Monday, January 15, 2007
Mondays with Maida - Dione Lucas' Sablés
Page 190 in the old book / page 218 in the new book
I've gotten off easy the last couple of weeks - if only all rolled cookie doughs were as easy to handle as this one! Once again the dough is rolled unchilled between sheets of wax paper, chilled briefly and then cut. In spite of the fact that I went with a cutter with a ruffly edge, I was still able to easily release the cut cookies from the cutter.
The cookies themselves were a little disappointing. Pretty as they were, they were rather bland in flavor. They have ground almonds and a little rum in them, but the almonds contribute more to the texture than the taste of the cookie, and the rum is more noticeable to the nose than the tongue. Even the whole almond that tops the cookie could stand to be enhanced flavorwise. For some reason (perhaps to keep the whole cookie uniformly pale in color?) the almond is not toasted beforehand as it was for last week's cookie.
Now let me tell you a little about Dione Lucas. I was not familiar with her name, but I suspect many of you are. She was the first woman to graduate from the Cordon Bleu and the first woman to host a television cooking show (in the late forties). Maida Heatter calls her "one of the greatest cooks of our time" and says that she served these cookies at a memorable dinner party. Julia Child, who many of us might consider to be "the mother of French cooking in America", herself attributed that accomplishment to Dione Lucas. Ms. Lucas wrote several cookbooks, including The Cordon Bleu Cookbook, and ran the Egg Basket restaurant in New York. She died in 1971.
Here's the panel...
Suzanne: "The cookie again this week was a somewhat plain, but I enjoyed the taste. I thought it had a slight buttery taste, but maybe what I was tasting was the rum. It was an attractive cookie with a clear glaze on top which I expected to be sweet, but it wasn’t. Rating - 3.5"
Denny: "Dione should drink more rum when she bakes. These were Ok, kind of bland especially when compared with many of the others we've tried. I'd give them a 2.0. They're actually better but the chocolate penalty of -1 drives them down and I actually like shortbread. Rating - 2.0"
Laura: "This is a very nice shortbread type cookie. Very tasty. Love the crunchy almond on top. Yum! Rating - 3.5"
Terri: "These are very tasty with a slight flavor of rum. They were a little bit dry, almost a shortbread consistency. The almond and glaze were delicious. Rating - 3.5"
Overall rating by the panel - 3.1
Next Week - Cornell Sugar Cookies