You won't find Christopher Kimball on Food Network or pandering to the morning talkshow set—he's quite the polar opposite of the flamboyant, vivacious food personalities we've become so accustomed to in recent years. But Kimball has been an integral part of American food media for the last 30 years.
You might recognize his signature horn-rimmed glasses and suspenders from America's Test Kitchen, a program syndicated on PBS stations around the country or from the pages of Cook's Illustrated, a bimonthly magazine that he's helmed for the since 1993. Kimball's reserved and meticulous New England sensibilities have made him into a reliable source of solid information and recipes for a very specific type of home cooks.
Within the pages of Cook's Illustrated and in the segments of America's Test Kitchen classic recipes are dissected and perfected with the utmost care and know-how. Something as simple as a pot roast or chicken pot pie is made countless times with different ingredients, methods, and techniques until the recipe can be shared with viewers and readers.
The recipe that is shared comes with ingredient lists and directions that are so comprehensive and fastidiously written, it's borderline impossible to make a dish that doesn't turn out to be perfection (if all directions are followed.)
Cooking is something that can be done well in a more slapdash and improvisational manner but baking requires structure, and structure is what the editors at America's Test Kitchen are all about.
In all fairness America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book isn't a book at all—it's a five-ring binder broken down with helpful tabs letting you easily flip to the section and recipe you're after.
This might be a small touch but anyone whose ever struggled to keep a page open while measuring out cups of flour and teaspoons of vanilla will understand just how priceless this feature is.
Everyday this week we will be testing out cookie recipes from America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book and sharing the results with you. We'll be making holiday standbys such as Jam Thumb Prints as well as everyday favorites like Black and White Cookies and judging by all of the recipes that I've made from these guys in the past, I'll be shocked if there is a cookie that doesn't turn out perfectly.
Win 'America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book'
Thanks to the generosity of the folks over at America's Test Kitchen, we are giving away five (5) copies of Family Baking Book this week. All you have to do is your greatest cookie-related triumph or most shameful cookie disaster in the comments section below.
Five (5) people will be chosen at random among the eligible comments below. We're sorry, but entry is only open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. Comments will close Monday, December 28 at noon ET. The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.