recipesI love these old recipes, lovingly handwritten and shared. Some of them are so stained they are very difficult to use. It reflects a time when our mothers and grandmothers took enormous pride in their homemaking accomplishments. But what they wrote down for others was really just the basic ingredients and basic steps. They assumed that the homemaker they were giving the recipe to would know the finer points of cooking and baking. For instance, as mentioned yesterday, the butter and eggs always need to be at room temperature. Since their ovens weren’t as reliable as ours they learned techniques that helped them know when their cookies were done. They knew that if a toothpick, stuck in the center came out clean, it was done. That would be brownie type cookies and cakes. Another test was to touch a finger lightly to a cookie. If an impression stayed, it’s not done. Most cookies get a light brown color around the edge when they are done. And when a bar cookie pulls away from the side of the pan and the toothpick is clean, they are ready to go. 

This particular recipe is a real treasure because it came from my husband’s mother, Rena. She was an amazing cook, one of the best I’ve ever known. She took great pride in preparing a variety of tasty dishes. But she did not like to share her recipes. She considered them her own “tricks of the trade” and didn’t want them easily duplicated. 

This recipe for Pecan Sticks is the only cookie my husband would beg his mother to make at Christmas time. She finally relented after many years and gave me the recipe. I’m going to type the recipe exactly as she wrote it on the card and then show you my own adjustments.

                          Pecan Sticks

  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 c. cake flour
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecans 

Put butter, sugar and egg in a bowl and beat well. Add vanilla and dry ingredients which have been sifted together. Spread in an 8 inch pan which has been buttered. Sprinkle on nuts. Bake in a moderate oven until it is brown and shrinking from the sides of the pan. Cut into sticks. 

I like them just a little bit softer so I add an extra egg. Since I never use cake flour in anything else, I use regular all-purpose flour and short it just a little – 1 cup minus 2 Tbls. And finally I double the pecans to 1/2 cup (more if I’m feeling rich). One more thing. A moderate oven is equal to our 350 degrees. Whichever way you prefer to make these pecan sticks, I hope you’ll try them and let me know how they turn out.

Tomorrow I’ll share my mother’s most requested recipe – a five generational cookie.