Monday, November 06, 2006
Mondays with Maida - Viennese Chocolate Cookies
Page 174 in the old book / page 208 in the new book
These are very rich chocolate almond cookies that taste surprisingly light. I thought they were wonderful, but most of the cookie panel was less enthused than I. What I found most interesting and pleasing in these cookies was probably the very thing that spoiled them for those who thought the cookies came up short.
Among the expected ingredients (chocolate, almonds, butter, etc.), were the less expected (cinnamon and cloves), and the totally unexpected (grated lemon rind). I don't think the lemon was recognizable unless you knew it was there, but it brightened the flavor of the cookies. Others (Suzanne and Denny) felt the cookies weren't as chocolatey as they'd expected or hoped. This wasn't for a lack of chocolate in the cookies, so my guess is that the lemon, which I enjoyed, was perceived by Suzanne and Denny as diminishing the chocolate flavor. Oh well. As Tim Gunn would say, chacun à son goût!
The technique for making these is a little different - no mixer is used and the chocolate is added in the form of ground chocolate. You pull the crumbly dough together into a ball and then "break" it by smearing a little at a time on your work surface with the heel of your hand. Messy, but somehow satisfying. The resulting dough is very easy to handle and was a pleasure to work with. Once again, I decided to make some small cookies as well as some in the recommended size. I topped the smaller ones with a slice of blanched almond. The larger ones were topped as instructed in the recipe with half of a blanched almond that was toasted. I found the process of splitting the almonds tedious and a little difficult - next time I would just use slices.
Here's the panel...
Suzanne: "I love chocolate and nuts, but somehow these were not my favorite cookie. How could that be? I could definitely taste the lemon in the cookie and I think the lemon cut down the sweetness of the cookie. They looked and smelled like a chocolate cookie, but with each bite that deep chocolate taste was missing. I don’t think I’ve ever given a chocolate cookie a rating less then a 5 (maybe a 4), but my rating for this cookie is 3. Rating: 3.0"
Denny: "Good but I was disappointed by my high expectations. Chocolate and almonds are quite a combo, but this cookie took a bit from their normal synergy. A 3.0, with 2.5 being average. Rating - 3.0"
Laura: "Delicious combination of chocolate and almonds - two of my favorites. Rating - 3.5"
Terri: "Outstanding! I could eat the entire batch. These have a light chocolate flavor - not too rich and the almonds add lots of flavor too. My 20 year old son thought they were great too! Rating - 5.0"
Overall rating by the panel - 3.6
Next Week - Tropical Sour-Cream Cookies