When you're at someone else's house and you want to bake or cook sometimes you have to improvise. No mixing bowl, hmmm . . . search around . . . what to mix in . . . can't use a plastic bowl to whip egg whites . . . I know! Someone just bought a new crockpot - let's see if we can use the crock insert as a mixing bowl. Success!! No food processor? Relax your brain and finely chop the walnuts. I so enjoyed this extra step. At home I just whirl them up in the food processor. Chopping them by hand was so relaxing working my way through the nuts section by section. I think I'll switch to hand chopping all the time.
This recipe was passed down from my mother-in-law and it's one of our favorites. I usually make them during the holidays. They are really easy to make and go together quickly but the cookies are a little fussy and delicate so they doesn't freeze well, and if you take them somewhere to share be careful during transport. And then be prepared to be asked repeatedly for the recipe!
I should also add that name comes from the fact that the recipe was provided by First Lady Nancy Reagan in the 80's as President Ronald Reagan's favorite cookie. At least that is the story. I did some internet sleuthing and found the original name of the cookie is Vienna Chocolate bars, but we always call them President Cookies. Hope you enjoy!
1 cup butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1/4 tsp. salt
2 large egg yolks
2 1/2 cups flour
10 oz. seedless red raspberry or red currant preserves
1 cup chocolate chips
4 large egg whites
2 cups finely chopped walnuts or almonds
In large bowl, combine butter or margarine and 1/2 cup of sugar. Work mixture together until creamy. Beat in salt and egg yolks. Add flour gradually; when mixture becomes too stiff, knead with fingers to make a smooth dough. Pat dough evenly in jelly roll pan. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees until lightly browned. Cool slightly and spread evenly with preserves then sprinkle chocolate chips evenly; set aside.
In deep bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Using rubber spatula, fold in nuts and remaining cup of sugar. Gently spread mixture on top of preserves, spreading to the edge of the pan. Return pan to oven and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until evenly browned. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack 15 minutes. While still warm, cut into bars or sqaures. Cut into squares or triangles (they're very rich - triangles are my favorite).