Le Pavillon Hotel in New Orleans and a Recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

BOO! We visited Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah on Monday and today we are going to Le Pavillon Hotel in New Orleans. How about a little casual scare for Casual Friday?

When we stayed at this grand, turn of the century hotel while we were in New Orleans in February, I had no idea that the place was haunted. Not only that, but it is rumored to be the number one haunted hotel in New Orleans and one of the most haunted hotels in the world! According to some sources, New Orleans is number one of the most haunted cities in the world! It was a good thing that we were too busy eating and drinking and drinking and eating to see the ghosts!

Photo courtesy of Le Pavillon Hotel

Known as the “Belle of New Orleans”, the rooms were lovely at Le Pavillon and the service at the hotel was excellent. I much prefer these older hotels (even if they have a few unregistered guests). They are elegant and gracious and I think we have lost much of that atmosphere in many of the newer hotel properties over the years. Besides, newer hotels don’t have the history (or the special visitors). ;)

Our room at Le Pavillon

Too bad it wasn't cold enough to have a fire!

I love this quote in a piece about the history of the hotel. It reads like something from an Anne Rice novel (of course, she happens to be from New Orleans).

“By the turn of the 19th century, the area was a forbidding outward fringe of the city, described by a writer of the time as a place of “foul deeds and midnight murders…the dismal gust of the wind”. Cypress thickets and cemeteries; treacherous bogs inhabited by mosquitoes, bats, hoot owls and runaway slaves; the land was a place where “no ordinary courage was required to venture alone”. The night was filled with sounds of wild men and beasts, the air thick with intrigue and desperate plots.” Now, doesn’t that sound just like Mardi Gras Anne Rice?

I don’t think I would have wanted to spend the night in that neighborhood back in those days! It is, however, this type of worldly living (according to articles I have read) that allowed New Orleans to become a breeding ground for the paranormal.  How about a little bedtime reading of The Vampire Chronicles?

What is it with the Bunkycooks and the spooky haunts that we like to visit? We also stayed at The Grove Park Inn and Asheville, North Carolina and found out that place was haunted by the Pink Lady. Geez….

Le Pavillon has gone so far as to hire a renowned Parapsychologist, Dr. Larry Montz, to come in to test and verify that there are spirits and ghosts in the hotel. Their work was successful (if you want to call it that) in proving there is definitely “a presence” on many floors of the hotel. According to his studies, the 4th floor (where we stayed) was clear (other than for a smell of Sulphur), although I have read some accounts that say there is a man who has been seen on that floor (and he doesn’t belong there). Thank goodness for all the food and booze we had…I was far too exhausted to see anyone besides Mr. B!

The lobby of the hotel is filled with crystal chandeliers from Czechoslovakia.

There are four primary ghosts that are known to haunt the hotel. Probably the most famous is a young woman named Ava or Adda. She supposedly left the hotel by carriage in the mid 1800’s headed to board a ship destined for England. On her way to the docks, there was an accident with her carriage and she was killed. Guests report that they see her in the hallways and lobby of the hotel. Some guests and cab drivers say that she will get in a cab from time to time asking to go to the docks and then she will disappear. Poof!  I personally think some of these folks are having waay too many Sazeracs in that town!

Some guests have seen Ava wandering through the lobby...

One of the other, less frightening traditions at Le Pavillon is their service of PB&J every evening at 10 pm in the hotel lobby, and it is a grand serving at that. They serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hot chocolate (that is the real thing and so good!) and ice cold milk. They also place miniature PB&J cookies on your pillow every evening (with a recipe for the cookies) for their turndown service. No fancy schmancy chocolates here!

Photo courtesy of Le Pavillon

Now of course, inquiring minds (such as ours) need to know why such things are done, so I asked. There has to be a story behind this nightly event (just as there is a story behind all the haunted stuff). Sure enough…you just never know what you will find out when you ask!

The story is told that years ago, a hotel guest came into the lounge one evening after just checking in and ordered a glass of milk. Of course, the bar keeper asked why he chose such an unusual drink (after all, who doesn’t have a cocktail while in New Orleans?!). The man told him that this was something that he did with his daughter every evening at home. They would have a glass of milk and a PB&J sandwich.

Photo courtesy of Le Pavillon

Since the bar keeper on duty that evening was the General Manger of the hotel, he made a request of the kitchen staff to prepare a PB&J sandwich for this guest to make his stay at the hotel memorable. Pretty soon everyone in the lounge heard about the PB&J sandwich and wanted one too.

The nightly PB&J tradition started on September 10th, 1988 with that evening in the lounge and continues today. Do you think if I ask for champagne and lobster we could start a new tradition?! It’s worth a try!

We had a lovely stay and were very sorry to leave New Orleans and Le Pavillon. I already miss the doorman in his top hat and tails along with the PB&J!  Too bad I didn’t know about the ghosts while we were there, we might have had some videos of Ava to show you. :-o

Do you think I can get a bellman with a top hat at my house?

I sneaked home a few of the darling little PB&J cookies that they leave for you in the room at night, but I also decided to make a batch from the recipe that they leave on your pillow.  These cookies have a shortbread texture and are full of almond flavor and peanut butter. The dough gets very soft once you roll it out, so you might have to chill it between batches.  I would definitely add more jelly than I did to the cookies.  They are quite good and I hope you enjoy the recipe.

Shhh...these are some of Le Pavillon's PB&J cookies.

I don’t know about you, but I will never think of PB&J the same way again!  Spooky…

 

Homemade PB&J Cookies

 

Enjoy your weekend!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

Yield: Approximately 32 cookies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Lovely shortbread cookies with almond and peanut butter flavors topped with PB&J. Be sure to make the cookie dough at least 6 hours ahead as it needs to firm up in the refrigerator before rolling it out to make the cookies.

Ingredients:

3/4 cups softened butter (unsalted)
1/2 cup sugar
1 whole egg (at room temperature)
5 ounces creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup almond paste
2 cups all-purpose flour
Grape jelly, for tops of cookies
Peanut butter, for tops of cookies

Directions:

Using a paddle in a mixer, blend butter and sugar for a couple of minutes until mixture comes together, then add the egg, creamy peanut butter, almond extract, almond paste and flour. Refrigerate for up to 12 hours.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Roll cookie dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/2 inch thickened. Cut out 2 circles for each cookie, one 2 inches and one 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

Place the 2 inch circle down on an ungreased baking sheet and place the 1 1/2 inch circle on top of it. Hollow out a section in each side of the smaller circle and place peanut butter in one side and jelly in the other.

Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Cook's notes: My cookies took a few more minutes to brown. You will find that the bottom halves brown quicker. Be sure to check them every minute or two so that they do not burn.

Adapted slightly from a recipe by Le Pavillon Hotel - New Orleans, Louisiana

 

 

18 Responses to “Le Pavillon Hotel in New Orleans and a Recipe for Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies”

  1. 1

    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors — March 25, 2011 @ 4:02 pm

    You are brilliant Gwen!! What a sophisticated place to stay & what an equally sophisticated take on PB&J and then to turn it into this most wonderful shortbread.

    BTW, Savannah is my all time fave town in the US and I LOVE Bonaventure cemetary….you can almost hear the whisper of ghosts among the willow trees, non?

    Also..that legend about Gracie (the famous little girl)…eerie!!

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

    • Gwen replied: — April 3rd, 2011 @ 9:25 am

      Hi Devaki,

      This hotel is lovely and we had a delightful stay there. it is convenient to The French Quarter, but not right there (so you can sleep at night!). I thought the PB&J tradition was such a treat so I had to write about it.

      Bonaventure Cemetery was incredibly beautiful…in a spooky sort of way and yes, there are some pretty interesting stories behind those monuments.

      Gwen

  2. 2

    Jonathan — March 25, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

    I was looking for hotels in New Orleans and came across your site. Please let me know the room number of the “uninvited guests” so I can make a reservation. Wonderful story

    • Gwen replied: — March 26th, 2011 @ 9:05 am

      Hi Jonathan,

      Thank you for leaving a comment. I actually have a copy of the paranormal investigator’s report. According to what I have read, a few floors are pretty active, but it is usually one room in particular on the floor. If you request the 4th, 5th, 7th, 8th or 10th floors you should be good to go! :) It is a lovely hotel and I know you will enjoy your stay.

      Gwen

  3. 3

    Brian @ A Thought For Food — March 26, 2011 @ 11:04 am

    I’ve been talking to my father about going to the jazz festival next year or the year after. We’d have such a great time… eating, drinking, listening to music. Plus, I’ve never been to New Orleans… but after all of your amazing posts, I’m dying to go!

    • Gwen replied: — April 3rd, 2011 @ 9:26 am

      Hi Brian,

      You should most certainly go to New Orleans! We can’t wait to return sometime soon.

      Gwen

  4. 4

    Drick — March 27, 2011 @ 9:31 am

    wonderful reading of your venture and stay in NO – have never stayed at this one, in the busn district but it does look deserving as it truly a fine exquisite hotel full of priceless arts & furnishings – especially enjoyed the pictures, the mahogany mantle in suite 730 is truly the world’s finest… so nice the custom of the sandwiches and to carry forward the idea of the cookie – looks beautiful as always….

    • Gwen replied: — April 3rd, 2011 @ 9:30 am

      Hi Drick,

      Thank you so much for your comment. Le Pavillon is a gorgeous hotel and i would highly recommend staying there next time you are in New Orleans! I loved the location. It was convenient without being right in The French Quarter.

      Gwen

  5. 5

    Beverly — March 27, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

    Gwen, I love your writing style. It feels like I am sitting next to you and you’re telling me a fantastic story. I have passed Bunkycooks on to several of my friends & I am sure they will look forward to receiving it as much as I do. The photos are fabulous !! And the bread pudding was “to die for.”

    • Gwen replied: — April 3rd, 2011 @ 9:31 am

      Thank you Beverly. I really appreciate your comment and I am glad that you (and hopefully your friends!) are enjoying Bunkycooks. Next time I make some chocolate bread pudding, I will send some your way! :)

      Gwen

  6. 6

    Monet — March 28, 2011 @ 12:33 am

    Oh what a lovely post to come home to. I adore PB&J, and I just have to visit that hotel now! Thank you for sharing your cookies with me. After a very long week, it is refreshing to return to the blogs/people that I love. Your words mean more to me than I can express. Many blessings this week!

    • Gwen replied: — April 3rd, 2011 @ 9:32 am

      Hi Monet,

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I always enjoy hearing from you in the comment section. We are thinking of you.

      Gwen

  7. 7

    Priscilla - She's Cookin' — March 29, 2011 @ 10:49 pm

    Beautiful hotel – now I know where to stay the next time we go! You’re such a great storyteller and those PB & J sandwiches and cookies look delicious, and darned civilized!

    • Gwen replied: — April 3rd, 2011 @ 9:38 am

      Thank you Priscilla. This is most certainly an elegant way to serve PB&J!

  8. 8

    Nicole@HeatOvenTo350 — April 30, 2011 @ 9:06 am

    What a great place to stay! That’s so cool with all the history of it.

    Those cookies are the most elegant way I’ve ever seen peanut butter and jelly served. I love it! They look delicious.

  9. 9

    Lorna — March 14, 2012 @ 10:19 am

    I have spent two glorious nights at LePavillion. It is so comfortable and elegant. Haven’t seen any ghosts although caught a partial conversation about them last night. I slept like a baby both nights and would definitely stay again. Kudos to the staff and management.

  10. 10

    RacquelSC — November 27, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

    My coworker was just raving about these cookies that she so loved and asked if I could bake them. It’s my Christmas tradition to bake during this time and I’m always looking for new cookie recipes to try. This looks so delicious! I’ll give them a try this week!

  11. 11

    Gwen — November 28, 2012 @ 10:51 am

    HI Racquel,

    These cookies are very good, especially if you love PB&J. I hope you and your coworker enjoy the recipe!

    Gwen

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