Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Viennese Vanilla Crescents (Page 674)


  • Date: Sunday, September 21, 2008 -- 6pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companion: Matty
  • Recipe Rating: B

This was a two-part recipe, the first part of which was making Vanilla Confectioner's Sugar, and the second part was making these cookies. Embarrassingly enough, I made the first component more than a year ago, and I wrote in that post that I was going to make these cookies later that week. Apparently that didn't happen. Luckily The Book says that the vanilla-infused sugar will keep indefinitely, and indeed it did. A year later, it was just fine. So, you might ask, why did I wait a year to make these cookies? That's embarrassing too. It all has to do with skinned hazelnuts.

My senior year in college I decided that I was going to make a chocolate hazelnut cake. The details are blurry in my memory, but I think it was for something important -- I was trying to impress someone. The recipe seemed simple enough. Step one was to skin a bunch of hazelnuts. The procedure for doing this is to toast the nuts in the oven until their skins loosen and then rub them with kitchen towels to take the skins off. Sounds simple, no? Well it was an AWFUL experience. In fact, that sits in my memory as one of my worst culinary experiences ever. The skins just wouldn't come off. I don't know if I did something wrong, or if those hazelnuts had unusually adhered skins, but I was mad. And in the end I peeled the skins off one by one with my fingernails, which took forever. Very bad memories.

So I put off making this recipe because the first step was skinning a bunch of hazelnuts. But, this time around skinning the hazelnuts was painless. The hazelnuts then got ground up in the food processor with flour, and the other dough ingredients. Note: whoever wrote this recipe must have had an industrial size food processor because mine is big but nowhere big enough for this to be successful. Flour was everywhere and I ended up having to do it in batches. Once the dough was done, I refrigerated it overnight. The next day I formed the cookies, baked them, and dusted them with the vanilla sugar. There were two bothersome things about this recipe. One, the dough was too dry, which made it a huge pain in the ass to deal with. You were supposed to roll the dough into balls and then roll them to form crescents. My dough was way too crumbly for that. I molded the crumbly dough into crescent shapes, which took forever and wasn't too fun. My other complaint is that the dough itself was bland. The sugar coating helped with that, but the dough would have been hugely improved by the addition of more salt. More salt would have brought out the nut flavor from all those hazelnuts I carefully skinned! Overall though, these cookies were fine. I wouldn't make them again, but I have certainly been eating them!

This recipe isn't online.

As I have mentioned, it has been really busy around here lately. Last night I needed to do my long run. I knew I would be done running, back home, and showered by around 8:30pm so I had a whole list of things to do after my run. Apparently I have yet to internalize that although the concept of "after my run" works just fine if I run up to 7 miles, there is no chance of me getting any work done after a 9 mile run. In that case "after my run" pretty much looks like me lying on the sofa, sipping Gatorade and wondering why I feel so bad. I am hoping my body will learn to adjust to these long runs, because they are only getting longer! To be fair, it's hard to get too upset with my body for being angry with me. I run pretty slowly, so 9 miles takes me a little more than an hour and a half. That's a long time to run! It's a miracle that my body doesn't launch a full-fledged rebellion!

Anyway, because of the post-run situation my to-do list yesterday didn't get done. It didn't even nearly get done. In fact, it is almost 5pm and I still have two more things to do on yesterday's list. So I should get to it!


Liz C said...

I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only 10-11 min miler out there! Even the thought of running 9 miles makes me want to lie on the couch.

Did the recipe give you a total weight for the hazelnuts? Maybe you ended up with too much in proportion to the rest of the ingredients? Just a wild guess. At least they were edible.

Teena said...

Even though I have done it a few times now, the thought of running 9 miles makes me want to lie on the couch too!

They did not give the weight of the hazelnuts.

Teena said...

Oh now wait, I lied. They do give the weight but I didn't use it because my kitchen scale is broken. Whoops!

Julia said...

Yes, in Austria the Vanillekipferl recipe is passed on from generation to generation. My grandmother made them and my mother made them. Now I make them. Have a look: http://tinyurl.com/69k8wc.

Teena said...

Julia: Thanks for the link! Yours look much prettier than mine did!