'Cocktail cookies' are the new breed of appetizer allegedly making quite a stir in Paris these days. I say 'allegedly' because I have not been there recently to have one myself. I'm hearing this second hand from Dorie and David but I have no reason to believe they aren't tell me the truth. Besides, Paris is a magical place where all small affectations, be they culinary in origin or otherwise, are alarmingly chic simply because, well, they come from Paris. Don't laugh.. I know for a fact this phenomena is true because I have actually been to Paris and I have experienced the ecstasy-like style hallucinations in can provoke. But the fact remains, many, many things that appear effortlessly chic in while you are in Paris simply do not play as nicely if similarly experienced 'back home'.
See where I'm going with this?
Wine served in old, scratchy and slightly chipped glasses on a rusty metal tray are oh so, so adorable and stylish when experienced at a self-discovered not-so-downscale Paris eatery. You exclaim, "isn't it so amazing this place uses vintage cutlery and barware? It just works!" Back home the same experience would provoke a vitriolic Yelp review.
I now no longer allow myself to buy clothing when I travel to foreign cities for this very reason. My closets are filled with things that I just had to have when I saw them overseas. Back home in my neighborhood they just looked ridiculous. Nobody in Irvine wears an ascot.
Context can be key.
Trust me when I say this but I really didn't hate these Seaweed Sable cocktail cookies. I actually liked them quite a bit. These sweet and salty bar snacks are intended to go with drinks before the meal and not with dessert afterwards. Dorie Greenspan has been enthusiastically prosthelytizing the virtues of the "cocktail cookie" in her books, blog posts, magazine articles, and even at her own Cookie Bar enterprise for awhile now. I wouldn't bet against her. If she says they are good, they are. And seaweed? Please don't look at me for food aversions. I like everything and when it is packaged with butter, sugar, and salt I like it even more.
Its just couldn't shake the feeling that I would have liked these cookies a lot more had I actually been snacking on them while sipping a smart vermouth cocktail at a Paris cafe instead of with a glass of Wednesday's chardonnay while staring out the window of my suburban condominium.
If I had just taken that first bite during a trip to Paris while under its spell I know I would be screaming about seaweed cocktail cookies to anyone who would listen. I would be spending hours at home in my kitchen reverse engineering the alchemy of base flavor that makes them a unique option for encouraging alcohol consumption
I wasn't there, however. I was here.
Knowing that these cookies are the love-child of Dorie and her good friend David Lebovitz certainly fed my appreciation of them just that much more. Their imprimatur is the next best thing to being in Paris and experiencing the Paris phenomenon first hand. Eventually however, my own reality was bound to kick in and I realized that not one person around me was going to understand these the way I do.
Maybe its just too early in suburbia for cookies made with seaweed to be fully appreciated? Perhaps in 20 years the seaweed cookies won't feel so out of place where I live. When that happens I'm going to pull out this recipe and make these again while sipping a vermouth cocktail and wearing an ascot.
David's Seaweed Sables
adapted from Dorie Greenspan's "Around My French Table"
and David Lebovitz.
In a medium sized bowl, cream 6 Tablespoons of room temperature butter with 3 Tablespoons of chopped, toasted nori roll with a rubber spatula/scraper until smooth and creamy. Next, mix in 2 teaspoons flour de del and 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoons sugar -- followed by 1 egg yolk and 1 1/2 tablespoon olive oil. When all is mixed well then add 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons AP flour and mix with the rubber spatula until just full mixed and all flour is absorbed. Divide the dough in half and roll each half into an 8 inch log. (The log will be about 1" in diameter.) Wrap each log in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator at least one hour or overnight.
To cook, preheat oven to 350 and slice each log into thin 3/8 inch slices and put on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake 12 minutes or until just set but not brown on top. Cool on a rack.