Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Viennese Chocolate Sables

I never knew these "Viennese" cookies existed until I found the recipe for them on the Internet. I thought I give it a try but the result was rather disappointing. First, I am not good a piping and this was actually the first piped cookie for me. The real problem is not how they look but rather how flat they were when they came out of the oven, and crumbly when handled. They literally fell apart when I picked them up even after they had thoroughly cooled. This cookie is a good example to demonstrate the challenges of whole grain baking using recipes that call for white flour. I prefer recipes that list the ingredients by weight and not by cups. Generally Austrian recipes only list the ingredients by weight, in grams to be exact, except for teaspoons and tablespoons of ingredients. This makes it a lot easier for me, as I just replace the white flour with an equal amount of whole wheat flour. It usually works very well. I do have a problem with American measurements, not the ones in pounds and ounces, of course, but when a recipe calls for 1 3/4 cups of flour, for example. I guess when using white flour it probably is not an issue, but I grind my whole wheat flour fresh, which means it has not "settled" and compacted yet. Sometimes I end up using double the amount of freshly ground flour. I am mostly guessing what I think should be the right amount. Often I get clues from the recipe. If it says that the batter should be POURED into the cake pan I know that the batter has to be pouring consistency. Still kind of ambiguous though. Pouring consistency could mean very thin batter or rather thick, but still pouring consistency.

I like baking books written by professional bakers as they often give the weight of ingredients as well. I am told that this is how they do it - by weight - and I totally understand why.

Now I thought the smart thing to do is to figure out how much weight is listed under one cup of flour in those professional baking books. Well, turns out that those professional bakers do not seem to agree on a specific number. Some say it is 125 grams, others it is 135 grams and I even saw 150 grams for one cup of flour, usually all-purpose. It did help somewhat but I still have to guess ... somewhat...

Now back to the Viennese Chocolate Sables. I obviously did not use enough flour for these. And who knows what else I did wrong...

I do not think that I will make them again. I did not really like how they tasted. Instead I will get some ideas for my next Christmas baking from my sister in Austria who makes the most beautiful cookies I have been told. She uses white flour, food coloring, eggs and who knows what, of course, but at least her recipes will be in grams! Hallelujah!

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