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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Ham and Spinach Pie

This is a delicious Pie that can be served for brunch or supper. The colorful layers let you see all the goodness that goes into this pie. Serve with a fresh Fruit or green Salad.

  • enough pie crust for a two crust pie, homemade or store bought
  • 6 slices of your favorite deli ham, sliced thinly, or 2 cups of diced ham
  • 2 cups of low fat cheese, you can use whatever cheese you have on hand, try Swiss, Cheddar, Mozzarella, what ever you prefer
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup each of a red and green pepper for color
  • 4 cups of fresh spinach*
  • 4 eggs well beaten
  1. Start with a unbaked pie shell and layer in the ham and cheese
  2. Saute the onion, garlic and peppers til softened
  3. Add the fresh spinach and cook long enough until the spinach wilts down, this only takes a few minutes.
  4. Layer that onion and spinach mixture on the ham and cheese
  5. Pour over 4 beaten eggs
  6. Top with the second layer of pastry and brush the top with a bit of reserved egg to give it a deep color when baked.
  7. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
*note- you can use frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

Fire Roasted Meat Lovers Pizza

Most of us don't have a brick oven to bake our pizza's in. I have to ask....does anyone out there have a brick oven, or an old fashioned wood cook stove with an oven on one side? We used to go to a cabin in the interior of BC during the holiday. The cabins source of heat and cooking was an old cast iron cook stove. While Scot kept the stove at a constant heat on one side, I'd place a turkey into the oven cavity and    we would enjoy the juiciest turkey. We made all our meals during those holidays in that stove, including fire roasted pizzas. I've often thought how neat it would be to look for an old stove like that and build it into an outdoor kitchen. 

Our BBQ retired at the end of summer and we decided to replace our gas grill with a modern charcoal grill called The Big Green Egg.
My husband has been turning out the closest thing to fire roasted pizza's I've ever eaten.
Don't panic! If you didn't get a Big Green Egg for Christmas you can use your gas grill
and your oven will work too. I've used all three methods with success....but do try grilling your next adds another element of flavour. 
Ingredients for crust:
  • 1 cup very warm water
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 3/4 cup white flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  1. Stir together water, yeast and salt. Stir in the oil. Mix the flours together and then add to the liquid mixture.
  2. If using a mixer, fit with dough hook and mix on low until dough comes together into a smooth ball. You can also just use your hands and knead it together until your dough is smooth. With either method you may need to add a little more flour. Your dough will be elastically smooth, but not really sticky. Pour a small amount of olive oil into your palm, pick up the dough ball and coat lightly, and then place back into the bowl and allow to rise about and hour.
Note: I often make my dough a day or two ahead of time. Just mix and put into an air tight container in the fridge. Take out, remove lid and leave on counter for an hour. It will rise nicely. Punch down when you are ready to put onto your pizza peel.

Ingredients for topping:
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/4 pound ground hot Italian sausage
  • hot and mild pepperoni sticks, sliced thinly making one cup
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms, optional
  • 1/2 cup black olives, optional
  • 1/3 cup red pepper, diced, optional
  • 3/4 cup garlic and herb pizza sauce
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
  1. In a large skillet fry together ground beef and Italian sausage. When it is about half way cooked add onions, mushrooms, olives and peppers. Continue to cook over medium heat. Add thinly sliced pepperoni sticks. Remove from heat. This can be made ahead of time or put onto the crust as soon as it's ready.
To assemble pizza using a pizza stone for all methods of cooking:
If you are using your BBQ, place the pizza stone right on the racks. Turn the gas grill on either side as you want to bake the pizza over direct heat. If you can, raise your rack to the highest level. When your grill is 400-450º your stone will be hot enough for baking. If you have 'The Egg' get your grill up to 500º If using your oven place your pizza stone in and heat oven to 450º.Once your heat source is at temperature  your stone will be very hot and ready for you to slide your pizza on.
While your stone is heating in your heat source assemble your pizza on a pizza peel. If you don't have a peel, assemble pizza on the back side of a cookie sheet. Rub the flat service you are using with olive oil and sprinkle with corn meal. 
Take your dough and in your hands or on a lightly greased counter top shape into a roughly round shell. 
Place pizza dough onto your peel and press to extend it to the edges and flatten it out best you can. It may look rustic....I like it that way! 
Spread with pizza sauce, Parmesan cheese, meat mixture and then top mozzarella cheese.
Working quickly open your heat source and slide the pizza onto the hot stone. 
Close and allow pizza to bake. Check your pizza after 10 minutes. Over a gas grill you want to make sure the underside is not burning. If it is, you may want to turn off one side of your gas grill and bake for the last 10 minutes over indirect heat. 
At about 20 minutes lift one corner of your pizza to check if it's done. Time may vary with the thickness you make your crust. We like a thinner crispy crust so sometimes I only use 1/2-3/4 of the pizza dough per pizza. If you like a thick pan style pizza crust, use all the dough for one pizza, making sure it is baked all the way through. 
The pizza stone will be very hot. Leave the hot stone in your heat source and just slide pizza onto a pizza pan. Eat while it's hot!

Curry Mango Dip

With New Year's just around the corner, here's an appetizer dish that might just fit into your menu plan.  It's great to take along to a party or to serve before an Asian style meal.  It was given to me by a friend a few years ago and I have served it on numerous occasions.  It's's different...and it's good!


  • 250 ml / 8 oz. light cream cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2/3 cups mango chutney
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped

  1. Mix cream cheese, sour cream and curry powder together until well blended.  
  2. Spread over bottom of serving dish.
  3. Spread mango chutney over cream cheese mixture.
  4. Combine green onions, raisins and chopped pecans and sprinkle over chutney.
  5. Serve with crackers.
Note ~ Mango chutney can be found in the 'Asian foods' section at the grocery store.

    Brie in Puffed Pastry

    Brie in Puffed Pastry
    This is a very simple dish to serve as an appetizer or dessert.

    • 1 whole Brie ( I used a 19.6 oz. round)
    • 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry thawed
    • 1/2- 1 cup chopped toasted nuts (pecans or walnuts)
    • 1/2- 1 cup jam/preserves of your choice (I used a chipotle raspberry)
    • 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp. water.
    • 1 sheet of parchment paper
    • Bread or crackers to serve with the Brie
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Roll thawed sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to approximately 12-14 inches square. Spread chopped nuts in circle in center of pastry. 
    3. Top the nuts with the jam/preserves. 
    4. Place brie circle centered on the jam. 
    5. At this stage you can use some of the pastry to cut out a decoration for the top. 
    6. Fold up the edges of the pastry to cover the brie completely. 
    7. Flip the Brie wrapped in pastry over. 
    8. Add decoration if you like. 
    9. Place the Brie on parchment lined baking sheet. 
    10. Brush the pastry with beaten egg mixture. 
    11. Bake in 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.
    Note: I prefer to scrape off some of the rind especially from the top where the jam and nuts will rest. I like the idea of the jam permeating the brie easier in the baking process. Although I didn’t have red grapes when I prepared my Brie but it would be a very nice accompaniment.

    Bread for the Journey

    The beautiful story of Jesus birth resounds in chorus throughout the Christmas Season.
    Today we are celebrating the birthday of Jesus.
    He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords,
    who humbly came to earth to be our Savior.


    Luke 2:11-20
    "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you;
    he is Christ the Lord.
    This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and
    lying in a manger."
    Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel,
    praising God and saying,
    "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men
    on whom his favor rests."
    When the angels had left and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another,
    "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened which the Lord
    told us about."
    So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, lying in the manger.
    When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
    But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
    The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had
    heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

    It is our prayer that you too are celebrating the joy of Jesus birth today.
    Just as the shepherds did, we also want to spread this wonderful news.
    A Savior is born...His name is Jesus.

    From our hearts and home, we wish you a blessed Christmas.

    Lovella, Anneliese, Judy, Betty, Bev, Charlotte, Ellen, Julie, Marg, Kathy

    Holiday Morning French Toast With Buttermilk Syrup

    This recipe was passed on to me by a wonderful cook in my husband's extended family.
    Make it the night before and pop it in the oven when you get up in the morning.
    The buttermilk syrup is wonderful and a nice option to the usual pancake syrup.

    • 1 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup butter, melted
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (1st amount)
    • 3 tart apples, cored and thinly sliced (it's fine to leave the apples unpeeled)
    • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
    • 1 loaf French Bread cut into 1 inch thick slices
    • 6 large eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups milk
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 1 1 /2 teaspoons cinnamon (2nd amount)
    1. Combine brown sugar, melted butter and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and spread evenly over the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.
    2. Distribute sliced apples and cranberries over the sugar and butter.
    3. Arrange slices of bread over the fruit.
    4. Beat eggs together with milk, vanilla and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon until well blended.
    5. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread, being sure all bread is soaked.
    6. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 24 hours.
    7. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes.
    8. Uncover and bake an additional 5-7 minutes.
    9. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
    10. Serve with Buttermilk Syrup. ( recipe follows)
    Buttermilk Syrup:
    • 1 1/4 cup sugar
    • 3/4 cup buttermilk
    • 1/2 cup butter
    • 2 tablespoons white corn syrup (the clear kind)
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    1. Place all ingredients except vanilla in a large saucepan.
    2. Bring to a boil over low heat and boil for about 7 minutes. Be careful as this syrup will boil over quickly and make a real mess.
    3. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
    This syrup is delicious over any pancakes, waffles or French toast.

    Layered Gelatin Salad

    A festive salad to serve at Christmas. This layered gelatin salad takes a bit of time to make but it will wow your family. Mine hardly believed that I had made it.
    • 1 small package cherry gelatin
    • 1 small package lemon gelatin
    • 1 small package orange gelatin
    • 1 small package lime gelatin
    • 4 cups boiling water, divided
    • 2 1/2 cups cold water, divided
    • 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
    • 2 cups milk
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 2 cups sour cream
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla 
    1. Dissolve cherry gelatin in 1 cup boiling water. Add 1/2 cup cold water and stir till gelatin is dissolved.
    2. Pour into a 13" x 9" x 2" pan sprayed with cooking oil. Refrigerate until set, not firm.
    3. In a small saucepan sprinkle unflavored gelatin into 1/2 cup of water, allow to sit for 1 minute.
    4. Stir in milk and sugar and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until gelatin and sugar are dissolved.
    5. Remove from heat, whisk in sour cream and vanilla until mixture is smooth and creamy.
    6. Spoon 1 2/3 cup of this creamy gelatin over layer of the cherry gelatin that has set.
    7. Chill until set but not firm.
    8. Prepare the remaining gelatin flavors as you did the cherry gelatin, alternating the layers of gelatin with the creamy gelatin mixture, allowing each one to set before adding the next layer.
    9. Refrigerate for 7 to 8 hours.
    10. Cut into small squares to serve.

    Dinner Fan Rolls

    My mom loved making these little fan rolls and lately I've been making them instead of Zwieback.
    They are simple and your company will ask you how you did it.
    It makes two dozen which is perfect for most dinner meals.
    Once baked, they freeze really well to serve just thaw and reheat briefly.

    • 2 cups warm water
    • 1 heaping tablespoon dry yeast (or use instant and add it to 2 cups of the flour instead)
    • 2 tablespoons honey
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 cup melted lard (you can use any fat you want. mom always used lard. It makes for a moist roll)
    • 4 - 5 cups flour (you can substitute half whole wheat flour)
    • several tablespoons melted butter for spreading over dough
    1. Mix together the warm water and honey and add the yeast unless you are using instant which you will add later.  Let the yeast sit in the warm liquid about 5 minutes.
    2. Add in the egg, salt and melted lard and beat together well.
    3. Add 2 cups of flour and then another two cups of flour (this two cups would include the instant yeast).
    4. Add additional flour to make the dough manageable. Knead 8 - 10 minutes until smooth.
    5. If you use a kitchen machine, allow the dough to knead on slow until it comes away from the bowl.
    6. Cover the dough in a large bowl and allow to rise for an hour.
    7. Roll the dough into a large rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.
    8. Spread melted butter over the dough and cut into 12 fairly even slices.
    9. Using half the slices, lay one slice over the other and repeat with the remaining dough so that you have two stacks of dough.
    10. Cut each stack into 12 pieces and lay them cut side up into greased muffin tins.
    11. Allow to rise until double and then bake in a 375 oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

    Bread for the Journey


    Joy is a recurring theme and response to Jesus and what he has done for us. Look at the joy in these verses from the Bible. Take a moment to read through them.

    Sing for joy and be glad, O daughter of Zion; for behold I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” declares the LORD.
    Zechariah 2:9-11
    When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.
    Matthew 2:9-11
    You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
    Luke 1:13-15
    For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.
    Luke 1:43-45
    And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
    Luke 2:9-11
    Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven.
    Luke 6:22-24
    At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
    Luke 10:20-22
    In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
    Luke 15:9-11
    These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.
    John 15:10-12
    “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.
    John 17:12-14
    And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
    Acts 13:51-52
    Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
    Romans 12:11-13
    Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
    Romans 15:12-14
    …fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
    Hebrews 12:1-3
    and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
    1 Peter 1:7-9

    Remember this Christmas season when you see a star, man made or God made, pause to rejoice.
    When you see a babe think of our Savior and rejoice.
    When you see gifts beautifully wrapped think of the very best gift of all we have been given from God through Jesus and rejoice.

    REJOICE with the angels.
    REJOICE with the shepherds.
    REJOICE with Mary and Joseph.
    REJOICE and again I say REJOICE!

    Roasted Cornish Game Hens

    Thyme adds a wonderful flavour to these little hens.
    Savoury mushroom stuffing and fresh cranberry sauce
    compliment this holiday dinner party entree.

    Ingredients: (serves 4)
    • 2 Cornish game hens, 
    • fresh thyme
    • salt
    • pepper
    • 1 tbsp butter
    Ingredients for stuffing:
    • 1 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms
    • 2 tbsp onion, finely chopped
    • 1 tbsp celery, finely chopped
    • 1/3 cup melted butter
    • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
    • 2-3 grinds fresh black pepper
    • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
    Ingredients for cranberry sauce:
    • 3/4 cup orange juice
    • 2/3 cups white sugar
    • 1 tsp orange zest
    • 1 350 bag fresh cranberries
    1. Begin by making stuffing. Melt butter in a non stick fry pan. Add chopped vegetables and saute until onions are transparent. About 5 minutes. Add thyme and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in bread crumbs. Allow mixture to cool completely before stuffing hens.
    2. Wash and pat dry hens inside and out. Paper towel works well for this.
    3. Salt and pepper hens all around and place breast side up in a roasting pan.
    4. Scoop cooled stuffing into the cavity of each hen. Do not pack it in. If there is left over stuffing, place it into a greased piece of foil and bake along side. 
    5. Melt the 1 tbsp of butter and drizzle over each hen. Strip thyme stems of leaves and sprinkle 1/2 tbsp fresh leaves over each hen. The butter will help them to stick to the skin. Tie the two little drum  sticks together with kitchen twin to keep the hen from loosing it's shape and stuffing.
    6. Bake covered in 400º oven for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake another 30-40 minutes. To test  insert an instant-read meat thermometer into the thigh of the hen, (not touching bone). It should read 180ºF. 
    Method for cranberry sauce: 
    1. In a small sauce pan stir together orange juice and sugar until sugar is mostly dissolved.
    2. Add washed fresh cranberries. Over medium heat bring to a slow boil. The berries will begin to make a popping sound as they get hot. Reduce heat and continue to cook for 15 minutes. 
    3. Stir in orange zest. Serve warm.
    To serve hens either plate the whole hen and allow guests to share at table, or remove stuffing, and using  kitchen shears cut hen in half down the breast bone and divide between plates. 

    Serving suggestions: garlic mashed potatoes topped with a gravy of mushrooms cream and sherry.
    To make this gravy saute sliced mushrooms in a tbsp of butter for about 8 minutes. Add 1 cup of cream and 2 tbsp cooking sherry. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until mixture begins to reduce and thicken. Spoon a small amount over each serving of potatoes. 
    For vegetables try sugar glazed squash and brussel sprouts, which are not only healthy and delicious but add beautiful colour to your plate. 
    Garnish plates with fresh parsley, fresh thyme and a few shreds of orange zest.

    Pineapple Chiffon Pie

    This light and fruity pie can be made ahead and
    is the perfect dessert after a heavy holiday meal.
    It's also a great addition to a summer Barbeque.

    For the crust:
    • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
    • 1/2 cup medium shred coconut
    • 3 tablespoons sugar
    • 1/3 cup melted butter
    For the filling:
    • 1 8 ounce can crushed pineapple
    • water
    • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
    • 1/3 cup sugar (first amount)
    • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • 3 egg whites  (if you are pregnant or have a compromised immune system or will serve this to children, it is recommended that you use pasteurized egg whites)
    • 1/3 cup sugar (second amount)
    • 1/2 pint heavy cream
    • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
    • 1/2 - 1 cup toasted coconut
    For the Crust:
    1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl until well blended.
    2. Press into bottom and up sides of a 9 inch pie plate.
    3. Refrigerate.
    For the Filling:
    1. Drain pineapple, reserving juice.
    2. Place juice in measuring cup and add water to make 1 1/4 cups liquid.
    3. Pour into medium sized saucepan.
    4. Sprinkle gelatin over liquid and let stand to soften for about 2 or 3 minutes.
    5. Add 1/3 cup sugar and stir over medium heat until gelatin is dissolved and mixture comes to a boil.
    6. Pour into a medium sized bowl and add pineapple, lemon zest and juice, stirring to blend.
    7. Refrigerate, stirring every 5 minutes or so until it begins to gel. The consistency should be similar to unbeaten egg whites.
    8. In another bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
    9. Add 1/3 cup sugar a little at a time, beating until stiff and glossy.
    10. Add beaten egg whites to pineapple mixture, folding until white streaks disappear.
    11. Refrigerate.
    12. In another bowl, whip cream until stiff peaks form.
    13. Remove 1 cup whipped cream and set aside for topping.
    14. Add remaining whipped cream to pineapple/egg white mixture and continue folding until well mixed.
    15. Pile pineapple mixture into prepared crust.
    16. Add 1 tablespoon icing sugar to reserved 1 cup whipped cream, beat briefly.
    17. Place in a piping bag with a large tip and pipe a circle of rosettes around edge of pie.
    18. Pipe a few more in the center of the pie.
    19. Sprinkle toasted coconut in center of pie and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
    20. Serves 8.

    Chocolate Topping..Homemade 'Magic Shell'

    This is a quick and simple homemade treat to serve over ice cream and a lovely gift to give from your kitchen. I am already dreaming of all the different toppings I can make maybe chocolate with jalapeno. I'll be back in summer with more ideas.
    • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or you can chop up your favorite melting chocolate
    • 3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla 
    1. Melt chocolate chips and butter (or coconut oil) in microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and microwave another few seconds and stir again until chocolate chips are melted and mixture is smooth. You might need a few more seconds in the microwave but be careful it doesn't burn.
    2. Add vanilla and stir until well blended.
    3. Pour into a glass jar and cover with a lid, I used a jam jar, it's important to pour into a microwavable container.
    4. You do not need to refrigerate as it will keep for a few weeks in the pantry.
    5. The next time you have a yearning for this delightful topping just reheat in the microwave (remember to remove the lid) for a few seconds till it's liquid again.
    6. Spoon or drizzle over ice cream. It will form into a hard shell.
    7. Yield: approx 1 cup 

    Russian Tea Cookies

    These cookies will melt in your mouth.

    Russian Tea Cookies
    • 1 cup butter
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar (icing sugar)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2-1/2 cups sifted flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 3/4 cup nuts, finely chopped

    1. Cream butter and sugar. 
    2. Add vanilla, flour, salt and nuts. 
    3. Mix well. 
    4. Form into small balls. 
    5. Place on ungreased cookie sheet, if you want you can flatten them a bit. 
    6. Bake at 400 degrees F, 11-14 minutes. 
    7. While still warm roll in powdered sugar. 
    8. After cool, roll again in powdered sugar. 
    Yields approximately 4 dozen.

    Beau Monde Bread Dip

    This is a really nice dip for a festive gathering. In our circle of friends it has become as popular as Spinach Dip.

    • 1 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 1 tablespoon Beau Monde Seasoning (found in bulk food stores)
    • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
    • 3 tablespoons minced dried onion
    • 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
    • 1 or 2 can of flakes of chicken (optional), or 2 cups of leftover chicken, I always put it in.
    Combine all the ingredients together. Mix well, chill until serving. It is a good bread dip using french bread, pumpernickel, the choice is yours. It also works very well with chips and veggies (the best choice) as well.
    I made this for a progressive supper and doubled the recipe, and there was not a lick left. When I doubled the recipe it served 12, but would easily serve more. I think we may have over done it a wee bit :)

    Bread for the Journey

    Last Saturday morning I rushed around . ..
    watching the clock. . .
    timing out what had to be finished.

    I was looking for the details to be perfect. .
    special . . .
     it mattered to me.

    I had invited my beloved's mom... aunts  and his cousin over for lunch.
    They had requested that we get together so that I could sign a few books for them.
    Their suggestion was a local restaurant.
    I had agreed and then felt that a visit at home would be more conducive to conversation and relaxation.

    OH. .the weekend seemed so busy already.
    Did it matter if we met in a restaurant?
    It did.

    What I realized is that the rushing around to make a home special is not wrong when it is a gift of honoring guests.  There are lots of moments where I can relax and reflect on what the Saviour coming to earth as a baby means to me. . .
    but it is okay to have times of rushing around too in preparations.
    I silently thanked the Lord for the opportunity to have these special ladies in our home.  I felt they  deserved to feel that an effort had been made on their behalf.
    Instead of feeling stressed and frustrated . .
    I felt peaceful . .  knowing that it mattered.  My motives were honest and God was okay with my rushing and hurrying.

    They came.
    We shared a simple meal together.
    We looked at photos together.
    We talked about family and those we missed.

    As they left . ..
    I knew that it had mattered and already looked forward to having them over again.
    What good is a warm and comfortable bungalow if I don't open our door? 
    My desire was not to impress . ..
    but rather to bless.
    In the rush of it all . .
    God prepared my heart.

    I was reading in 2 Corinthians 9 this week and the last four verses struck me in a new way.
    I leave you with the last verse.
    "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift."
    2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV

    Brandy Snaps

    The first time I made Brandy Snaps was purely by accident since I added the wrong amount of flour and my cookies spread like wildfire on the pan and turned into delicate pieces of flat lace. I wasn't sure if I should serve them or dump them but when I tasted them I thought they were delicious and quite pretty on a plate. That was nearly 30 years ago and have since discovered there was a name for my mistake. These little lacy cookies can be left flat or made into these pretty little cases that hold a perfect bite of whipped cream.

    • 2 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 tablespoons white corn syrup
    • 1/4 cup butter
    • 2 teaspoons brandy or alternately 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1/4 cup flour
    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
    3. Put the sugar, corn syrup and butter into a small saucepan and stir.
    4. Stirring to avoid the sugar from burning. .heat over medium heat until it is bubbling.
    5. Beat in flour and flavorings until smooth.
    6. You will only make 6 cookies per cookie sheet. One teaspoon of batter per cookie.
    7. Watch the cookies closely because they will turn from caramel colored to dark brown very quickly. Aim to have them a nice caramel color, about 6 minutes.
    8. Remove the pan from the oven. .wait a few seconds and then roll one at a time over a wooden spoon handle and then remove to cool on a rack.
    9. Repeat until they are all rolled. You will have to work quickly. If they become too hard, put them back in the oven for half a minute.
    10. Once cool, use a pastry bag with a thick tip to fill with sweetened whipped cream that has been stabilized with whipping cream stabilizer or a tablespoon of instant vanilla pudding and chill until serving. Don't fill more than an hour before serving. Preferably, have the cream in the pastry bag ready to fill them and do that just before serving
    11. The remaining lacy shells or cookies keep well in an airtight container for several days.

    Buttermilk Pancake Mix

    This is an idea for that "ten dollar gift for the gift game" or perfect to bring along if you will be an overnight guest during Christmas holidays.
    I found these Batter Dispensers at our local Hom*Sens* store.
    At under ten dollars, it gave me a bit of wiggle room to become a bit creative.
    I mixed up some of my homemade buttermilk pancake mix,
    put enough for two breakfasts in a Ziploc bag and included the recipe.

    Buttermilk Pancake Mix
    • 8 cups of flour (use part whole wheat if you like)
    • 1/2 cup white sugar
    • 5 teaspoons Baking Soda
    • 8 teaspoons Baking Powder
    • 2 teaspoons Salt
    • 1 cup of Dry Buttermilk Powder (readily available online if you can't find it in Canada)
    1. Mix all together and store in a sealed bag or container in a cool place.
    Buttermilk Pancakes
    • 1 1/2 cup dry Buttermilk Pancake Mix
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tablespoons oil (I am currently using grapeseed oil which is wonderful)
    • 1 cup of water
    1. Measure the dry Buttermilk Pancake Mix into a 4 cup measuring cup with a spout.
    2. Add the egg, oil and about 3/4 cup of water. Add enough water to make the right consistency.
    3. Pour into your batter dispenser and create your pancake masterpieces in a greased skillet over medium heat.

    Appetizer Kabobs

    This is more of an idea than a recipe.
    It's a colourful and fun way to serve up a variety of tastes and textures.
    The kabobs can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator
    until you are ready to serve them

    Use 3 or 4 inch long toothpicks or skewers or, if you like, find some fancy Cocktail picks and use them. The thinner the skewer, the easier it is to thread mushrooms and hard cheeses which tend to crumble if the skewer is too thick.
    Another tip is to anchor the ends with something like a cherry tomato or grape that will keep everything else in it's place.

    For each kabob, choose 3 or 4 of the following; keeping in mind flavours that will enhance each other:
    • prosciutto wrapped melon balls
    • grape tomatoes
    • cold cuts such as Italian salami, prosciutto, roast beef or chicken. Fold each slice into quarters or weave on the skewer so that they don't tear and fall off
    • cheese cubes - soft cheeses such as havarti, German butter cheese, mozzarella or bococcini work best
    • cooked shrimp or prawns
    • red, green or yellow pepper pieces
    • red onion or green onion
    • mushroom pieces - either raw or very briefly wilted
    • fruit - grapes, pear, apple, orange or pineapple
    • hard boiled egg quarters
    • dill pickles or pickled vegetables
    • marinated artichokes
    • canned baby corn
    • meatballs
    • cubed cooked chicken
    • fresh basil leaves
    • zucchini or cucumber pieces
    These are just a few suggestions - use your imagination and be creative with the flavour combinations.

    A few combinations that work well together are:
    • Prawns with cucumber, cream cheese cube and cherry tomato
    • Cherry tomato with basil leaf and bococcini (fresh Mozzarella balls)
    • Havarti with Italian salami, red pepper and artichoke
    • ham with mozzarella, grape and pineapple
    • Chicken with orange and cucumber and butter cheese
    • deli sliced roast beef with herbed cream cheese ball, tomato and dill pickle
    Place kabobs on platter or long tray and drizzle sparingly with a vinagrette salad dressing or a flavoured olive oil (purchased or make your own by adding a tsp. of lemon juice and some garlic or dill weed to the oil). Refrigerate until serving time.

    Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip

    Here's a dip that works perfectly during the holiday season...a cranberry salsa paired with cream cheese and served on crackers.


    • 1 cups sugar
    • 1/4 cup juice (juice of 1 orange)
    • 3/4 cup water
    • 3 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen
    • 2 small jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
    • 2 Tablespoons orange zest
    • 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
    • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
    • 2-8 oz. (250 gram) pkgs.cream cheese, softened
      1. Combine sugar, orange juice and water in saucepan and bring to a boil.
      2. Add cranberries, jalapenos, orange zest, ginger and cilantro.
      3. Return to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer for about 8 minutes or until cranberries burst.
      4. Cool to room temperature and then chill until ready to serve.
      5. Spread a layer of cream cheese on serving platter...and top with cranberry salsa.
      6. Sprinkle with additional chopped cilantro.
      7. Serve with a platter of crackers.
      Cranberry salsa can be prepared well ahead and stored in the fridge.

      Schoene Kuchen/ Butter Cookies with Damson Plum Jam

      I must say that these cookies of all of my mom's cookies are still my personal favorite. A soft buttery cookie filled with her homemade Damson Plum Jam. This summer I asked my mom to teach me how to make the jam just so these cookies would always be in the family. There is nothing out of the ordinary special about them, just simple and good that comes with good memories of my mom making them. Perhaps it is all the love that goes into her cookies that makes Christmas special for us.
      • 1 cup butter
      • 1 cup sugar
      • 2 eggs
      • 2 cups flour
      • 2 teaspoons baking powder
      1. Cream the butter and sugar together really well for a couple of minutes until it is light and fluffy in color.
      2. Add eggs in one at a time and beat well.
      3. Sift together the flour and baking powder, gently stirring that in to the butter mixture.
      4. Chill over night. Dough is very soft to work with it needs to be in the fridge overnight or several hours.
      5. Form into little 1 inch balls and make a dent using you finger.
      6. Fill with Damson Plum Jam or your personal favorite.
      7. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
      8. Let cool on cookie sheet for a minute before you remove it to the cooling rack.

      Bread for the Journey ~ Advent

      December is the month that brings all the outward preparations,
      and all that we have to do to prepare for Christmas.
      Twenty four days of frantic shopping, baking, school parties,
      Christmas concerts and packages to mail.
      December invites exhaustion.

      But let's quiet our hearts for a bit to an inward preparation.
      Let's stop and listen, close our eyes and mind to that quiet place.
      I too become so quickly caught up in the busyness of the season.
      We have traditionally observed the advent wreath and the lighting of the candles.
      We would gather together on a Sunday evening for a simple meal,
      consisting of some Christmas specialties, with some scripture and prayer.
       One candle is lit each week representing
      Hope, Love, Joy, Peace
      Things have changed as they have all become adults and have their own lives.
      But still, we gather together with those that are close by and share this special evening.

      What does Advent mean to you?

      Light a candle and say a prayer for a friend,
      Do you have friends dealing with health issues?
      Read a quiet meditation for yourself.
      Play your favorite Christmas music.
      Call someone who needs that word of encouragement from you.
      Is this an opportunity to restore a relationship?
      Bake a few cookies for those single moms and dads.
      Give to a cause you believe in.
      A meal for the homeless?
      Coffee with some neighbors?
      Drop a few coins in the Red Kettles as you hear the bells ringing.
      Give a passionate smile and helping hand to the elderly.
      Dear Lord in this season of business and anticipation, 
      renew my sense of wonder and excitement.
      Help me to slow down enough to open my eyes.
      Fill my heart with gratitude for each day, each month, each year of life.
      I pray that a spirit of gratitude will fill my heart as I fill my home with 
      sights and sounds of Christmas.
      May my home, and my family as well as my spirit continue to magnify YOU,
      not just during this season, but all through our lives. Amen

      Pie in a Jar

      For a long time I have wanted to make these little pies, thought it would be a fun way to serve pie for my next dinner dessert. These little pies are also perfect to give as gifts especially at Christmas. Once they are baked and cooled you can close them with the lids and add a ribbon if given as gifts. Or you can freeze the extra and have them ready for a time when a pie craving hits.
      This is not so much a recipe as an idea of a fun way to serve dessert or give as a gift from your kitchen. You can use this idea for apple crisp or graham wafer crumbs layered with pudding and whipped cream. Or make savory pies, so many ways to use these jars other than for jam.
      • Your favorite pastry dough
      • Canned cherries or any other fruit pie filling, I chose cherries because they look festive and because I really like them
      • Wide mouth jam jars
      1. Roll out your pastry like you would for pie. Cut out circles that fit your jars. Push the circles of dough into your jars pressing the dough to the bottom and sides to form the crust. If you don't want to cut out the circles, just press pieces of dough into the jar covering the bottom and sides.
      2. Spoon your filling into the dough lined jars.
      3. Using the screw-on ring for the jar, cut a circle of dough and place on top of the filling, pushing down the edges a bit to form the top crust.
      4. Cut a vent on top crust, I used a little tree shaped cookie cutter.
      5. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle a little coarse sugar over top.
      6. Place jars on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350º oven for 40 to 45 minutes.
      7. Remove from oven, allow to cool.
      8. Serve in jars with a scoop of ice cream or run a knife around the edges and slide pie out to serve on a plate. 

      Syrup Platz (Cake)

      This is an old family recipe - a favourite of my mother-in-law. I remember her making it often from the time I first sat at her table in 1963.
      She always called it Syrup Platz, although I don't really know why since it is more a cake than a 'Platz'.

      I found her hand written recipe (in German, of course) tucked into her Mennonite Treasury Cookbook. It is stained and yellowed and so typical of how her generation preserved recipes.
      On the side she has noted a couple of forgotten ingredients... salt - no amount given, cloves - a little.
      The bake time and oven temperature are written across the top. No method instructions.

      I know today our recipes are so neatly electronically saved, but I wonder if in future years our descendants will have the same emotional connection to them that I have when I hold my mother-in-law's recipe in my hand.

      Syrup Platz Cake
      • 1 cup brown sugar
      • 1 cup syrup (always made with Roger's Golden Syrup - only available in Canada - but corn syrup would work as well)
      • 2 eggs
      • 1/2 cup oil
      • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk
      • 3 cups flour
      • 1 tsp baking soda
      • 1 tsp baking powder
      • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
      • 1/4 tsp cloves
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      1. Beat eggs with brown sugar
      2. Add syrup, oil, buttermilk beating until smooth
      3. Add blended dry ingredients and hand mix until smooth
      4. Turn into a 9x13" baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until top springs back. (do not over bake as it tends to turn too brown on the bottom)
      5. Wonderful with a dollop of whipped cream or ice-cream - serve warm or cold.
      6. Freezes well.

      Fried Rice

      We operate our business from home so I need ideas for lunch every day.
      Fried Rice is always welcome - it's satisfying and delicious and
      is a good way to use up leftovers.
      In fact when I cook rice to accompany a main dish, I often cook more than needed
      so that I have enough to make this quick dish later in the week.

      • 4 slices bacon, diced
      • 1 onion chopped
      • 1 stalk celery chopped
      • 1/2 red pepper chopped
      • 4-6 cups cooked rice
      • leftover cooked chicken, pork or beef (optional)
      • 2 eggs*
      • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
      • 1/2 cup frozen petite peas
      • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
      • pepper and salt (if needed)
      1. In a large skillet, fry diced bacon. Remove from pan.
      2. Using about 1 tablespoon bacon drippings or oil if preferred, saute' onion, celery and red pepper until mixture begins to wilt.
      3. Add rice and continue to fry until it begins to brown.
      4. Add bacon and meat if desired.
      5. Add unbeaten eggs, one at a time, stirring and frying until egg begins to firm up.
      6. Add soy sauce and peas and continue cooking and stirring for another 5 minutes or so.
      7. Check seasonings, top with chopped green onion and serve.
      * If you like, you can use one more egg as garnish. Beat egg, season, and cook in a separate pan until set. Slice finely and serve on top rice as a garnish.

      Easy Cherry Apple Strudel

      I have had the privilege of visiting Germany several times when I was younger and wanted to recreate a strudel I tucked away in my memory. I think this recipe comes very close. It is so easy since you use store bought frozen Phyllo Pastry, thawed according to package directions.
      • 4 granny smith apples, peeled and sliced thinly
      • 2 cups of pitted sour cherries
      • 1/4 cup lemon juice
      • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
      • 1/2 cup of white sugar
      • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional), I did not use any
      • 2 tablespoons of orange liqueur (optional), I used it
      • zest of 1 orange
      • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
      • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
      • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
      • 1/4 cup flour
      • 12 Phyllo leaves
      • 1 cup melted butter
      1. Prepare the filling, by combining the first 12 ingredients together in a bowl.
      2. Brush the 12 Phyllo Pastry leaves with melted butter.
      3. Fan them out in to a circle, laying each piece so that it fits on a 12 inch pizza pan.
      4. Place filling in the center and fold over the pastry leaves over the filling.
      5. Brush the other side of the pastry leaves as you are folding them over the filling with the melted butter.
      6. Sprinkle the top of the strudel generously with icing sugar.
      7. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes then at 350 for 1/2 hour.

      Serve warm or room temperature with ice cream if desired.

      How to make Marg's Hazelnut Roll

      Thank you to Global TV BC for the video clip of Saturday's cooking segment!

      If you want to see exactly how to make Marg's Hazelnut Roll. ..Anneliese and Lovella will show you how.  It really is simple and quick! 

      Chocolate crinkle Cookies

      Years ago my co workers mom brought in a tray of
      Christmas baking. This cookie was one of my favourites choices.
      For the ones in the photo I used milk chocolate, but try them
      with dark chocolate too.
      • 2 cups plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
      • 2 tsp baking powder
      • 1/4 tsp salt
      • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
      • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
      • 3 large eggs
      • 1 tsp vanilla
      • 4 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted
      • 1/2 cup icing sugar
      1. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
      2. In another bowl beat butter and sugar well, and then add eggs beating until creamy and smooth.
      3. Add vanilla and melted chocolate. Beat well.
      4. Gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just to blend.
      5. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
      6. Lightly grease cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper.
      7. Shape heaping teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and roll in icing sugar. Place at least 1 1/2" apart on baking sheets.
      8. Bake at 350º for 12 minutes or until tops are puffed and cracked. Do not over bake!
      The random number generator awarded  Jenn as the  winner of Saturday's Cookbook giveaway.

      Here is her comment.  " Hey! My mom called and told me that today's show was awesome and that the Hazelnut log looked amazing. Would love to win a cookbook to try all the delicious delights!"  

        JennGrif  Congratulations!!  We will send the book out to you as soon as you email one of us with your address. .from the email address you provided.

      Individual Frozen Peppermint Cheesecakes

      With Christmas just around the corner, I've been envisioning 
      trays of pretty little individual desserts.....just enough!
      This cheese cake is so simple to make,
      and the only last minute fuss is the garnish.

      • 1-8 oz brick cream cheese, room temperature
      • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
      • 500 ml whipping cream, whipped stiff
      • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes
      1. Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat will until very smooth.
      2. Whip cream until stiff. Fold into cream cheese mixture until well incorporated. 
      3. Fold in the candy cane pieces.
      4. Fill glass ware with cheese cake mixture. Cover each serving with a good quality wrap. I then place mine into a box with some tissue to protect the glass. Carefully wrap the whole box with a large freezer bag. You do not want your dessert coming out tasting like it has been in the freezer! 
      5. To serve, remove from freezer, garnish and serve immediately. 
      Garnish with extra candy chips, whipping cream or shaved chocolate.
      Serves 12. **for optimal flavour and texture keep in freezer for only10-14 days**

      Today Lovella and Anneliese will be featured on
      Global BCTV noon news.
      They will be demonstrating Marg's
      Hazelnut Roll which is a recipe in our cookbook.

      We are also celebrating the sale of over 
      20,000 books sold.
      Everyone who posts a comment here today (Saturday)
      up until midnight will be eligible to win a copy
      of our cookbook.
      It will be drawn by automatic number generator,
      and the winner will be announced on Monday Nov 28, 2011.
      Please add your email address to your comment.

      Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

      I've been buying containers of ready peeled and cubed Butternut Squash this fall. It is very high in Vitamin A and Beta Carotene. We love Anneliese's Roasted Red Pepper Soup and so I thought I would use her basic recipe and change it into a spicy autumn soup that can be completely vegetarian or meatless depending on which broth you choose to add.

      • 3 yellow bell peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
      • 2 pounds cubed butternut squash
      • 1 large onion, diced
      • 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
      • a good drizzle of olive oil...enough to coat the vegetables
      • 2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning
      • 2 cups water
      • 1 tablespoon Sambal Oelek (ground fresh chili paste found in Asian Food section)
      • 1 small can tomato paste
      • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
      • salt and pepper to taste before serving. (if your Italian Seasoning has salt in it you want to taste your soup before adding additional salt)
      1. Toss vegetables, garlic and herbs in a large heavy pot and drizzle with olive oil, cover with a lid and bake in a 400 F oven for an hour. Stir it several times in between. The butternut squash will turn dark during the baking and lose its vibrant color but the flavor of roasted vegetables is wonderful.
      2. Stir in water and allow vegetables to cool slightly. Use an immersion blender to create a soup that has some texture. You can leave the veggies right in the heavy pot or put the roasted vegetables in the blender and puree in batches. If you use a blender return the roasted vegetables to the pot.
      3. Add the chicken broth, tomato paste and the Sambal Oelek. If you prefer your soup with less spiciness, cut back on the chili paste.
      4. Simmer for a few minutes and ladle into bowls.
      5. Pass around a squeeze bottle of sour cream to garnish the top. ..and see what the artists in your family create.
      Makes enough for 8 bowls.

      Turkey Chow Mein Casserole

      Let me take this opportunity to wish all our 'south-of-the-border' friends and family a most blessed Thanksgiving!  May your celebrations be filled with peace, love and joy...and may your thankful spirit go with you into the days to come.

      Today I am thankful for my husband's sister, Anne...who I only got to know when I married into the family.  She was the oldest of the siblings...the tiniest...and the bubbliest.  She was a wonderful sister-in-law and became a favorite aunt to my children.  She was also a very good cook and I have many recipes in my file in her perfect handwriting printing.  She passed away suddenly eight years ago and now I treasure all those things which came from her.  We celebrated our Canadian Thanksgiving last month and I cooked up a whopping big turkey (33 pounds), which guaranteed lots of turkey leftovers!  I pulled Anne's Turkey Wonder recipe from the file and took it with me to the grocery store to be sure I had all the necessary ingredients.  I came home with a bag of celery, onions, chow mein noodles, soup and water chestnuts, but had somehow left the recipe card at Safeway.  It never showed up so I made the dish as I best recalled and we enjoyed it just fine.  I am documenting what I did right here on MGCC so that Anne's Turkey Wonder recipe will  live on!  If you are looking for a simple and delicious way to use up your leftover turkey in the coming days, try making turkey chow mein. 

      •  2 cups chow mein noodles
      • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
      • 1/4 cup water
      • 2 cups cooked turkey, cubed
      • 1/4 cup chopped onion (red onion adds a little colour)
      • 1 cup chopped celery
      • 1 can sliced mushrooms, drained
      • 1 small can sliced water chestnuts, drained
       Topping:  Crushed potato chips, sliced almonds or chopped cashews.

      1. Put chow mein noodles in the bottom of a greased 2-quart casserole.
      2. Combine all remaining ingredients and spread over the noodles.
      3. Bake uncovered at 350° F for 30 minutes.
      4. Remove from oven and add desired topping.  Bake for 10 minutes longer.
      I remember my sis-in-law serving this dish with crunchy crushed potato chips on I have always done the same.  I'm sure cashews would be an excellent addition though!

      Toasted Turkey Sandwich

      If you are wondering what to do with leftover turkey this is a tasty treat for lunch or dinner.

      • Leftover roasted turkey
      • Hearty bread sliced, I used Focaccia
      • Cranberry sauce
      • Havarti Cheese (or any cheese you prefer)
      1. Layer the turkey on the bread.
      2. Spread the cranberry sauce on the turkey.
      3. Top with cheese.
      4. Put second layer of bread on top.
      5. Place in toaster oven to toast the bread and melt the cheese.

      You can also add thin sliced onions or mayonnaise to the sandwich if you like.

      When you have assembled the sandwich put it in the toaster oven till the cheese is melted. You can also spread a little butter on the outside of the bread and pan grill it on each side until the cheese melts.

      Pfeffernuesse -Bev's recipe

      I think when it comes to Mennonite food
      there are as many recipes for each dish as there are Grandmothers.
      My recipe for Pfeffernuesse is quite different than the ones posted previously.
      These tiny cookies are quite hard and are meant to be sucked or dunked.
      I was told that in years past, the grandmothers would bring them to church for the children to suck on - ensuring they would keep quiet during the sermon.

      I like to bake them around this time of year so that the flavours have a chance to mellow
      before serving them in December.
      However, once my family knows I've made them, they disappear by the handfuls.
      The original recipe is a very large one - I think it usually makes about 3 ice cream buckets full. I've halved the recipe to make it easier for smaller families.

      Speaking from experience, it's good to read the whole recipe through once before starting.

      • 2 cups golden cane syrup (in Canada it is made by Rogers) this has a unique flavour somewhat different than regular corn syrup.
      • 2 cups sugar
      • 1 cup margarine
      • 1 cup milk
      1. Place above ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil.
      2. Cool to room temperature.
      • 1 beaten egg
      • 1 teaspoon vanilla
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract
      • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (yes that's right)
      • 3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
      • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
      • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
      • 1/4 teaspoon ground star anise
      • 2 teaspoons baking powder
      • 1 teaspoon salt
      • 7-8 cups flour
      1. Add egg and extracts to sugar syrup mixture, mixing well.
      2. Into a large mixing bowl, sift together 4 cups of the flour with the spices and baking powder.
      3. Pour liquid mixture over and mix thoroughly.
      4. Continue adding flour - dough will be sticky and still somewhat soft.
      5. Cover bowl with lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 5 days.
      6. Spoon out about 1 - 2 cups dough, leaving remainder in fridge.
      7. On a floured board or pastry sheet, roll into long logs about the thickness of your index finger.
      8. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces and place on parchment paper covered cookie sheets. (this makes it much easier to remove the cookies after baking.)
      It's a good time to invite someone to help - there are a lot of very small cookies to put on the pans.

    • Bake at 350º for 15 minutes or until set. (if you have a convection oven, the baking goes much faster as you can bake 3 cookie sheets at a time)
    • Repeat with remaining cookie dough.
    • When cookies are baked, remove from cookie sheets and allow to cool completely before storing in ice cream pails.
    • These store best in a cool place like a garage. They do not need to be in the freezer. They will keep for months.
    • If you bake them early in November, the flavours have a chance to mellow.
    • Warning - these can become addictive.