Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cinnamon Chocolate Cigarettes (Page 668)


  • Date: Thursday, January 22, 2009 -- 7:30pm
  • Location: Bloomington, IN
  • Kitchen: My Apartment
  • Dining Companions: Matty, Tom M, Paul K, Beth, Lauren K, Jeremy, Ayelet, Michael L, Anne L, Daniel L, Kent, Chuck, Sue, Allan, Ann E, Jim, Vladimir, Kitty, Muriel, Marc, Chris C, Prudence, Kate, Jonathan, Marlies, and John B
  • Recipe Rating: B

I made these cookies as part of the dessert spread for a party that we had last week. The Book claims that these cookies are "similar to tuiles, but easier to work with." It turns out, that is a damn lie. I made the coconut tuiles from The Book just a few weeks ago, so they are fresh in my memory for a comparison. The tuile recipe was WAY less annoying than this one. I am a patient person when it comes to cooking -- I have a high tolerance for repetitve and/or difficult tasks in the kitchen. But this recipe drove me to madness! I cursed at these cookies more than once while making them. That is not to say that they didn't turn out delicious -- they did. But it wasn't worth it.

First, the method: I whisked together egg whites, powdered sugar, flour, melted butter, salt, and cinnamon. Then I dropped teaspoonfuls of batter onto a buttered baking sheet and spread each dollop out into a 3-inch round. I put 4 such dollops on one baking sheet, then baked them until golden. Up to that point, it was a piece of cake. When I took the cookies out of the oven I immediately used a metal spatula to loosen them from the pan, then one at a time rolled the cookies around a pencil to get the cigarette shape you see above. Sounds easy enough, right? The difficulty was, these cookies hardened almost immediately, and then cracked when I tried to roll them. The solution to this problem was to put the baking sheet back into the oven until the cookies softened again. So making these cookies basically went like this: Bake 4 cookies on a baking sheet. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Use a spatula to loosen the 4 cookies from the baking sheet. By that point they were hardened and brittle so put the baking sheet back into the oven for a minute. Remove the baking sheet from the oven. Roll one cookies around a pencil to form cigarette shape. By that point, the other three cookies were brittle. Return to the oven for one minute to soften. Remove from the oven and wrap the second cookie around a pencil. Continue. Nothing about the process was difficult, but it was so aggravating. And often a cookie would stick to the pan for no apparent reason, which meant it took longer to get under it with the spatula, which meant that by the time I had loosened that one cookie all the others on the sheet had hardened. In summary, these cookies took forever. The recipe made 24 cookies, which had to be baked in batches of 4 (that's 6 batches!), and then each batched needed a lot of personal attention to be shaped. Once all my cigarette cookies were done, I dipped one end of each of them in melted chocolate to give the cigarettes some "ash".

I was so annoyed by this recipe that I would love to say that they were terrible. In reality though, they were delicious. I won't make them again. I can guarantee you that. But that's only for my own mental health and not because they weren't good. The cookies were buttery and perfectly brittle (which was an annoying thing while making them, but a delicious thing while eating them). The chocolate end was a great complement to the buttery cookie. I could hardly taste the cinnamon, so it seemed odd to me that they had the word cinnamon in the title of the recipe, but the flavor was still great. In summary, they were lovely, but I just can't recommend that you make them yourself. I would hate to see you driven to madness as well!

Here is the recipe.


Joy said...

Your cigarettes look beautiful! I was also excited to see your char siu - that's been on my to-make list for a couple years, but it always seemed like a little more work than I cared to invest. I'll have to try it now that it has a recommendation!

Teena said...

The cigarettes were beautiful, but very annoying to make. The Char Siu, on the other hand, was both delicious, and easy to make! I highly recommend it!