Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ghosts Of Cookie Parties Past

Limoncello Macaroons
Limoncello Macaroons. These little babies are what all the recent almond blanching and pasting were leading up to. Not that any of it was laborious or time consuming (it wasn't), but if it was... it would have been so worth it. Crisp-ish on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. Each cookie a perfect bite. Almost more like candy than cookies. The only thing better than these cookies, would be these cookies dipped in dark chocolate.

Fun and easy to make, once they've completely cooled* they tasted um... [insert your favorite ultra-positive food descriptor here]. Lately I've run out of synonyms for "delicious". It was the French Tomato Tart that ruined me for adjectives. Let's just say that these are some of the best cookies I've ever made in my whole entire life and I should not be left alone in the house with them. Ooh...I'm thinking about dipping them in dark chocolate again.

The recipe makes 48 cookies. Sounds like a lot, right? It's not nearly enough. They're small cookies; dense and packed with flavor... but small. A while back, I found out (the hard way) that cookie-size is sometimes an important factor when choosing a cookie recipe. Attractiveness and deliciousness are certainly important considerations, but when it comes to cookie-swaps, size does matter.

Do people still do cookie-swap parties? If not, I'll vote right now to bring them back. They're the best excuse for a party I think I've ever heard of. I was invited to one a few years ago and I decided to bring the cutest little chocolate and vanilla sandwich cookies.** [Key point here: I'd never made them before.] We were supposed to bring 2 dozen for the swap. Well, my two dozen fit on a hand-painted vintage dessert plate no more than 7" across. I was almost too embarrassed to take them, but I did. [Another key point: I didn't leave myself time to make more.] They were time-consuming to make, delicious and adorable, and so wrong for a cookie-swap. Did I feel foolish with my itty-bitty cookies? Oh yeah. In a big, big way. But I learned my lesson.

These Limoncello Macaroons are two or three times the size of those bitty cookies I made back then, but they're still on the diminutive side as far as cookies go. If you take these to a cookie party and they say "bring 2 dozen to swap"... go ahead and bring the full batch of 4 dozen. And maybe dip them in dark chocolate while you're at it.
My Notes: Used one recipe of Homemade Almond Paste (approx. 13 oz.). It was a little less than the recipe called for, but it worked out fine and didn't seem to affect the outcome. I didn't have a lemon so used some of the zest that I keep in the freezer. I also used my homemade limoncello (from 2006), and baked the cookies on a Silpat instead of parchment. Baked both pans at the same time. Swapped positions after 10 minutes, then baked for another 7-8 min. They taste more almond-y than lemony. Next time might sub in lemon extract for the almond extract. The flavor was lovely though: sweet fragrant almond with the smallest hint of lemon. The outer texture softened up after storing in an air-tight container, but they still tasted great. Might be possible to crisp them back up in a low oven for a couple minutes? 

*Understand that the concept of "completely cooled" is a fluid one. In this instance it means "once I was able to eat one without burning my mouth".

**The online recipe linked to here says that it makes 150 sandwich cookies. Ha... I wish!
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