Saturday, September 5, 2009

Florence Huntley's Forgotten Cookies

Several decades ago, I had a cookie like this at one of those potlucks where people bring their most treasured dishes. It melted in my mouth and was so delicious that I never forgot it. I remember asking the cookie maker how they were made and that she said something about them being in the oven overnight--but then we were interrupted and never finished the conversation.

I never thought it would be so hard to track down a recipe. I was hampered, of course, by having no idea what to call them--meringue? cookies? overnight somethings?--plus, I was searching back in the dark ages before the Internet. Many years later in more enlightened times, I scoured the Internet for the recipe, still with no luck.

And then, just the other day, I was paging through one of our family's favorite old cookbooks--The Nine Seasons Cookbook, by Pat Haley (published in 1986 by Yankee Books), and there it was! Who knew that I had it right there on the bookshelf all these years? Who knew, indeed, to look for "Florence Huntley's Forgotten Cookies?" Obviously, they were never forgotten by me.

Sadly, the Nine Seasons Cookbook is out of print. That won't stop you--you can just track down a copy online and buy it. You won't be sorry.

3 egg whites
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup black walnuts, coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400°.

Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Beat in the sugar gradually and continue until the whites hold a stiff peak.

Fold in the vanilla and nuts. Drop by the teaspoon onto an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet. Place in the preheated oven. Shut the oven door and turn off the heat. Do not peek. Leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Store in an airtight container.

Note: You can substitute ordinary walnuts for the black walnuts or replace the nuts with a 6-oz. package of chocolate chips. A southern version of Forgotten Cookies calls for 1 cup of chopped pecans and the chocolate chips.

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