Monday, September 24, 2007

Mondays with Maida - French Sugar Fans

French Sugar Fans
Page 254 in the old book / page 273 in the new book

I like these cookies, but I'm not convinced they're worth the effort. Don't get me wrong - they were very good and went over well in the office, but the dough was difficult to handle. They're basically sugar cookies with two big things going for them: their looks and their lemony flavor.

I love the idea of the fan shape, which is particularly suited to serving with ice cream. I also really enjoyed the lemon flavor (from lemon zest). Beyond that, I didn't think they were any better than my favorite sugar cookie, Maida's Plain Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies. I think I would choose to modify that recipe slightly next time I'm looking for a lemony and/or fan-shaped sugar cookie rather than making this one again.

The fan shape is achieved by rolling a portion of the dough just large enough to cut out a circle 8 inches in diameter (I used an 8-inch cake pan as a guide). You can use a pastry cutter to get a ruffly edge, though the dough for this recipe is so soft it tends to accumulate in the little notches of the cutter. The circle is then cut into 8 wedges and radiating lines are pressed into each wedge (I used a bench scraper to do this).

The pretty little fan shape is definitely worth the trouble, I just don't think it needs to be quite so much trouble :-) Here's the panel...

Suzanne: "Delicious! Without knowing the name of the cookie, I said to a fellow staff member, “how attractive; they look like fans”. I could smell and taste the lemon flavor in the cookie and they had just the right amount of sugar on top. The cookie was delightful. Rating - 5.0"

Denny: "Surprisingly good. They are very nice-looking but I could tell they were just a sugar cookie so I was disappointed. The lemon zest changed my mind completely. With the minus 1 no chocolate penalty, I give them a 3. Rating - 3.0"

Laura: "Light, buttery, and delicious! Lovely light flavor of lemon with sugar crystals sprinkled on top. Yum! Rating - 5.0"

Terri: "Delicious and artfully beautiful! These would be the perfect cookie to serve with raspberry sorbet! Just the right amount of lemon zest (and I really like lemon in cookies). Rating - 4.0"

Overall rating by the panel - 4.3

Next week - Swedish Fried Twists

Nutrition Facts


Nupur said...

Too pretty to eat! Cathy, what a perfect-looking cookie this is, and those crystals are winking like Swarowki diamonds.

Cathy said...

Hi Nupur - thanks! I love that crystal sugar... actually it's almost time to buy more :)

Rowena said...

On first glance these reminded me of the little cookies that they sometimes stick into the gelato when we get a cone. Those were more of a wafer-type. I can imagine the trouble you went through to make these, but really Cathy, they are just so WOW!

reid said...


My apologies for being gone for so long, but now that I am not really writing, I have more time to visit the blogs I love!

Great job with the cookies. I love lemon anything, so I think this is a must try. :)

Anonymous said...

These look beautiful. So elegant. I love anything lemony, tart (my brother thinks I keep the sweet tarts people in business). Thanks for sharing the process of cutting and embellishing. I found that very interesting.

Cathy said...

Hi Rowena - thanks so much! When I first saw this recipe I thought of those flaky, light, wedge-shaped cookies that Farrell's used to stick in their ice cream... But I'm sure those are MUCH more difficult to make!

Hi Reid!! Sorry you've been so busy of late, but glad to see you back here!

Hi Mari! I love lemony and tart things as well. Gosh, I haven't had sweet tarts in ages!

Cakespy said...

Those do sound hard to make...but they also look beautiful, and I love the crystal-sugar. It makes them look bejeweled. It probably gives a nice crunch too!

Cathy said...

Hi Cakespy! Thanks so much! They're actually not that difficult, or wouldn't be with a better-behaved dough. I really like the idea of the fan shape and will probably borrow it to use with a different recipe.