Italian cookie question
Posted: 25 May 2010 12:00 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi—

I am going to make Aniseed cookies. I rarely make cookies, and the recipe is very vague. I’d be grateful for your assistance in answering a couple of questions. First, the recipe:

1. Beat 3 eggs together with 2/3 cup of sugar.
2. Add 10.5 oz sifted flour, a pinch of salt, and 1 tbsp of aniseed. Knead carefully to prepare a smooth, uniform dough. Set aside to rise for two hours.
3. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and put parchment onto a cookie sheet.
4. Prepare balls of dough about the size of walnuts, squash a little wiht a glass and arrange on the tray.
5. Bake for fifteen minutes.

Here are my questions for you:

1. I’ve never combined eggs with sugar like this. I read online that I’m supposed to beat them together in the KitchenAid for twenty minutes. Is that true? And if so, with the spade beater or the whisk? And at what speed?

2. If the eggs are supposed to be beaten like that, am I supposed to remove them and then fold them into the flour? Or am I supposed to use the mixer, and if so using which beater and at what speed?

3. I suppose that the kneading part is by hand, like a bread dough. About how long would you think I’d need to knead it?

Any assistance would be appreciated. I’m a novice!

Thanks,
Tim

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Posted: 25 May 2010 02:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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This sounds strange to me Tim. That is how you make a sponge cake, beating eggs and sugar like that, but I don’t really get the point of aerating them as it sounds like they will be deflated later from making the dough and then setting for 2 hours. 20 minutes is excessive. You only need 5 for stand mixer or 10 for hand at most, but that is for a sponge cake. Also, do they mean “rest” for two hours, not rise—there is no yeast? I might look for another recipe, any reason you were drawn to this one?

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Posted: 25 May 2010 02:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Thanks. It’s a European recipe in an Italian cookbook by two apparently well-known chefs from Italy. I looked and found other recipes for the cookie that were similar, and there are other cookie recipes in the book that prescribe a rising period (even though there is no yeast). I wonder if anyone has seen a recipe like this one?

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Posted: 25 May 2010 10:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I have a fabulous anisette cookie recipe if you would like it.  I’d have to bring it to work after lunch today, though, as I don’t have it with me.  But it’s anisette cookies rolled in sesame seeds, and they are just outstanding!!!  The dough is rather stiff, and you roll it into little logs (or balls), then dip them in milk and roll in sesame seeds and bake.  They are truly heaven.  I’ve made them a number of times, and they’re always delicous.

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Posted: 25 May 2010 02:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Hi Tim,
I think you are trying to over analyze this recipe. Many traditional cookie recipes are very simple. Beat the eggs/sugar until the sugar dissolves add the flour and knead it until smooth. I think the term ‘rise’ is a red herring. Many cookie recipes require a rest to allow the flour to fully hydrate. You are just giving the ingredients time to come together and maybe absorb some anise flavor.

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Posted: 25 May 2010 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I was thinking the same thing Gene. The original doesn’t say anything about beating for 20 minutes, but I did look around a bit and see a few similar recipes that called for that much beating. Doesn’t make sense to me, but maybe it works—not a technique I am familiar with anyway for cookies.

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Posted: 25 May 2010 03:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Here’s a similar one:

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Anise-Seed-Cookies/Detail.aspx

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Posted: 25 May 2010 07:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Interesting. As a skeptic I would have to see for myself whether all of that beating made a material difference.

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