Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Sweet Little Party Cookies

Last Saturday we had the second annual Scholar's Social for the winners of Chapter AJ P.E.O.'s local scholarships. The young women who attended are awesome, with various educational goals including a freshman whose long term goal is to be a medical doctor. One will be studying in Italy this year. Another is not only attending college, she is spearheading an effort to form a non-profit to assist women who have escaped human trafficking. Two others will be continuing their education toward degrees in biology and environmental sciences. These women are intelligent, articulate and altogether wonderful. So glad that we can assist them in furthering their education through scholarships.

For the party, which was an afternoon gathering with finger foods and iced tea and lemonade, I made a recipe that was new to me from Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts. The results were little pastries that not only were delicious, but that looked impressive. The truth is that they were fairly easy, but that is often the way with impressive looking food. In the photo above, they are the cookies on the small plate by the napkin stack. The dough is made from almonds, sugar and egg whites, rather like marzipan. It's shaped into a long strip and a trough indented into it, while keeping the sides high. The shaped dough sits out overnight and then the indent is filled with apricot jam and sprinkled with sliced almonds. Bake until golden brown, cool, and slice on the diagonal and you have a yummy cookie that looks like something from a pastry shop.

I also tried making a tart with the cookie dough, baking it partway, then adding jam and raspberries and baking it a bit more. Unfortunately, the jam turned to liquid and soaked the pastry overnight, so they were tasty but no longer finger food. If you decide to make them, just be sure to serve them as soon as they are chilled.

Almond Macaroon Slices - a two day recipe
from Maida Heatter's Best Dessert Book Ever (slightly changed)
Makes about 12 slices

7 1/2 oz. (1 1/2 cups) blanched almonds
2 3/8 oz (1/3 cup) granulated sugar
2 egg whites graded 'large' or extra large', separated from each other
About 1/3 cup apricot preserves
sliced almonds (for topping)
confectioners sugar - optional - (for topping)

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat and set aside.

Place the blanched almonds and granulated sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade. Process until fine and powdery. Through the feed tube add one of the egg whites and process briefly. Beat the remaining white slightly since you will only be adding part of it, Gradually add the second egg white, just a bit at a time, until the mixture holds together and forms a paste firm enough to hold its shape...but better too wet than too dry. You will most likely not use all of the second egg white.

Turn the mixture out onto a floured surface, form it into a ball, turn it over to flour all sides. With your hands mold it into a sausage shape about 11 inches long and about 1 3/4 to 2 inches in diameter.

Carefully transfer to the prepared cookie sheet. To form the trench down the middle, dip your middle finger in water and with the wet fingertip, press a trench in the dough. The long sides and the ends of the strip much remain high or the preserves will boil over during baking. The trench should be about 1 inch wide and about 3/4 inch deep. As you are shaping, support the outside of the strip with one hand while you shape the trench with the middle finger of your other hand.

Let stand uncovered overnight.

The next day, before baking, adjust the oven rack to the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Stir the preserves well to soften. With a small spoon, place the preserves in the trench. The preserves should just about fill the trench but should not be higher than the sides anywhere or they will run over during baking. Too much preserves will also be too runny/sticky.

With your fingertips, placed a generous layer of sliced almonds all over the preserves, placing them casually every which way.

Bake for 25 to 28 minutes until the macaroon mixture is lightly colored and the preserves start to bubble. Keep an eye on them for the last few minutes to avoid having the preserves run over the sides.

Remove from the oven. Run a long, thin spatula under the whole cookie to loosen the bottom. Let cool completely. Cookie will firm up some as it cools.

Transfer carefully to a cutting board. If desired, lightly sprinkle confectioners sugar through a fine strainer on the top. Then, with a sharp knife, cut the strip on an angle into slices a scant 1-inch wide.

To make the raspberry tart variation: make the macaroon dough as described above. Flatten it into an even layer in a rectangular tart pan. push the dough up the sides of the pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. When cool, spread about 1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam over the bottom of the tart. Cover surface with fresh raspberries. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes until tart dough is golden and jam bubbles. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut into squares. Eat the same day!


  1. It's so cool that you do something like this social. Also, the sliced-almond-apricot cookies look A.MAZ.ING, and well worth trying. I'm super impressed with you doing a two-day cookie! I'm a bit too greedy for that.

    Our lives are ALMOST back to where we'll be doing more baking - Himself made the most amazing triple chocolate cookies, but those pastry cookies are definitely next on my list! Be well! Stay cool!

  2. Did y'all move again? I want triple chocolate cookies! Still mostly baking when I can give the results away or have lots of people in to eat them. Sweetie continues to weigh less, in part due to less baking. I'm slightly lighter, too.
    Do try these cookies Tanita! They are so delicious. I suspect that you could bake them for 10-15 minutes in a low oven instead of the overnight wait...cookies sooner! Stay cool yourself...hard to do this week.