Monday, January 22, 2007

Mondays with Maida - Cornell Sugar Cookies

Page 192 in the old book / page 220 in the new book

I completely forgot to take a picture - hence the funny looking blob above. Actually, the cookies didn't look that much different. They were very plain, soft, and were hardly my idea of a sugar cookie. They had an interesting flavor and an even more interesting back story.

In the late forties Dr. Clive McCay**, a professor at Cornell University, was asked to help improve the diet of patients in New York state mental institutions. Dr. McCay decided the best place to start was the bread and he developed a recipe for what came to be known as Cornell Bread. The key ingredients in the recipe, which were chosen to enhance the protein and vitamin content of the bread, were soy flour, wheat germ, and dry milk. Maida Heatter has taken these signature Cornell ingredients and applied them to the sugar cookie, producing something quite different from your typical sugar cookie. There are a few other ingredients worth noting in this recipe: raw sugar, nutmeg and allspice. The spices are hardly recognizable (though Laura caught it and came and asked if there was nutmeg in the cookies), but definitely contribute to the flavor, and the raw sugar adds a little crunch here and there.

I decided to forgo the pastry cloth this week and had no trouble rolling these out on a floured counter top. I cut them a little smaller than recommended and ended up with 29 rather than 18 cookies, but I thought the size was still generous. The cookies were good, but not good enough to make up for their plain-Jane appearance. Perhaps I could do a little nutritional/visual enhancement of my own... say, a little chocolate icing?

** sorry, the article I've linked to was only available through the Google cache, but it is by far the most informative I found

The panel was a little short-handed this week with Suzanne on vacation and Denny out sick...

Laura: "These are good. Moist and chewy with just a hint of spices (nutmeg and allspice). Very yummy. Rating - 4.0"

Terri: "These are very tasty and not as sweet as most sugar cookies. I'm not sure how many calories though. Not dry, but quite plain. Rating - 3.5"

Overall rating by the panel - 3.8

Next Week - Plain Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

Nutrition Facts


Anonymous said...

Well I give you thumbs up for the illustrated graphics! Sorry to see that 2 panelists went missing...always interesting to read what they have to say. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Your graphic is almost as interesting as the information on Dr. Clive...Yes, it sounds like the cookies could have probably used a little chocolate or something to boost their flavor.

Anonymous said...

I also like your graphic! You said you cut the cookies smaller than called for, but were they still pretty large? 29 cookies is still not a lot for one whole batch. I like the story behind these cookies...very interesting.

Cathy said...

Hi Rowena! Thank you! Actually, I was relieved to not hear "minus one for no chocolate" this week. Fortunately, there is some chocolate coming soon!

Hi Mari! I thought the whole Cornell bread thing was really interesting... I'm surprised I hadn't heard about it before. The flavor of these cookies is actually quite good, they are just incredibly boring in appearance. Honest - that picture above is pretty accurate!

Hi Alice! Thanks! I used a 3-inch cutter rather than a 3-1/2-inch cutter and I thought the cookies were plenty big. I love it when the cookies have a story!

Leigh said...

Yes, we like our graphics. I'd like to try these. I make my own bread and used to make Cornell bread. Very hearty.

Cathy said...

Hi Leigh! I'm afraid I'm not very experienced with either Photoshop Elements or Weaving software, but I've been following your (and others) reports of the workshop you're leading with much interest! I'll have to give that Cornell bread a try sometime - I made my own bread for a while, but have fallen out of the habit.