Diane Duane’s Braunekuchen and ATK’s cheese souffle

A few weeks ago, I said that I was making Braunekuchen, a northern German spice cookie, from a recipe Diane Duane posted on her blog. I made them the Sunday before Martin Luther King Day, and I’ve been eating them (and offering them to others at the office) since. I used (bought!) palm-oil shortening, since I knew some people would object to both lard and trans fat, but otherwise stuck to the recipe (which gave the important measurements by mass, although this made it difficult to do the nutrition computation). The recipe requires a 24-hour room-temperature rest for the dough; since it contains no eggs, I did not consider that to be a safety concern. After resting, it looks like this:

Photo of cookie dough waiting to be rolled out

After sitting on the counter for a day, the dough is divided in preparation for rolling out. I ended up dividing it into fourths because my rolling surface is so limited.

The dough was fairly sticky and difficult to work with, so I ended up working a good bit of extra flour into the cookies as I rolled and cut them. The recipe calls for rolling to 1/8″ thickness, so I was able to use my 1/8″ spacers, but on a tapered rolling pin like the one I have, that doesn’t leave a lot of usable width. I should probably switch to a straight pin like all the cool bakers are using now. (I bought the French-style tapered pin back when those were the cool thing.) As a result, I ended up with lots of flour on the surface of the cookies:

Photo of twelve thin, brown, cookies in a variety of shapes, cooling on a rack

Twelve Braunekuchen on a sheet of baking parchment, with excess flour used during rolling making white spots on the surface of the cookies.

There’s not a huge variety of shapes; I had to look around for something that wasn’t the standard Wilton “box of 100 cheap plastic children’s cookie cutters” that the stores seemed to be full of. I got a set of six metal cookie cutters: a moon, two stars, a flower, a heart, and a parallelogram with scalloped edges. Even with just a few cookie cutters, I was reminded of what a PITA rolled cookies like these are; the biggest difficulty is always getting the “figure” free of the “ground” without tearing or leaving a mess on the work surface. (Maybe I would have had an easier time using a silicone mat.) The recipe made about 45 cookies (counting the uncooked dough that I ate because it wasn’t worth rolling out again). Here’s a close-up of a single finished cookie:

Photo of a thin, heart-shaped cookie cooling on a rack

I made more hearts and stars than anything else.

After all that, how were they? Kinda “enh”: they were certainly crisp and brown, as the recipe claims, but the flavor left a lot to be desired in my book. Perhaps my spices were too old? Or maybe I overbaked them? It’s hard to tell. But I don’t feel any inclination to try again; there are other holiday desserts I could make that I would enjoy vastly more that take less work (or less fiddly work, at any rate).

Now on to part two of this post, which is the cheese souffle from January’s Cook’s Illustrated. The test cooks actually worked pretty hard to make this recipe much less fiddly than traditional souffles, although I’d hesitate to call it “foolproof”; the cheese-sauce base is totally standard, but the mixing process is much more aggressive than most recipes call for. I actually put off doing this so that I could get the Emile Henry two-quart (two-liter?) souffle dish that they recommended. For the cheese, I used Emmi Kaltbach Gruyere. The result was pretty good: the souffle rose as expected (despite not being coddled like a premature baby), and it had a rich, robust Swiss-cheesy flavor. Of course, as soon as it was out of the oven, it started deflating, a process which accelerated when I took my serving out:

Photo showing a cheese souffle, browned on top, sinking back into its two-quart souffle dish. One serving has been removed.

About ten minutes out of the oven, and the souffle has already deflated nearly two inches from its original height!

Having done it this way, I wouldn’t mind having a variant recipe that used single-serving souffle dishes, so that the leftovers could be reheated easily to bring that poof back. I doubt that this one can just be heated to reinflate it after having a portion removed.

Nutrition data — Braunekuchen

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 2 cookies
Servings per container: about 22
Amount per serving
Calories 147 Calories from fat 55
% Daily Value
Total Fat 6g 9%
 Saturated Fat 1g 5%
 Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
 Monounsaturated Fat 0.5g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 4.1mg 1%
Sodium 47mg 2%
Potassium 49mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 7%
 Dietary fiber less than 1g
 Sugars 10g
Proteins 2g 4%
Vitamin A
Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 1%
Iron 3%

Nutrition data — cheese souffle

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/5 souffle
Servings per container: 5
Amount per serving
Calories 372 Calories from fat 255
% Daily Value
Total Fat 28g 43%
 Saturated Fat 15g 75%
 Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 278mg 93%
Sodium 479mg 20%
Potassium 112mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
 Dietary fiber 0g
 Sugars 2g
Proteins 22g 44%
Vitamin A 26%
Vitamin C 1%
Calcium 48%
Iron 7%
This entry was posted in Food and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Diane Duane’s Braunekuchen and ATK’s cheese souffle

  1. I’m terrified of making souffle, but ATK has a few good recipes I’ve been meaning to try (including the skillet lemon soufflé) so I’m really happy your cheese one turned out! :)

Comments are closed.