6 egg whites, beaten
Juice of 1 orange or lemon
Fine granulated or powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. cornstarch or arrowroot
Butter for coating baking sheet
Beat the white of six eggs to a stiff froth, add the juice of an orange or lemon, and stir into it powdered loaf sugar, a little at a time, till it is of the consistence of thick dough, adding a very little starch. Have ready some small paper cases, about three quarters of an inch square, put some buttered paper on tin sheets, lay on them the cases, drop in each a large tea-spoonful of the sugar and egg, make them smooth, and bake them for a few minutes in a moderate oven; then take them out of the cases, wrap round each a slip of paper containing a single verse [poem] or pun [joke], and envelope [wrap] them separately in small pieces of fine white paper that is neatly fringed, giving each end a twist.
From The Kentucky Housewife by Lettice Bryan, 1839
Comment: We are not sure whether these are better compared to homemade fortune cookies (for the written content), Hershey’s kisses (for the wrapping style) or Peeps (for the resulting sweet product itself.) As any such speculation is liable to draw us stern letters from the copyright attorneys of the companies involved, we will refrain from comparisons of any sort.
As far as the recipe itself is concerned, we note only that “powdered loaf sugar” means just plain granulated sugar in today’s terms. Sugar was at this time sold in solid lumps from which one had to grind or grate the amount needed for a given recipe. If you do choose to use a finer grade, check the packaging carefully for ingredients. Even those labeled “100% pure cane sugar” may contain cornstarch to keep the product loose and powdery. In this case the cornstarch or arrowroot called for in the recipe may be omitted.