Baking Through History: Fudge Nut Cookies

Fudge Nut Cookies

Baking is sharing. A three layer cake, a pecan pie, a dozen cookies – each calls for sharing. Someone could eat a dozen or two dozen cookies, but why keep them for yourself?

But when did desserts become a thing? Food historian Deborah Krohn said in a Food & Wine article from June 2018 that the first cookbook for desserts didn’t surface until the seventeenth century, when the idea of having a separate course for sweets first came into existence.

“Up until the seventeenth century, sweet and savory dishes were put out on tables indistinguishable from each other,” she said to Maria Yagoda, who wrote the article for Food & Wine.

Recipes and home cookbooks are passed down from generation to generation, and favorite recipes are shared with friends. This is why old church cookbooks and centennial cookbooks for a community are created – people want to share their recipes.

Wyoming Centennial Cookbook

My mom recently sent me an entire box of old cookbooks. There is one from our old church in Glenburn, N.D. and one from her home state of Wyoming.

In the “Wyoming Centennial Cookbook (1890-1990)” published by the Johnson County Extension Homemakers Council, dozens of people shared their favorite recipes.

The book even has recipes from lawmakers from the time, including from former First Lady Barbara Bush, who submitted “Mexican Mound – a Great Bush Favorite!” This recipe is for a walking taco with corn chips, taco meat, cheese and toppings.

Former Wyoming First Lady Jane Sullivan submitted two recipes – Ambassador Black Bottom Pie and World’s Finest Chocolate Gateau, which has raisins and Scotch in it. Marilyn Quayle, wife of former Vice President Dan Quayle, shared her mother’s “fried biscuit” recipe. I love that the homemakers council reached out to them for recipes – and that they responded.

There are quite a few I plan to bake, but I’ll start first with Fudge Nut Cookies. It is unique because it uses cottage cheese!

It was submitted by a woman named Helen Rinker. From my research, she was a basketball player, a teacher, a past president of the Johnson County Homemaker’s Club and met her husband at a country dance. She passed away in February 2013 at age 91. She was noted in her obituary as a “great wife, mom and grandmother and loved spending time with her family.”

Her recipe for Fudge Nut Cookies makes 9 dozen cookies. I am not sure how many people were in her family – but that is a ton of cookies! The original recipe is below, but for my video I’ve scaled it down by one third, to make it more manageable. 

Fudge Nut Cookies
By Helen Rinker

  • 1-½ cup (307.5) shortening
  • 3-½ cup (703g) sugar
  • 4 eggs (200g)
  • 2 cup (324g) cottage cheese
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • 5-½ cup (660g) flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup (100g) cocoa
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Cream together shortening and sugar. Add eggs, cottage cheese, and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, soda, cocoa, salt. Add nuts and/or chocolate chips.

Cover bowl and chill dough for 1 hour in the refrigerator. After chilling, form into balls. Roll in powdered sugar

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-14 minutes (depending on size of cookies.) Makes 9 dozen cookies.

After baking these cookies, I think I need to add more chocolate!! The bites without the chocolate chips were good, but the ones with them were excellent. I could also add a chocolate drizzle to the top to really bump up the flavor.

If you bake these, let me know! I’d love to hear how they went for you.

Other posts in Baking Through History:

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Enjoy the video below to see how I made them and how they turned out.

6 thoughts on “Baking Through History: Fudge Nut Cookies

  1. Pingback: Baking Through History: A Series of Stories From Vintage Recipes | Pig Dog Farms & Bakery

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