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Kessel: Riverview cookbook club whets appetites of foodies

By lynn kessel
Special Correspondent
Published: April 2, 2014 Updated: April 2, 2014 at 12:17 PM
Delightfully crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, these two-bite macaroons have only five ingredients, not including an optional bittersweet topping. LYNN KESSEL

My morning began with a usual quick check of my email. And since I’m always alert for something new in the world of food and cooking, the words “Cookbook Club” caught my attention.

I have hundreds of cookbooks so the message was certainly reaching its intended audience.

This email definitely required further investigation.

And after checking it out, I can say one thing. If you’re a foodie who loves to cook and eat, the Riverview Branch Library’s new Cookbook Club is for you.

On the last Tuesday of every month club members will bring prepared dishes they chose from the club’s current cookbook to a potluck meeting at the library, where they will discuss the food, recipes, the cookbook as a whole and more. Oh yes, and of course eat!

What a great idea!

Cathy Wos, library branch manager, decided to start the club after she heard from several patrons of their interest in cookbooks.

The club is open to all adults and its first meeting will be at 7 p.m. April 29 at 10509 Riverview Drive in Riverview.

While this Cookbook Club is a test run, Wos anticipates, if things go as expected, other Hillsborough libraries may follow suit.

A bible for generations of cooks, “Joy of Cooking” has been chosen as the club’s first selected cookbook.

Since it was first published in 1931, there have been eight editions of “Joy” and some gazillion copies have been printed, starting with the slim volume of recipes Irma S. Rombauer put together in 1930 as a way to cope with her husband’s suicide.

Many of us probably have older copies or in 2006 purchased the 75th anniversary edition. Glance at your bookshelf: it’s probably there.

If you don’t own a copy, the Riverview library will have one on display at the information desk, so you can pick whatever one of the 4,500 recipes that piques your interest and make a copy of it to take home.

Interested participants should prepare and bring one regular-size dish from their chosen recipe – enough so everyone gets a taste and their your own plates and silverware. Coffee will be provided.

So if you’re a fellow cooking and baking bibliophile or just want to learn a few tricks of the trade trying all types of food, this club is for you.

Pre-registration is not required. For more information, call (813) 273-3652 or email [email protected]

Time for macaroons

I’ve had macaroons on the brain for awhile now. I think the last time I made them was several Easters ago, which of course is way too long to go between macaroons. To get your cookbook-club juices flowing, here’s is the “Joy of Cooking” recipe for coconut macaroons.

Lynn Kessel is a freelance food columnist. For more of her recipes, visit and enter the search words Lynn Kessel.

Coconut Macaroons

For the cookies:

2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 large egg white

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 1/2 cups flaked or shredded sweetened coconut

For the glaze (optional):

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

3 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Flaked coconut, toasted and coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease or line 2 cookie sheets. In a large bowl combine milk, egg white, vanilla and salt, stirring until combined. Add coconut and stir until blended.

Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto the cookie sheets. Bake, one sheet at a time, until golden brown, 20 to 24 minutes. Let stand briefly, then remove to a rack to cool.

To make the glaze, put the chocolate, corn syrup, butter and 3 tablespoons hot water in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave until melted, about 2 minutes. Whisk until smooth.

Dip the top of each macaroon about halfway into the glaze, then into a bowl of the toasted coconut. Place on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until the glaze sets, about 1 hour. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Makes approximately 36 1-1/2-inch cookies.

Source: Adapted from “Joy of Cooking” by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker and Ethan Becker.