Monday, September 04, 2006

Mondays with Maida - Swedish Rye Wafers

Page 157 in the old book / page 195 in the new book

I had a hunch these wouldn't be a hit, but I liked them. They are so buttery, that they are more like pastry then a cookie. They are rather plain, very crumbly and slightly sweet. I had hoped that everyone would be so charmed by the shape of the cookies, that they wouldn't notice or mind the seeds. Though they did remark on the shape, the seeds were still an issue for some.

I used a pastry cloth for the first time and I think it helped, but it wasn't completely trouble-free. When you use a pastry cloth, you must prepare it by rubbing flour into it. The idea is that the flour will prevent the fat from getting into the cloth and will prevent the dough from sticking. In theory, you should use less flour than you would have to use to prevent the dough from sticking to some other surface (such as your counter), which is better for your dough. The instructions that came with my pastry cloth suggested tucking the edges under a large board, which is what I did.

After a few strokes of the rolling pin I was completely sold - I could tell by how easily the dough was spreading that it wasn't sticking at all. Unfortunately, a few strokes later, it was obvious that the dough had started to stick. I don't know if the problem was with my preparation of the cloth or with the dough (which was very buttery). I managed, and I suspect I was better off with the cloth than without, but rolling cookie dough remains a bit of a chore in my view.

Suzanne asked me what the hole was for, but all I could tell her was that according to Maida it was traditional. She did a little sleuthing on the internet and found that these cookies are served at Christmas and the holes are to allow you to hang them on the tree.

Here's the panel...

Suzanne: "I loved the off-centered small hole in the cookie. I wasn’t too sure of the caraway seeds on top since I didn’t care for the last cookie with caraway seeds (even though I like caraway seeds in bread). To say the least, the cookie made with rye flour had an interesting taste, but I could tell right away that not much sugar was added to the cookie. I felt the cookie could have used more sugar and after a few bites, the caraway seeds sticking in my teeth started to bother me. Rating: 3.0"

Denny: "Kind of bland except for caraway seeds. Rating - 3.0"

Laura: "Delicate texture, unique shape cutout. Don't care for the seeds. Rating - 2.0"

Terri: "I've never had rye in a cookie, but it's a very interesting flavor. This seems almost like a cracker, but with more butter. I really like rye bread and this flavor remind me of that. Different, but delicious! Rating - 3.0"

Overall rating by the panel - 2.8

Next Week - Whole-Wheat Squares

Nutrition Facts


Cerebrum said...

Caraway seeds in a cookie - I'm not sure I'd approve either. But they're real purdy!:-)

Rowena said...

I'd be game to try (and probably love) such a cookie... only because I'm always curious about anything new. ;-) I think I relate especially to this though because I had cheese with get this, cumin seeds of all things! I'll write about it soon enough but it was particular to a cheese in Alsace!

Cathy said...

Hi Zarah! That's funny - I was poking around on the web last night to verify what Suzanne had found and came across a very similar recipe that was called Finnish Rye Cookies. I thought, this must be a Scandanavian thing... bet Zarah will say, "oh yeah, we eat these all the time". Wrong! But they are cute, aren't they?

Hi Rowena! OOoh, that sounds interesting! Although, I have to say I don't normally associate cumin with French cuisine, let alone French cheese! I wonder if these would be good with some cheeses? Sort of like Carr's wheatmeal biscuits, only rye...

Joycelyn said...

hi cathy, these look so awesome! - i can just imagine how lovely they'll look threaded with a pretty ribbon and hung on a tree. makes me wish it's christmas now!

Cathy said...

Hi Jocelyn! Thanks so much - they would be pretty, but I was surprised that these cookies would be used that way - they seem so fragile.

Kari said...

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Thor said...

Why don't you powder the caraway seeds or make a paste with them, incorporate with the dough, and use another sweetener, such as molasses, or honey, or brown sugar along with white sugar?? or you could make a linzer-type cookie and keep the hole in it, make a surrounding lip for the hole, put a type of filling, like apple butter or whatever would go good with that maybe pistachio, and then close it on the other end with another cookie (like linzer)? Then you would have like a green orb of glowing pistachio filling- that would be cool.

Thor said...

your cookies are so beautifully uniform, though. I love that. sorry to waste another comment, I just don't know how to edit my comments.

Anonymous said...

Yum - these actually sound super delicious to me. I like that rye bite, and in a buttery cookie? Sounds really interesting!

I made rye yeast rolls the other day with caraway seeds and fennel seeds, and they were fantastic.

santos. said...

i love rye and caraway, i'd be all over these. also, very po-mo (post modern) looking, i approve :)

Cathy said...

Hi Grommie - I think I'll pass since I'm not up on my candy trivia, but thanks!

Hi Thor - you're right, these would be interesting with a filling. Thanks, and there's no such thing as a wasted comment!

Hi Luisa - thanks! Those rolls sound fantastic - I love fennel seed and I'll bet it's wonderful together with the caraway.

Hi Santos! Thanks - I really like the way they look as well. Po-mo, that's a new one for me!

Anonymous said...

Try a little anise flavoring in these cookies. I just had them at a party and they were delicious. There were no seeds the cookies - would need to try them both ways.