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Archive for Recipes


JELLY CENTERS – Gourmet, June 1948


1 cup butter
1 cup confectioners sugar
8 eggs
3 cups flour
1 lemon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup blanched almonds, finely chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Cream butter, add sugar, continue to cream until pale colored. Separate 6 eggs (whites will not be used). Make zest of 1/2 lemon and juice 1/2 lemon. Add yolks one at a time to the butter/sugar mixture, with salt, lemon juice, and zest. Gradually add flour. Refrigerator overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix chopped almonds and granulated sugar. Separate remaining two eggs (whites will not be used). Beat egg yolks. Lightly flour hands and roll dough into spheres the size of a marble. Press the tip of a little finger into each to make a deep indentation. Dip side of cookie with indentation in egg yolks, then in almond/sugar mixture. Place on greased baking sheet or parchment with indentation upward. Bake until lightly brown, about 12 minutes. When cool, fill indentations with apricot jam or any red jam or jelly


This technique requires practice; I advise doing only a few cookies at a time until it works for you. The indentation tends to vanish as the cookie expands with baking, unless it is very deep. The original recipe says to sprinkle the tops with almonds/sugar. This does not work because the almonds/sugar fills up the indentation. A final problem that I never solved was that the cookies are somewhat thick and the inner part does not bake completely and remains raw even after the bottoms are almost burned. You can’t make the cookie thinner because it has to have that deep indentation. If you are fixated on this cookie, you might try baking at 325 or even 300 F for longer. When I was fed up with trying to make this recipe work, I still had about half the dough left. I settled for rolling it out to about 1/8 inch and cutting circles. This produced satisfactorily baked cookies that, curiously, had a flaky texture, almost like a mock puff paste. They were nearly flavorless, though. They might be rescued by any of the flavors in previous cookies in this series that I liked.

And that’s all, folks! At least for this season. I might do this next year. Let me know if you liked it!

First photo below: Gourmet. Second photo: mine.




6 eggs
1 pound butter
2 1/2 cups sugar, separated
6 cups flour
1 lemon
1 cup coarsely chopped almonds

Hard boil 3 eggs, press the yolks through a fine sieve. (These whites are not used in this recipe.) Cream butter and add 1 1/2 cups sugar; reserve remaining 1 cup sugar. Separate remaining three eggs. Reserve whites in refrigerator. Make zest from 1/2 the lemon peel. When butter and sugar are light-colored, add the three sieved yolks alternately with flour and the three raw egg yolks. Add the lemon zest. The dough will be stiff, and for complete mixing you will have to knead it manually. If it is still too soft to roll out though, put it in the refrigerator overnight.

Heat oven to 350 F.

Mix remaining 1 cup sugar and chopped almonds. Roll out to 1/8 inch and cut with cookie cutter as desired. Brush tops with reserved egg whites and sprinkle with sugar and almonds. Bake on parchment paper for 10-15 minutes, or until very slightly brown.


This cookie falls apart in your mouth. The delicacy of the texture is beyond any other cookie I have met. The taste is pleasant, with a very faint hint of lemon (the original recipe says you may substitute 2 teaspoons brandy). My only complaint about this aristocratic cookie is its overly faint flavor. It would benefit from a teaspoon or two of vanilla and a half-teaspoon of salt, and perhaps whatever other flavorings you like. (See previous recipe with just the right amount of nutmeg, as an example.) I also don’t think that the sugar and almonds on top add very much.

This makes a lot of cookies. If you use a smallish cookie cutter, you will probably get at least twelve dozen. The recipe could be cut in half (with a little difficulty due to the 3 raw egg yolks) if you want fewer.

The sieved cooked egg yolks are interesting. I haven’t met that before, either. The purpose seems to get a little more eggy umami into the cookie while preserving its delicate texture. Raw egg, when it cooks, gives firmness and body to baked goods, which do not necessarily improve a cookie.

I tried making this cookie with a favorite flavor combination of mine, vanilla and lemon rind. I added 2 teaspoons of vanilla, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest (about a whole lemon’s worth), and 1/2 teaspoon salt. I brushed the tops with egg white and added a pecan half. The results were superb.

Next week: our last recipe this year, Jelly Centers, from 1948.


First photo below: Gourmet.  Second photo: mine


CINNAMON SUGAR CRISPS – Gourmet, October 1944


1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup regular molasses
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. almond extract
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 rounded tsp. salt
2 rounded tsp. cinnamon

Cream the butter and sugar until light and pale yellow. Beat the egg. Add the vanilla and almond extracts to the molasses. Add egg and molasses to the butter-sugar mixture and beat in. Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients, then add them slowly to the mixer bowl, mixing thoroughly. The dough will be soft. Refrigerate it overnight.

Preheat oven to 350.

Roll out dough to about 1/8 inch, cut it with a small cookie cutter and bake on parchment for 10-12 minutes.

Results: Very pleasant, crisp little cookie that reminded me of ginger snaps, doubtless on account of the molasses. This is the last of the war years cookies, and the recipe still uses few eggs, not much butter (for a cookie), and a sugar substitute. Still an excellent cookie. The white discoloration of the cookie tops is flour from the rolling that the cookie does not absorb during baking. I’m not sure what to do about this; flour is necessary to prevent sticking.

Next week: our first post-war cookie and first bar cookie.


First photo below: Gourmet. Second photo mine.



Honey Refrigerator Cookies – June, 1942

1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup chopped nuts, not too fine

Mix flour well with baking powder, soda, and salt. Cream butter and brown sugar until light colored, then add honey. Beat in the egg, then the flour mixture, finally the nuts. The dough will be soft and sticky. Form into two or three rectangular blocks, each about 2 inches x 1 inch. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least overnight.

On the day of baking, preheat oven to 400 F.

You may grease the pan or use parchment paper. Slice a block of dough crosswise in 1/4 inch slices. 7 min in the upper half of the oven leaves cookies slightly brown on the bottom. Ovens vary, so bake a test cookie or two first. They break cleanly when cool, but still a little soft in the middle.


This is the first recipe from the WWII years, and probably reflects Gourmet’s attempt to deal with the shortages caused rationing: heavy in flour, light in butter, with honey substituted for some of the sugar.

I regret to report that this was my least favorite of the eight recipes I made. The problem is probably me. I’m not fond of the taste of honey and with no other flavorings, honey dominates the cookie. The recipe suggests eating with cheese. I tried cream cheese, but it didn’t improve things. Your mileage may vary. If you like honey, you might like these.

Next week: a vastly better cookie (in my opinion), one of my two favorites.

Below: first photo by Gourmet, second of my results



Christmas cookie recipes from Gourmet Magazine


Beginning tomorrow, and for the next seven Wednesdays until Christmas, I will post my experience with a recipe from the The Gourmet Cookie Book, a collection of the best cookie recipe from each year of Gourmet magazine.

Gourmet was published between 1941 and 2009. It was America’s first foodie magazine before the word ‘foodie’ was coined. Shortly before its demise, this collection of cookie recipes was published. It is now out of print, but used copies and even new ones can still be found.

I find it strange to think that the book’s oldest recipes are over 80 years old, a time when ‘gourmet’ meant Beef Wellington and Cherries Jubilee. Still, I found most of these first eight cookie recipes delicious and fresh, perhaps even with something to teach modern cooks.

If this project is received with enthusiasm, I may do the same next year with the next eight recipes.



Make the dough the night before you intend to bake the cookies: Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer until very light-textured, almost white. Separate one egg, reserve white in refrigerator. While the butter and sugar are creaming is a good time to sift the flour and grate the lemon rind. Add one whole egg and egg yolk, vanilla, lemon rind and salt. Add flour.

Chill dough for several hours, preferably overnight. This is important, both because the dough will be unworkable without chilling, and to allow the flavors to blend. It may be refrigerated for several days if necessary.

On the day of baking:

Preheat oven to 375°. Butter two cookie sheets.

Roll very thin on a pastry cloth. (How thin? Experience will tell. Perhaps 2 mm.) Cut out individual cookies with a cookie cutter and place on cookie sheet. Brush tops with reserved egg white, and top each with a pecan. Bake until lightly browned at the edges, about 8 minutes. Watch them like a hawk! Baking time is very dependant on cookie thickness, characteristics of your cookie sheets, and temperature and temperature evenness of your oven.

Cool on wire rack. Makes about 2 pounds. (more…)