Everyone loves a shiny, drool-inducing new cookbook. But this is especially true when said cookbooks hail from one of our hometown heroes in Chicago. It's not every day a Chicago-based chef releases a new cookbook, but when they do it's met with ample fanfare. In recent years, we've seen cookbooks from Hoosier Mama Pie Company, Ina's, and Hot Doug's (available for purchase here, here, and here, respectively), and this season we've got a couple new books to tout: Cookie Love from Mindy Segal of Mindy's HotChocolate and The Big Jones Cookbook from Paul Fehribach of Big Jones.
At her award-winning dessert wonderland, Mindy's HotChocolate, Segal has amassed a nationally revered reputation for her composed dessert plates. While her seasonal masterpieces are indeed destination-worthy, her more modest desserts are just as laudable. Particularly her cookies. If there's anything from her pastry case that can hold a candle to her desserts, it's those cookies. Available in a myriad of rotating flavors throughout the year, Segal has proven herself a cookie impresario, gifted with the unique knack for showcasing classic comfort flavors while elevating the norm. If there's one nostalgia dessert that's deeply (and delicately) entrenched in personal nostalgia, it's cookies. Segal seamlessly toes the line of respect for nostalgia while managing to upgrade recipes and techniques. The results are some of the best chocolate chip, shortbread, and sandwich cookies around. And now for her hordes of cookie fanatics, she's baked up Cookie Love, a humble homage to cookies for the home baker. It's her love letter to cookies, running the gamut from cookie classics to more novel creations like peaches and cream thumbprints and peanut butter peanut brittle cookies. All the essential know-how is present and accounted for, including tool tips and cookie recipes divvied into categories like drop copies, bars, sandwich cookies, thumbprints, and more. Consider this your cookie bible.
From cookies to Southern heritage cookery, another new must-have for your bookshelf is Fehribach's new Big Jones Cookbook. As anyone who has dined at Big Jones can attest, the Andersonville restaurant is far beyond your average Southern soul food haunt. Rather, Fehribach goes to intensive lengths to imbue a bit of regional history into his cooking, tirelessly researching the lore behind Southern recipes and drawing inspiration from Southern chef legends, all while rigorously adhering to locality and seasonality. The results? The best of both worlds, with authentic Southern heritage cuisine prepared with the very best local and regional ingredients. The book is organized by region, spanning everything from breads and pantry provisions to cocktails, desserts, and entrees. It's a wholly unique cookbook in that it interweaves recipes with history, personal essays, and an emphasis on Southern heritage crops.
Purchase Cookie Love here and the Big Jones Cookbook here.
- Matt Kirouac