Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
Note: This recipe (Meringa al Lemone) has been on our family holiday cookie tray for several years," wrote Robert Hardy of Minneapolis. "They are a delicious cookie, light and airy. Their tenderness comes from the addition of powdered sugar." The recipe is from "A Tuscan Table: The Secrets of Three Generations of Tuscan Family Cooking" by Diane Johnson (Create Space Independent Publishing, $19.95).
• 1/2 c. egg whites (about 4 egg whites), at room temperature
• 2 1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
• 1/2 c. sugar
• 1 c. powdered sugar
• 1 1/2 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest
Preheat oven to 200 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and set on medium speed, beat egg whites until foamy. Add a few drops of lemon juice and increase speed to high. When egg whites begin to form, gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and beat until egg whites are stiff and glossy. Using a rubber spatula, fold powdered sugar into egg whites, 1/4 cup at a time. Fold in remaining lemon juice and lemon zest.
Place by teaspoonfuls on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 2½ to 3 hours (meringues should remain white). Turn the oven off and leave the meringues in the oven to dry out for another 1 to 3 hours.
Remove from oven, and transfer meringues to an airtight container until ready to serve.
Makes about 6 dozen cookies.
Note: This recipe must be prepared in advance. "This is mine — and my sister Carrie's — favorite holiday cookie," wrote Christine Dummann of Richfield. "We always looked for the butterhorns first when raiding Grandma's cookie platter during our visits to Milwaukee over the holidays. We're so thankful our Aunt Carla (Grandma's only daughter) had the recipe and shared with us after Grandma passed away rather suddenly. I don't know of anyone else who makes them. These cookies are not too sweet and incredibly delicious. … I may need to make a preholiday batch now!"
• 4 c. flour
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 oz. yeast
• 1 1/4 c. (2 1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
• 4 egg yolks, beaten
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 c. sour cream, at room temperature
• Powdered sugar, for rolling dough
• 4 egg whites
• 1 c. sugar
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 c. ground walnuts
To prepare dough: In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast. Using a pastry cutter, cut in butter until mixture resembles wet sand. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and sour cream, and blend mixture into dough. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces, shape each piece into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
To prepare filling: In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and on medium-high speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating constantly. Add vanilla extract and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, fold in walnuts.
To prepare cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. On a work surface dusted with powdered sugar, using a rolling pin dusted with powdered sugar, roll each disc of dough into a 12-inch circle. Spread one-sixth of filling over dough. Using a sharp knife, cut dough into 16 pieces. Roll up dough and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool 2 minutes then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.