I wholeheartedly recommend the following books and resources for inspiration, instruction, and occasionally a good laugh. If there are any other good reads and online resources you know of that are not listed here, please let me know.


Books that teach you the basics and then show you how to take it to higher levels.

Great Cookies by Carole Walter. Hands down this is my favorite cookie book. Some of the recipes are on the difficult side but come on. Pistachio lime cookies? Apricot-coconut icebox cookies? Hello. Walter is an award-winning baker who not only gives you pause to believe you can bake what she bakes, but she also educates readers on the importance of ingredients, why they need to be measured just so, and how ingredients react with one another while in the oven. Please visit her lovely site.

Maida Heatter’s Brand New Book of Great Cookies, by Maida Heatter. Goodness gracious! Maida is not only a great baker but she’s a great storyteller. Lerv her. This book contains what I consider some very traditional and well-known cookies but man, oh, man, she mixes them up to create the yummiest of the basics. And just look at her photo: she’s elegant, has an infectious smile, and looks like she can bake with her eyes shut and hands tied behind her back. Frankly, I’ll bet she can!

The Joy of Cookies, by Irma S. Rombauer, Ethan Becker and Marion Rombauer Becker. Remember the Joy of Cooking? These nice people went off and devoted an entire book to cookies. Yay! One of the recipes I use most often is the 14-in-1 recipe. Yes, you can make 14 different variations of a cookie based on ONE recipe. Just like The Joy of Cooking, this book is very much a staple, a must-have in any kitchen.

Knockout Decorators and from whom I have learned everything. I took what these fine folks taught and went berzerk!

Wacky Cakes and Kooky Cookies, by Gerhard Jenne. One of the most important lessons you can learn from Master Jenne is that you should incorporate mistakes into your final design. Most of all, this man wants you to have fun while baking and decorating. Wonderful recipes - his lemon victoria sponge cake ROCKS - and great ideas for decorating both cookies and cakes. Mr. Jenne wrote me a very nice email after I sent him a link to my site. Naturally, he ranks high in my world. He’s also the genius behind Konditor & Cook in the U.K.

Creative Cookies: Delicious Decorating for Any Occasion, by Toba Garrett. Love, love, love this book. And it is Ms. Garrett who taught me how to use stencils on cookies. After mastering that act, I started to create my own hand-cut stencils and use the same method to create my own whacky designs.

Colette’s Christmas : Spectacular Holiday Cookies, Cakes, Pies and Other Edible Art, by Colette Peters. If you can get your hands on this book, at a reasonable price, do so. Peters is a master when it comes to decorating highly intricate and very difficult designs. I personally feel this beautiful book is meant for the more advanced baker/decorator, but beginners are sure to be inspired and amazed at what can be created with sugar. If you can’t find this book then any of Peters’s other books are worth reading and studying.

Cakewalk: Adventures In Sugar With Margaret Braun, by Margaret Braun. Margaret Braun, what can I say? In the world of sugar art you’re a rock star. Deservedly so. I came across this book quite by accident. If my house were on fire I’d make every effort to save it. Braun creates towers, really, of cake that burst with color and originality. It’s evident that a human hand is behind these mind-blowing creations. It’s also hard to fathom a human created them. Braun makes the connection between fine art and cake decorating seamless. I learned how to guild cookies with gold lustre dust from her.

Online Stores

When it comes to baking supplies, I suggest going to professional stores. Don’t be intimidated by the chefs walking around in their double-breasted jackets as they search for very specialized tools, the names of which even they can hardly pronounce. These stores usually have staff that are knowledgeable, and because of that, can be immensely helpful. The one store I frequent in the Los Angeles area is Surfas and by asking a lot of questions, I’ve saved a lot of time and money.

If you don’t have a professional store nearby, no worries. The following stores online have everything you need. Even better, they have great customer service.

Sugarcraft I’ve come to believe that if Sugarcraft doesn’t have what you’re looking for, then it probably doesn’t exist.

Foose Cookie Cutters Amazing array of cookie cutters, at pretty good prices.

Kitchen Collectibles Another amazing resource for cookie cutters, accessories, tools, coloring.

Wilton In some ways, I consider Wilton the granddaddy of all cake and cookie suppliers. Not wild about their style, but I do browse the site occasionally to find interesting ideas and equipment. Very reasonably priced, and often available at major craft stores.