love (Hardie Grant, £7.99), aims to share her favourite baking technique with an international audience. Armed with 30-odd recipes dedicated to this sweet treat, can a novice baker whip up a perfect batch?

The approach 

Chapters are broken into “best” (including choc chip), “classics” (peanut butter, and pistachio), and “creative” (enter mojito flavours and M&Ms). Each two-page spread contains a helpful picture of the finished bake, and the brief introduction includes a timeline showing texture and level of rise in the oven. The cookies, all of which can be baked in 20 minutes, range from basic to inventive (beer in the batter), including one gluten-free and one vegan recipe.

The recipes 

All are aimed at beginners, so novice bakers can rest easy. I was brought up on buttery, home-baked (often lopsided) cookies, so chose to test a trio of classic, crowd-pleasing recipes that wouldn’t scare the horses.

Choc chip

The chocolate chip cookies in the book, left; my attempt, right  Credit: CREDIT: AKIKO IDA/MORGAN LAWRENCE

Made with a thick, sweet batter which, when I attempted to halve the quantity (for oven space reasons), became incredibly sticky. I ended up baking the full batch of 25 and the result was glorious: a milky-brown exterior with slightly caramelised edges and swirls of melted chocolate inside. Sadly, the chips sank during baking so there were no attractive studded tops, but the taste was so good that my flatmates barely noticed.

Cran N’ Berry

Carrant's cookies, left; a home-baked version, right  Credit: CREDIT: AKIKO IDA/MORGAN LAWRENCE

White chocolate can be sickly sweet, but the flavour of these chewy cookies was absolutely delicious: slightly nutty from desiccated coconut, a hint of sourness from dried cranberries, with a warm comforting backdrop of vanilla. Without any instructions to flatten the cookie to ensure an even shape, I ended up with quite a few batches that looked less Mary Berry-perfect and more sat-on-chic...

Snickerdoodle

Snickerdoodle, left; from the home kitchen, right  Credit: CREDIT: AKIKO IDA/MORGAN LAWRENCE

I was drawn to the cinnamon sugar used to coat the dough before baking – who can resist the scent of Christmas around the house? Chewy and buttery with a hint of spice, they came out of the oven in a perfect circle, smelling divine, and were later gobbled up in the office within minutes.

The verdict 

The design is fun and the recipes easy to follow, turning out (if you follow them exactly) absolutely delicious. Beginners can discover the joy to be had in baking, while experienced bakers can enjoy a little nostalgia. Most of the cookies measure up to those in cafés, so you’ll never need to buy one again.