Monday, March 28, 2005
Mondays with Maida - Praline Wafers
Page 46 in the old book / page 77 in the new book
These are very thin, crispy, candy-like cookies that are supposed to be reminescent of New Orleans pralines. They are very sweet and have brown sugar and pecans in them, but to my mind the similarity ends there.
I had a terrible time making these because I made one very big mistake. I've been successfully using parchment paper for years and never thought twice about using something different (although I do have Silpat mats that I use from time to time, I feel that parchment is less fuss). You may recall I mentioned way back when that the old book routinely calls for lining the cookie sheets with foil, while the new book specifies parchment. I knew that these cookies were going to be extremely thin and fragile and for some reason got it in my head that maybe the foil might be a better bet. DO NOT use foil to line the cookie sheets for these cookies! I ended up tossing a good deal of the first batch in the trash, still attached to the foil.
Supposedly, when the cookies have been baked the correct amount of time, they will come off the foil easily. I was able, with great difficulty, to remove the first sheet of cookies (which I think was probably slightly undercooked) from the foil. I put the second sheet back in the oven for a couple of minutes and then they came off easily enough, but the next two sheets never came off the foil. I put them back in the oven over and over again, but they were stuck fast. I switched to parchment for the last sheet of the first batch and all of the hastily prepared second batch and had no trouble with sticking. Live and learn!
Given my history with these cookies, I was probably a harsh critic. They are good, but I didn't find them particularly satisfying as a cookie. With only two tablespoons of flour (for 28 cookies), they really are more like candy than a cookie. They are incredibly easy to make, though. They take about three minutes to mix in a saucepan, shaping is not much of an issue (just be sure to distribute the pecans), and removing them from parchment is not a problem.
However, judging by how quickly they were consumed in my office and the responses of the cookie panel, you might want to disregard my opinion!
Suzanne: "At first taste, I thought the cookie was too sweet. Then I realized it tasted like a crunchy, chewy, pecan pie. The cookie was thin and lacey. Rating - 3.5"
Denny: "Another one that I wouldn't normally like, but did. Rating - 3.8"
Laura: "Yummy! Melts in your mouth with just the right amount of crunch! Rating - 5"
Phil: "More a wafer than a classic cookie - thin, chewy, sweet, with an occasional ripple of pecan. Tends to stick to those back molars for further snacking. For weight watchers may be one of the more lethal cookie varieties since it appears such a slim wafer is not very caloric. Rating - 4.5"
Overall rating by the panel - 4.2
Next week – The Farmer's Wife's Pecan Cookies