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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Christmas Fruit and Nut Wreath


Before Internet, we received small advertising brochures with recipes in the mail and the reason I tried this one is because the picture looked so beautiful! My husband always says “You know, this is the only thing you have to make for Christmas, don’t you?” (Too bad I love to bake!)
We also had a good laugh when our three-year-old grandson saw it on the counter and exclaimed. “That’s my best!!”

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 3 - 3 1/2 cup flour, divided
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons quick rise yeast
  • 1 egg
Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped almonds
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ¼ cup glace mix (finely chopped candied fruit)
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
Updated (alternate)  filling:
  • 2 tablespoons butter for spreading
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cup cranberries
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup diced candied citrus peel 
  • rind of one orange
Icing:
  • 3/4 - 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons milk 
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (stir until smooth)

1. Heat milk and butter until hot to touch. Cool somewhat with ½ cup cold water.
2. In mixing bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups of the flour, sugar, salt and yeast.
3. Stir hot liquids into dry mixture. Mix in the egg, then 1 1/2 - 2 cups flour, to make a soft manageable dough that does not stick to sides of bowl.
4. Cover and rise 20 minutes.

5. Roll out on floured surface into 16 x 9 inch rectangle.
6. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon filling.
7. Roll up jelly-roll fashion. Place seam down, shaping into a circle on greased or parchment paper lined pizza pan, folding ends one inside the other.
8. Cut 2/3 of the way into ring at 1 inch intervals. Turn each slice a little outward, on its side. Cover and rise about 45 min. Bake at 350° F, about 20 min. Slide off pan onto wire rack to cool.

9. Drizzle with icing.
10. Sprinkle with slivered toasted almonds.

Pfeffernuesse (Peppernuts)


Christmas is around the corner and it's time to be thinking of making Pfeffernuese. This is a great recipe to make with a friend.  It takes half the time and is twice the fun.



There's a bit of history to these tiny spiced cookies.
 I remember being told that Mennonite grandmothers used to keep a few peppernuts in their purses during church services. When the children would become a bit noisy or restless, they would pop one of these hard nuggets into their mouths and the necessity of sucking the hard cookie and the surprising spiciness would distract the child and silence was achieved.
There are many recipes for Peffernuesse but this is my favourite.  I make them at the beginning of November so they have time to ripen.
They are always number one on the list of Christmas favourites at our house and are a bit addictive.
It's a big recipe and I have often only made half of it.  However if you make the whole recipe, you can pack the Pfeffernuesse in pretty Christmas tins to give as gifts.

    Here is the recipe I use - it is easily halved if the whole amount is intimidating.
      Be sure to read the recipe through before starting.

  • 4 cups Roger's Golden syrup (this is different than corn syrup)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups margarine or butter
  • 2 cups milk
  1. Combine the above ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Let mixture cool completely before continuing.
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp. peppermint extract (use the clear extract not the green tinted one)
  1. Beat eggs in a small bowl and add extracts. Set aside.
  • 12- 14 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground star anise (not anise seed)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Place 7 cups flour in a large mixer bowl.
  2. Add spices and baking powder and stir until completely blended with flour.
  3. Add syrup mixture to the flour, stirring well until blended.
  4. Add beaten egg mixture and continue to stir until blended.
  5. Continue to add flour until dough thickens but remains sticky. You will still be able to stir it with a wooden spoon however it will take a bit of strength.The amount of flour may vary depending on your flour and the amount of humidity. Please note that the dough will harden considerably once it has been refrigerated so be careful not to add too much flour.
  6. Refrigerate dough overnight or for several days.
  7. Prepare cookie sheets with parchment paper. These cookies will stick to the pan however if you use parchment paper, they will just slide right off and you can reuse the paper.
  8. Using a tablespoon (from your cutlery drawer), spoon out a good handful of the dough.
  9. Sprinkle a little flour on your counter and roll the dough into a long rope about the thickness of your ring finger.
  10. Using a bench scraper or pizza cutter, cut the rope into 1/2 inch pieces and place on your prepared pans. (I get 99 cookies on each large cookie sheet)
  11. Bake at 350º F  for about 15 minutes or until cookies just begin to brown. This is where having a convection oven comes in handy as you can bake 2 or 3 cookie sheets at a time.
  12. Remove from pan and cool. Store in ice cream pails in a cool place.
  13. The Pfeffernuesse will keep for a long time - at least 6 months - but only if you hide them..


Molasses Kissed Pumpkin Pie




I first posted this Pumpkin Pie in 2013.  It's still our favourite and I think you will find it easy to put together for your family too! 

There is no need to buy pumpkin pies from a bakery when they are really so simple to make.
If you don't have time to make your own pastry, purchase a package with two frozen deep dish shells and use one of the shells to cut out little leaves with the thawed pastry for garnish.

  • 1 9 inch deep dish pie shell or make your own  (this can be done ahead of time)
  • 1 3/4 cups pure pumpkin puree (about 1 -  15 ounce /398 ml can)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sweetened condensed milk  (can sizes vary between US and Canada)
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon*
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger*
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves*
  • dash nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Adjust oven rack to second lowest level. Line a 9 inch deep pie plate with pastry. Decorate edge with leaf cutouts or crimp with your fingers or 
  2. Whisk together the pumpkin with the remaining ingredients until smooth. If you have a blender, put all the filling ingredients in there and process until smooth.
  3. Pour carefully into the pastry crust.  To prevent the crust edges from becoming too dark, use kitchen shears to cut out the inside of an aluminum pie plate and cover the pie as shown in the photo.  
  4. Bake at 425 F. for 15 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 F and bake an additional 35 minutes.  Test by putting a sharp knife an inch from the edge. It should be clean.
  5. Cool on rack.  Only refrigerate the pie if it is not being served the same day it is baked.  Serve with sweetened whipped cream.  Refrigerate leftovers. 
*if the cinnamon, ginger and cloves are not spices you use often, purchase pumpkin pie spice and use 2 teaspoons. 

Salsa

Since there's an abundance of tomatoes and peppers out there right now, I thought I would share my salsa recipe. It's a recipe I got from my sister Kathy decades ago and is a staple at our home. I cook up a large batch in fall and we enjoy it year-round.  This is a zippy salsa; if you prefer yours on the mild side, remove all the seeds and ribs from inside the jalapeno peppers.
 

Salsa
  • 10 cups tomatoes (peeled, chopped and drained)
  • 8 small jalapeno peppers chopped (remove seeds for less heat) 
  • 3 cups chopped onions
  • 1 cup chopped green peppers 
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 1/3 cups vinegar 
  • 1 can 12 oz. can tomato paste 
  • 1 tsp. cumin 
  • 1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes 
  • 3 Tablespoons pickling salt 
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
  1. Combine all ingredients and simmer for 1 hour.
  2. Ladle into jars; tighten lids and process for 20 minutes in hot water bath.
*Optional : Stir in 1/3 cup cornstarch diluted in cold water and simmer for several minutes to thicken salsa before filling jars.

Yield: about 6-7 pint (500 ml) jars

This also makes a wonderful, tasty fresh salsa.  Place chopped veggies in a large bowl.  Mix vinegar, tomato paste, herbs and seasonings and add to chopped vegetables. Stir to combine.  Keeps well in the refrigerator for a week.


Rollkuchen


 
Rollkuchen are a tasty, deep fried pastry that are a wonderful accompaniment to cold watermelon on a hot summer day.  How well I recall childhood picnics with big tubs of fresh Rollkuchen.  Let's just say that eating them is rather like eating peanuts...you can't stop at just one! Sometime over the years, Rollkuchen became paired with Roger's Golden Syrup (definitely a Canadian thing) on my table; they make a great team!

My mother-in-law made the best flaky, crispy Rollkuchen. Mine never quite measured up, so I have always made the thicker, softer variety and they have become a family favorite. Hers were all uniform in shape; mine are rather 'free-form'. Each recipe seems to differ slightly but I've never met a Rollkuchen I didn't like!

Rollkuchen

  • 5 - 6 cups / 1150 - 1350 ml flour
  • 3 teaspoons / 15 ml  baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon / 5 ml salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup / 250 ml sour cream
  • 1 cup / 250 ml milk
 
  1. Combine 5 cups / 1150 ml  flour, baking powder and salt.
  2. Beat eggs, sour cream and milk together and add to dry ingredients
  3. Continue to add flour to form a soft dough ... usually about 1/2 cup more.
  4. Allow the dough to chill for an hour or two before rolling, for easier handling.
  5. Divide the dough in half and roll out quite thin on a floured board ... if you prefer them soft, then not quite so thin.
  6. Cut strips of dough about 2x4 inches / 5x10 cm ... with two slits cut in center of each.
  7. Stretch the pieces somewhat before dropping into the hot oil.
  8. Fry in deep hot oil over medium heat until golden on one side. Turn and brown the other side.
     

The rollkuchen puff up beautifully while cooking and are really mostly air pockets by the time they are ready to eat. A totally a healthy choice!  Who am I fooling?


Serve with cold watermelon and Roger's golden syrup.  Grilled farmer sausage is also a nice touch!

Berry Filled Scones

All winter long. . .we are thankful for California strawberries. . .but once summer crops begin to ripen in Canada. . .we shop locally. The flavour of fresh picked strawberries from the field cannot be duplicated. Strawberry pies. . . Strawberry Shortcake, Strawberries with ice cream and one of my favorites. . for breakfast. . and lunch time. . .and late in the evening. . is Strawberry Scones.


I inherited a tart press from my mom. . .I have no idea where she purchased it. . but if you ever see one similar (click on the picture to enlarge the bottom left view of my tart press) . . .snap it up. . .it makes the most delicious little tarts. . .and scones.
Edited later thanks to the kind commenters .. the cut - n - seal can be found here
Fruit Filled Scones

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 large farm fresh egg. . .in a measuring cup. . with enough . . .
  • buttermilk to fill to one cup (with the egg in it)
  • 1/3 cup canola oil .. .or some other light oil
  • sliced berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries .. or blackberries)
  • 1/2 cup of confectioners/icing sugar
  • a little warm water

  1. Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  2. Beat the egg in the measuring cup and add the buttermilk to fill to the one cup line.
  3. Make a well in the flour mixture.
  4. Pour in the egg/buttermilk and the oil.
  5. Stir only until it comes together.
  6. Dump it onto a floured surface and knead a few times until the wet and dry are combined. (DO NOT overwork your dough . .the scones will be tough)
  7. Roll the dough onto a floured surface . ..to a 1/4 inch thick.
  8. Cut with large 4 inch tart cutter or you can use a large glass jar.
  9. Put half the cut rounds on a cookie sheet. .lined with parchment paper . .(to catch drips)
  10. Put berries in the center of each round. ..cover with the second round. . .and crimp with the tines of a fork. .or press down with the tart press.
  11. Bake at 400º for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  12. Make a drizzle icing from 1/2 cup icing sugar and a teaspoon or two or warm water and drizzle over the scones while still warm.

If you want to give yourself a head start in the morning if you are having guests for brunch, mix up the dough and wrap well and refrigerate it overnight.

The recipe will make about 6 large scones.

Strawberry Sheet Pie


Strawberry season is right around the corner so I thought I would share another dessert that serves 20 good sized pieces or up to 30 smaller ones.  Make the pastry for the crust a day ahead and you will have half the work finished for the day of your party.   You'll only need half of the pastry. .the other half can be wrapped in two separate discs and frozen for double pie or two single pies.
   
Dorothy's Pastry
  • 5 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pound Lard  (not shortening)   ( I use Tenderflake brand)
  • 1 egg and 1 tablespoon white vinegar and enough COLD water to make 1 cup
  1. Put the dry ingredients in a very large bowl.
  2. Stir it up with a pastry blender to evenly spread the ingredients through the flour.
  3. Cube the lard and cut it into the flour mixture until it is the size of oatmeal.
  4. Drizzle the water/egg/vinegar mixture over all the dry ingredients and stir with a fork until a shaggy dough forms.
  5. Dump it onto a pastry mat and pull together to form a large ball.  Don't over mix.
  6. Divide the pastry in half.  Divide half into two parts so that you will have three pieces all together.
  7. Wrap the three pieces separately in plastic wrap.  Chill.
  8. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  9. For this dessert, take the large piece of pastry and roll it onto a floured pastry mat or well floured counter large enough to come up the sides of a 13 X 18 X 1" cookie sheet.  Roll the pastry up onto your rolling pin and transfer to the cookie sheet.  Trim the edges along the top of the cookie sheet.
  10. Prick the dough with a fork every couple of inches and line the pastry with foil, pressing firmly onto the pastry, covering it all. ..extra does not need to be trimmed.
  11. Bake 10 minutes and then remove the foil and bake until evenly browned.  Do not underbake ..you want the pastry nice and crisp.  Cool for an hour before adding the first layer.
Cream Cheese Layer
  • 2 - 8-ounce packages cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons instant vanilla pudding powder
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  1. Beat the softened cream cheese together with the remaining ingredients and carefully spread evenly over the cooled pastry crust.
Strawberry Filling 
  • 4 pounds strawberries diced (it makes it easier to cut nice slices if the strawberries are diced to about 1/4 inch pieces
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small package strawberry gelatin
  1. Combine the sugar, and cornstarch in a large pot and stir to blend the cornstarch with the sugar.
  2. Add the water and bring to a boil, stirring the whole time.
  3. Add the package of gelatin and stir.
  4. Add the diced strawberries to the pot and allow to cool for to room temperature.
  5. Spoon the filling over the cream cheese layer and chill.
Beat 2 cups whipping cream, 1/2 cup sugar and several packages of whipping cream stabilizer or several tablespoons of vanilla instant pudding.  Using a pastry bag with a large star tip decorate and then slice and serve.

Rhubarb Meringue Dessert
































One of the best things about Spring is rhubarb. This dessert is creamy, light and luscious.
I guarantee this will become a favourite with family and friends alike.

Base:
  • 1/2 cup margarine, softened
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
Filling:
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoon flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup light cream
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb, cut up
Topping:
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup flaked coconut
  1. Blend margarine, flour and sugar.
  2. Press crumbs evenly into ungreased 9x9 inch pan.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10- 15 minutes.
  4. In mixing bowl, blend egg yolks, sugar, flour, salt and cream. Mix until smooth.
  5. Distribute cut rhubarb on baked crust and pour egg yolk mixture evenly over the rhubarb.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. (If you double the recipe and put it in a 9x13 pan as I did, you will need to bake this close to an hour. The custard should be mostly set and starting to brown around the edges.
  7. Beat egg whites until foamy.
  8. Beat in sugar, a little at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat until stiff glossy peaks form. Do not under beat.
  9. Add vanilla and beat until incorporated.
  10. Spread evenly over baked custard, being sure that the meringue touches the edges of the pan all around.
  11. Sprinkle with coconut.
  12. Bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until meringue is golden and coconut is toasted.
  13. Serve warm or cold.


Rhubarb Bar ~ Flash Back Friday



The last time I posted this Rhubarb Bar in 2010 these little girls were not even born.  Now they are well on their way to making it on their own.  This recipe is also in our first cookbook Mennonite Girls Can Cook available here and also on Amazon.    This is our family spring favorite recipe.



Crust
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup shortening  (or use all butter)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • milk to make 2/3 cup
Filling
  • 7 cups finely chopped rhubarb
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup minute tapioca
  • 2 egg whites
Icing
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
Method
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt, cut in the butter and shortening until the crumbs are the size of oatmeal. You can use your food processor for this too. Pulse, don't run at full speed.
  2. Put the egg yolks in a measuring cup and add enough milk to make 2/3 cup.
  3. Slowly add to the flour mixture and pulse with the food processor until it begins to come together or mix in with your fork.
  4. Turn the pastry onto the counter and knead it into a ball, just until it comes together.
  5. Wrap in a plastic wrap, shaping it into a flat rectangular disk.
  6. Refrigerate.
  7. Chop rhubarb into about 1/2 inch square pieces.
  8. Add the sugar and tapioca and set aside.
  9. Take the dough from the refrigerator and divide in half.
  10. Roll each piece out thin enough for a 10 X 15" pan or use the same amount of dough for a 9 X 13" pan plus a 5 X 7" pan.
  11. This dough is rolled very thin. Use a bench scraper to carefully lift the dough.
  12. Don't be afraid to add a bit of flour if you need to.
  13. Once you have the rhubarb covering the first piece of dough, cover with the second piece of dough.. . and crimp the edges together.
  14. Whip the egg whites until they just begin to stiffen.
  15. Use your hands to spread the egg whites over the pastry.
  16. Bake at 400 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes. . or until golden brown.
  17. While the bar is still warm, combine icing ingredients and drizzle over top.

Carrot Potato Bake



























In this dish, carrots and potatoes are married together in perfect harmony under a crunchy crust.
Perfect served with Mushroom Stuffed Meatloaf or Salisbury Steak
  • 6-8 potatoes 
  • 1 1/2 cups peeled and shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons salt
  • dash pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. melted butter or margarine
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. Seasoned salt 
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  1.      Heat oven to 350°.  Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  
  2.      Peel and shred into cold water, enough potatoes to make 6 cups. Drain thoroughly and pat dry with paper towel.
  3.      In large bowl, combine potatoes, carrots, onions, cream, salt and pepper.  
  4.      Spoon into prepared dish.  
  5.      Melt butter; stir in bread crumbs, seasoned salt and parsley. 
  6.      Sprinkle over potato mixture.  
  7.      Bake at 350° F for 50-60 minutes or until vegetables are tender