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.

Ingredients

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

Directions

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.

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29 comments

  • October 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm //

    Very interesting recipe. Always good to learn a new cuisine. Thanks for sharing.

    • October 12, 2011 at 7:02 pm //

      Hi Ellie, thank you so much for commenting = )

  • October 12, 2011 at 9:07 pm //

    I love Moroccan desserts but don’t think I ever tried Algerian. Your cookies look great, bet they melt in your mouth! Thanks for sharing :)

    • October 13, 2011 at 5:03 pm //

      Thank you so much Roxana!

  • October 12, 2011 at 11:37 pm //

    The beauty of this dessert is it’s simplicity – looks like something I can make easily at home. And yes, I just bought orange flower water – so I’m good to go!

    • October 13, 2011 at 5:03 pm //

      Thank you Divya!

  • October 13, 2011 at 3:51 am //

    i love the idea of “worldly wednesdays.” the cookies look yummy and i LOVE your turquoise cake stand!

    • October 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm //

      That’s wonderful to hear Valentina, thank you.

  • October 13, 2011 at 6:28 am //

    Yum! I adore the fact that I could eat these since they are naturally gluten free! They look delicious :)

    • October 13, 2011 at 5:08 pm //

      Thank you so much Nora! I hope you’ll give them a try.

  • October 13, 2011 at 7:45 am //

    I love your worldly Wednesday’s it’s wonderful to learn about so many new dishes. Your cookies look wonderful, and so does that tea set.

    • October 13, 2011 at 5:09 pm //

      Hi Jennifer, that is wonderful to hear, we are so glad you like the series.

  • October 13, 2011 at 12:41 pm //

    It’s great to learn a cookie recipe from countries afar. Thanks for sharing, it looks decadent :)

    • October 13, 2011 at 5:09 pm //

      Thank you so much Kiran.

  • October 13, 2011 at 1:30 pm //

    These pictures are so beautiful and those just look so light and delicious. Thanks for your comments on Yummy Mummy :)

    • October 13, 2011 at 5:09 pm //

      Thank you so much Marina, and for commenting too, it’s wonderful to connect.

  • October 13, 2011 at 2:15 pm //

    Interesting, I’d love to try this melt-in-the-mouth cookie.

    • October 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm //

      Thank you so much.

  • October 13, 2011 at 4:04 pm //

    Such delicate and beautiful cookies! I love your styling for this also :)
    Very interesting recipe!

    • October 13, 2011 at 5:10 pm //

      Thank you so much Chinmayie!

  • October 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm //

    These cookies do look tender and delicious. I love trying other cuisines, especially when it comes to baked goods! I have saved this recipe-thanks for posting this.
    Your pictures are stunning!

    • October 14, 2011 at 8:57 am //

      Thank you so much Stephanie.

  • October 14, 2011 at 2:01 pm //

    Another stunner! I am so excited with this series. Not only do I learn about food from individual countries, you make an authentic recipe, share it and give us amazing photos! BRAVO…and buzzed!

    • October 14, 2011 at 8:47 pm //

      Thank you so much Ann! Thank you for the buzz too!!!

  • October 15, 2011 at 8:19 pm //

    These cookies look so delicious, I would love a couple now with my coffee.

  • October 16, 2011 at 7:03 am //

    So different and they looks so amazing! I would love one with the cup o’ coffee I am having right now. :)

    • October 16, 2011 at 8:47 am //

      That sounds great, a cuppa with a cookie = ) Thanks for commenting Kate!

  • November 1, 2011 at 1:59 am //

    dairy free! always makes me happy when I can eat!