Monday, July 16, 2007

Mondays with Maida - Italian Sesame Sticks

Maida Heatter's Italian Sesame Sticks
Page 235 in the old book / page 259 in the new book

Here we have another plain but good cookie that (I think) got undeservedly low scores. I think there were quite a few people that didn't enjoy these, but on the other hand a large batch of over 70 cookies was gone by the end of the day, so someone must have liked them! I know I did. They are rich and crumbly, have flavorful crust of sesame seeds and are one of those cookies where you keep going back for another.

In the recipe notes Maida explains that the recipe comes from a trattoria in New York's Little Italy where she enjoyed them with espresso. She noted that she saw the regulars dunking them in red wine (hence my photo above which you may have been puzzling over). I tried one dunked in wine and I think it might be an interesting combination, but unfortunately the only wine I had on hand was opened long ago and long past being drinkable.

If you (like me) loved playing with Play-Doh as a kid, you are going to have a blast making these cookies. You trained your entire childhood for this! Remember rolling out long, worm-like ropes of the stuff? The instructions for this cookie have you roll out 20-inch-long ropes of dough and then cut it into shorter logs. Fun!

playing with dough

Here's the panel...

Suzanne: "I love sesames on anything. As a matter of fact the only type of bagel I eat are sesame bagels. My first impression was that there wasn’t much to this cookie, but after the second bite, I really enjoyed the lemony taste and the sesames. The cookie was a little on the dry side. Rating - 3.5"

Denny: "It had to happen. A recipe that someone should not have passed on due to mediocrity. I found these dry, seedy and not really that good. More like a not-so-crunchy breadstick. If it were a breadstick, I'd give it a 3, but with the no chocolate penalty, I'd rate it a 1.0. Rating - 1.0"

Laura: "Too many sesame seeds! Cookie underneath is tasty, but the sesame seeds ruin the cookie for me. Rating - 2.0"

Terri: "These cookies remind me of a shortbread cookie rolled in sesame seeds. Actually, they are a bit like a cracker. Mine was delicious with my morning coffee - not too sweet, but filling. Rating - 3.0"

Overall rating by the panel - 2.4

This is the last cookie in the chapter, so please join me again on Tuesday to find out which of the hand-formed cookies were my personal favorites!

Next week - Craig Claiborne's Chocolate Macaroons

Nutrition Facts


Rowena said...

I think the negative points on the sesame cookies are proably due to the seeds themselves! Whenever I have sesame anything, one, or two, or more find their way into the crevices of my teeth. It ain't becoming to look at.

But you know me, if I were to make these I'd use BLACK sesame instead. Then when I meet the nosy neighbor up the hill, I'll just flash my biggest smile and say "CHEESE!"

Haha..have a great week Cathy!

Cerebrum said...

Heh - play-doh! I've got to try these!

Anonymous said...

Rowena's comment made me laugh! So mischievous! :)

I think I've tasted a similar cookie and it was paired with port. So, there's a tiny suggestion if you try these again.

So, Cathy. How many more recipes before you finish the book?

Cathy said...

Hi Rowena! That sounds like fun - imagine her surprise if two or more of you flash the same seeded smile :) I will have a great week... you do too!!

Hi Zarah! I think this might be a good one to make with Cassidy next time... maybe swapping cinnamon and sugar for the sesame seeds. And perhaps without the red wine on the side!

Hi Mari! Thanks for the tip! There are 16 recipes in the last chapter, though the last two recipes are not cookies (marshmallows and cheese pennies). I can't wait to finish!

Leigh said...

Well, they certainly look interesting. I love sesame too, so would certainly give them a fair try.

Cathy said...

Hi Leigh! There was an icebox cookie I made earlier that also had sesame seeds in it and it was another that was surprisingly good (at least I thought so!). If you love sesame seeds, I have no doubt that you'll enjoy these cookies.

Anonymous said...

I have been making these cookies for years from Maida's Cookie Book, and they are one of my and my husband's favorite cookies. Although basic, they are really delicious and are great for breakfast/snacks/tea/anytime. We COPE with sesame seeds everywhere we I make/eat them. They are worth the trouble.