Softly leafing through an old, faded notebook, I came across a recipe that looked familiar yet at the same time different. The ingredient list I knew, but the technique was different. It was a simple cookie I baked growing up called a chocolate chip meringue, but this recipe was called Forgotten Cookies.
Forgotten Cookies: Forgotten Treasure
With the passing of my mother-in-law, Wilma, came reorganizing of her papers and files. In one of her old notebooks I found a neatly typed recipe card for Forgotten Cookies. I had never heard of it, but apparently it is a well known old recipe.
At first glance, this looked like a fairly standard meringue cookie with egg white, cream of tartar, chocolate chips, nuts and sugar. But instead of baking them off until crisp, these cookies were placed in a hot oven, the heat turned off, and left overnight – forgotten. In the morning they were crisp and delicious.
Old Recipe Remade
Wilma’s recipe called for two egg whites and 2/3 a cup of white refined sugar, plus chocolate chips and walnuts. When I saw the amount of sugar, I wanted to play with reducing it to make it a healthier option for not only a treat, but for my father-in-law who is diabetic.
The Sweetener Debate
We know that consuming sugar, even natural and unrefined forms like honey and maple syrup, must be carefully watched. It’s all sugar to our bodies, and unfortunately too much sugar is damaging.
Turning to artificial sweeteners is not a good answer either. Ingredients like aspartame, acesulfame, sucralose, sugar alcohols such as malitol and xylitol (sweeteners that end in ‘ol’) are highly controversial. Some studies show artificial sweeteners contribute to weight gain, diabetes and obesity. So what do we do for a little sweetness in our diet?
Replacing the Sugar
As I continually work to reduce sugar in recipes I’ve turned to using monk fruit. It’s available in both powdered and granular styles for baking. Cultivated for centuries by Buddhist monks (hence the name), monk fruit is a small green melon. It’s also called luo han guo. It is 150-250 times sweeter than table sugar, has zero calories and carbs. It does not raise blood glucose levels and has no known side effects. Manufacturers often blend it with eyrthritol to make it look and use like granulated sugar.
Another option is stevia. Made from an herb, stevia is totally natural and does not raise blood sugar. It is one of the few safe alternative sweeteners available that we can use in small amounts. Stevia comes in liquid and granular forms. Many people don’t like the sometimes bitter aftertaste.
Monk fruit blends can be used 1:1 to replace granular sugar. Stevia is much sweeter than sugar, so I used half of the amount, just 1/3 cup, of stevia in my cookie tests. The first batch I folded the stevia in at the end. The result was a flatter cookie with nice crispness. The second batch I whipped the stevia into the egg whites as you would for a traditional meringue, then folded in the nuts and chips. That batch produced a more mounded cookie. Do whichever you prefer.
The Sweet Life : Three Baking Options
You can make these cookies three ways.
- Full sugar – The traditional way with 2/3 cup of sugar. Go for an unrefined, organic sugar instead of white refined
- Reduced sugar – Use 1/3 cup of sugar plus 1/3 cup of monk fruit blend or 2 1/2 tablespoons of granular stevia .
- No sugar – use 1/3 cup of granular stevia or 2/3 cup of a granular monk fruit blend
If you are sensitive to the slight bitter after taste of stevia, the chocolate and walnuts hide it pretty well.
No Sugar Chocolate Chips
If you usually reach for the standard yellow bag of chocolate chips, know that 1 tablespoon of those chips has 8 grams of sugar. That is equal to two teaspoons of sugar. I recently discovered a dark chocolate chip made by Lily’s. This brand tastes great and has zero grams of sugar, are gluten-free and non-GMO. These chips are made with stevia and erythritol.
Now I just got done saying that stuff ending in “ol” is best avoided. Erythritol is a little different. Our bodies do not digest erythritol, so most of it is excreted. If consumed in large amounts, some people experience digestive upset. In this recipe I am willing to make the trade-off for no sugar. Do what works best for you. There are options.
Lastly, I will remember not only my mom but my mother-in-law, Wilma, when I bake a batch of these Forgotten Cookies. They are both in heaven now, gone from this life, but never forgotten.
If you’re looking for another cookie recipe, here’s a family and friend favorite, my Gluten-free Oatmeal and Cranberry cookies.
- 2 large or extra large egg whites at room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- A pinch of salt
- 1/3 cup granular stevia or 2/3 cup sugar or 1/3 cup sugar + 2 1/2 tablespoons stevia
- 1 cup chocolate chips I used a stevia-based brand from Lily’s
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Pre-heat the oven to 350º. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment paper.
- Using an electric hand mixer, beat egg whites with cream of tartar and salt until whites are stiff. Fold in the stevia, chips and walnuts by hand. This will make a flatter cookie. See notes below for options.
- Drop tablespoonfuls of the batter onto the parchment lined baking sheet. You should get about 15-16 cookies.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and turn it off. Leave the cookies to bake and dry until morning, or about 6-8 hours, until crisp.