As with Angel Food Cake, these Prize Yolk Cookies always made an appearance around the same time for special occasions. They are a great way to use up the egg yolks from making the Angel Cake and their simple flavor of slight sweetness with a touch of lemon is a perfect compliment to their light, smooth shortbread-like texture, making them a perfect compliment to a cup of coffee or tea. One is just never enough.
The history of Egg yolk cookies
In doing some research into the history of the Prize Yolk cookies, although I could not find much, I did find a very interesting question and answer page where it was noted that in a lot of 18th century cookbooks, most recipes only called for the use of egg yolks. But as the person pointed out, given the frugal nature of the people of that time, it seemed strange. And so, he asked the question "were the egg whites used for some other purpose that required a lot of whites, maybe even a non-culinary purpose?". The answers that were given on What did European/American historical cooks do with the egg whites? are so interesting. Here are a few of them:
- egg tempera paint,
Egg whites can be used for fining, i.e. removing impurities, especially bitter acidic impurities, from stocks,
Egg whites "was used very frequently in the Middle Ages, in the standard lime and sand mortar: a 2017 study suggests that 6% egg albumen (I assume by weight) provides the strongest mortar." This answer goes on to say that "The use of egg white in construction persisted into the late 19th century in the colonial Philippines. According to one report, this use of egg white in the buildings transformed native Filipino desserts".
egg white is an important part of the infill for timber framed houses: wikipedia/timber-framing,
Historically for me, having the Prize Yolk Cookies make an appearance is long seated in my family's traditions of making an Angel Food Cake from scratch for special occasions. As I explored in my latest blog Making an Angel Food Cake from scratch - A tradition that lives on, there are a number of ways to use up the eggs yolks when deciding What to do with cracked eggs, but I dare say that Prize Yolk Cookies are one of my favorite, thus far.
How to make Prize Yolk Cookies
Assemble the ingredients
- Egg yolks - although this recipe is being made from the refrigerated yolks I separated from baking the Angel Food Cake, you can also start with fresh eggs. Farm fresh eggs work very well but store bought eggs will work as well. You will need 6 yolks for a single batch of these cookies.
- Shortening - at least 1/2 butter
- Granulated sugar
- Cream of Tartar- an acid that helps stabilize the egg whites. Lemon Juice can be used as a substitute for Cream of Tartar as identified in The 6 Best Substitutes for Cream of Tartar but may impart a flavor to the Prize Yolk Cookies.
- All purpose flour
- Vanilla - I make my own Vanilla extract following this recipe on Homemade Vanilla Extract.
- Baking soda
- Lemon flavor - I use lemon juice
- Electric Mixer makes the job easier
- Measuring cup for dry ingredients
- Measuring spoons
- Cookie sheets that have been lightly greased
Making the Prize Yolk Cookies
- Preheat oven to 350 F (177 C).
- Cream together 1 cup of shortening, 1/2 of it being butter, and 1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
- Once the shortening and granulated sugar have been creamed together very well, add in the 6 egg yolks. Beat together until light and fluffy.
- Sift together 1 teaspoon Cream of Tartar, 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking soda and add gradually to the light and fluffy shortening, sugar and yolk mixture.
- Once the dry ingredients are incorporated to the shortening, sugar and egg yolk batter, mix in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
- Using a teaspoon, scoop up a rounded spoon of the Prize Yolk Cookie dough and roll in your hands to make a small ball about an inch across. You can roll smaller if you want smaller cookies. Roll in granulated sugar and then place on greased cookie sheet about 1 - 2 inches apart.
- After you have rolled enough Prize Yolk Cookie dough to fill a cookie sheet, flatten the cookies using the bottom side of a glass. I find that if I dip the glass into the sugar, then flatten a cookie, then the sugar and so on, the dough does not stick to the bottom of the glass.
- Bake for 8 - 10 minutes till edges of cookies are just lightly browned.
- Allow the Prize Yolk Cookies to cool on the cookie sheets before removing to the counter or a cooling rack to finish cooling. Prepare another batch of cookies for the oven. Repeat steps until all the Prize Yolk Cookies are baked. There is no need to grease the cookie sheets between batches.
- After completely cooled, put them into the freezer to grab as needed.
- Enjoy on their own, gift them to a friend or enjoy while making memories with a friend over tea or coffee.
- If you want a cookie that does not spread as much, making a stiffer dough by adding more flour will accomplish that. Not greasing the pan will also help.
- They can be made using all butter or without any butter and the flavor is still exceptional
- They can be decorated by adding sprinkles or by using a decoratively bottomed glass to flatten the cookies. A little stiffer dough helps the cookies to hold the decorative imprint.
I hope you will give these delicious, light, shortbread-like textured cookies a try to serve up when someone shows up unexpectedly for coffee. If you would like a free download of the MBHL Prize Yolk Cookie recipe, click here. Metric conversions are included in the free download.
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