Monday, October 01, 2007
Mondays with Maida - Swedish Fried Twists
Page 256 in the old book / page 274 in the new book
In spite of my dislike of deep fat frying, these cookies were actually fun to make. Rolling the dough was a little difficult (perhaps I kneaded it a little too long or vigorously), but other than that the dough was easily handled. Cutting the cookies is very simple - they are just rectangles with a slot cut in them. That little twist is easy enough - just pull one end of the rectangle through the slot. Best of all, though, is watching them cook. You drop that funny looking little bit of dough into the hot oil and up rises a puffy, beautifully shaped cookie.
Now if only they tasted half so good. In spite of some mighty exotic ingredients (cognac and cardamom), these cookies are exceedingly bland. In fact in the header note Maida herself even calls them "extremely plain". Why then? Why does practically every country have a variation of this cookie to call its own? I don't get it and I'm a little bummed that I bought a bottle of cognac in order to put two tablespoons into a cookie where it wouldn't even be noticed. You know me though, I'll probably keep that bottle until the day I die (as well as that old bottle of savory), so it's bound to come in handy for something between now and then. If you don't have cognac, and are intent on making these, I'm sure you could swap in something else (orange juice, rum...) or even replace the cognac with a little extra cream.
The fact that the whole world loves these cookies makes me wonder if I did something wrong. Maybe they were cooked too long or maybe something went wrong in the frying. I monitored the temperature of the oil closely, but used a fairly small pan, which meant that I could only cook two or three at a time and so had the oil heated for a quite a while. A dusting of confectioner's sugar perks these cookies up slightly, but not enough to make a repeat appearance in my kitchen likely.
Here's the panel...
Suzanne: "As I discussed with Cathy, the taste didn’t remind me of a cookie. Actually, the taste reminded me of Chinese food. I couldn’t taste the cognac or cardamom. They were very attractive with a twist and powdered sugar on top. The cookie tasted very plain and you could definitely taste the oil from frying the cookie. Sorry, Cathy, I know you put a lot of work into this cookie, but my rating is .5. Rating - 0.5"
Denny: "OK. They looked a little like pizelle dough, so I was prepared for the anise which I don't like. I was pleasantly surprised when the anise wasn't there so that makes them better than pizelles. -1 for chocolate give them a 2.0 by my tastebuds. Rating - 2.0"
Laura: "Okay flavor, but a little too oily for my liking. Perhaps if eaten just after being made (i.e. still hot) would have been better (though I know logistically that would be impossible). Rating - 3.0"
Overall rating by the panel - 1.8
Next week - Basler Brunsli