Miss Lee’s Pecan Cookies

By Christi Morgan, Museum Store Manager and Rental Coordinator, Fulton Mansion State Historic Site

Something that I truly enjoy doing is cooking. Now that I am home and have more time to devote to this hobby, I have been looking at some of our historical recipes found in Harriet’s Kitchen, a cookbook of Fulton family, Victorian, and staff favorite recipes that can be purchased in our museum store. 

One recipe that stands out is Miss Lee’s Pecan Cookies. Leonora (Lee) Caruthers was the wife of George Fulton Jr. 

This cookie recipe looks incomplete in the cookbook because of the lack of baking time and temperature, but it would be completely normal for 19th century and early 20th century cooks. 

Ovens were large and coal- or wood-fired, and didn’t have a temperature gauge like our modern appliances. One would just have to use intuition and experience to bake. I used a similar meringue recipe to time the cookies at 50-60 minutes at 250 degrees.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown or white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1 cup broken pecans

Directions:

  1. Cream together slightly less than 1 cup brown or white sugar and 1/2 cup butter. 
  2. Stir in 1 egg, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1 cup sifted flour and 1 cup broken pecans (this Kentucky girl used her mint julep muddler to break the whole pecans into pieces). 
  3. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet. I like using silicone baking mats, which make clean-up a breeze and don’t require the use of any extra oil or cooking sprays.
  4. Bake in a 250-degree oven for about 50-60 minutes so the cookies crisp as they brown. They should be about 2 ½ inches in diameter, rather flat, more crisp than chewy, and a pale gold.

Now this is the part where I tell you how yummy these cookies are.

They are not the chewy cookies that we have come to know and love today, but that didn’t stop my family from eating them within a day or two. 

Test out the recipe at home and let us know what you think!

 

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