With it being so close to Valentine's Day, all you have to do is add a bit of red food coloring for a tiny, pink cookie. I've also added green coloring and mint chocolate chips for St. Patrick's Day. During the Christmas holidays I color them red and green by using food coloring in the batter or I will leave them white and just sprinkle colored sugar on the tiny tops before baking. There was always the "what to do" with the egg yolks. Most times I'd just cook them up for a treat to add to my dogs' food. Just throwing them away didn't seem right. After all, it was food and my mother taught me to never waste anything and that everything could be useful if you just thought about it long enough.
Almond-flavored Forgotten Cookies are popular throughout Europe. Most likely, these cookies began as macarons de Nancy in France, where they sometimes contain chocolate. Italians call the same cookies amaretti and make them with bitter almonds. Hazelnuts, and sometimes cocoa or cinnamon and lemon peel, are used in similar German haselnuss ballchen or makronen. Also related, Swedish valnot maranger contain walnuts. So do Austrian makronen-schnitten which are formed with channels and filled with apricot jam.
These delicate clouds of meringue are drop cookies, the easiest type of cookie you can make. First, beat egg whites with sugar and fold in ground nuts. Then, simply drop the batter from a spoon or push it through a pastry bag or a food-storage bag onto cookie sheets. Instead of the usual kind of cookie baking, bake Meringue Kisses in a very low oven, turn off the heat and “forget” the cookies while they finish drying in the cooling oven. If possible, make Forgotten Cookies on a dry day. If it’s humid, the cookies can absorb moisture from the air, flatten out and lose their crispness. These are very versatile cookies!
|Forgotten Cookies or Meringue Kisses |
Makes about 60 cookies
|4 egg whites|
|1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar|
|1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar OR 3/4 cup granulated sugar|
| 2 cups (8 oz.) ground almonds and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla |
Bake in preheated 225° F oven until firm, about 1 hour. Turn off oven. Let stand in oven with door closed until cool, dry and crisp, at least 1 additional hour, preferably overnight, which is best. Store in tightly sealed container with waxed paper between layers. (If stored cookies lose crispness, warm in preheated 200° F oven about 15 to 20 minutes.)To make variations:
Use amounts listed for 1 batch of cookies. To make 2 variations at a time, divide meringue mixture equally between 2 bowls. Beat or fold 1/2 the ingredient amounts listed for a variation into 1 of the bowls and 1/2 the ingredient amounts listed for a second variation into the second bowl. For all variations, omit ground almonds.
Brandy Alexander – Beat in 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa, 2 teaspoons vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon brandy extract.
Cherry/Almond – Fold in 1 cup chopped, drained maraschino cherries and 1 cup chopped almonds.
Chocolate – Beat in 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Citrus – Beat in 2 tablespoons grated orange peel, 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract and a few drops yellow food coloring.
Mint/Chocolate Chip – Beat in 1/2 teaspoon mint extract and a few drops green food coloring. Fold in 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels.
Rocky Road – Beat in 2 teaspoons vanilla. Fold in 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels and 1 cup chopped nuts.