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Monthly Archives: November 2012


I think Mom was curious what the fuss was all about regarding fruitcakes at the holiday season.  I’m sure she heard some of the wisecracks about them being used as a door stop or about them being re-gifted from year to year.  I found this clipping near German Fruit Bread clippings, so I’m betting she wondered how they compared.  Well, here is the recipe she likely experimented with to compare the two.  I’m still apprehensive about eating fruitcake. “The longer it stands, the better it becomes”…….like a year or two?


(Here is) one we have been able to procure.  After mixing, all that is necessary is to press it firmly into a wax-lined mold and let it stand at least 36 hours before serving.  The longer it stands, the better it becomes.

Cook 1 pound prunes in scant amount of water.  Pit and dice. Blend with 2 cups diced candied peel (orange, lemon and citron) and 1 cup dates cut in pieces with scissors.

Cream  cup butter with 1 cup strained warm honey.

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon cloves
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine with fruit mixture and let stand 1 1/2 hours to soften the fruit.

Blend 10 cups of graham cracker crumbs with 1 cup of broken nut meats (any kind).  Mix thoroughly with softened fruit mixture.  Place in a mold lined with waxed paper and press down firmly.  Let stand at least 36 hours before serving.




German Fruit Bread (Hutlesbrodt)

Mom made bread every week, usually the white kind.  As a little kid I thought the very best bread was the insides of a slice, still a little warm from being baked.  Occasionally Mom made raisin bread which was darker and rather bitter…too much so for my little kid palate.  Sometimes she even went so far as to add citron or candied fruit.  “Gross,” was my humble opinion.  Why would anyone do that?  Well, from these clippings I’m going to assume it was something she grew up with in Germany and was something festive that you made at Christmas time.  I wonder if she thought these were “Yummy” or just made her nostalgic for the old country.  

In the first clipping, Farm Gal from Nebraska spells it “Hutlesbrodt”.  I empathize with her for trying to figure out how to spell a German word passed down by word of mouth, but never in print.  The second clipping is closer to what I found when I researched it.  I found that the term is Swabian German: “Hutzelbrot”. The name comes from a type of bread that contains dried pears (“Hutzeln”). Incidentally, if a person spoke “Swabian German” that was a dialect from the south of Germany.  My parent always told me “We speak Low German.  Low German is what you speak at home, but High German is what they teach in school.”  High German (Hochdeutsch) is taught in schools and it’s what you hear when you turn on the TV or the radio. Low German is what people talk at home, it’s kind of a slang and it varies from region to region.

Two Recipes for Old German Fruit Bread

Dear Hope:  I am sending two Hutzel Brod recipes that Clare from Kansas requested.

No. 1 Hutlesbrodt (an old German recipe)

Make a coffee cake batter as follows:
1 quts warm water
1 package yeast, dissolved
4 tablespoons shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon salt.

Mix with enough flour for a soft batter.  Soak 1 pound dried prunes.  Cook slowly till tender.  Sweeten and cool.  Remove seeds from prunes.  Have enough juice on them  for 1 cupful.  Add:

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
Nuts, as many as you like (pecans or hickory nuts preferred)

Mix all into soft dough.  Mix stiff like bread.  Let rise once, then form into loaves.  Let rise again and bake at 350 degrees.

I clipped this recipe out of a paper or magazine just as it reads here.  I have never tried it.  So you will have to use your own judgment on amount of flour to use and how long to bake.  I suppose about an hour.

No. 2 Hutzel Brod:
I clipped this one from somewhere too, and have baked this.  This German fruit bread is delicious, keeps well and makes an excellent holiday breakfast dish.

Stew 2 pounds prunes, 2 pounds dried pears (I would prefer dried apricots), each by itself.  Pit, drain, and cut the fruit, saving the juice of each.

1 pound raisins
1 pound currants
1/2 poud almonds, shredded
1/2 pound walnuts chopped
4 ounces citron
4 ounces orange peel
4 ounces figs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon anise seed.

Make your sponge from 6 pounds flour, warmed.  Wet it with 1 quart fruit juice.  Add 2 cakes compressed yeast, work it and set it to rise.  When light work in:
Another 1 quart fruit juice
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 wine glass brandy or sherry
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon salt

Now add all the rest of the fruit.  Knead well, let rise, then make into loaves.  Let rise again, and bake in a very slow oven.

This is an old German recipe and makes twelve loaves.  Try giving Hutzel Brod for unusual gifts.

Just a reminder about these recipes.  It seems to me there is an awful lot of liquid for the sponge.  I wonder if you couldn’t use less, but the same amount of yeast, and not quite as much fruit or flour.  I am going to try it that way.

Here is a good way to cook the prunes.  Night before using, wash prunes, put in large jar or crock, pour boiling water over just to cover.  Cover tightly and let set overnight.  Next morning put over low heat and just simmer, don’t boil, for about 20 minutes.  Add very little sugar, and they are really good.  — A Farm Gal from Nebraska.

Why Make Wine?


Christmas Cookies

I imagine that Mom was always on the look-out for a good rolled cookie dough for cut-out cookies.  I always liked the cutters she had that were aluminum, had crinkly edges and a green wooden knob on top.  Because of the crinkly edges, they didn’t stick much; they had a vent hole on top that could be handy in case the dough was too sticky.  I’m sure Mom was intrigued by Tupperware cookie cutters when they came out, but that was a whole other genre because they were plastic, had clean (not crinkly) edges, and designs on them that were supposed to leave an indent in the cookie.  We had a gingerbread man and a turkey, but to tell the truth, I always ended up going back to the aluminum ones.  OK, so the aluminum gingerbread man was kinda funky with that pointy shaped head, but who is perfect?

In transcribing these recipes I notice that people try to relate directions similar to the way they would talk.  Some recipes have probably been set up conversationally because they have to appear in a narrow column of the Drover’s Telegram.  This one came from a newspaper, but doesn’t look like it had that problem.  Notice how this one can’t help but include directions in the ingredient section.  

Christmas Cookies

Into a bowl put:
3 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 scant teaspoon soda

Cut into this:
1 cup shortening, butter or margarine

In another bowl:
Beat 2 eggs thoroughly

Add 1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

Beat well and pour into dry ingredients.  Chill in refrigerator an hour or two, or longer.  Roll, cut and bake in 375 degree oven until light tan color

Date Pinwheel Cookies

If a recipe wins a contest, it must be pretty good and worth clipping, right?  While dates and figs weren’t staples in Mom’s 1960 kitchen, they were likely used earlier in her married life or in her family’s home in Germany.  I’ve tasted really good cookies like this when I lived in McPherson, made by one of my Mennonite sorority sisters.  Her heritage was from the Russian Mennonites that migrated to Kansas and helped make us the #1 in wheat production when they brought Turkey Red Wheat with them.

I wonder if the $5 was what prompted Mrs. Mordue to enter her recipe or just the fun and competition.  In 2012 dollars, $5 would have a value of about $39…..a nice reward or gift but probably not like lottery winnings.


Mrs. Charles Mordue, of Cainsville, Ontario, sent her recipe for cookies which earned her $5.  Here it is:

Date Pin Wheel Cookies

Cookie dough:
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups flour

1/2 pound dates (chopped)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup chopped nuts, cooked for a few minutes.

Roll out cookie mixture and spread with filling.  Roll up and chill in refrigerator a few hours.  Then slice and bake at 400 degrees F. 10 to 12 minutes.


Plain Ordinary Drop Cookies

Making Christmas cookies was always so much fun for me.  Mom had a basic recipe for her cut-out cookies and it was great to come home from school on a day she made them.  With my own kids, we made a variety of Christmas cookies using the good old Betty Crocker Cookie Book that I’d received as a shower gift when I got married.  The kids had a blast the first year we packaged up plates of cookies and delivered them to all our friends and acquaintances.  You know it made a lasting impression on your kids when they carry on this activity as a tradition in their own families.

This clipping and the Date Pin Wheel Cookies recipe are from the same publication.  Unfortunately, the very last of the instructions is missing that probably included the timing.  But, I’ll just suffice it to be……bake until golden and forget about an actual amount of time.


Even though cookies are always in season, Christmas is the time we go almost cookie crazy at our house.  Everybody gets into the spirit of making good things, and each of the children helps.

One recipe that’s been around our home for a long while is for plain, ordinary drop bookies.  This recipe makes 24 to 30 cookies, so we usually double or triple it.

You’ll need:

1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, unbeaten
4 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder

Allow the shortening to stand in a mixing bowl at room temperature until it is soft; then add the sugar, egg, milk, and vanilla and mix thoroughly.  Sift the baking powder, salt and flour together, and stir into the mixture in the bowl.

Have your oven at a moderate temperature of 375 to 400 F.  Then drop your cookie mixture by teaspoonfuls on a well-greased baking sheet.

Potato Doughnuts

I don’t know whether this was clipped because Mom was interested in making doughnuts or because it was a way to use left over mashed potatoes.  I don’t remember her making doughnuts, but I’ve tried a few times.  Mainly it seemed like such a waste of a lot of cooking oil, shortening or lard….whichever I chose to use for frying.  I wasn’t ever able to make them like those I could get at the donut shop. Mine were always prettily heavy soaked with the cooking medium. 

Cooking something at 370° as opposed to 350° or 375° is interesting to me.  I don’t think it’s a typo.  Probably it’s easier to read an even number on a candy thermometer.

Potato Doughnuts

1 1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter
3 eggs
1 cup cold mashed potatoes
1 teaspoon nutmeg
5 teaspoons baking powder
5 cups enriched all-purpose flour
1 cup milk

Beat together sugar, butter and eggs until light and fluffy.  Add mashed potatoes and continue beating.  Sift together nutmeg, baking powder and flour.  Add to first mixture alternately with milk.  Roll out on floured board, cut with doughnut cutter.  Fry in deep fat at 370° until brown, turn and brown on other side.  Drain a few minutes on paper towels.  Put sugar in paper bag and add a few doughnuts at a time.  Shake to coat.  — Mrs. W. Fred Bolt, Isabel.



Scalloped Chicken

When you raise chickens on the farm, there comes a time when the old hen just isn’t a very good “layer” and they need to be culled out of the flock. This happened in the fall, and if the unfortunate hen happened to be roosting in a low hanging branch of our trees, chances are their time was up.  A load of the culled hens could be sold locally, but one of them would be a good candidate for this dish. Now they had a reputation for being a “tough old bird” and 2 1/2 hours may or may not be enough time for the meat to fall off the bones.

This recipe likely came from the Grass & Grain newspaper, submitted by some farm wife in very honest and practical words. Frugal farm families made use of every edible part of a chicken in times past, so melting 1 cup of the chicken fat as well as grinding up the skin and adding it to the sauce is not too surprising in the directions.  Somehow I think the Weight Watchers points for this dish are off the chart.  I’m not sure how many servings are in it, but I’ll bet it would serve our family of nine easily.


Scalloped Chicken

1.  Put a fat, 5-pound hen in a large pot with a carrot, a sliced onion, 2 teaspoons salt and 2 quarts boiling water. Cook slowly 2 1/2 hours or until meat begins to leave bones.  Cool in its own liquid.  When cool, remove meat from bones and separate skin.  Grind skin in meat chopper and cook giblets in salted water until tender.

2.  While hen is cooking, make stuffing.  Crumble 1 1/2 loaves 2-day-old bread after removing crusts.  Melt 1/2 cup butter in heavy skillet.  Chop 6 sprigs parsley, 6 green onions (or 1 medium onion) and 2 large pieces celery with their tops.  Cook vegetables in melted butter over low heat for 5 minutes.  Then mix into bread crumbs lightly with fork to keep dressing fluffy.  Grind cooked giblets and mix in stuffing.  Add 1 teaspoon salt, white pepper to taste and 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning.  Add 6 tablespoons of chicken broth.

3. To make the sauce, skim  fat off top of chicken broth and melt 1 cup of it in large saucepan.  Add butter if you do not have 1 cup chicken fat.  Heat 4 cups chicken broth and 1 cup milk together, but do not boil.  Stir 1 cup sifted flour into melted fat until smooth.l  Add broth and milk mixture gradually, stirring constantly.  When cooked, beat 4 eggs slightly and mix in a little of the sauce.  Then combine sauce and eggs and cook over low heat about 3 or 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove and add chicken skin.

4.  Grease 1 large or 2 smaller casseroles.  Put stuffing into bottom.  Over it pour half the sauce.  Cut up chicken meat into small pieces.  Place meat on top of stuffing.  Add remaining sauce.  Combine 1 cup dry bread crumbs with 4 tablespoons melted butter.  Sprinkle on top.  Place casserole in moderate oven (375°) and bake 20 minutes or until crumbs are golden brown and chicken is hot.  This is excellent for church dinners or large family get-togethers. — Mrs. George S. Jost, Hillsboro.


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