Hickory Nut Macaroons Recipe

Hickory Nut Macaroons

The older I get, the more I enjoy foraged foods. They bring back powerful memories of foods my ancestors loved.  Last September my husband and I were thrilled to find a hickory nut tree in a fence row.  We gathered and hulled the fallen nuts, then brought them home and spread them out on newspapers to dry.

Last week-end we cracked the hickory nuts and then used nut picks to remove the tiny nut meats. The process was incredibly tedious—and the pile of shelled hickory nuts grew with agonizing slowness.

I knew that I had to find the perfect recipe to use the precious nuts. When I saw a recipe for Hickory Nut Macaroons in the  Lycoming Valley Cook Book, I just had to try it.  The cookbook is a 1907 church cookbook compiled by the Ladies of the Trout Run M.E. Church, Trout Run, Pa.

Here’s my updated version of the recipe.

Hickory Nut Macaroons

3 egg whites

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup hickory nut pieces

Preheat oven to 350° F. Put the egg whites into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric beater until stiff peaks form. Slowly add sugar, one tablespoon at a time, while continuing to beat. Add flour, and beat just enough to blend it into the mixture. Then gently fold the hickory nuts into the egg white mixture. Drop by rounded teaspoons two inches apart on greased baking sheets. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the macaroons are just starting to turn light brown.

Makes approximately 36 macaroons.

The verdict—The macaroons were incredible. They were light and airy with a chewy texture on the inside and crispy on the outside, and the complex buttery taste of the hickory nuts took me back to long-forgotten flavor sensations from my childhood.

Here’s the original recipe. Would you interpret it the same way that I did?

Source: Lycoming Valley Cook Book, Compiled by the Ladies of the Trout Run M.E. Church (1907)
Source: Lycoming Valley Cook Book, Compiled by the Ladies of the Trout Run, Pa. M.E. Church (1907)


Old-fashioned Sweet Potato Pone

sweet potato pone

Sweet potatoes are part of my family’s Thanksgiving traditions, but frankly I’m tired of candied sweet potatoes and sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping, so I dug through hundred-year-old recipe books looking for something “new.”

I found Sweet Potato Pone, and just had to give it a try.

The pone looked plainer than many sweet potato dishes;  but it was lovely, with a sweet, ginger flavor and citrus undertones. It had an almost pudding-like quality.

Sweet Potato Pone

1 orange

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 cup sugar

4 cups hot mashed sweet potato (6-7 medium sweet potatoes)

1 cup milk, heated until hot

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

Wash the orange. Using a grater, grate the orange rind. Set the grated rind aside. Cut the orange in half and squeeze the juice; set the juice aside.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat until creamy, and then add the remaining ingredients and beat until the mixture is smooth. Put into a casserole dish, and place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour.

Adapted from Lowney’s Cook Book (1912)

Sweet poato pone 2

I’m not sure why this recipe is called a pone. According to the dictionary pone is a type of cornbread, but this recipe doesn’t call for any cornmeal.

Here’s a picture of the original recipe. Would you have interpreted the recipe the same way I did?

Source: Lowney's Cook Book (1912)


Old-fashioned Apple Raisin Stuffing

Apple Raisin Stuffing

Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and I’m trying out old recipes to see which ones I want to serve on the big day. The stuffing I usually make contains celery, onions, and sage, and seems a bit boring, so I pulled out an old recipe for Apple Raisin Stuffing.

Apple Raisin Stuffing is wonderfully different from my old standby. It has a lovely, sweet cinnamon taste that reminds me of warm cinnamon bread. This recipe is a keeper. My children never have been fans of stuffing—but I actually think they might like this rendition, and plan to serve it over the holidays.

For my practice run, I divided the recipe in half and stuffed a chicken. I think that the full recipe would make about the right amount to stuff a small turkey.

Apple Raisin Stuffing

1 large apple, pared and diced (about 1 cup diced apple)
1 cup raisins
10 cups bread cubes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water

Combine diced apples, raisins, and bread cubes in a large bowl. In a separate bowl stir together the cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, sugar, and water; then pour over the bread mixture. Stir gently to combine. If too dry, add additional water. Use stuffing with poultry or pork.

When I wrote this post, I was uncertain whether to call this dish stuffing. . . or dressing. . . or filling. My family often calls it filling—but I think that might be a regional term.

Old-fashioned Apple Custard Pie


apple custard pie 2

Custard pies were very popular a hundred years ago. One of the old-time fall favorites is Apple Custard Pie. The delicate custard taste mingles with the apples and a hint of cinnamon to create a truly special pie.

Old-Fashioned Apple Custard Pie

2 1/2 cups apples (cored, peeled and sliced)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons water

4 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk

1 10-inch (large) pie shell

Combine apples, cinnamon, and water in a saucepan. Using medium heat, bring to a boil and then reduce heat; stir occasionally. If needed to prevent scorching on bottom of pan, add a small amount of additional water. Continue to simmer gently until the apples are soft (approximately 10-15 minutes). Cool slightly; then strain the apple mixture. Keep the cooked apples and discard the liquid. Set aside.

Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add sugar, salt, and milk. Beat until blended. Stir in the cooked apples. If the apples are still hot, use care to stir while pouring them into the custard mixture to ensure that none of the egg coagulates from the heat. Pour into the pie shell, then bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees, and bake an additional 1 – 1 1/2 hours or until knife inserted into center pie comes out clean.

This pie takes a long time to bake. If the top looks like it might start to burn before the center of the pie is solid, reduce heat to 325 degrees.

For this recipe, I used apples from a tree in my yard that, when cooked, get soft and do not hold their shape particularly well. I like how the cooked apples are widely dispersed in the custard; though, if preferred, firmer varieties may be used.

Cranberries with Prunes

cranberries with prunes 2

Cranberries are beginning to appear in the produce section at my supermarket.  I remembered seeing a recipe for Cranberries with Prunes in a 1915 issue of Good Housekeeping, and just had to give it a try.

Cranberries with Prunes are a lovely taste treat with bright notes of both fruits.  The rich sweetness of the prunes mingles with the tart cranberries to create a vibrant mixture.  Like many hundred-old-recipes, this classic recipe is simple to make with only four ingredients.

This recipe combines two super foods. Both cranberries and prunes are noted for having lots of antioxidants, fiber, and other good things. Amazingly, even though terms like antioxidant were unknown to cooks a hundred years ago, people seemed to have an intuitive sense of healthy food combinations.

Cranberries with Prunes

3 cups cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup prunes

Combine cranberries, sugar, and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil using medium heat; then reduce heat and simmer until cranberries burst. Add prunes and remove from heat. Cool before serving.

Adapted from recipe in Good Housekeeping (November, 1915)

I’m often amazed how foods and cooking techniques have changed over the past hundred years. As with many old recipes, I needed to adapt this recipe. The original recipe provided detailed directions for preparing the prunes.

Cover the prunes with water and soak overnight. Simmer gently till thoroughly tender. Take up with a skimmer, and when perfectly cool slip out the stones. Add the cranberries to the water in which these were boiled, pouring in more water if necessary. . .

The prunes I used were already pitted and very moist, so there was no need to soak them overnight or to pit.

Old-fashioned Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin

Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin

Now that Fall is in full swing, I’m enjoying several seasonal vegetables. One of them is brussels sprouts.

Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin is an old-time way to serve them. The delicate essence of the cheese in the sauce nicely balances the slightly bitter taste of the brussels sprouts.

Brussels Sprouts Au Gratin

1 pint (2 cups) brussels sprouts

1 1/2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

3/4 cup milk

2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/3 cup bread crumbs*

Preheat oven to 350° F. Wash the brussels sprouts and remove any wilted leaves; then put in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil using high heat, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the brussels sprouts are tender (about 5 minutes). Drain well.

Meanwhile, in another pan, using medium heat, melt butter; then stir in the flour. Gradually, add the milk while stirring constantly; add the cheese. Continue stirring until cheese sauce thickens.

Add the brussels sprouts to the cheese sauce. Stir gently to combine. Put into a casserole dish, and sprinkle the bread crumbs on top of the mixture. Bake until hot and bubbly (about 15 minutes).

*Note: To make the bread crumbs, I took a bread crust, folded it into quarters, and then used a grater to grate the crumbs.

3 servings (Recipe can easily be doubled.)

An aside—I struggled when I wrote this post because I couldn’t decide whether to capitalize brussels. I googled it, and found that there was no consensus. I ended up using a lower case b –but don’t really like how it looks. What do you think? Should the b in brussels be capitalized?

Honey-Glazed Squash

Honey-glazed Squash

The farmer’s market has oodles of awesome squash—butternut, hubbard, acorn, and lots of other wonderful varieties whose names I don’t know. It’s time to make Honey-Glazed Squash.

This old-time recipe contains not only honey, but also lemon juice and ground mace. The lemon juice gives lovely citrus undertones to the honey which mingles with the delicate flavor of the mace.

If desired, chopped walnuts can be mixed with the squash for added flavor and crunchiness.

If you are looking for a recipe for candied, squash, this IS NOT the recipe for you. But if you want a classic recipe for a rich, but sophisticated glaze, that is unexpectedly flavorful, you’ll love it.

Honey Glazed Squash

2 cups winter squash (butternut, hubbard, etc.) –pared and cut into 1 inch cubes

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/8 teaspoon ground mace

1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Put cubed squash in a saucepan and cover with water. Turn heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and cook until just barely tender (about 12-15 minutes); then thoroughly drain the squash.

Meanwhile in another pan, melt the butter; then stir in the honey, lemon juice, and mace. Using medium heat bring to a boil, then reduce heat so that the liquid simmers. Cook until the liquid begins to thicken into a honey syrup (about 8-10 minutes). If desired, add the walnuts. Add the drained squash cubes to the syrup, and gently turn the cubes to coat with the honey glaze. Place glazed squash in a serving bowl.

3 servings


Any type of winter squash can be used for this recipe, but here is the squash that I used.  Can you help me identify it? It cooked up beautifully–the cooked pieces were tender, but retained their shape well.

At the farmer’s market, it was in a group of squash—all which had long crooked necks—that were labeled as butternut squash. However, the butternut squash every other producer was selling had much shorter necks.

This squash probably weighed about 5 or 6 pounds. I have a very vague memory of a squash called the Pennsylvania Dutch crookneck squash that we grew when I was I child which I think looked similar to this. But this squash was smaller than what I remember them being. So I’m confused. Is it a butternut squash? . . . Pennsylvania Dutch crookneck squash? . . . something else?