"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Viennese Vanilla Crescents

I don't have a lot of recipes left in the cookie chapter...or rather, the remaining recipes require things like spritz presses or madeleine pans or they're ornaments for the Christmas tree.

Or they have coconut. Regular readers will recall that Dr. S. hated coconut, so I have a backlog of coconut cookie recipes to work through.

Viennese Vanilla Crescents don't have coconut, and they don't require a mold, but they do have a fussy step that had prevented me from baking them in the past. Not complicated, actually, just something requiring forethought--24 hours, to be precise. You're supposed to cut up a vanilla bean and put it in 2 cups of confectioner's sugar, and let that rest for a day. This sugar is what you'll dust the baked cookies with.

The dough is pretty straightforward in a shortbread kind of a way--grind toasted hazelnuts with flour and a little confectioner's sugar (and baking powder and salt), then pulse in three sticks of butter. The recipe suggests you do this in the food processor, but I had a little problem:

It didn't really fit.

Which is not to say I didn't try. I pulsed it and ran it and tried to poke that butter down towards the blades with a spoon (NOT while it was running, I learned my lesson on that with blenders) but it was just too full.

So I switched the whole operation over to the KitchenAid, where it mixed up beautifully.

The dough has to sit in the fridge for a while...kind of tedious for instant gratification folks...but then comes the shaping, the baking and the dusting.

These cookies just melt in the the mouth. They are so tender, so fragile--you'd never be able to ship them anywhere, or hardly even send a plate to a next-door neighbor. The hazelnut flavor is deliciously prominent, but I'm sorry to say I didn't discern a noticeable vanilla flavor in the confectioner's sugar.

And they aren't overly sweet, even with all that powdered sugar clinging to the sides, thanks to very little sugar (1/4 cup) in the actual dough.

A nice cookie to round out your repertoire. Just skip the food processor step and you'll be fine.


Anonymous said...

"These cookies just melt in the mouth" = three sticks of butter

Eve said...

they sound amazing! I guess I can't ask you to ship me any.... :(

Karen said...

What size food processor is that?

Thank you! :-)

Melissa Bach Palladino said...

Hi Karen! It's a standard-size food processor--the only kind I've seen that's bigger was a Robo-Coup in one of the restaurants I worked at. I'd say it's about a 6-cup bowl, more or less.