Pecan Paulines

Yesterday I received a very special present in the mail, a vintage 1959 Best of the Bake-Off Cookbook. It’s in great condition, smells pretty good for a 50 year old book and has lots of line drawings of people driving old cars and having luaus. At any rate, I feel so lucky to be the owner of this old book, and many thanks go out to my benefactor, Big Sis from Big Sis Lil Sis who thought of me when she saw it.


Big Sis had some concerns, though. While she knew I’d appreciate the design, she was worried that Lima Cheese Pie, Gingerunes and By Cracky Bars wouldn’t be appealing. But they are! The titles, no….but the recipes themselves are gems and like most Bake-Off recipes, way ahead of their time. In fact, Nicole over at Baking Bites recently made the By Cracky Bars and Gourmet has a recipe for Lima Cheese Pie. Okay, just kidding about that second one — but it could happen with a few nips, tucks and a name change.

The recipe I made today didn’t need any real adjustments nor did its name which is “Pecan Paulines”. I’m guessing Mrs. Daniel Jones, who won a “Senior” prize for these cookies, was named Pauline. Or maybe it was her daughter’s name? It’s fun to speculate.

As for the cookies, they are thin, fairly crisp icebox cookies with a topping of whole pecans and praline candy glaze. What makes these special is the fakety, fake, fake, fake, maple extract. You could leave it out, but it’s so worth it to buy a bottle because the fake maple (which smells a lot like fenugreek) gives these more character.


On paper, the glaze looks almost too simple. It has brown sugar, corn syrup, water and powdered sugar – no vanilla, no butter. I was skeptical, but the glaze was fabulous and set up beautifully. You could probably add flavorings if you wanted to, but no need.

Here’s the recipe as I made. Aside from the salted butter adjustment, the ingredients are the same and instructions are modified.

Pecan Paulines

1 2/3 cups sifted all purpose flour (book recommends Pillsbury’s Best but I used Gold Medal unbleached)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (use 1/4 if using salted butter)
4 oz unsalted butter (book used salted)
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1 tablespoon water
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
Another 1 tablespoon water

Don’t preheat oven yet – dough requires chilling.

Re-sift the sifted flour with the baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Cream the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in the egg, vanilla and fake maple. Gradually add the flour mixture – dough will be quite thick. Try not to overwork it, but blend in all the flour. Shape into an 8 inch (2 inch diameter) log. Wrap tightly and chill for 4 hours or more.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Slice the dough into 1/8 inch thick rounds and top each round with either a whole pecan or some broken pecans. Bake on greased or parchment lined cookie sheets for 8-10 minutes (I baked for 10). Let cool on a wire rack.

Make icing. Combine sugar, syrup and water in a small metal saucepan and cook, stirring constantly to melt sugar, over medium heat until mixture begins to boil. Remove from heat and beat in the powdered sugar and remaining tablespoons of water. Beat with the spoon until smooth. Drizzle over cookies and let set.

Makes about 3 dozen

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  1. says

    Awesome book. Great looking cookie. (I’ll bet more people are less willing to admit that they have imiation maple flavoring than you’d think. Although, I don’t actually have any right now.) 😉

  2. Louise says

    I remember that they used to list the winners as “Mrs.” whoever. Wonder when they changed. A giant leap into the 20th Century.

  3. Jane says

    What a fantastic gift! I am jealous! I don’t suppose the Blueberry Boy Bait recipe is in your new book? It was a bake-off finalist in the mid-50s. There are two very different versions of the recipe floating around the internet and I have become strangely obessed with finding the original. 🙂

  4. says

    Hey Anna, thanks for the shout out! I’m so glad the book made its way to you so fast, and that you’ve already put it to good use. I knew you would! Now…I want you to make that Lima Bean Pie and give us a report! I love those old cookbooks and the funny names they used to use. As for the recipes, this one looks like a winner. (And I do have to admit I have some of that fakety fake fake maple flavoring.) Enjoy the book!

  5. says

    Katrina, I was surprised I had the maple extract.

    Louise, I have Junior Forum books from the 80’s where they still have Mrs. Tom So & So.

    Jane, Blueberry Boy Bait is in the book and I will email it to you tonight.

    CPB, looks like the Martha cookies are the same concept, but quite different in execution.

    BigSis, next time you’re in Austin, stop by for some Lima Cheese Pie. You’ll have to eat it all because I hate lime beans.

  6. pam shank says

    What a treasure you have in that book. I probably wouldn’t sleep tonight reading it all the way thru. I know you will keep giving us posts from it. and don’t those cookies look great!! these recipes are just the way we grew up thinking of the Bake-off.

  7. Louise says

    I, too, love the old books and have many of them. And, I have no “imitation” maple flavoring. In fact, on our recent trip, I bought a bottle of “dry” maple sugar. It’s actually granulated and I plan to try it in a rub for salmon.

  8. Yvonne says

    Hi Anna,

    You are going to love that book. I managed to snag a copy a few years ago and I still love reading the book and enjoying the shear nostalgia of it. Thanks for posting the Pecan Paulines–they look fabulous!

    Are you planning a Luau soon?

  9. Karen says

    I love the name! So retro, and yet I can almost imagine a band called the Pecan Paulines.
    I bet they taste good, too.

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