This cookbook has a copyright of 2008. I bought this cookbook at Costco for $14.29 (list is $24.95) back in 2008. I have cooked from this cookbook before.
I actually used this cookbook to make a cookie for the Christmas goodie bags last year and completely forgot to post it, so in retrospect, yes, I have cooked from this before. I also made a cookie recipe from it for this years goodie bags which is why the cookbook is being posted now.
Like a lot of Martha's cookbooks these days, the first few pages of the book contain photos of every single recipe in the book. Each and every cookie has a photograph, the name of the cookie and the page you'll find the recipe on. I love this about her books as it's a quick way to figure out what I want to make (as opposed to sitting going through every page looking at the cookies trying to decide). Each cookies photograph is also divided by the chapters in the book: Light and Delicate, Soft and Chewy, Crumbly and Sandy, Chunky and Nutty, Cakey and Tender, Crisp and Crunchy, Rich and Dense. Makes it very easy if you are craving some specific texture of cookie, to find what to bake.
Each cookie type has a short introduction. There is a chapter on Tools and Techniques which gives you information on ingredients (under 'salt' it tells you why salt is needed in the recipes and what types of salts to use), the types of tools needed and why (like a rasp grater or a scale), preparing drop cookie dough, tools for shaping dough, shaping cookies by hand, icebox cookies, rolling dough, tools for baking dough, tools and ingredients for decorating and how to decorate. There is also a chapter on Packaging and Giving which shows wonderful (very Martha Stewartish) ways to gift your cookie creations. There is also a page on sources. Not only is there the small photo of each cookie in the front of the book but each recipe has it's own photo (most a full page). There are 175 cookies you can make. Recipes seem pretty straight forward.
I read a lot of reviews saying the book is bad because ingredients are hard to find and the recipes ask for a lot of equipment that folks don't have in their kitchen. I disagree. This isn't the "175 easiest recipes". Yes, there are recipes for Bratseli which require a special waffle like iron, or requests for "fluted tart pan" which many folks might not have, but I expect that in a cookbook that has 175 cookie recipes. I found plenty of recipes to try that required basic equipment I had on hand. Same thing goes for ingredients. Though I don't have malted milk powder in my cupboard (the Chocolate Malt Sandwiches sound tempting) I was hard pressed to find recipes that called for ingredients I didn't already have or couldn't get at my local regular grocery store.
In all fairness, I already have most of these recipes. I bought Martha's special Christmas Cookie Magazine about four years ago. In fact one of my New Year food resolutions for years, has been to bake at least six of the cookies from that magazine. And you can find most of these cookies on her website. So if you have access to both of those, you technically don't need this book. But it's nice to have the photos and recipes all in one place. Makes it easier when you have a cookie craving that must be fulfilled.
That being said, I always seem to have some trouble with cookies. They never seem to cook, set up, come out, taste, or have the deliver the quantity that I see listed in the recipes. So...this may be a challenge!