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Category Archives: Cookies

Fruchttorte – Mürbeteich

Oh my! It’s a pie with a lattice crust! Basic premise of this recipe is to make a dough, cover the baking pan with it, put on the preserves and make strips to put on top. Now, it doesn’t go into detail about how to weave it in and out to make it pretty, but none of Mom’s recipes goes into very much detail. You just know!

I was doubtful about Google’s translation……what’s that “nitty gritty” all about? Further research using only the word “Eingemachte” could result in either “nitty gritty” or preserved and indicated that colloquially, the ” nitty-gritty “are stored for winter food stocks. Hmmmmm….. I tried the Bing Translation and it understood that “Eingemachte” is something like “preserves” and is more likely what the recipe means. Preserves are quite a bit sweeter than what I would use for pie filling. I imagine making something like a shortbread cookie crust, topping it with the preserves and designing some sort of lattice top. Reminds me of thumb-print cookies during the holidays.


Fruchttorte – Mürbeteich
Auf 1 £ Mehl nimmt man ¼ £ Zucker, ¼ £ Butter, 2 Eier, 1 Guß Rum u 1 Paket Backpulver. Dieses wird mit der Hand geknetet, ausgerollt und auf die Springformplatte gelegt, dann kommt das Eingemachte darüber, hierauf 1 cm breite Streifen mit Eigelb bestrichen und bei starker Hitze gebacken.

Google Tranlate:
Fruit Tart – shortbread pond
At 1 pound flour you take £ ¼ sugar, ¼ £ butter, 2 eggs, 1 cast rum u 1 packet of baking powder. This is kneaded by hand, rolled out and placed on the tin plate, then comes the nitty-gritty about hereupon 1 cm wide strips coated with egg yolk and bake at high heat.

Bing Tranlate:
Fruit tarts – brittle pond
£1 Flour take £¼ sugar, £¼ butter, 2 eggs, 1 cast rum u 1 packet baking powder. This is hand kneaded, rolled out and placed on the Tin plate, then the preserved in this 1 cm wide strips with egg yolk painted and baked at high heat.

My interpretation:
Fruchttorte – Mürbeteich
Mix together 1 lb flour, 1/4 lb. sugar, 1/4 lb. butter, 2 eggs, a squirt of rum and 1 packet of baking powder by hand.  Roll out the dough and place in a pie tin. Cover with preserves.  Cut 1 cm wide strips and lay over the preserves.  Brush with egg yolk and bake at a high heat.



Solving the Blätterteich puzzle was fun.  The literal translation of “Blätterteich” is “leaves pond” which makes no sense, but it actually refers to Puff Pastry. My first search let me to the name of a restaurant in Oldenburg, German.  I remember Mom addressing letters to “Bakum en Oldenburg”, so that got me excited, but I kept getting the same translation about “leaves pond”.  Eventually I found a YouTube video in German that had “Blätterteich” in its title but it showed the process of making puff pastry.

Puff pastry is a light, flaky pastry containing several layers cold buttery. The dough (sometimes called a “water dough”)  is repeatedly folded and rolled out. The gaps that form between the layers are a result of the puff pastry rising as the water evaporates into steam during the baking process. Piercing the dough will prevent excessive puffing, and crimping along the sides will prevent the layers from flaking all of the way to the edges. 

 Making puff pastry dough can be time-consuming, because it must be rolled and chilled in 20-30 minute intervals to keep the butterfrom becoming runny; also, the rest in between the folding steps allows gluten strands time to link up and retain layering.

 Puff pastry is not the same as phyllo pastry which is also made with flour, water, and fat (but no egg) and is stretched to size rather than rolled. Usually when using phyllo dough, a small amount of oil or melted fat (usually butter) is brushed on one layer of phyllo dough and is topped with another layer. This process can be repeated as many times as desired. When it bakes, it becomes crispy but, since it contains somewhat less water, does not expand to the same degree as puff pastry does.

What makes Mom’s recipe a little different from classic recipes I found online was the addition of cognac.  I assume that is to help the dough rise a bit more.  In my version below, I took liberties and copied them from directions I found in those other recipes and the videoPuff pastry / Blätterteig herstellen



½ Mehl, ¼ Butter sehr harte, 1 geschlagenes Ei, Wasser, Congnack. Das Mehl wird mit ungefähr 1 Eßl. vom geschlagenen Ei, 3 Eßl. Wasser u einen Schuß Congnack zu einem Teig verarbeitet muß aber recht steif sein, dann ausgerollt die Butter darauf gelegt, zusammen geschlagen u. wieder ausgerollt, dann wieder zusammen geschlagen u. zum Ruhen hingelegt. Der Teig muß alle Stunden augerollt werden, einmal lang, einmal quer, bis die Butter alle durchgezogen ist.

Google Translate:
leaves pond
½ flour, butter ¼ very hard, 1 beaten egg, water, Congnack. The flour is with about 1 tablespoon of the beaten egg, 3 tablespoons water u a shot Congnack made ​​into a dough but must be quite stiff, then the butter rolled paid to beat up and rolled out again, then beaten and laid to rest. The dough must be eye rolls all hours, one long, one crosswise, until the butter has pulled all.

My Interpretation:
Puff Pastry

1/2 kg flour
1/4 KG Butter, very hard
1 beaten egg
3 T. Water
1 shot Cognac

With your hands, knead 10% (50g) of the flour with the butter and form into a block. Put on a plate and put in the fridge while you work on the dough.

Dump remaining flour in a mound; make a well in the center of the mound with a glass. Crack an egg and dump in the well then with a fork, use a whisking motion, gradually incorporate the well’s sides into the water. When it starts to form a solid mass, finish incorporating the flour by kneading. Incorporate just until it is still sticky and has a rough texture. Adjust the water & flour as needed. Try to knead as little as possible. Puff pastry likes lazy kneaders.

Working the dough:
1. Pull the corners of the cuts out of the dough ball to make a square shape. Roll the dough out to a square slightly thicker in the center than on the sides, and slightly larger than the butter block.

2. Place the butter block diagonally on the dough square, so that the butter corners are pointed at the middle of the dough sides. Fold the uncovered dough corners over the butter block to completely envelop the butter. Pinch the seams tightly together to seal in the butter.

3. Dust your work surface with flour, and roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/2″ thick. Remember to keep dusting with flour whenever needed to keep the dough from sticking & tearing the layers.

4. Size up your rectangle visually into 3. Fold one-third over the middle, then fold the opposite third over. Just like a tri-fold brochure. Try to have everything as even as possible. All the edges should match fairly closely. Put on a plate, cover, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Relax, read the paper, check email, whatever you like.

5. Roll out to 1/2″ thick and repeat the fold. Don’t forget to flour as you roll. Plate, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat this for a total five roll & folds.

6. After the last fold, roll the rectangle out to about 3/4″. If it is difficult, put dough in the fridge for a bit to relax the gluten. If using immediately, cover, rest in fridge for about 30 minutes, then use as needed. If it’s for later, cut into sections big enough but that still fit easily in your freezer (usually just in half), layer with wax paper between sections, freezer bag it, & store until needed.

You can use this pastry to make breads, pies, cakes, cookies, etc., so shaping and baking is dependent on your final product.

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.

A Batch of Cookies

At the time these were posted to Hope Needham’s column, I imagine a lot of the contributors were, indeed, very lonely, especially if they lived on the prairie, so they viewed Hope as a real friend. However, you couldn’t really talk about how lonely you were, so you found common ground.  In this instance, the common ground was sour cream cookies.  Anything to make a connection!

Mom always had sour cream available because we milked cows.  The milk was run through a separator and the cream was stored in a cream can in the underground cellar.  If a recipe called for sour cream, we just went to the cellar and collected some from the top of the cream in that can in the cellar.  Earlier in my McPherson days and again at the Merrill Ranch, I stored milk in plastic gallon jars.  I skimmed the cream off them and stored it in separate containers.  If I didn’t get the cream used before the next batch of milk came in, the older container of cream was the “sour cream”.  We wouldn’t have used that sour cream for baked potatoes or dip. I mostly used my sour cream for baking purposes.  

This clipping includes four recipes that use sour cream, three for cookies and one for a cake.  The first one is a drop cookie, the second can be either a drop or rolled and cut, the third is a darker, spicier and nuttier cookie.  Most of the recipes from Hope Needham’s column are printed in paragraph form and mostly conversational in tone.  I hadn’t seen one organized in A, B and C sections before as in the second recipe.  I imagine Berniece got that recipe from a really organized person.

For a Batch of Cookies

Dear Hope:  I feel as though you are a real friend, as I have read and enjoyed your column for many years.

I am sending a requested recipe for sour cream cookies which has been in our family many years and with it I send every good (wishes)  to your and yours.

Sour Cream Cookies

2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup shortening, either vegetable or lard and butter

Cream these together, add:

1 cup sour cream
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla or lemon extract

and beat well.  Add about:

6 cups flour with
1 teaspoon soda
1 scant teaspoon baking powder. With some flour you need more than others.

Drop from teaspoon onto a greased cookie pan.  bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes.  This makes a big batch of cookies. — Bessie M. Stevens, Illinois.

Sour Cream Cookies and Cake

Dear Hope and Friends: I’m sending my two sour cream cookie recipes and a sour cream cake which “Sandhiller” of Nebraska wanted.  These I like very much.

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

4 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar

1 cup shortening (I use some butter)

1 cup heavy sour cream
3 eggs beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon lemon

Mix and sift !, add B and mix, then add C.  Drop by large teaspoons or roll out on floured board and cut with cookie cutter.  Sprinkle with sugar, place on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

Sour Cream Cookies

Cream together:
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 beaten egg

1/2 cup sour cream

Sift together:
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

Add sifted dry ingredients to creamed mixture and lastly add 1.2 cup chopped nuts.  Bake atg 400 degrees until browned.

Sour White Cream Cake

Beat 3 egg whites until stiff, fold in 1 cup whipped thick sour cream.

Sift together 3 times:
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon soda
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups flour

Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with 1/2 cup cold water and 1 teaspoon flavoring.  Bake about 35 minutes in 360 degree oven.  Good as loaf, layer or cup cakes. — Berniece, Iowa

Corn Flake Macaroons

Here’s another recipe in somebody’s handwriting and it’s hard to tell whether it’s my sister’s or my sister-in-law’s writing.  I always like a macaroon cookie because I love coconut, but I love the crispiness of a macaroon.  This recipe doesn’t mess around with superfluous information, which makes me think it’s my sister’s writing.  Why waste time on useless information (as considered by a teenager!)?

Corn Flake Macaroons

2 egg whites
1 cup sugar
2 cups Corn Flakes
1 cup Coconut
1 cup chopped nuts

Beat egg whites till stiff, then add sugar gradually, then beat.  Add corn flakes  and coconut.  Grease the cookie sheet then put waxed paper on the cookie sheet.  Drop by teaspoonful.  325° 15 to 20 min.


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