Tuesday, July 17, 2007
My Favorite Hand-Formed Cookies
With a come hither look that's hard to refuse, these Fudge Mallows made the Cookie Panel's top ten, but were too sweet for my taste.
Can you tell I'm running out of steam? I probably shouldn't admit that, but it's true. I think I've had enough cookies for a while, but there are only 16 to go and I can't stop now! Unfortunately, whether it's my waning enthusiasm, or that after 132 cookies I've become hypercritical, or possibly even that the cookies in this chapter weren't quite up to the standards of the earlier chapters, I was slightly underwhelmed by these hand-formed cookies. There were definitely cookies I liked, and even some I liked a lot, but in my opinion there were no WOW cookies this time around. I should hasten to add that I may be alone in my view of this group of cookies, for the cookie panel in its infinite wisdom awarded its first 5.0's to two cookies from the chapter: the Fudge Mallows and English Gingersnaps #1.
This chapter brought the most dramatic cookie disaster yet, the second cookie to get a reputation in the wilds of the blogosphere for looking like a turd (I kid you not. And I'm not telling what the first one was, it's in the witness protection program), but still and all, it was fun. Lots of fun, actually - there is something very, very satisfying about rolling dough with your hands, be it into little balls or long ropes.
So, on with the show. I hope my earlier comments don't deter you from trying some of these cookies. Even if they're missing that wow-factor, there were still some very good cookies. As usual, the runners-up are in no particular order and I've saved my very favorite cookie for last...
This is a classic, but still sooo good - delicate, buttery, and nutty Austrian Walnut Crescents.
Chewy and crunchy at the same time, with the winning flavors of brown sugar and toasted almond. I think I'm going to have to find an excuse to make these Señoritas again very soon.
Not to everyone's liking because of the sesame seeds, I thought these Italian Sesame Sticks were delicious... and habit-forming!
And finally, my favorite: Coconut Washboards. I made them with unsweetened, dessicated coconut, which I expect is what made them so crunchy (the recipe says they are semisoft cookies). Though I'm curious to try them as Maida intended (probably with sweetened, shredded coconut), I loved this crunchy version. They taste great too - it always amazes me how basic ingredients such as brown sugar, butter and vanilla can combine to produce such wonderful flavor.
One more chapter!!! I get my weekends back!!! But I'm getting ahead of myself... there are still 16 cookies to go and hopefully a few gems yet to be discovered. Please join me next Monday when I begin the mysteriously titled last chapter, "Et Cetera". And if you're just tuning in, all the cookies on this page are from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Cookies. The book is out of print but still available as a remainder, used, or in your library. All but one of the recipes were also reprinted in the newer Maida Heatter's Cookies which also includes cookie recipes from a couple of her other books. Read about my little project here and start here if you're interested in exploring my earlier posts.