Monday, October 23, 2006

Mondays with Maida - Viennese Almond Wafers


Page 170 in the old book / page 205 in the new book

It was probably when I saw those little beads of butter sweat on the parchment that I first had the sinking feeling these cookies were going to be a flop in the office. Cookies oozing butter don't especially appeal to me. I wasn't won over when I tasted one either - very buttery, thin, crispy, toasty almonds on top, but not much else flavorwise. It appears, however, that I misjudged both the cookies and the cookie panel.

I rolled the dough between sheets of wax paper, chilled it and then turned it out onto a floured pastry cloth. The dough is rolled into a 9-inch square and then cut into 24 small oblongs. I was a little sloppy when it came to cutting the rolled dough. I eyeballed it and cut freehand with a pizza cutter, but another time I think I would use a ruler as a guide. The other thing I would do differently the next time is separate the cut oblongs slightly after cutting and before brushing them with the egg white. I didn't separate them until after the egg white and almonds were put on top and found that the cuts were near impossible to find.

So as I hinted above, these cookies were a huge hit. I may have to make them again just to try and figure out why!

Here's the panel...

Suzanne: "The paper thin wafer cookies were in an oval shape and were great! The sweet butter taste along with the shaved toasted almond topping was a delicious combination. The only problem is that you definitely have to have more then one (or a lot as I did). Rating: 5.0"

Denny: "Extra excellent. Light and tasty and loved the nuts on top. Minus one for no chocolate still gives it a 4.0. Rating - 4.0"

Laura: "Delicious and crunchy with a lovely flavor... A few too many chopped nuts on top, but still great. Rating - 3.5"

Terri: "These delicate cookies are delicious. I particularly like almond flavor and these were very flavorful and crunchy. The almond slices on top of this thin layer makes this a work of art! Rating - 5.0"

Overall rating by the panel - 4.4

Next Week - Ischler Cookies

Nutrition Facts

16 comments:

Alice said...

Yay...I love a surprise success story!! Glad these were such a hit.

rowena said...

Somebody once told me that when you bake, you should just worry about being precise and to not put too much emphasis on how you would like the end product to turn out. I know this sounds rather odd, but I've made many a cookie or dessert that I didn't much care for, although the "buying" public did. Your panelists rock! ;-)

Lu said...

I can't wait for my Maita book to arrive. Any day now!!!!!!!!!

Lu said...

OOPS, maybe I should be more excited about my MAIDA book. :-)

Cathy said...

Hi Alice! Yes, I have to say, I was very relieved!

Hi Rowena! I can see how that would be true. "Too much information" probably applies as well to baking as anything else. When you've made it you know exactly what's in it - even if it's two sticks of butter for four servings (no, don't worry, it hasn't gotten that bad yet!). There also are some techniques that are less than appetizing - like "breaking" the dough. If it's been a long and difficult process, I suppose that may also color your opinion of things. But you're right - the cookie panel does rock!

Hi Lu! Yay! Got any plans for what you'll make first?

Laura said...

I have been lurking for a very long time (almost a year) and never miss a week. I have also gone to many of your links...what fun. I think the combination of the pictures, the story of making the cookie and the opinion panel is just great.
I finally broke down and got the book.
When I log onto the site every week I see the Polish Wedding Cookies. That is probably where I will start. Or maybe I will pick up with you and make the same cookie you are making...and see how close our experience is.
Just deciding is fun.
Thanks for such a positive experience. Laura

Cathy said...

Hi Laura - thanks so much! I love hearing from someone new that they've been enjoying my blog! So glad to hear too that you bought the book - you're going to love it. I remember those Polish wedding cakes well - they were delicious and a fine place to start. Enjoy the book!

Yelena said...

i used to love cookies similar to these when i was a kid, and probably still do although i haven't had them in a while.

they were almost butter toffee like because they were so buttery and sweet and there was a thin layer of chocolate on the bottom....ah, the memories=]

Nupur said...

Oh Cathy, they look delicious! And that exacting almond arrangement! Love the platter too, it "feels" Viennese :)

Judy said...

They look so yummy! I love thin, crispy cookies - the darker, the better!

Cathy said...

Hi Yelena! Oh, I think I know the kind of cookie you're talking about - doesn't Pepperidge Farm make something similar? Anyway, those do sound good! These aren't candy-like like those, but a layer of chocolate on the bottom would still be yummy (and make Denny very happy!).

Hi Nupur! Thanks so much! I feel like I'm rotating the same 4 or 5 plates in my photos. I hadn't even thought in terms of this one looking Viennese, but all the better if it does!

Hi Judy - thank you! These shouldn't be too dark, though they darken up quickly if you don't keep an eye on them, probably because they're so thin. I do love the almonds all brown and toasty though!

mari said...

She bakes, and she calculates...First, those cookies look scrumptious. I am amazed, AMAZED! that you do this every week. Does Maida know about you? She should. I have one of her books and she starts it off by saying that giving cookies makes people happy. She's so right. I say just looking at them makes me smile.

And about the detergent. Good grief. I nearly failed math in high school, so all those numbers...I've found, sadly, that whenever I buy a detergent that says it's environmentally friendly in some way, it's a lot less effective than the mainstream products. I end up using more. Or just going back to the stuff which is supposed to be environmentally unfriendly...

Lu said...

Cathy -- reading all the comments makes me so eager to receive my Maida book! Can't wait. Today I went to our library's "Friends" sale and, ummm, might have bought about 10 more cookbooks. But -- they were only $1 apiece! Looking forward to Monday's cookie. I wonder what plan I'll take; thinking of the approach after reading Laura's thoughts on it :)

Cathy said...

Hi Mari! Thanks so much! I remember that passage - I reread the introduction to the cookie book recently and came across it (again). There is something about cookies that makes people happy - particularly when they're as beautiful as yours!

Hi Lu! Seems like it should arrive soon, doesn't it? In the meantime, sounds like you have lots to amuse yourself with! Those library sales can be a dangerous thing, eh? So many books at such low prices. Hope you got some good ones - sounds like you're on your way to having a sizable cookbook library!

Lauren said...

These look fantastic! I can't wait to try the recipe for an almond lover.

Cathy said...

Hi Lauren - thanks so much! These cookies should definitely be well-received by any almond lover.