Monday, October 22, 2007

Mondays with Maida - Black-and-White Rusks

Black-and-White Rusks
Page 262 in the old book / page 279 in the new book

These two biscotti-like cookies - last week's Hazelnut Rusks and this week's Black-and-White Rusks - have left me wishing there were more like them in the book. I've had little prior experience with this type of cookie, but have especially enjoyed these two. Fortunately, there's a whole chapter of biscotti to be explored in Maida Heatter's Brand-New Book of Great Cookies!

These lovely two-toned cookies have two flavors as well. The outer layer has grated orange zest in it and the middle has some melted chocolate added to it. Forming the roll isn't difficult and the dough is generally easy to handle, though I did find the chocolate dough became somewhat brittle with time. This is another cookie for you former Play-Doh lovers :-) Both the middle and outer layers are rolled on a board into long ropes. The outer layer is flattened and then pulled up around the middle chocolate rope. The long oval shape of the individual slices is achieved by cutting on a very sharp angle after baking.

Black-and-White Rusks

These cookies are a little easier on the teeth than last week's, thanks to half a cup of oil in the recipe, but they are still quite crunchy. The combination of chocolate and orange is wonderful and their looks and durability would make them ideal for holiday gift giving and even mailing.

Here's the panel (don't listen to Denny)...

Suzanne: "Delicious! I love everything about this cookie. I love the smell of the orange and the crunchiness of the cookie. The cookie was so attractive with its thin, angular shape and chocolate in the center. I’m sure I will be eating more then one of these cookies. Rating - 5.0"

Denny: "OK, but not much flavor. Maybe they should be thrice-baked with a real good cookie on top and another on the bottom. Even with the chocolate I could only give them a 2.0. Rating - 2.0"

Laura: "Zesty orange flavor with a hint of chocolate. Yum! A little more crunchy than I usually like, but it works for this cookie. Rating - 4.0"

Terri: "These are very much like biscotti and very tasty with the touch of chocolate in the middle. These are quite crunchy but would be perfect with tea or coffee. The slight orange taste adds a nice touch of flavor! Rating - 3.5"

Overall rating by the panel - 3.6

Next week - Palm Island Brandy Snaps

Nutrition Facts

12 comments:

santos. said...

>(don't listen to Denny)...

ha!

i wonder, though, do you think that certain cookies would do better if the order of the tastings were different? or is a bad cookie really a bad cookie no matter where it has been? ;)

i love the look of this one, and the flavours appeal to me too. i found a whole bunch of my grandmother's cookie jars from the '30s; she was a big fan of 'dry' cookies, i'm sure she'd like these. we're going to have a family reunion soon, i think this is a good candidate for one of cookies with which i'll fill the jars.

rowena said...

At first glance I already loved these! Heehee...for Denny perhaps it would've been a more positive experience had there been drizzled chocolate on the top. And on the bottom, for good measure. ;-)

Nupur said...

You are perfection personified, Cathy! Those rusks look beautiful. I'm sitting here sipping my first cup of tea of the day, and imagining a rusk with chocolate and orange...

Amy said...

Thanks for including that second picture!

Cathy said...

Hi Santos! There have definitely been a couple of really awful cookies that nothing could have helped - whether it was my execution or the recipe I may never know, though. But I do think you're right that there are probably other factors at play in the ratings. I wouldn't be surprised if there's even a "seasonality" of sorts - I have a feeling that the panel has gotten tougher as we near the end. One thing I won't miss about this project is getting a report card every single week! :)

I think these would be wonderful for your reunion cookie jars, and what a nice thing to do!

Hi Rowena! Oh, I'm certain some drizzled chocolate would have beefed up his rating considerably!! I think the chocolate in these cookies plays second fiddle to the orange - it makes the cookie pretty, but doesn't add lots of flavor. Some chocolate on top would be nice but would probably overpower the beautiful orange fragrance.

Hi Nupur! Oh, but I'm not! But thanks for thinking so :) I think anyone approaching this recipe with a reasonable degree of care will succeed in producing some very attractive cookies. The dough is easy to handle and shaping it is no trouble at all. The one thing that took a little practice was cutting that sharp angle - at first I forgot to, then my angle wasn't sharp enough, but after a few cuts I had it!

Hi Amy! You're welcome!

rowena said...

Hi Cathy,
Regarding the grated bananas, I did also think of using a food mill or potato ricer but green bananas are rock solid! I know the idea of using a "knuckle grater" is not the most attractive alternative but unless you're lucky to have a fancy food processor with an assortment of blades...

Funny, my friend never did grate his own bananas. He always got them from his aunt!! ;-)

Zarah Maria said...

They're soooo pretty Cathy! And you're almost done with the book - WOW! It's the end of an era! You're doing the Brand-New Book of Great Cookies next?;)

mari said...

Those. Look. Beautiful! I've always loved the combination of chocolate and orange. If you ever try these again, here's another addition that might interest you: orange, chocolate and ginger.

Cakespy said...

Yummy, and as easy on the eyes as on the teeth! :-)

Cathy said...

Hi Rowena - knuckle grater is right! I've never cooked with either raw bananas or plantains, though I've always been curious about plantains. Your stew was the first time I'd seen raw bananas used.

Hi Zarah! Thanks! I'm not saying I won't someday decide to do the same with the brand new book, but I know I'm not doing it anytime soon! I have something else planned and after that... well, we'll see :)

Hi Mari! Yum, ginger sounds like a wonderful addition! I think it would be wonderful to have some candied ginger in these, but I'm afraid the twice-baking would turn it into teeth-sticking, hardened bits. Oh, I know - drizzle with chocolate and candied ginger :) Of course, like I said before, the orange wouldn't stand a chance with all that!

Thank you cakespy!

Meg in Nelson said...

This looks like a shuttle-inspired cookie, almost!

Cathy said...

Hi Meg! You're right, I hadn't thought of that :)