Monday, October 29, 2007

Mondays with Maida - Palm Island Brandy Snaps

Palm Island Brandy Snaps
Page 264 in the old book / recipe is not in the new book

There are still a couple more recipes in the book, but this is the last cookie! At first I was feeling a little let down with this recipe, but the next day my impression changed somewhat. These cookies are not satisfying in the way a crunchy/chewy cookie with raisins or chocolate chips would be, but they do have a pleasing, fragile texture and lots of flavor.

These are actually drop cookies that spread out to an ultra-thin layer. After cooling for a bit, they are rolled around the handle of a wooden spoon to form tubes. I didn't try Maida's serving suggestion - rolling them around something wider like cannoli tubes and filling them with whipped cream - but they could easily be turned into a very elegant dessert. I think the whipped cream would be a really nice contrast to the strong molasses and ginger flavor of the cookies. Maida explains that the recipe is an old one from England and that the filled tubes would be served with satin ribbons tied around them(!)

Maida also goes on that they are "fun to make". Welllllll.... if your idea of fun is handling molten sugar with your bare hands, then yes, these are most definitely fun! They may not make the cut as "fun", but they are easy, though I did end up with some sore fingers. They are also time-consuming, since you bake just five cookies at a time.

What surprised me was that despite the difficulties of handling something so hot, the hot cookies were relatively sturdy, so rolling them wasn't the problem I envisioned. When properly cooled, they resemble (hot) fruit leather, so there is little risk of them tearing. The trick is giving them just enough time to cool. With my first batch I waited the prescribed one and a half to two minutes, but found the cookie was impossible to pick up. I assumed they were undercooked and put them back in the oven. Later, though, I realized that the problem was that they need more cooling (rather than cooking) time. I found the 8 minutes for baking was perfect, but that 2 minutes cooling wasn't enough - 3 minutes worked well for me. I suppose the cooling time may vary depending on how much heat your cookie sheets retain, so try them at 2 minutes, but then wait another minute if you can't easily lift the edge of the cookie with a knife or thin spatula. If the edges of the cookie become brittle before you've rolled them, you've cooled them a little too long.

Here's the panel (don't worry, the panel WILL be back for the last two recipes despite what appear to be parting comments from Suzanne and Denny)...

Suzanne: "I was really looking forward to the last cookie being extra special. Unfortunately, I don’t care for anything with ginger in it. The cookie was very attractive, tubular in shape and shiny. I took two bites of the cookie but wasn’t able to finish it since it has such a strong ginger taste. I know Cathy put a lot of time and effort into making the cookie and felt bad that my last comment couldn’t be favorable. I do think it’s fitting that the end of the book falls during the same week that I am retiring. Otherwise, I would need to come back weekly from California to taste the cookies and write my comments. This has been great fun, Cathy and I will keep reading your blog in my retirement. Rating - 1.0"

Denny: "Very good. Light and fancy with an almost chocolate flavor. Great "show" cookies. Since they taste almost chocolate, I only gave them a minus .5, so my rating in 4.5. A great ending to a long arduous journey. Yuk Yuk. Thanks very much. Rating - 4.5"

Laura: "These are yummy! They are light and crunchy and candy-like. They almost melt in your mouth. The flavors remind me of the Christmas holidays. Rating - 4.5"

Terri: "These are delicious and I didn't detect the taste of brandy. These are more like crystallized ginger snaps. The crunchiness and texture are great and the flavor has a bit of molasses. I really liked that these were rolled and thought they would be delicious with ice cream - any flavor. Rating - 4.0"

Overall rating by the panel - 3.5

Next week - Marshmallows

Nutrition Facts


santos. said...

yay! the last of the cookies! i think i would rather try this one than try to rework those martha stewart candy cane-striped cookies i did...a couple of years ago? last year? they were more work than this, but it looks like these have more flavour.

Nupur said...

That looks like a lot of work! And they do look pretty with the dark glaze. Maybe the cookies could be molded into bowl shapes/ cone shapes to serve ice cream in?
The last cookie! Wow, the project has been awesome. 2 more weeks and then...partay! :D

Anonymous said...

are u going to try out Maida's new book of cookies?

Cathy said...

Hi Santos! I remember those cookies well - they were beautiful! These do have lots of flavor - though they weren't to everyone's taste (see Suzanne's comment) and they'll never be as pretty as those candy cane cookies!

Hi Nupur! I wouldn't call them a lot of work, but you can't leave the kitchen for a couple of hours because something is happening about every four minutes! What a great idea to serve ice cream in these! I think draping these over custard cups or even a small glass would work well. You could form them into cones if you had something to shape them with, but I don't think you'd want to attempt to use them like regular ice cream cones - after the first bite you'd probably have a mess!

Hi mj! I have no plans to work through Maida's second cookie book in any methodical way, but who knows - maybe someday. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to some weekends without having cookie baking on the agenda :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Cathy, I tried similar cookies about a year ago and your post reminds me of the hard time I had in the kitchen. They look great.

The last cookie...omigosh. I think you need to get Maida in here for the final recipe. Seriously.

Rowena said...

I feel like there should be a celebration of some sort, what with the end of Mondays with Maida and into the transition of what you'll be cooking (or crafting) up next!

Happy Halloween!

Cathy said...

Hi Mari! I can't believe I made it! Much as I'd love to get in touch with Maida, I haven't made any attempts, so I don't think anything like that could be arranged in time for the final post on the book :) But, I've been thinking I should give it a try - the only way I can think of is sending something in care of the publisher.

Hi Rowena! Happy Halloween to you! Being done will be celebration enough! :) I do plan to do something (small) to recognize the occasion, though...

Anonymous said...

Hi Cathy,

Just wanted to say how impressed I am with your follow through! What a project. I have enjoyed checking out the latest cookie every week. Thanks so much for sharing the experience. -Lisa

Cathy said...

Hi Lisa! Thanks very much! When I started, I wasn't sure I'd finish, so I'm as surprised as anyone to find myself reaching the end of the book!