This was my favorite Christmas cookie Mom made when I was a child. It's slightly gooey inside with a light crust on the top. The flavor is similar to a pecan pie only with a deeper, richer flavor. It's fantastic. If you don't like walnuts you could use pecans.
I don't know where she got the recipe, but she got many of her recipes from her Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook or else the newspaper. Then again, she could have gotten it from a friend, but I believe the recipe dates from the 1940's. It was my dad's favorite cookie too, and my mom tried a lot of cookie recipes over the years. This is one treasured recipe.
Walnut Surprise Squares
Double the recipe if using a 9x18 inch pan.
Stir together 1 egg, 1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed), and 1 tespoon vanilla. Add 1/2 cup sifted flour mixed wtih 1/4 teaspoon each salt and baking soda. Add 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (keep a little big). Spread in buttered 8-inch square pan. Bake aat 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Cookies should be soft when taken from the oven. Leave in pan & cut in squares. Take them out when they are cool. the top crust will be a little crinkly and cracked in places. Don't worry, that's the way it's supposed to be.
I don't know why these are called surprise squares unless it's a surprise to find nuts in them? I'm guessing this recipe is a spin-off from the "blondies" that were the forerunner of brownies. And blondies didn't have nuts in them IIRC. So, surprise! Also people who came up with recipes back then liked to give intriguing names to them to get people interested. You would often see that with casserole names. You'd see the word "confetti" in a title if there were corn, peas, and carrots in the dish. Oooh, festive. It was supposed to be fun to make people guess what the secret ingredient was too. It was another era.
I can't begin to describe how wonderful these are. If you like caramel or butterscotch flavors you will love these. I hope you try them & enjoy them with your family. It is my Christmas gift to you.
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