Monday, July 24, 2006

Mondays with Maida - Sesame Fingers

Page 146 in the old book / page 179 in the new book

I FOUND A MISTAKE IN THE BOOK! I am certain that this is an editing error, but I was still surprised to find it. What is even more surprising is that it appears in both the old and new books. I reviewed the recipe before I began and was amused to find the following instructions for shaping the dough before chilling, "With your hands press against the paper to mold the dough into an oblong 12 inches long, 3/4 inch wide, and 1 inch thick." Hmmm... if sliced 1/4 of an inch thick, that would make each cookie about the size of a piece of Bazooka bubble gum, wouldn't it? I think the desired dimensions are actually 12 inches long, 3 to 4 inches wide, and 1 inch thick.

I liked these cookies very much - they're attractive, they're sweet and crunchy, and they have an interesting texture because of the abundant sesame seeds within (3/4 cup). As some of the cookie panelists comment below, they are rather plain, but I don't think that's always a bad thing. In fact, I got into a bit of a debate with Denny on that very topic. (I promise I was not trying to sway his vote!) I guess it's to be expected that when you ask people to assign numerical ratings to cookies week after week, they will naturally compare one week's cookie to past offerings. The thing is, I think that these plainer cookies can be pretty great in their own right. Simplicity can be a virtue, but I think in this setting it's not usually seen that way. OK, I'll get off my soapbox now... all I'm saying is, you really ought to give these cookies a chance.

Here's the panel...

Suzanne: "I love sesames in everything, so I knew I would like this cookie. The butter, sesames, and vanilla almost gave the cookie a slight lemony taste. Also, the cookie's shape was attractive and reminded me of lady finger cookies. I also liked the crunchiness of the cookie with the sesames. Rating- 4.0"

Denny: "Bland and not much going for it. Wasn't bad, just not too good. Rating - 2.0"

Laura: "Very hard to rate objectively, since I do not care for sesame seeds. Rating - 1.0"

Terri: "These cookies are somewhat like a shortbread with sesame seeds. I really like the shortbread flavor, but they may be bland if served alone. These would be great along with a chocolate cookie or chocolate dessert. Also would be great with fruit. Rating - 3.0"

Overall rating by the panel - 2.5

Next week - Caraway Crisps

Nutrition Facts


Elijah said...

ooh or with one end dipped in chocolate/chocolate peices perhaps? Just a thought :)

I found a typo in your post kathy.. you describe the book as reading ".. the dough into an oblong 12 inches long, 3/4 inch wide and 1 inch thick.". Shouldn't this read "1/4 inch thick" to go along with the rest of your rant? ;)

Just a thought :) how do you get your cookies so evenly symmetrical, practice? When I've made sliced cookies before, the log always comes out an uneven circumfrence but I'm afraid to work with the dough too much for fear of it melting. Is it just lots of practice?

Amy said...

You're right, plain is not a bad thing!

I know the owner of an ice cream shop, and the current trend is flavors with all sorts of things mixed in. I told her, "I'm boring! I like plain flavors, like vanilla, cinnamon, caramel..."

She said, "You're not boring. You're a purist." I think that sounds better.

Cathy said...

Hi Elijah - I replied earlier but somehow my comments slipped into the Blogger void... Anyway, first about the dimensions - the three numbers are the dimension of the log before slicing, so I have no typos there (but look hard and you may find one elsewhere!). I don't always get my cookies even, symmetrical, or even consistent in size. I've had better luck when the log is shaped in an oblong rather than a roll - it's easier to slice and easier to shape the log. Running a straight edge (like a bench scraper) gently over each side of the wrapped log before chilling helps with getting a nicely squared shape. In most cases a well-chilled (even frozen) log is easier to slice. A smaller log is MUCH easier to slice - I've had the worst luck with the larger cookies. I wish I could say practice helps. Maybe it does in shaping the log, but I'm still not very good at slicing!

Hi Amy! Purist... I like that! Of course I'm not opposed to more elaborate cookies, it's just that I can appreciate each kind for what it is... and think others ought to too! :)

rowena said...

Ha! Bazooka bubblegum...haven't had a piece of those in a long time!

I'm wondering if these would work with black sesame seeds. I got a whole bag of those in my pantry.

Cathy said...

Hi Rowena! Now that would be a whole different look, wouldn't it? I'm not that familiar with black sesame seeds, so I'm not sure what the difference is (if any) in flavor, but I say go for it! I actually would have enjoyed a more pronounced sesame flavor in these cookies.

Nic said...

The cookies look great, like they'd be perfect with a cup of tea. I agree that plain can be tasty, and I was surprised to hear that they was a typo, though I guess Maida's editors can't be as perfect as she is. =)
It's an easy mistake to make - and I make typos, too, so I'm not going to be judgmental

Cathy said...

Hi Nic! I agree - these would be great with tea. And yes, I guess Maida's editors are mere mortals!

J said...

hi cathy, gorgeous cookies! sounds like they would be lovely with green tea...their simple appearance belies the dexterity and skill it really takes to get them so perfectly bubble-gum-like in shape ;)

Cathy said...

Hi Jocelyn - thanks! Actually, this dough was very easy to shape and this long finger shape is particularly easy to slice.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those cookies look very fine!

I've just discovered your blog and I find it very pleasant! I have decided to add you to my list of great blogs...

Cathy said...

Thanks Rosa!