This is an old recipe of my mother's--I have no idea where she got it, but I imagine it was published in some magazine like Women's Day in the 1950's or '60's. I haven't changed them much. The original name of these cookies is Forgotten Cookies because you put them in the oven and forget about them. But all my friends call them White Cookies, as in, are you bringing the White Cookies? What do you mean it was too humid to make the White Cookies? We only invite you for your White Cookies.
The big change I made was to use salt instead of cream of tartar. The salt really stiffens the egg whites and helps them hold their shape. I love salt in sweet baked goods and I hate the taste of cream of tartar. And I toast the pecans first. I'm pretty sure the original recipe didn't have either vanilla extract, but I like the extra depth of flavor. These are perfect for the holidays--easy and quick, but not foolproof, as I recently discovered. I've been making them for at least 25 years, and I just moved to a new place with a stove that didn't hold the temperature well. When I took them out of the oven, they were sticky! I rescued them by leaving them in the oven at 170 (the lowest temperature I can set my oven) for about 2 more hours. They should be dry and even a little crunchy.
Drbabs delicious recipe makes for some billowy, melt-in-your-mouth cookies that are oh-so simple to make. As you take your first bite, the sweet crunchiness quickly dissolves on your tongue and reveals the yummy bits of chocolate and pecans. I left mine in the oven overnight after baking to insure they had the ideal dry texture. They did! —TiggyBee
egg whites (do not get a speck of yolk in them)
bittersweet chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli)
In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt till the egg whites start to foam. Add sugar and vanilla (or almond) extract and continue beating till the meringue is shiny white and stiff peaks form. Gently fold in chocolate chips and pecans.
Drop by spoonfuls onto the cookie sheets about an inch apart. (They don't spread much.) Put both cookie sheets into the oven, and TURN THE OVEN OFF. Cookies will be ready in about 3 hours. (It's OK to leave them overnight.)