Pat Prindeville's request for, among other items, a "Walnuss finger" cookie recipe ("Search for old recipes comes up with just one," Daley Question, Good Eating, Feb. 12, 2014) yielded no results from the Chicago Tribune archives. Readers were moved to submit various recipes they thought fit the bill – thanks to all who weighed in.
Prindeville, who hails from Palos Hills, Ill., wrote the recipe came from the German Village in Columbus, Ohio. That sparked a quick response – and a recipe from Mark Weiss, the German Village Society's assistant for "visitorism."
"We asked around to some of our residents and may have an answer from a couple of our Society's old cookbooks that may help your readers," he wrote, crediting Marika and Russ Arledge for finding the recipe reprinted below from 1968's "German Village Cookbook." The recipe is titled: "Walnussfinger (Christmas Black Walnut Sticks)."
"While we do not have access to the article from 'all those years ago' in the Tribune, Marika's experience suggests it wouldn't vary much, if at all," Weiss wrote in a subsequent e-mail.
I have not tested the recipe.
Leslie Henebry of Essex, Conn., offered two possibilities, "one more elegant than the other." The elegant was a recipe for "Swiss Walnut Fingers" from "The Best of Craig Claiborne" cookbook, published in 1999. The second was a simple, shorter recipe for walnut fingers from Cooks.com.
And then there was this wonderfully whimsical e-mail from Michael Broyles of Aurora who transposed "Walnuss fingers" into "Walruss fingers" and quoted the opening words of "The Walrus and The Carpenter" by Lewis Carroll: "The Walrus and The Carpenter; were walking 'cross the land; the beach was wide from side to side; but much too full of sand…"
"The given name rolled itself around in my brain like a succulent appetizer teasing and taunting. Walruss fingers. I briefly imagine it as a form of marshmallow & walnuts with a chocolate square on a chocolate cookie in the shape of a finger. It just would not let go. So it seemed there was nothing to do but to track down that elusive recipe and perhaps give it a try," Broyles wrote. "Now I figured this actually was a sort of bar cookie and the recipe that popped into being upon my search was just that. But it was also so much more. It baked up into a slightly crunchy, chocolaty, caramel-y touch of heaven in the form of an addictive cookie!"
"It is true I did not find the requested recipe by Pat Prindeville of Palos Heights but I think this is a really good modern take," he said of the recipe, which is credited to California Walnuts, an arm of the California Walnut Board and the California Walnut Commission. The recipe is called "Walrus Bars."
Christmas Black Walnut Sticks
A recipe from 1968's "German Village Cookbook."
2 2/3 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
5 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon each: nutmeg, baking powder
3/4 cup black walnuts
1.Cream together brown sugar, butter and eggs. Add 2 1/2 cups flour, nutmeg, baking powder and walnuts and mix again. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups flour and beat thoroughly. Roll in long strips like a pencil. Cut off pieces about 2 inches long and paint top with lightly beaten egg yolks. Bake in 350 degree oven until brown.
Swiss walnut fingers
Yield: About 16 cookies.