Walnut Meringue Bars

This recipe is just plain yummy. Dan and I have torn through it and it’s all gone just a few days after baking. Something that rarely happens. When there’s just the two of us, sometimes my baked goods languish a bit. It’s hard when you love to bake with a very small family.

I’m trying hard to cook from my vintage cookbook stash. We had two snow days in a row, and I worked from home, so I whipped these up. Sadly, the little spiral bound cookbook this comes from with the very catchy title, Harried Housewives Appetite Aids is undated. It’s one of those community fundraising cookbooks that are found lost in the stacks of antique stores. I must have bought this one close to our home in New Hampshire. We worked in Wolfeboro and our doctors were all at Huggins Hospital so the fact that this was a fundraiser for our hospital is fun.

The book is according to the inside cover “A compilation of excellent and easy recipes from the members of Huggins Hospital Aid Association, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire to benefit the Hospital.”  I don’t recognize the women’s names, but a little bit of googling showed that one died in 1972. My guess is that this is very late 1960s or very early 1970s era.

The Walnut Meringue Bars I made were from Hildur Johnson Knowlton who died in Wolfeboro in 1994. From a quick ancestry search I find that Hildur moved to Wolfeboro with her husband Frank probably like so many to retire.  They married in 1928 in Portland, Maine and had at least one child, Natalie.

Here’s her recipe:


  • 1/2 c. butter (1 stick softened)
  • 1 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs (separated)
  • 1 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy

Add salt and vanilla and mix

Beat in two egg yolks

Sift together the flour and baking powder

Stir this into the creamed mixture

Spread this evenly in an 8″ x 12″ buttered shallow pan (this may be a typo as there was no way this amount of dough could be spread in this size pan. I then opted for a square 8 x 8 pan. As a result I had to cook this longer than she suggested)

Ummmm-I don't think so

Meringue topping:

Beat the two egg whites until stiff

Beat in 1 c. of light brown sugar

Fold in 1 c. chopped walnuts and 1 tsp. vanilla

Spread this over the base mixture

Bake in a 300 degree oven for 35 minutes (mine was in for about 55 minutes trying to get the base to cook through)

Cool before cutting into squares.

The flavors and textures of this bar are wonderful. The base is a gooey cookie dough while the meringue topping gives it a delightful crunch. It’s an excellent recipe. Thank you Hildur!

Maine Buttermilk Biscuits

So my fan base of two – big shout out Bev and Meg – wonder why Aunt Lil hasn’t been cooking. So on this incredibly snowy day, I’ve made some Maine Buttermilk Biscuits. I had some leftover buttermilk to use up and this was the perfect way to do so.

The recipe comes from Maine Coastal Cooking published in 1963 by the Courier-Gazette of Rockland, Maine. Biscuits are so easy and homemade biscuits taste so much better than the ones from the fridge section of the grocery store. (Which brings to mind a recent comment from a disgruntled man who read my tapioca recipe post and couldn’t figure out why I didn’t just use instant. Well, duh. The whole point of my blog is to cook from the past when instant didn’t really exist. But I digress.)

Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 tbs shortening
  • 3/4 cup (give or take) buttermilk – I had just finished reading up on biscuits and a very wet dough is desirable so I needed a bit more than 3/4 cup

Sift and mix the first four ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt and sugar – wait on the baking soda)

Add shortening and mix with a pastry blender until the dough is the size of peas

Stir the baking soda into the buttermilk

Stir the buttermilk into the flour to make a ball of dough

Put on a floured board and knead three times

They suggest cutting with a biscuit cutter, but my dough was too wet. So I followed the other recipe, lightly floured my hands, and gently shaped the biscuits

You can see the loose shape as they go into the oven

Bake at 475 degrees for 15 minutes

The biscuits were wonderfully crisp on the outside and moist in the middle. We both thought they could use a bit more salt, but if you put butter on them well…….

A lovely quick recipe – and yes, made from scratch.

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