Monday, April 10, 2006
Mondays with Maida - Viennese Marzipan Bars
Page 120 in the old book / page 157 in the new book
These cookies would have been more colorful if I had followed Maida's directions, but I just couldn't bring myself to add green food coloring to the marzipan filling. I opted instead to throw a little colorful paper on the plate (green food coloring ?!?!?)
Much like the Viennese Chocolate-Walnut Bars, these cookies are constructed of four layers, but to a completely different effect. The bottom layer is a buttery cookie layer that is soft and tender - verging on cake-like. That is topped with a little apricot jam, then a wonderful ground almond filling, and finally a sweet chocolate glaze.
These cookies were good and the marzipan filling was particularly good, but the layers were uniformly sweet and the complexity you might expect from a layered cookie was lacking. But I think this one shows lots of promise and is worth a second chance. Perhaps the apricot filling from last week's Polish Wedding Cakes in place of the apricot jam, and a bitter chocolate glaze on top as in those Chocolate Mint Sticks would perk them up.
This cookie is the final cookie in the Bar Cookie chapter - look for my round-up and personal favorites tomorrow. Viennese Marzipan Bars are also the last to be reviewed by Phil, who has entertained us all and made an art form out of the cookie review in the process. Thank you Phil - we'll miss you terribly! Here's the panel...
Suzanne: "The last of the bar cookies was the best. The cookie tasted like a fine French pastry. I loved the combination of finely chopped nuts, smooth apricot filling and a thin layer of chocolate on the top. It was a fitting dessert for Phil’s last week at work. Phil is truly a Renaissance man with broad intellectual interests. He is also a great story teller. Even though I have never been able to write an artful description of the cookies (and I have tried) as Phil does, I enjoyed reading his comments. We’ll miss you Phil. Enjoy your retirement! Rating - 5.0"
Denny: "Good - liked the chocolate, but kinda non-descript. Rating - 3.0"
Laura: "Tasty and good. With chocolate you can't go wrong. Rating - 4.0"
Phil: "These elegant stratified layers of apricot preserves and almonds coated with a chocolate glaze seemed a delightful ending to a year of great cookie tasting. As I pass the Tupperware tub to more cultivated palates it feels a little like giving up your seat on the NY Stock exchange. I'm not sure I ever would have appreciated Maida's cookies (with recipes crafted with drill instructor like precision) without the gentle touch and boundless enthusiasm Cathy brings to this adventure. Rating - 4.7"
Overall rating by the panel - 4.2
Next week - New Mexican Chocolate Icebox Cookies