Mennonite Girls Can Cook is a collection of recipes which were posted daily for a period of ten years from 2008 to 2018. We have over 3,000 delicious recipes that we invite you to try. The recipes can be accessed in our recipe file by category or you can use the search engine.

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Peppermint Pretties


This is one of those recipes that 'happened by mistake'...and has become an annual favorite.  We were served these tasty little peppermint morsels at a Christmas open-house many years ago.  The hostess kindly gave out the recipe. I thought I had copied it out wrong since the butter was missing...so I added half a cup of butter. The cookies were delightful and I have made them every Christmas since.  I later discovered that there really was no butter in the original version...but I'm sticking to my updated recipe.  Everything tastes better with butter.  Right?  These freeze well and taste great straight from the freezer.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons peppermint extract
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Cream softened butter and sugar.
  2. Add cream, egg and peppermint extract; beat until smooth.
  3. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt.
  4. Chill dough for at least one hour.
  5. Roll out to about 1/4" thick and cut with tiny cookie cutters.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 5-6 or until bottoms begin to brown.
  7. Drizzle with peppermint frosting. (For pale green icing add food colouring.)
  8. Sprinkle with crushed candy canes, if desired.
 Peppermint Frosting:
  • 1/4 cup soft butter
  • 2 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  1. Beat softened butter until smooth and creamy. 
  2. Add powdered sugar, milk and peppermint extract. Beat until smooth.
  3. Add a little more milk if necessary in order to drizzle the icing.
Yield: 10 dozen 1 1/2" cookies.


*Tip ~ Put icing into a Ziploc bag, snip the corner and drizzle over the cookies.

Have you done any Christmas baking yet? 

PS From all of us to all of you who are celebrating Thanksgiving today...Happy Thanksgiving!

Fruitcake Scones


I like fruitcake..am I in the minority? I do have my favorite fruitcake though which I bake for Christmas. I also loved the green glaced and red marashino with nuts in these scones. A perfect addition to a Christmas brunch.
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup glazed green cherries, diced
  • 1/4 cup red marashino cherries, diced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup almonds, sliced
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  1. In a medium size bowl, whisk together flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until it's like coarse crumbs.
  3. Fold fruits and nuts into the flour mixture until coated.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together eggs, cream and extracts.
  5. Add wet ingredients to dry just until blended.
  6. Turn dough out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, knead just until dough comes together in a ball. 
  7. Flatten dough into a pie shaped circle, approx 1 inch in thickness and cut into 12 wedges or more depending on the size of pieces you want. 
  8. Bake in a 400º oven for 15 to 17 minutes or until lightly browned.
  9. Serve plain with butter, cream cheese, or devonshire cream. Or drizzle with icing and sprinkle with sliced almonds.

Glazed Honey Cookies


Some of you may recognize this Christmas cookie. Our moms and grandmothers went to some work mixing up their large recipes of spiced and glazed cookies, but once they were done and stored away in a cool place, they kept for a long time. In fact, I find they taste better as they age and they do not take up freezer space. Although a recipe for honey cookies with a quick glaze method has already been posted, I'm sharing this one for variation (it does not have baking ammonia) and gives you the option of a boiled glaze. This recipe is cut in half already to make it more user friendly. It still makes 8 dozen.
Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cups butter, room temp
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cups sour cream
  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground star anise
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves or allspice 
Glaze
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 egg whites
Method:
  1. Beat butter, gradually adding sugar, then honey, eggs and sour cream, beating well after each addition.
  2. Mix baking powder, soda and spices into some of the flour and add to wet ingredients
  3. Continue adding flour 1 cup at a time (this can be done in a kitchen machine with a dough hook) until mixed thoroughly. Dough will be on the soft side, like a cookie batter.
  4. Pat top smooth with spatula and refrigerate overnight or up to a few days.
  5. Lightly grease and flour aluminum cookie sheets. Tilt cookie sheets and tap end to distribute the flour evenly.
  6. Divide dough into quarters. Dust rolling mat or counter with flour. Taking one quarter portion at a time, using both hands, roll into a thick, 24 inch long roll, then cut into 1 inch slices and roll each slice into a ball.
  7. Bake at 375° F for about 12 minutes on upper rack of oven - no lower than center of oven. Check bottom of cookie for light browning before taking out of oven. You don't want to over bake them but you also don't want the top to sink.
  8. Cool on wire racks.
Glazing
  1. Line cookie sheets with wax paper.
  2. In a medium sized glass bowl, beat egg whites with hand mixer until almost stiff. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, between low and medium heat, bring sugar and water to boil, stirring often. When sugar has completely dissolved, liquid clears up and bubbles even while stirring, set timer to 3 minutes. Continue cooking at most one minute until you see only bubbles throughout, as you stir. Liquid should drip off the spoon like syrup. (soft ball stage)
  4. With mixer on, slowly pour hot syrup into beaten egg whites and beat for about 3 - 4 minutes until thick and glossy when you lift the beater.
  5. Now, be ready to work quickly without distractions, because the glaze can dry on you. Scoop some glaze up in your left hand fingers to coat bottom of cookie and hold it in place. Scoop some more with your right hand fingers and coat top, smoothing with index finger. Cover the entire cookie with a thin layer of glaze and slide onto wax paper, not touching other cookies.
  6. Allow to dry on wax paper for several hours - may need to leave overnight if still tacky when you lift them.
Assessing glaze texture:  

I thought I'd show you the goal of what the glaze should look like. When it's cooked the right amount of time it goes on easy, and dries smoothly.


If the glaze is cooked too little it will be easy to coat, but take a long time to dry into a hard icing. If you have undercooked the glaze, you will notice that it does not thicken as you beat it with the egg white.  You may redeem it by adding a tablespoon of cornstarch and keep beating a few minutes more.


If the glaze is cooked too long, it will dry quickly as you are glazing the cookies. It may end up being  grainy, making it impossible to achieve that smooth finish. It helps to moisten your hands. The taste will still be good, just not as easy to work with. It may me easier to start again, cooking a minute less on your next try.

Raisin Apple Braids


These would make a nice gift for your neighbours. 
 Depending on the size you want, you can divide the dough to make 3 or 4 braids. I photographed them as Christmas gifts but of course you can make them any time of year and freeze the extras if you like. The recipe comes from the 1968 Pillsbury Bake Off Breads Cook Book.

  • 6 1/2 - 7 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs
Raisin Apple Filling
  • 2 1/2 cups peeled, finely chopped apple
  • 1 cup chopped raisins (I use sultanas. rinsed well through a sieve)
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans (opt.)
  1. In large mixer bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, and dry yeast.
  2. In 4 cup glass measuring cup, microwave milk and butter until milk is warm and butter has begun to melt. (or warm it in a saucepan on the stove)
  3. Add warm milk to mixing bowl and mix on low
  4. Add slightly beaten eggs and continue to mix until well moistened.
  5. Mix for 3 minutes.
  6. Change to dough hook and then add remaining flour to make a stiff dough.
  7. Continue to mix or knead by hand for 5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
  8. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top.
  9. Cover and let rise in a warm place until light and doubled in size. (I usually do this in the oven which I have warmed to 170 degrees and then turned off.)
  10. Line 2 cookie sheets (with edges) with parchment paper.
  11. Prepare Apple Raisin Filling: In saucepan, combine all filling ingredients except pecans. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil at least 5 minutes, stirring frequently or until it thickens somewhat. Cool
  12. Punch down dough and divide in half. (or into 3 sections)
  13. Roll each section into a rectangle and place on cookie sheet.
  14. Spread centre third of each rectangle with Raisin Apple Filling (see picture below).
  15. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough diagonally at 1 inch intervals on both sides of filling.
  16. Fold opposite strips of dough over filling, crossing in centre. (see picture below)
  17. Seal ends of each braid.
  18. Cover and let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size.
  19. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
  20. Remove to racks and cool.
  21. Ice and decorate as desired.





German Gingerbread Cookies


Ah! All I had to do was take a whiff of the spices that go into these cookies and I was transported into something that spelled Weihnachten! Leise Rieselt der Schnee may as well have been playing in the background. This is a recipe I stopped making once our kids got older, but it's fun to bring it back with little ones around again.  

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup butter, soft
  • 1/4 cup Crisco
  • 1 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons Lebkuchen or Spekulatius Gewuerz*
  • 1 teaspoon ground star anise
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* These gingerbread spices can be purchased (as a pkg) from a European Deli. In Chilliwack  you can find Abstwinder Lebkuchen Gewuerz at Hofstede's Country Barn, imported from Calgary. The spices are a combination of coriander, cinnamon, cloves,anise, nutmeg, star anise, fennel, cardamom. In Abbotsford you can find Lebkuchen Gewuerz at the Windmill Deli.



Method:
  1. In mixing bowl cream butter and Crisco. Add eggs and honey, beating in well.
  2. Stir in combined dry ingredients. Using a kitchen machine such as a Kitchen Aid with a hook attachment is helpful.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 5 days to let flavors blend.
  4. Preheat oven to 350° F and prepare baking sheets by greasing - or line with parchment paper.
  5. Let dough sit at room temp for about 15 minutes. Divide into three parts.
  6. Lightly dust work surface with flour and work dough into a flat round shape by turning and using the heel of your hand. Roll out, using a fine dusting of flour, to dinner plate size. About 1/3 inch thickness. Cut with desired cookie shapes. 
  7. Bake for 9 minutes or until lightly browned underneath. Ice or decorate with Boiled Icing.
  8. Store in airtight container in cool place. The cookies just get better as they age. 
  9. Yield: 24 large gingerbread men plus approximately 20 regular sized cookies, such as star shapes.
Boiled sugar-meringue icing ( make 2 times for 4 dozen cookies)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg white
  1. In a medium glass bowl, beat egg white until soft peaks form when you lift beater. Set aside.
  2. In saucepan, over low / medium heat, bring water and sugar to a boil, while stirring.
  3. Once it keeps boiling, even while stirring, set timer on 3 minutes.
  4. Keep stirring, while liquid becomes totally bubbly, making sure sugar does not harden on sides of pot. Stir until it begins to feel slightly syrupy, about 2 - 3 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat. Slowly, pour into beaten egg white, while mixer is going. (I hold a hand mixer with my right hand and pour hot liquid with my left.) 
  6. Beat for about 2 minutes, until glossy and stiff. Fill piping bag if you wish to outline, or spread by teaspoons onto cookies, using the back of the spoon to smooth. Sprinkle with sugar sprinkles while wet. Allow to dry until hard. (several hours or overnight)
Hint: this icing can dry quickly, so cover any icing left in the bowl with a wet tea towel. If icing becomes slightly crusty, add a tsp of water and beat with mixer for a few seconds.






Butter Tarts

Before Christmas I love sitting down with my mom's book of 
hand written recipes to decide which ones I'll be making.
Every year without fail I make these butter tarts.
Each pretty pastry shell is filled with golden raisins
and topped with brown sugar buttery goodness.

Ingredients for filling:
  • 2 tbsp butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup golden raisins, plumped
Method:
  1. Beat very soft butter, brown sugar and egg together until creamy.
  2. Add salt and vanilla.
  3. Pour boiling water over raisins. Allow to stand for 5 minutes. Drain well.
  4. Do not add to filling. Once you have the pastry shells made, place raisins into each shell. This will keep them uniform.
Pastry: this is Lovella's favorite pastry recipe that came from our friend Dorothy, but you can use your favourite pastry recipe. 
  • 5 cups flour
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pound lard
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • water
Method for Pastry:
  1. Measure flour, sugar, salt and baking powder into a large bowl.
  2. Cut in cold lard until you lard is broken up into pea sized pieces.
  3. In a glass measuring cup beat 1 egg well. Add vinegar and then enough cold water to make 1 cup.
  4. Pour water mixture over flour mixture and stir, incorporating all the dry ingredients. Use your hands to pull the dough together into a ball. 
  5. Sprinkle some flour on your counter or pastry mat. Roll out 1/3 of the dough fairly thin. Using a cup or fluted cookie cutter, but out rounds and place into lightly greased tart tins.
  6. To ensure that each tart gets the approximately the same amount of raisins, I spoon the raisins into the bottom of each unbaked shell. (About 5-8 raisins, depending on the size of your shells.
  7. Pour the butter tart filling over each raisin filled shell.
  8. Bake at 375º for 18-20 minutes. Let rest in pan for 5 minutes then remove to cooling rack.
This filling recipe makes 2 dozen tarts. I often double or triple the recipe as they freeze well for several months. You will have left over pastry. Shape into discs or line a pie plate or two. Wrap well and freeze.

Toffee Drops


Years ago my friend Debbi, who also happened to be my son's teacher at the time, shared this recipe with me. Our family loves these and it's made every Christmas by at least one of us.
It is a super simple easy recipe and can be put together quickly. What takes the longest is unwrapping the toffee pieces! This toffee used to come in a bar but I can't find those anymore.

You will need:
  • 2 cups of Special K cereal..you can use rice krispies.
  • 16 pieces of toffee..I use Mackintosh's toffee.
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter
What you need to do:
  1. Chop toffee pieces, add to cream and butter in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Melt in microwave for 1 1/2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds just until mixture is smooth. 
  3. Stir into special k cereal and mix well.
  4. Drop by spoonfuls on a parchment lined pan. You have to work quickly before the mixture hardens.
  5. Let cool and store in a covered container in a cool place. Who am I kidding, I doubt they will make it that far!
  6. Yields: 1 dozen

Angel Kisses (Alfajores)


This cookie has a ‘melt in your mouth’ kind of texture, like shortbread. The filling is cooked sweetened condensed milk, also known as dulce de leche, if purchased in a jar. The recipe came from a friendly neighbor, who invited me for coffee when I was a newly wed. I loved the cookies because the filling was just like what we used to spread on our bread when we lived in South America. I found out that they were quite a bit of work to make when I made them for our daughter’s first birthday, so I decided that they would be Christmas cookies and eventually we ended up calling them angel kisses, because we did not know the real name.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup soft butter
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups cornstarch
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • flaked coconut
Method:
  1. Put unopened can of sweetened condensed milk, standing up, in a pot of water, water coming up about 3/4 of the way. Bring water to boil and simmer for 11/2 hours. Add water if needed. Cool completely in fridge. Good if you can do this the day ahead. I like this method because the dulce tastes fresh and creamy. If you prefer, you can use 1 jar purchased Dulce de Leche. 
  2. This cookie recipe has no liquids, so I find it is very important to use very soft butter, but not melted. I take it out of the fridge the night before. It also helps to use a large mixer that has a dough (hook) attachment.
  3. Beat butter until very creamy. Beat in the yolks. 
  4. Mix sugar and lemon rind, then add to creamed mixture, along with vanilla. 
  5. Stir in cornstarch and combined other dry ingredients (using hook attachment if you have) until smooth. Shape into ball.
  6. Taking about 1/4 of the dough at a time, roll out on floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness.
  7. Cut with small, round cookie cutter or tomato paste can. 
  8. Place on floured cookie sheets and bake at 350° F for about 8 min. Do not over bake. Cookies should just be starting to get color on the underside, not on top. Cool.
  9. Stick two cookies together with cooked sweetened condensed milk, spreading the sides (edges) as well and rolling them in coconut. 
  10. Freeze to set. Store in air tight container in freezer and beware if someone in your family likes eating them frozen! Yields 4 dozen cookies 





Christmas Fruit and Nut Cake with Caramelized Pineapple





Fruitcake is our favorite small bite treat with a cup of coffee during the Christmas season.  Be sure that you use ingredients that are fresh.  Nuts and dried fruits that are even a bit stale will taint the fruitcake and will ruin all the work.   Fruitcake lovers will all enjoy this delicious Christmas treat.
Fruitcake improves in flavour and texture over time, so make it now to enjoy at Christmas.
  • 1 cup slivered blanched almonds
  • 1 cup whole blanched almonds
  • 1/2 cup whole walnut halves
  • 1 1/2 cups seedless raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries
  • 1 cup / 225 grams glace cut mixed peel
  • 1 cup / 225 grams glace fruit cake mix
  • 2 cups 500 grams glace whole cherries
  • 1 cup finely chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup apricot brandy
  1. Stir together all the fruit and nuts in a large glass bowl.  Stir in brandy and cover with lid or tightly with plastic wrap.  Stir occasionally and leave at room temperature until the next day.
Caramelized Pineapple
  • 1 14 ounce / 398 ml can crushed pineapple with the juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam
  • 1/4 cup apricot brandy
  1. Combine pineapple, juice and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir  occasionally to prevent scorching and simmer to reduce liquids, 30 - 40 minutes.  Once the liquid has mostly evaporated and the pineapple has started to caramelize, remove from heat, add jam and brandy.  Refrigerate overnight in sealed container. 
Fruitcake Batter
  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 7 eggs (should measure 1 1/2 cups)
  1. Prepare 2 - 3 loaf pans by cutting brown paper bags to fit first lengthwise and then across the width, allowing the paper to come just over the edge of the pan.  Grease paper well. Alternately, for gift giving, use disposable paper bakeware.  
  2. Preheat oven to 275 F. 
  3. Stir together dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Mix 1 cup of the flour mixture with the fruit and nuts and set aside. 
  4. In a large bowl, beat butter, then gradually add sugar and eggs with mixer. Add remaining flour mixture and beat to combine. 
  5. Use a large wooden spoon to stir in fruit and nut mixture along with the pineapple mixture. Stir well to combine.
  6. Divide into loaf pans and bake.  Baking times will vary depending on size of the pan. You can bake the fruitcake in small individual loaves or square pans.  Whatever you decide to use, check every 30 minutes to start if you use small pans.  The loaves will feel firm in the center when done. Test with a toothpick once you think the top feels firm.  Regular bread pan loaf pans will be up to 3 1/2 hours. Check several times to make sure the top of the cakes are not getting too brown.  If that happens, cover loosely with foil.   The bakeware shown in the photo held 3 cups of batter, measured 1 1/4 inch X 6 inch diameter and took just over an hour to bake. 
  7.  Remove from oven, remove from pan, allow to cool for half an hour and then carefully remove brown paper.  Brush with additional apricot brandy before storing. Leave cakes in the disposable bakeware pans for easy gift giving.   Seal well in plastic bags and store in the refrigerator for several months or freeze.

Pfeffernuesse ~ Flashback Friday



Years later, so many things have changed.  When I looked at my last post in 2009, I realized that I made this with my sister. It's obvious that it's Flashback Friday again. Now I'm starting all over and introducing this wonderful recipe to my dear little grandaughters who visit regularly.  And today, you get to see them in action.  It brings so much laughter and joy into our lives to watch these young ones pronounce PFEFFERNUSSE!

Step One:
  • 1 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cardamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons /15 grams Neunerlei Lebkuchen Gewurz (this is a gingerbread spice purchased at a Delicatessen) I ordered them from the Edelweiss Delicatessen in Calgary this year, as no one else carried them in our town. 
  1. Warm honey in microwave or stovetop and add sugar and spices.
  2. Cool mixture to room temperature.
Step Two:
  • 1 cup margarine
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  1. Melt margarine and add sour cream.
  2. Now add to cooled honey mixture.
Step Three:
  • 6 cups flour (add up to 1/2 cup more if needed to make a heavy dough )
  • 3 teaspoons baking soda
  1. Sift together flour and baking soda and add the above honey mixture and mix well.
  2. I blend flour and soda into an electric mixing bowl.
  3. I usually use my kneading hook, as this dough is heavy. One time I broke my cookie beaters.
  4. Place in fridge overnight to cool. 
Step Four:
  1. To bake, grease cookie sheets
  2. Roll dough into rolls (snakes) and slice.(thickness of your index finger)
  3. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Bake for 9 minutes. Just slightly browned.
  4. When baked, leave cookies on sheet 2 minutes, then remove from pan.
While Ivy, who will be four in February knows that first, we grease our hands, then follows my instructions to a tee, Joy on the other hand who will be two,  totally seizes every moment to enjoy laughter.  We've had lots of fun and I know we will be making several batches to give to the big cousins. I've enjoyed handing down some traditional recipes to the grandchildren.