Monday, May 07, 2007

Mondays with Maida - French Filbert Macaroons

Page 219 in the old book / page 246 in the new book

Funny that this cookie comes so soon after my revisit with its Italian cousin, Brutti ma Buoni, or as Maria Grammatico calls them, Belli et Brutti. Last time I tried that recipe which is made with almonds, I was thinking it might be interesting to try it with hazelnuts rather than almonds. Little did I know that I was just a couple of weeks away from trying Maida's take on that very thing. According to Maida, these cookies are traditional for Christmas in France.

Her version has not only the expected nuts, sugar and egg whites, but also a small amount of seedless black raspberry jam and finely minced candied cherries. There's not enough of either to provide more than a hint of flavor, but that's OK - hazelnuts are the star here and their flavor comes through loud and clear. What the jam and cherries do is help make the cookies moist and chewy. Hazelnut... moist and chewy... I think we have a winner!

These cookies are very easy to make. I used the food processor to grind the nuts and it worked well. I worried that I should add some sugar to prevent the ground nuts from turning to butter, but that was not a problem at all. I didn't get them ground quite as evenly as I'd hoped, but the few larger bits of nut here and there provided a nice texture.

Here's the panel...

Suzanne: "I enjoyed the taste of the cookie, but didn’t care for the texture. The texture was extremely chewy and I felt like I was chewing gummy bears. I think that it probably was the candied cherries that make the cookie so chewy. The cookie took too much work to enjoy. Rating - 3.0"

Laura: "Very moist and chewy. Lovely flavor of hazelnuts. Rating - 3.5"

Denny: "Excellent. Very tasty and not as crunchy as they look. Couldn't pick out the raspberry taste, but the cherries added to the overall excellence of the cookie. Minus one for no chocolate makes them a 3.5 for me. Surprisingly good since I'm not much for regular macaroons. Rating - 3.5"

Terri: "These are absolutely fantastic! If I closed my eyes while eating one of them, I'd think I was in a French pastry shop! These macaroons are chewy and have just the right amount of hazelnuts, jam, and candied cherries. They are all blended so well, one can see a slight reddish tint in the cookies. Rating - 5.0"

Overall rating by the panel - 3.8

Next week - Danish Butter Sandwiches

Nutrition Facts


Anonymous said...

Like the nut-based tortes that is so typical in europe, these kinds of cookies are just the sort of thing to go with afternoon tea. I like how the sizes are usually bite-size, making it difficult to stop at just one!

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog, Cathy and am really enjoying it! Thank you very much for sharing this labor of love with everyone. I enjoy your comments in the start of the project about how this will be a future resource for your young niece and others that you have given the book. And then there is all the rest of us that benefit! Thank you!

I linked to your blog on the forums for the eGullet Society here:

On a more specific note, I love hazelnuts and cookies made with them. This sounds like an interesting variant with the addition of the jam and dried fruit. I would have been a bit hesistant to try them but am now interested base on your's and the panel's experience.

Thanks, I look forward to following the rest of your adventures!

Amy said...

Hi Cathy~

I was wondering if you blanched and skinned your hazelnuts?

Zarah Maria said...

Oooh. Sounds intriguing - will have to try those!

Cathy said...

Hi Rowena - they'd be perfect with tea... there were only 24, so I managed to stop at one!

Hi Ludga - thanks so much! I enjoyed reading the thread and seeing which of the cookies others enjoyed. I'm now very much looking forward to the Austrian Walnut Crescents and the Sour Cream and Pecan Dreams!

Hi Amy - no, for this recipe it specifically asked for unblanched nuts. Maida says you can used blanched nuts - it will affect the color of the cookies but not the taste.

Hi Zarah - If you love hazelnuts, you'll love this cookie!

Catherine Mary said...

I just found Maida's cookie book at a thrift store and then found your blog. Serendipity. I'm not sure which cookie recipe to start with; they all look so good. Any suggestions?

Cathy said...

Hi Catherine Mary! I'd be hard-pressed to pick out just one and of course it depends upon your tastes as well. If you go to my Mondays with Maida Archive (there's a link in the sidebar on the left), you'll see at the end of each chapter there's a link to a post where I list my favorites for each chapter. Back on the sidebar you'll also see a link to the Cookie Panel's top 10 - which aren't necessarily the same as mine! :)