As a child of the 70s, the first thing the comes to mind when I hear the word "accordion" is the Lawrence Welk Show. But now I also associate the word with baking, thanks to the "Accordion Treats" recipe that won the 1957 Pillsbury Bake-Off. These wedge-shaped butter cookies get their name from their homemade baking pan: aluminum foil folded into an accordion shape.
Recipe: "Accordion Treats" by Mrs. Gerda Roderer from Berkeley, California, Grand Prize Winner of the 1957 Pillsbury Bake-Off. Recipe available in Pillsbury's Best 1000 Recipes: Best of the Bake-Off Collection, and here at the Pillsbury website.
The dough for these cookies only requires a few ingredients. You cream together butter and sugar; add eggs, vanilla, and salt; and incorporate flour (nuts are also listed as an optional ingredient; I left them out). The resulting batter was quite soft, and I used a #50 scoop to drop the dough into the pleats of my folded aluminum foil; I got 55 cookies from a double batch of dough.
The recipe says that you should form the accordion from a double thickness of heavy duty aluminum foil or four layers of regular foil. I only had regular foil, and it's a good thing I had a Costco-size roll -- because I used many, many, many yards of foil to fold two quadruple-thickness accordions to fit two half-sheet pans.
While the cookies are in the oven, the little blobs of dough spread out to form golden brown wedges that are long and skinny. I thought the baked cookies looked a little bland, so I dipped one end of each cookie in chocolate and then in either dried coconut, nonpareils, or chopped pistachios.
The decorated cookies were quite attractive and most people thought they were biscotti at first glance. But of course they tasted nothing like biscotti. The accordion treats are tender and delicate buttery cookies that are perfect for an afternoon tea. I loved the flavor of the cookies and thought that they tasted terrific even when plain -- but from an appearance standpoint, I think they needed the chocolate dip, or at least some other sort of garnish.
I'm a big fan of these cookies, although making the aluminum foil accordion takes a little bit of effort (and a lot of foil!). I understand that this was one of Gerda Roderer's family recipes that originated from Alsace-Lorraine. That seems quite fitting, because of course, that is also where Lawrence Welk's family originated from -- and I'm sure he would agree that these accordion treats are Wunnerful!