When I say the name of these cookies inside my head the voice always sounds like a muppet. This was a Tuesdays with Dorie recipe that I missed a few weeks ago, the 'cookies' looked and sounded so intriguing, I wanted to see if their taste was as compelling as their title. It wasn't.
These do deserve some adulation. They were supposed to have been dipped in hot oil. Everything tastes better after that initiation. It would be like comparing a kosher hot dog made on the grill to one that was made in the life-sucking microwave. I think that if you didn't have it in your head that these were meant to be crispier and infused with that deep fried taste, the cookies would be very enjoyable. Sorry for ruining it. Just pretend that they were made for the oven.
I actually enjoyed making these more so than other cookies. The dough had to be rolled out paper-thin, and cut into long strips. A slit was then cut lengthwise on each strip so they looked like tiny pairs of long johns without the straps. Once they are out of the oven, they were thrown into a mixture of cinnamon and sugar before being sprinkled with powdered sugar.
Without all the sugar and cinnamon, these were bland. But as long as you bake them long enough to get crispy, they are really quite addicting. Be sure to wait until they are cool enough to develop a crunch. Right out of the oven they are still too soft. The chocolate ganache saved these but chocolate ganache could save almost anything expect my nemesis, Brussels sprouts. Had these been fried, I imagine that they would be similar in taste, rather than form, to Chi-Chi's sopapillas. I miss that restaurant.
All in all, these were not bad. They are easy to make and an innovative break from the average cookie.
Mrs. Vogel's Scherben
(recipe found in Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours)
1 Tablespoon of butter, at room temp.
Big pinch of sugar
Little pinch of salt
1 large egg, at room temp.
1 cup of all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking Powder
3-4 Tablespoons of hot water
Cinnamon sugar and confectioners sugar, for dusting
Flavorless oil, such as canola or sunflower, for deep frying. *I will include the baked version at the end of the recipe*
Working in a medium bowl with a wooden spoon or a large rubber spatula, beat the butter, sugar and salt until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and beat - the mixture will look curdled, but that's ok. Mix the flour and baking powder together and pour them into the bowl, then stir until most of the flour is moistened. The dough will look like coarse, clumpy meal. Add 3 tablespoons hot water and continue to stir until the dough comes together. If you've still got dry portions, sprinkle over a little more water. Keep stirring - you'll have a moist dough that might be a bit shaggy.
Reach into the bowl and knead the dough just until it smooths out and comes together. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour. (The dough can be kept in the refrigerator overnight if it's more convenient.)
Line a baking sheet with plastic wrap. Cut the dough in half. Working with one half at a time, on a well-floured surface, and keeping both sides of the dough floured, roll the dough into a very thin rectangle - try to make it about 12 x 8 inches, but don't worry if it's not the right size or if it's lopsided; scherben can be any size, and shape. If you keep the work surface well floured and turn the dough so it's not sticking and so you're rolling on both sides, you'll find that it is very easy to roll and that you can roll it paper thin. Mark off 1-inch strips with a ruler and cut the strips with a pastry wheel or pizza cutter - using a zigzag pastry wheel makes pretty cookies. Cut the strips crosswise in half, then, using a small knife, cut a lengthwise slit about 1 1/2 inches long in each strip. Place the strips on the lined baking sheet and cover them with another piece of plastic wrap. Roll and cut the other half of the dough and lay those cookies over the first batch. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (If it's more convenient, these can stay in the fridge for a day.)
GETTING READY TO FRY: Line a baking sheet with a triple thickness of paper towels and put it close to the stove. Fill one sugar duster or strainer with cinnamon sugar and another with confectioners' sugar. Pour at least 4 inches of oil into a deep saucepan (or use an electric deep-fryer) and heat the oil to 350 degrees F, as measured on a deep-fat-frying thermometer.
Drop 4 to 6 strips into the pan (don't crowd the pan) and fry until the undersides are golden, then turn and fry the other sides; each batch will take 2 to 3 minutes. Lift the cookies out of the oil on a perforated skimmer, allowing excess oil to drip back into the pan, then turn the cookies out onto the baking sheet to drain. Put in another batch to fry, and while they are frying, turn the cookies that are draining so the other sides can drain. Then, while the cookies are still hot and slightly damp from the oil, dust both sides with cinnamon sugar. Continue until all the dough is fried.
Just before serving, dust the scherben with confectioners' sugar.
*Baked version: Preheat the oven to 400F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Once the dough has been cut into strips, place them on the parchment paper. Brush them with oil, canola or sunflower. Bake for about 8-12 minutes or until they are a deep gold. Rotate the sheets half-way through the baking time for an even colour.
Remove from oven and immediatly toss them into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar and allow them to cool before enjoying.
4 ounces of chopped dark chocolate
about 1/4 cup of cream
1 tablespoon of butter
Place the chopped chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan heat the cream to just under a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and butter. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth and creamy. Cover until ready to use. To soften the ganache, heat in the mircowave for a few seconds if nessary.
* printer friendly Recipe *