BETHEL, Conn. — Byrd’s Books in Bethel celebrated its five-year anniversary with cookies — hundreds of them, in fact.
The bookstore held a cookie swap over the weekend with treats made from recipes in the newly published book "Dorie's Cookies" written by Dorie Greenspan of Westbrook, who spoke at the event.
“The event was great,” said Danbury resident Chris Hoelck, who was one of the 22 people who participated in the cookie swap. “Dorie is one of my favorite bakers and cookbook writers."
For the exchange, Hoelck made maple-star anise cookies with spiced cream cheese filling. "I chose a sandwich cookie, so I ended up making a double batch to be sure I had enough for samples and then for the cookie exchange," he said.
He added that he has already made about 40 recipes from Greenspan's book — and the cookie he made for the event is his favorite so far. “I’ve made it three times now. It’s just a really interesting, unexpected collection of flavors that really work together,” Hoelck said.
During the cookie exchange, Greenspan spoke about her cookbook, recipe development and working with celebrity chef Julia Child. She also signed copies of her books.
According to Byrd’s Books' owner Alice Hutchinson, when Greenspan's book was published in October, people who signed up for the event purchased it in advance and made cookies from its recipes.
They brought in the cookies they made to the cookie swap for others to taste and share.
Each person who attended the event purchased a small empty box for $10. Participants filled their boxes with cookies.
The proceeds from the event were donated to the local no-kill animal shelter, DAWS (Danbury Animal Welfare Society), in Bethel.
Aside from containing 170 cookie recipes, the 500-plus page cookbook also gives information on everything one would need to know to bake cookies.
“It tells you what supplies you need in terms of ingredients, what standard techniques are needed with cookie baking and even gives some very basic core recipes that can be adapted for other flavors,” Hutchinson said.
She felt the cookie swap was a great one to celebrate for the store’s fifth anniversary. “We thought it was a good time to combine it for a birthday celebration,” she said. “It was a great reason for people to bake.”
Hutchinson said she has loved every minute of her time at Byrd’s Books over the past five years.
“There is no place I would rather open a bookstore than Downtown Bethel. It is centrally located to towns that don’t have a bookstore, we are the only local independent bookstore in the area and our customers are devoted to shopping locally,” Hutchinson said. “I look forward to many more years in the community.”
Byrd’s Books is community and events driven. “You build a community by having Connecticut and local authors here and by having events,” she said. “People come to these events and get exposed to a side of publishing and a background of authors -- (both of which) they would never have exposure to otherwise.”
Holiday hours at Byrd's Books are Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.