In the Cookie Jar

Farmer Hats 2008 – A Success Story

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Last year I referred to these as The Bane of My Existence.  The reason was because no matter how perky the cookies looked when I shaped them, after baking, they were flat.  And the story was that my late mother-in-law's mother, when she baked them, they stayed up.

The outer cookie is basically a butter cookie, only a little sturdier.  The inner part is a meringue with ground almonds.  The thing is, the meringue isn't strong enough to hold up the cookie dough, and so in the heat of the oven, they fall down.

And they look like this:

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I tried different tactics…changed the oven temperature…refrigerated the cookies overnight…changed the length of baking time…but it didn't matter.  They still flopped.  And the fact that, according to Bill's uncle, once upon a time somewhere and somehow, they had stood UP, was festering in my brain.  That's right, festering.

And then last May, in the comments section of that post, "Interested in Baking" suggested I use pre-made marzipan instead of the meringue.

Hmmmm.  Marzipan.  A form of almond paste.  Almonds, sugar…in some versions egg white.  And it was dense.  More likely to hold up in the oven – and hold up the dough.  I kept that in the back of my mind.

And this year – I bought a little package of almond paste at the grocery store and tried it out.  (Why almond paste and not marzipan?  Don't know.  It wasn't a conscious decision.  Marzipan generally has a higher proportion of sugar, but that wasn't a factor in my decision.  I just reached up and plucked a box from the shelf.)

First, I made the cookie dough and cut out a bunch of rounds and set them on parchment-lined sheet pans.

Then I unwrapped the almond paste and cut it into pieces  and rolled those little pieces into balls.

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Then I put a ball onto each cookie dough circle and folded the sides up to make the tri-corner shape.

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And then, after chilling them in the fridge for half an hour or so, I baked them at 325 degrees F for about 20 minutes.

And – GUESS WHAT!

Oh, well, I guess you already know that because of the first picture of this post. 

THEY STAYED UP!

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So I'm all kinds of delighted with this result, and I want to thank "Interested in Baking" for that suggestion nearly 7 months ago.  THANK YOU! 

I do, however, miss the crunchy-nutty texture of the original meringue filling.  So I'm thinking of kneading ground almonds into the almond paste (or marzipan, if I use that instead) for next year's batches.  Or maybe I'll try that out sooner.  You know, just to be sure.

If you'd like a printable version of this recipe – with both versions of the filling, just to be fair, you can go here.

2 thoughts on “Farmer Hats 2008 – A Success Story

  1. This might be a dumb question – but have you tried pre-baking the meringues? Possible even a partial pre-cooking?

    They look delicious. I think I’m going to have cookies for breakfast. Ahh, the joys of being ‘the grownup’!

  2. I love pili nuts,and cookies specially when merienda time. I want to try that recipe, seems so interesting I am going to look the ingredients to the groceries. I am so excited to do that. Thanks for this post.

    -krisha-

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