Tuesday, November 13, 2007

My Favorite "Et Cetera" Cookies

Tea and cookies
Love it when I miraculously capture a curly wisp of steam. Love these tea bags from Bob and Chuck too. The Almond Tartlets weren't bad either, but didn't quite make it to my list of favorites.

This is a chapter of cookies that didn't fit into any of the previous chapters, so it's sort of hard to characterize them as a group. There were several tartlets, several baked as loaves and then sliced, and a smattering of others. Many were beautiful to look at, but few achieved cookie greatness - or have I become jaded and hard-to-please when it comes to cookies? Others have suggested to me (and I think it is true) that the order that the cookies were presented to the cookie panel probably had some bearing on their scores. I'm sure the same is true for me - the first chapter was approached with great enthusiasm, this last with a sense of obligation.

This chapter was heavy on the almonds and I feel to a certain extent that the almonds let me down more than the recipes. In almost every case I'd be inclined to toast the almonds if I were to try the recipe again. This chapter also had some of the most challenging recipes - the tartlets aren't difficult, but they do take time - lots of it. And there must be a trick to those macaroons that has escaped me.

But in spite of my waning interest and technical difficulties, there were still a handful of recipes that I would make again in a heartbeat. So without further ado, here are my favorites...

Connecticut Date Slices
These moist and chewy, sweet and spicy Connecticut Date Slices are the pinnacle of cookie comfort!

Fudge Délices
This is one of those cookies that gave me some difficulty, but in spite of my troubles these Fudge Délices truly were delights!

Black-and-White Rusks
On the other hand, making these Black-and-White Rusks really was fun and the resulting orange and chocolate cookies? Heaven! In fact, they narrowly lost out to the next cookie as my very favorite...

Hazelnut Rusks
Hard on the teeth and not much to look at, but these simple Hazelnut Rusks let all those fragrant hazelnuts shine through. Eat them plain if you dare, or dunk them in your hot beverage of choice - either way, I think you'll love them as much as I did.

Almost done! All that's left is to name my own personal top ten from the book and reveal the winners of my little guessing game. There's still time to post your guesses about the total pounds of butter, number of eggs, cups of flour and cups of sugar (all kinds) required to make each recipe in the book once. I have one copy of the old book and a couple of other small prizes (a small maple appetizer tray from J.K. Adams in Vermont and a set of pewter pushpins with a culinary theme) to award to the closest guessers. All answers must be posted in the comments by midnight EST Thursday, November 15th.

If you just stumbled here from Google or elsewhere, we're talking about Maida Heatter 's wonderful book of cookies called 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.

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