Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Forgotten Cookies

Forgotten Cookies are another heritage recipe that has been around for years. Made with egg whites and sugar whipped up into a meringue, and typically chocolate chips and minced pecans folded in, they are always a holiday favorite.

Forgotten Cookies

Traditionally, Forgotten Cookies were the last cookie to go into the oven on cookie night, the oven was then turned off, and the cookies left to dry overnight, which is where they got the name "forgotten." Best served fresh of course, so don't make them too far in advance, but meringue cookies will keep well for a few days, giving you at least a little bit of leeway for advance prep.

These meringue cookies have been around for many years of course, and usually chocolate chips, and often pecans, are added. Do get the mini chips though, since these cookies are so delicate and should always be piped or spooned out tiny and petite. Once dried, they are super crisp, which makes them a delight for one or two bites. The standard chocolate chips are a bit overwhelming, but the mini chips are just perfect for these.

I had intended to do these this time as peppermint swirls like those on the beautiful cover of the December issue of Bon Appetit magazine. Even though their recipe did not include the chocolate chips, I knew the peppermint flavor would marry well with the chocolate.

I don't own the larger piping tip they used however, and the zipper bag I was using burst on me, so I had to extract my pretty swirled meringue mix back into a bowl. I had also used up all of my red food coloring on my Red Velvet Cake piece for the magazine eat. drink. MISSISSIPPI and only had icing gel in the house, which is generally more intense.

So I experimented using only 6 dabs on the end of toothpick, but after the bag blow-up, I ended up with more of a pink cookie than a swirled cookie. Once cooked, the pastel pink lightened up significantly, so I can see why the Bon Appetit kitchen used 12 drops of food coloring. Well, with rain in the forecast for the next four days, I figured I'd better get the recipe up as it is, and maybe I can swing the swirl another time.

If you prefer to stick more with the traditional meringue cookie, omit the food coloring, and substitute 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract for the peppermint, using both the chocolate chips and the pecans.

Here's how to make these wonderful cookie treats.

Recipe: Forgotten Cookies - Christmas Kiss Cookies

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Inactive time: 8 hours| Yield: Up to 60

  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon of peppermint extract
  • 1/2 cup of mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup of minced pecans
  • 6 to 12 drops of red food coloring, optional

Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Beat egg whites with a mixer on medium low until frothy. Add salt and cream of tartar and increase speed to medium high. Add the granulated sugar a little at a time until full incorporated, continually beating until mixture stiffens.

Add the powdered sugar and peppermint extract and increase to high, beating until still peaks form. Remove and gently fold in the chocolate chips and pecans until blended in. Dot the meringue with food coloring, and spoon into a piping bag with 1/2 inch tip, or gently swirl in the food coloring and drop by tiny teaspoons onto the parchment paper. You want these meringues to be very small, bite-sized drops.

Place both trays into the oven and let bake at 200 degrees F for 2 hours. Turn oven off, turn oven light on, and leave the meringues in the oven another hour, or overnight, to dry completely and crisp up. Do not open the oven. Yield depends on how large you drop them, but this recipe can make up to 5 dozen, when piped tiny, at about 1 inch round.

~Cook's Notes~

Old School: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. When you have all of the cookies on the trays, turn the oven off and turn the oven light on. Place the trays into the oven and leave them overnight, or up to 12 hours to set and dry until crisp. Do not open the oven. I have heard all of my life not to not attempt to make candy or meringues on a rainy, damp day, or if rain is forecast, because it will not set. While you may have more success with the oven method with rain, use this overnight method only when the skies are clear and no rain is in the forecast.

Tip: Blend in food coloring to tint these for special occasions, such as Christmas and Easter, or for bridal and baby showers, receptions and teas.

For Chocolate Chip Pecan Meringues: Substitute 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract for the peppermint, and add in 1 cup of finely chopped pecan, along with the chocolate chips. Omit the food coloring.


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©Deep South Dish
Adapted from Bon Appetit magazine
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