Elinor Klivans's The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook is absolutely lovely, including a decent number of color photographs, a clean layout, and easy-to-read recipes. The pages are thick and somewhat glossy, comparatively easy to keep clean. You'll find everything in here from cookies to bar cookies, muffins to pies, tarts and puddings to cakes, and of course, ice cream desserts. The table of contents names each and every recipe, while the index allows you to look up recipes by major ingredient. If you want to find that lovely banana cream pie with graham cracker crunch, you can look under 'bananas' in the index or the 'pies' chapter in the table of contents.
The first recipe we made was a cinnamon and chips chiffon cake. Unfortunately, the mini-chips sank straight through the batter during baking, stuck to the pan, and then largely stayed behind when the cake was removed, leaving the cake with holes and a thick layer of remaining chocolate chips at the top. We made banana-oatmeal chocolate chip cookies; every person who tried them agreed they would have been better with about half the chips in them.
The real kicker was the cookie dough cheesecake bars, however. In the photo, a full layer of cheesecake filling sits atop a graham-chocolate chip crust. Small blobs of crispy baked chocolate chip cookie dough obscure some of the filling, and lines of chocolate drizzle criss-cross the entire thing. In reality, the crust kept falling apart; the layer of cheesecake was minimal and difficult to taste amongst everything else; the 'cookie dough' was far too abundant and didn't come together as a dough; and if we'd actually included the drizzled chocolate, the result would have tasted overwhelmingly of chocolate. Our guess is that there should have been about twice as much cheesecake filling; the crust perhaps needed a bit more butter; and the cookie dough needed more liquid (a little milk? an egg?) and should have been halved.
The flavors are good, if unbalanced (the chocolate overwhelmed the other flavors in the recipes). The book is beautiful. Unfortunately, not a single recipe we tried came out great, and they tended to have noticeable 'issues.' As much as I love Chronicle cookbooks on the whole, this is not one of their best.