That's a mouthful, and so are the cookies. They're actually called Almond Joy Cookies, but since I don't care for that particular candy or the association with such a tasty cookie, I call them Light Cowboy Cookies. And, we make them with pecans instead of almonds, so Pecan Joy Cookies is more apt. Pecans are my go-to nuts for baking.
This post comes during a writing break and recharge. In fact, I just finished enjoying one of these treats. I've been working on tweaks to the first half of the current manuscript, and listening to "Ashokan Farewell" composed by Jay Ungar from The Civil War documentary film by Ken Burns. I don't listen to music much these days while I write, even soft ambient melodies, but I like a little something during light edits. Since the manuscript is for a Crooked Creek novel set in post-Civil War Montana Territory, the lament is appropriate.
Thanks to our English, Scottish, and Dutch immigrants bringing their early versions of these treats with them to America, we have a plethora of cookie varieties today, and with all our culinary advances, there is not much limit on what could be baked into one.
Cookies during the American Civil War
Cookies were not popular during the Civil War as they are today. Because sugar rationing during the war, many recipes turned to molasses, and of course molasses/ginger spice cookies became a popular dessert that lives on. Applesauce cookies are another sweet treat that would have been shared both on and off the battlefield. They would certainly be preferable to the hardtack most soldiers had to endure. Unfortunately, Pecan Joy Cookies (or Almond Joy Cookies) would not have been on the list of baked goods passed around.
Cookies at the turn of the twentieth-century
Fast-forward to 1899 where Cassandra and Rose McKenzie are solving crimes, blowing things up (usually by accident) and enjoying a wider variety of dessert options than folks did a few decades earlier.
Cinnamon Jumbles (I'm definitely trying these), oatmeal raisin, sugar wafers, Fig Newtons, and more. Since chocolate chips still weren't a cookie staple in 1899, these Pecan Joy Cookies were, alas, not on the McKenzie sisters' menus.
Grateful for our modern life
I believe we too often forget how truly blessed we are in our time (I am terribly guilty of forgetting.). As much as I long to live in days long ago, we are each born in our time for a reason and purpose. If that means enjoying all the modern conveniences imaginable and baking anything our hearts desire, then so be it.
We can still escape to those bygone eras in books, when the land was rougher and the journey was, quite possibly, more rewarding.
If you've a mind to make a small batch of these cookies, be sure to share with family, friends, a neighbor or stranger.
Until next time, be well, be kind, and always take time to get lost in a good book.
Try the cookie recipe!
We use the Small Batch Almond Joy Cookies recipe courtesy of the Small Town Woman blog. The only change we made was to substitute chopped pecans for the sliced almonds to make . . . Pecan Joy Cookies!
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