Cookie of the Year: 1941 – Cajun Macaroons

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Quite awhile ago, I was given The Gourmet Cookie Book. As someone who loves to bake, but isn’t really prone to do anything fancy with cookies – this cook book excited me. It has the best recipe from Gourmet magazine from 1941 through 2009 – a huge variety of cookies ranging more than 50 years. Surely there were some recipes in here that would get me baking more than just chocolate chip.

The cookie book itself is lovely – full of full page photos of beautiful cookies, with a nice description of each cookie and what was happening in the world at the time of it’s publication. It also includes adorable notes helping clarify recipes that may be a bit lost in the translation 50 years later, or that are made easier by modern appliances. Things like “”Soda” is baking soda.” and “Rather than working the almond paste with a wooden spoon, use a food processor.”

After more than a year of this cookbook sitting on my shelf with little more than “Yeah, we really need to make some of those…”, I’ve decided I’m not going to make some of the recipes: I’m going to make ALL of the recipes. I’m not nuts – I’m not going to set a time limit for myself. But I am aiming to get each recipe made at some point – and I’m going to make them all in order.

Much to my surprise – the very first recipe listed was for Cajun Macaroons. It certainly doesn’t *sound* like a cookie from 1941. I first envisioned something… spicy? Perhaps with nuts and/or coconut? No, these little cookies weren’t much more than almond cookies with a lot of egg white.

Unfortunately 1941 did not prove to be that exciting of a year. I think Adam liked them better than I did… they’re just a bit… boring. Perhaps I didn’t make them right. In fact, I definitely didn’t do it 100% correctly.

It calls for almond paste… I’ve yet to find almond paste in any store. I always sub in marzipan, knowing that it will be sweeter than it should be. As far as I can tell marzipan is a type of almond paste, but it’s sweeter than what is sold as almond paste.

I also did it all in a stand mixer instead of a food processor – so I don’t think it really mixed the right way. They ended up oddly chewy. The recipe does note that they “should be baked a few days in advance” and that “they will keep several months when kept in a closed tin”… several months? Hmm. Perhaps they are better once they’re dried out a bit.

Cajun Macaroons

Anyway – the full recipe:

Cajun Macaroons

  • 1/2 pound almond paste
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
Use a food processor to break up almond paste, and add 3 egg whites.
Sift together cake flour with the sugars, and add to the almond/egg mix.
Drop batter onto a parchment lined cookie tray (or use a pastry bag) – the cookies are quite small – only use about a teaspoon of batter for each.
Bake at 300F for 30 minutes, until they are pale golden.
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