Monday, September 10, 2007

Mondays with Maida - Connecticut Date Slices

Connecticut Date Slices
Page 250 in the old book / page 270 in the new book

Though not the most photogenic of cookies, these date slices more than make up for their looks with a warm, spicy flavor that is complemented by sweet dates and raisins. Surprisingly, there are no nuts in these cookies, but if you just can't go without, walnuts or pecans would do nicely.

The spicing for these cookies is a little unusual. At first bite you might think the cookies have ginger in them, but instead they have cinnamon, cloves, and Maida Heatter's secret ingredient - mustard powder (this is the third cookie she's used it in). With the spices, molasses, dried fruits and sweet glaze, I thought these cookies were reminiscent of Maida's Hermit Bars.

In fact, these cookies are much like bar cookies, but instead of being baked in a cake pan, the dough is formed into long strips that are baked on cookie sheets (as for biscotti). The strips are then sliced after they've cooled. Easy, homey, and very good!

Here's the panel...

Drucie: "Spicy and moist, and best of all, no nuts! (Which makes them nice and chewy.) The sugary glaze bumps up the sweetness just enough. I like this cookie a lot! Rating - 4.5"

Denny: "Very good, but maybe a little too spicy. Kind of overwhelmed the dates. 3.0 with the minus 1 for no chocolate. Rating - 3.0"

Laura: "These have a nice ginger spice cake texture and flavor, definitely enhanced by the dates and raisins. Rating - 4.5"

Terri: "Wow - these are outstanding! Very moist and just spicy enough. These are a combination of ginger, cinnamon, and just the right amount of raisins. Absolutely wonderful with coffee or tea! Rating - 5.0"

Overall rating by the panel - 4.3

Next week - Connecticut Strippers

Nutrition Facts


santos. said...

mustard powder? eek, but i'll definitely have to try these to see. does it really impart a gingery taste or just add to that sort of general holiday spice flavour?

and next week you'll be featuring connecticut strippers! where, exactly, is this blog headed? ;)

(connecticut strippers. why am i conjuring up society matrons? maybe it's all those names: byrdie bell, bunny yeager, plum sykes, chesty morgan--socialite or stripper? hee.)

Nupur said...

Mustard powder really does sound like a very unusual ingredient in a cookie! But I do love the spicy feel of these date slices.
Like Santos, I am very intrigued by next week's cookies :D

Rowena said...

When I read mustard powder the first thought that came to mind was..."Now I have a possible way to use up my wasabi powder!"

As you can see, the beauty of inspired ideas comes from the most simplest of recipes -- most notably, Maida's wonderful Date Slices! Loved what the panel had to say.

Amy said...

I am keeping notes in my copy of the book. These are now on the long to-do list!

Cathy said...

Hi Santos! I'm not sure exactly what it does since I've always used it in combination with other spices. I suspect it just increases the heat a bit.

How do you know all this stuff??? I'd never heard of any of the names you mentioned and had to look them up to make sure they were real! I'm afraid the Connecticut strippers to be featured on my blog may be somewhat of a letdown in the titillation department... only sugar and spice and everything nice :)

Hi Nupur! I don't think you'd ever guess that the cookies had mustard powder in them. As to the name of next week's cookie, I understand the "stripper" part (they're made the same way as this week's cookie), but what I find curious is that there are two Connecticut cookies in a row - what's up with that? I wonder if there's really any association with the state.

Hi Rowena! Now those would be some spicy cookies! I'll be very curious to hear how those turn out! I have to say part of what I love about these cookies IS how simple they are... especially after making tartlets two weeks in a row :)

Hi Amy! I think these are well worth making. I've almost finished my to-do list for this book - yay! Only nine more to go!!

Rowena said...

Hi Cathy, regarding your question on the salt... Blah! I did not get to take any home because the salt sagra was held the day before (Saturday) while the dance festival on Sunday. I know...just one day short of receiving a chunk of saltgemma to take home but the real disappointment was not being able to taste the local dishes that were prepared!

Cynthia said...

Mmm, those sound good. How sturdy are they? I'm looking for lunchbox cookies -- do you think these would crumble?

Anonymous said...

I, too, was wondering how sturdy they are. And what kind of mustard powder did you use? I love discovering recipes that use unexpected ingredients.

Cathy said...

Hi Rowena - then you must definitely plan a return visit!

Hi Cynthia! I think these would be perfect - they're not at all crumbly. The only downside (hardly) about these cookies is that glaze - it makes them a little sticky.

Hi Mari! Not to worry - they're very sturdy. As for the mustard powder - plain old yellow McCormick's. I think this is the third cookie in this book she's used it in and I found at least three others in another of her books, so it does seem to be something she uses with some regularity in spice cookies.

Leigh said...

They sound yummy to me but I wonder if I could do this with chocolate chips so I could pass them off to my family(???)

Cathy said...

Hi Leigh! That might be good, but it would be a whole different thing. I think the dates are integral to the character of this cookie since they provide not just sweetness but a moist chewiness as well.