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Top Pick Of The Week

April 22, 2008

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Tea and Cookies

These little cookies are perfect for the end of a fine dinner, to accessorize a dessert or to give as a gift in one of the handsome boxes or tins. Photo by Claire Freierman.

WHAT IT IS: Bite-size gourmet cookies.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: Very restrained and elegant recipes prove that fine baked goods don’t need to smack of sugar. People who like things just slightly sweet will enjoy the quality.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Bite size is the perfect size for after-dinner coffee or tea, to serve with ice cream and sorbet or to garnish other desserts (rice pudding, tiramisu).
WHERE TO BUY IT: DoughRayMe.com.
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Dough Ray Me Cookies:
Marvelous Mignardises

CAPSULE REPORT: We’re always on the lookout for “special” cookies, to bring (or send) as gifts or to serve as a light dessert at the end of a fine dinner. And when we invite friends and neighbors for tea or coffee, we like to set out something noteworthy yet effortless: impressive cookies. Alas, with the expense of running an artisan bakery these days, it’s not easy to find something noteworthy, much less impressive. The cookies in the case at most of our local bakeries and specialty food stores are pretty unexciting and NWTC.*
*Not worth the calories—or the money, either.

Meet Jon Dough—a.k.a. Jon Chazen, a pastry chef who is at the ready with a solution to the dull cookie blues. His company, Dough Ray Me, specializes in what we call mignardises (min-yar-DEEZ, from the French for “precious”)—although Jon Dough is too down-to-earth to use the term. Mignardises are a type of miniature baked good, also called petit-fours (you may get a plate of them at the end of dinner at a fine restaurant). They can take many shapes, and Jon’s are bite-size cookies. The ten varieties range from familiar flavors (double chocolate and peanut butter-chocolate) to the less familiar (hazelnut-cardamom and sesame-gingerbread). The versatile bites are most welcome for entertaining, as a light dessert or a garnish for more elaborate desserts, and as a snack for people who deserve the best. Beautiful packaging choices makes these cookies a “precious” gift for any occasion. Party-givers can buy them in bulk. Read the full review below and then order your own stash.

     
THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.

 

Bake Your Own Cookie Masterpieces

All American Cookie Book Big Fat Cookies Great Cookies
The All-American Cookie Book, by Nancy Baggett. Every American cookie you can think of is here—more than 150 of them—from luscious Black Bottom Mini Brownie Cups and chewy Chocolate Thumbprint Crackles to Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies and crisp, spicy Old-Fashioned Gingerbread Cookies. A must for the cookbook collection. Click here to purchase.
Big Fat Cookies, by Elinor Klivans. More fun than baking cookies is making big fat cookies. Anyone can whip up a quick batch of 50 different gigantic crispy, chewy or fancy-pants sandwich cookies. All recipes are wonderfully clear and appropriate for bakers of all skill levels. But you’ll want to make every single one of them. Click here to purchase.
Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets, by Carole Walter. With more than 200 delectable recipes, more than 150 tantalizing photographs and tips covering every baking method, including foolproof techniques to ensure that your cookies look as good as the eat-me-off-the-page examples in the book. Click here to purchase.

Dough Ray Me Cookies: Marvelous Mignardises

INDEX OF REVIEW

MORE TO DISCOVER

Introduction

John Chazen looks like a tough guy, but he makes the most delicate cookies—tiny, about 1-1/4 inches in diameter. They can be served as petit-fours* or mignardises.

*Petit-fours is French for “small baked pastries,” although confections, which can be included on a petit-fours plate, are not baked. Examples include glazed or chocolate-dipped fruit, marzipan, chocolates and nut clusters. There are two styles of petit-fours: glacée (iced) and sec (dry). Petit-fours glacées or frais (fresh) include filled and/or iced petit-fours, miniature babas, miniature éclairs, tiny iced cakes and tartlets. Petit-fours secs include small cookies, macaroons, meringues, palmiers and tuiles. The words mignardises (min-yar-DEEZ), from the French for “preciousness,” and friandises (free-yon-DEEZ), from the French for “delicate,” are often used instead of petit-fours.

Whatever you want to call them, the cookies are elegant to look at and the perfect size to serve with tea and coffee. And they come in everyone’s favorite flavors.

As with all fine artisan products, the ingredients are no surprise (but for the potato chips in the oatmeal cookie), but the quality is always the finest, and the products are always the freshest. Professional bakers also have access to varieties of ingredients that the home baker won’t find in the supermarket—butter with higher levels of moisture, 2x and 3x vanilla extract (more intensity of flavor with less liquid going into the dough). Otherwise, John Dough takes the flour, sugar, butter, eggs, salt and baking soda—and, as appropriate, chocolate, currants, dark rum, lemon rind, oats, orange peel, poppy seeds, potato chips, raisins, sour cherries and vanilla—and works his recipes with finesse.

The cookies are named after John’s friends. He matches their personalities to a recipe. Will there be a chocolate chipotle named after us some day?

Chocolate-Accented Cookies

There can be no favorites because they are all so good; Dawn (chocolate PB sandwich) and Jane (Double Chocolate Chip) are both exquisite, but not if you don’t like chocolate or PB.

  • Dawn is a bite of heaven for PB lovers. Two chocolate peanut butter wafers are filled with a spread of peanut butter and semisweet chocolate. The flavors are very elegant.
  • Luna. This soft chocolate cookie, accented with espresso and finely chopped almonds, melts in your mouth. A reward for someone who can’t chew.
  • Jane. A double chocolate chip cookie (chocolate chips in a chocolate dough), Jane is a real crowd pleaser. While not everyone eats cardamom or ginger cookies, this recipe is a lesson in what benchmark finesse is. You get a rich bite of chocolate without anything excessive. You don’t taste sugar, butter or any other ingredient: just chocolate. Compare it to other chocolate cookies you are fond of.
Dawn
Dawn chocolate sandwiches with peanut butter in the middle. Just the right combination of sweet and salty.
  • John. A classic chocolate chip cookie. If you’re tempted to order John based on familiarity, we urge you to try other flavors that are not so readily available.

Ginger Snap

A riff on the gingerbread, Gillian is made with three types of ginger and is covered with attractive and tasty sesame seeds.

Cookies Without Chocolate

There are abundant varieties without chocolate, each with lots of personality.

  • Chloe. Sugar and spice, and everything nice: a cinnamon cookie with ground almonds.
  • Gillian. A soft, chewy “triple gingerbread” cookie (it contains powdered, fresh and dried ginger), delightfully accessorized with sesame seeds. Ginger snap lovers should not overlook this one.
  • Lisa. A pale, pretty hazelnut cookie flecked with ground hazelnuts and cardamom.
  • Sophie. If you like lemon poppy seed cake, try the cookie version—soft and subtle.
  • Summaiya. This soft and chewy oatmeal-raisin cookie takes an elegant turn with added sour cherries and potato chip bits for texture.
  • Veronica. A small, ethereal bite of shortbread with currants and orange rind.

Serving Suggestions

Glamorous Garnishes

While these little nibbles can be enjoyed universally, some creative garnishing makes the whole greater than the sum of the parts. Try these pairings:

  • Luna (chocolate/espresso) with coffee ice cream or tiramisu
  • Dawn (chocolate/PB) with chocolate mousse, chocolate ice cream or chocolate pudding
  • Summaiya  (oatmeal/raisin/sour cherry) with cherry ice cream
  • Sophie (lemon poppyseed) with lemon sorbet or lemon pudding

Look for more pairings based on the foods available to you—Lisa, the hazelnut cookie, paired with hazelnut or chocolate hazelnut ice cream, for example.

Petit-Fours Plate

After dinner, serve your guests petit-fours (little baked goods), mignardises (precious things), friandises (delicacies)—you can pick the word you like, and explain to most guests that petit-fours are more than little frosted squares or rectangles of cake. In addition to a selection of Dough-Ray-Me cookies, add variety to your plate with:

Lemon Poppyseed Cookies
Turn a dish of lemon sorbet into something more elegant, by pairing it with Dough-Ray-Me’s delightful little lemon poppyseed cookies (a.k.a. Sophie—actually less of a cookie and more of a tiny round cake). Photo by Claire Freierman.
  • Chocolates
  • Glazed or chocolate-dipped fruit
  • Miniature pastries (babas, éclairs, tartlets)
  • Marzipan
  • Nut clusters (glazed or chocolate-dipped) or small pieces of nut brittle
  • Other miniature cookies (macaroons, meringues, palmiers, tuiles)
  • Petit-fours glacées (miniature filled and/or iced cakes)
  • Petit-fours secs (small cookies and macaroons)

Typically, one large plate of petit-fours is passed among the guests. Or, if the table is large, you can have a petit-fours plate at each end.

Dough-Ray-Me cookies will add a note of grace to your life—and leave a profusion of melodies on your palate.

— Karen Hochman

FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to people who love to entertain or are looking for special gift ideas.

DOUGH RAY ME COOKIES
FLAVORS: Chocolate Chip (John), Chocolate Espresso (Luna), Chocolate Peanut Butter (Dawn), Cinnamon (Chloe), Currant Shortbread (Veronica), Double Chocolate Chip (Jane), Hazelnut Cardamom (Lisa), Lemon Poppyseed (Sophie), Oatmeal Raisin (Summaiya), Triple Gingerbread (Gillian)

  • Cello Bag (3 Ounces)
    One Dozen Cookies, Any Flavor
    $4.00
    Three Cello Multipack, Any Flavors
    $12.00
  • Birch Gift Box
    Three Dozen Cookies
    Assorted Or Custom Selection
    $30.00
  • Silver Tin
    Six Dozen Cookies
    Assorted Or Custom Selection
    $45.00
  • Woven Covered Gift Basket
    10 Dozen To 30 Dozen Cookies
    $60.00 to $110.00
  • Bulk Cookies By The Tray
    1 Pound (30+ Cookies)
    $20.00
    25 To 34 Dozen Cookies
    $150.00 to $250.00

Box Of Cookies
The Birch Gift Box holds three dozen cookies.

 

 

 

 

Purchase online† at DoughRayMe.com
Telephone: 1.212.695.0675
Email: info@doughrayme.com

†Prices and product availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. THE NIBBLE does not sell products; these items are offered by a third party with whom we have no relationship. This link to purchase is provided as a reader convenience.


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