My Great-Aunt Dollie was one of a kind. She and my Uncle Bill never had children, but had plenty of nieces and nephews and enjoyed spending time with all of them. They lived in a tiny little house in Des Moines, and had a huge garden and a yard filled with fruit trees. I remember going to their house, especially at Christmas, and she would have homemade cookies and candies everywhere, waiting to be put into tins and shared with friends and family.
Bill and Dollie were avid hunters and loved the outdoors. They came to South Dakota every year for my birthday when I was little. It never occurred to me until I was an adult that their real reason for the trip was to hunt, and their being there for my October birthday was just a happy coincidence. They spent time in Montana and Wyoming, and just went where they wanted to go.
When my husband and I were first married, we had the pleasure of living in their house for a few years. Uncle Bill had passed away a few years prior, and Aunt Dollie, who had Alzheimer’s disease, was in a nursing home. We loved living there. The apple and pear trees produced delicious fruit, and we grew the most amazing garden of our lives. After Aunt Dollie passed away, we bought our place in the country, but I was able to keep a few things of theirs from the house. The best thing was her recipe file. And a few days ago, I came across it, and it was like being in her kitchen all over again!
Browsing through her hand-written recipe cards, I found recipes for antelope roast, beet wine, and homemade beer. I also found a treasure trove of cookie, cake, and candy recipes. I decided the first thing I would make was her macaroons. It was a good choice!
Aunt Dollie’s chocolate chip macaroons
1/8 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp. meltd butter
2 cups flaked coconut
6 ounces (1 cup) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. grated lemon or orange rind (I used orange)
1 tsp. vanilla
.Beat eggs and salt until thick and foamy. Gradually add sugar, and beat until thick and ivory-colored, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add flour and butter, then stir in coconut, chocolate chips, grated rind, and vanilla. Drop by teaspoons onto a lightly greased and floured cookie sheet.
Bake at 325 degrees F. for 12 to 15 minutes, until delicately browned. Cool 1 minute, then remove from cookie sheet. Makes 3 dozen.
I used my mini ice cream scoop, which is about 1 Tablespoon or so, to dip the batter onto the cookie sheet, and I came out with about 2 dozen macaroons. I can’t even describe how good these are. They’re chewy and creamy, and the chocolate chips and coconut go so well together. The little bit of orange rind gives them a really unique flavor, so don’t leave that part out!
If you want to make these cookies ahead of time and freeze them, tightly wrap the baked and cooled cookies in groups of 4 or so in plastic wrap, then place in a plastic container with a lid and freeze.
Thanks for the memories, Aunt Dollie … and the recipes!