“Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparkling like a star in our hand - and melting like a snowflake.”
- Francis Bacon

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Whip up a batch of Forgotten Cookies to melt away the winter blues

Yesterday I shared with you my thoughts about all of the white that I see around me, not only in the winter, but the summer, too. I mentioned the Forgotten Cookies that I made for my sons as an after school treat. Today, I would like to share with you the recipe for this easy and very low-fat cookie. Light and crunchy, they are perfect with a cup of tea. Very versatile, you can add a variety of ingredients (chocolate, nuts, coconut, crushed peppermint) or colors so they will fit in with just about any winter holiday.

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

In large mixing bowl at high speed, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until foamy. Add sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating constantly until whites are glossy and stand in stiff peaks. Add vanilla. (If using granulated sugar, rub just a bit of meringue between thumb and forefinger to feel if sugar has dissolved.) Gently fold in almonds. Drop by tablespoonful or pipe through pastry tube or food-storage bag onto lightly greased or lined (foil or waxed, brown or parchment paper) baking sheets.

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.

Free Signature Generator


Nola @ the Alamo said...

I love those cookies; haven't made them in years. I think I'll whip up a batch for Valentine's Day. I like them with a drop of red food coloring and finely chopped peppermint candies...yum!

Claudie said...

Looks yummy MImi. I might just have to try these easy ones.
Buddy doesn't have pictures of today because he is with my sister's SIL. We have hard copy pictures but when I was putting it together last night I couldn't find them. Sorry but he looks the same as the last one but bigger.
Next weeks will be a sad one.

Betty (picture circa 1954) said...

How I'd love to have a set-up like that for my feral cat. She'd think she died and went to heaven. Fortunately, it doesn't get too cold here and we've got blankets for her in the shed and garage. I asked my electrician about an electric heater for her, but he said it wasn't a good idea.

My latest kitten has a pink bed she loves. She lays in it and purrs and sucks on the side...we think she wasn't with her mother very long and it's her pacifier. She was a rescue that someone handed to me in a parking lot and now has her forever home with us. All my cats were rescued...and my dog too! Thank you for what you do at the shelter.