worldly wednesdays: algerian cookie recipe
Algeria is the second largest country on the continent of Africa. The indigenous Berber people inhabit Algeria, but until recent history had been under the rule of others since the Phoenicians (1000 BCE). Of course, the Romans once ruled in Algeria and then Muslim Arabs for many centuries as well as Turks from the Ottoman Empire. Finally, and most recently, the French ruled in Algeria. However, with the end of French rule, Algeria became an independent country.
Algerian cuisine is known as Maghrib, which denotes the region in which Algeria is located. There are many similarities with the cuisine of Morocco and Tunisia. Algerian cuisine is not only influenced by its region, but by the many foreign cultural influences brought to the country by its many rulers.
We could have chosen to make a savory dish filled with the wonderful spices used in Algerian (North African) cooking, however we chose to make a recipe that has become a very popular sweet. Makroud el louse is a delightful, melt in your mouth cookie that illustrates the French influence in Algerian cuisine.
Makroud el louse is a perfect complement to tea or coffee. The cookies look lovely on a plate, white powdery sugar beckoning for you to take a bite. Our adult excuse for making these delightful cookies: We will have many opportunities to touch on the savory delicacies of northern African countries. Our inner child’s excuse: These look very pretty and they are yummy!
Note: These were so easy to make, but so delish that they will make you the cookie exchange superstar during the holiday season.
Makroud el Louse
This recipe comes from a variety of sites, which all offered almost identical versions.
1 ¼ lb almonds, whole, blanched
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten lightly
2 cups water
½ cup sugar
1 tbspn orange flower water
About 3 cups powdered sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the almonds and sugar in a food processor and process until the almonds are finely pulverized. Remove to a bowl.
2. Make a well in the center of the almonds and stir in the eggs with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together. Then knead the dough with clean hands until smooth.
3. Cut the dough into 4 equal portions and remove to a floured work surface. Roll one portion out into a rope about 3/4 inches in diameter. Press down with your palm to flatten the rope to about 1/2-inch thickness. Cut the rope on a diagonal into 1-inch pieces and remove to an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough.
4. Bake cookies for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until they are lightly browned on top. Remove to racks and cool completely.
5. While the cookies bake, bring the water and 1/2 cup sugar to a rapid boil in a saucepan over high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar and let boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and cool to room temperature. Stir in the orange flower water.
6. Put powdered sugar in a large bowl. To finish, dip each cookie first in the sugar syrup to wet. Then toss each cookie in the confectioner’s sugar to coat well. Place on a rack to dry and repeat with the rest of the cookies.