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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Apple Sweet Rolls

I'm using my favourite sweet roll dough for this apple filled sweet roll recipe. 
I find that the sweetened condensed milk in this dough helps to stabilize the dough and keep it from shrinking down after it has been baked.  

The dough is tender and soft. 

Don't let apple season pass without making up a batch of these delicious rolls to share with family and friends. 

Sweet Roll Yeast Dough:
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup very soft butter
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 1/2 - 7 cups flour
Apple Filling
  • 6 cups peeled, quartered and sliced apples (be sure to use apples that keep their shape after being cooked)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar (taste after the apples have cooked and decide then if you want to add more sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons  minute tapioca
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon  
  1. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your kitchen machine, place warm water and yeast and allow to proof about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the eggs,  soft butter, sweetened condensed milk, and salt.  Stir in the flour until stirring becomes too difficult and then turn out onto a floured surface and add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time  until it is smooth and elastic.  Alternately, use the dough hook according to your dough machine instructions.
  3. Turn into a large greased bowl, turning to moisten with fat and cover with  plastic wrap and a tea towel.  Allow to rise until double in bulk, about an hour.  While the dough rises, prepare the apple filling. 
  4. Melt butter in a large saucepan and add apples. 
  5. Add sugar and tapioca and stir to combine.  Cook over medium-high heat until the apples are just tender and the sauce has thickened.
  6. Remove from heat and bring to room temperature.  
  7. Roll dough into a 12 X 36 inch wide rectangle, transfer apple filling to the dough, spreading fairly evenly.
  8. Roll up jelly roll style and divide into 36 rolls in three 9 X 13 parchment paper lined pans.
  9. Cover with tea towels and allow to rise another hour.
  10. Bake at 350 about 20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.  Cool 10 minutes while making glaze. Drizzle with glaze and serve.  

Apple Roses Cheesecake - Gluten Free

These roses are popular on Pinterest, and I found them intriguing and beautiful - so I decided to try them myself.
 I made the above dessert twice this Valentine's week-end - once for a potluck and once for my kids.
I don't think these roses need be limited to Valentine's Day. Any special occasion would welcome them - Mother's Day, bridal showers, birthdays.
Though the roses are not difficult to make, they are a bit time consuming -  however, the comments I got more than compensated me for my effort.

Since there are numerous sites giving step by step instructions, I'll just offer some tips that may be helpful if you haven't done these before.

1. Cut the apple in half, cutting away the core and ends, then with cut side down , slice the half-apple as thin as possible -- That first slice that is all peel is great to roll up as a deep color center for the rose, or bud,  after the pulp is easily scraped away (after microwaving)

2. Slices are microwaved in liquid (1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, juice of 1/2 lemon)  until they are just at the soft  stage - doesn't take long - I did one apple at a time, in my microwave took 2 1/2 minutes) You just want to 'limp' the slices, not cook completely.  Drain them on toweling after they are microwaved, and allow to cool slightly before forming your rose petals.

3. When creating your roses, roll up the center, then add petals , placing the middle of each apple slice to cover the ends of the previous slice, wrap and then finger roll the red top edge of the slice over to resemble a rose petal. Make the roses different sizes and make some buds.

4. I formed all the roses and set them up on doubled toweling to drain off the excess moisture. Because of the sugar in the water they were microwaved in,  the petals stick together nicely.

5. I used a green apple in an attempt to add leaves - but I wish the color stayed more vibrant - I'm wondering if green food color in the cooking water would intensify the green peel.

6. I made a fruit glaze to drizzle over the apples once placed on the dessert to make them shiny.

7. Use the reddest apples you can find  - I used Red Prince apples, they worked wonderfully well.

8.  I placed the roses randomly over the top - but then found that cutting the dessert was not easily done without ruining the roses -- so I think next time I might arrange the roses in such a way that when the dessert is cut into pieces there would be a rose arrangement on each piece.

9. These roses keep amazingly well ... I thought they would have to be done the same day served - but after a few days in the fridge they are still perfectly fine!

10. For an 8" x 10" pan I needed 4 medium apples for the roses. (the photo shown above was made in a larger pan for our pot luck , 9" x 12" and for that I needed 6 apples and made 1 1/2 times the recipe for the base and the filling)

Note- I haven't tried it but I see no reason the apple slices could not be 'softened' in simmering water/sugar solution on the stove top, if you prefer not to use the microwave. It may even work better since the temperature would be uniform.

While you could put these roses on your own choice of a variety of desserts,  the following is the dessert shown in the photo.

Apple Roses Cheesecake 

The base is a hazelnut crumb base
  • 1/3 cup hazelnut flour 
  • 1/2 cup gluten free  flour - I used Julie's Mix 
  • 1/4 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  1. Mix together dry ingredients then work in the butter until well mixed. Press evenly into a baking pan -  8"x10"
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. 
The filling is the easiest baked cream cheese filling I have ever made and seems fool-proof - no cracks , sets well and is delicious. 
  • 1 pkg. cream cheese (8 oz) 
  • 2/3 cup sugar 
  • 2 cups sour cream 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  1. Beat cream cheese with sugar until smooth 
  2. Add sour cream and flavorings. Blend well. 
  3. Pour over pre-baked base. 
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes 
  5. Cool 
Fruit Glaze 
  • 1/3 cup fruit juice (I used the juice from a can of peaches)  
  • 2 rounded tablespoons of sugar 
  • juice of 1/2 lemon 
  • 1 tsp cornstarch 
  1. Cook juice, sugar and cornstarch until it thickens - if too thick add a little water
  2. Add lemon juice
When cheesecake is cool, arrange the roses over the top, pressing only slightly into the filling. Drizzle glaze sparingly over the top of the roses. Chill for at least two hours before serving.
Can be made a day ahead. 

Cabbage Rolls (Holubtsi)

This recipe takes me back to my Mom's kitchen and early years of marriage when I wanted to make something fancy. We called them Galopse ( a variation of the Polish name for them, while others call them by the Ukranian, Holuptsi). Although we don't have these that often any more, (mainly because we have so much to choose from today) I still do enjoy that "comfort food" flavor. It's a good make-ahead meal because they are always good re-heated. Cabbage rolls are great for pot-lucks and very economical. This recipe makes 12-18 rolls. Sometimes I form a few meatballs for those who don't care for the cabbage.


Rolls / Filling:
  • 1 head Savoy cabbage
  • 1- 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 grated onion
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ½ chopped onion
  • ½ chopped pepper, any color
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 cups water (approx)
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube (or 2 teaspoons better than bouillon)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste (according to taste)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 can tomato soup (optional) 
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Place cabbage in a large pot of boiling water and peel off leaves as they become soft. Set aside. If you are using regular cabbage, cut around the core before placing it in the water.
  2. In a large frying pan, cook onion and pepper in a small amount of oil until tender. 
  3. Mix flour and half of the water in a sealed container until well blended and add to onion/peppers. While cooking, add the rest of the water and stir until smooth and bubbly. Add bouillon and tomato paste. For more sauce, mix more flour and water and add another bouillon cube for flavor. Adjust amounts according to desired consistency and add salt and pepper according to taste.
  4. Mix raw meat, salt, pepper, onion, sour cream and cooked rice. Place a few tablespoons of meat mixtureonto each leaf, fold ends and roll up. Place close together in roaster.
  5. Pour sauce over cabbage rolls, tuck in bay leaf and bake at 350° F for 1 1/2 hours. 
  6. Once cooked, remove rolls to serving plate. If there is not enough gravy, add a can of tomato soup to the liquids in the roaster and bring to boil. With the soup you can also adjust flavors by adding some milk or cream.

Harvest Brown Bread

Tucked into the bread section of my Mennonite Treasury Cookbook is a stained and worn piece of paper with the recipe for our family favorite brown bread. I got it from a friend in the late seventies and is simply known as Ruth P's brown bread. I often wonder what happened to Ruth, one of those people who was part of my life for a time and who I haven't heard from in twenty years. But I think of her whenever I bake her bread and hope things have gone well for her and her family.

  • 2 Tablespoons fast rising yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 1 large tablespoon honey
  • 4 cups warm water
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups white flour (plus 1-2 additional cups in step 5).
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  1. Prepare yeast mixture by dissolving sugar in lukewarm water...add yeast and let stand ten minutes.
  2. In large bowl, dissolve salt and honey in warm water...add yeast mixture.
  3. Mix together the three types of flour. Add flour slowly to mixture in bowl and beat well.
  4. Add oil and sunflower seeds.
  5. Knead in enough white flour to make dough smooth and elastic.
  6. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place until light. 
  7. Punch down and form loaves. Let rise until doubled in bulk.
  8. Bake at 375°F for 30 minutes.
  9. Yield 4 medium loaves

    *When using instant yeast, add to flour in step three and omit step 1, proofing yeast in sugar water.)

I gave you the recipe as it is written, but since I always use my Bosch machine to mix bread, my methods and amounts differ slightly. I usually do one-and-a-half times the recipe, and make a few little loaves for the grandkids.

Summer Fruit Pies

Although several great recipes for pies have been posted already, I will add some more pictures and ideas so that we have more to glean from. Below I have the general pie pastry recipe for 1 double crust pie. This will fit a regular or a deep dish pie plate.

BASIC PASTRY ( for double crust pie)
  • 1 2/3 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 cup shortening (or 1/3 cup lard and 1/3 cup butter)
  • 4 tablespoons cold water
  1. Combine flour, salt and shortening or lard in medium sized mixing bowl. (For a double crust pie I prefer lard and butter mix because it makes a crisper top crust.)
  2.  Cut shortening into flour with pastry blender until pieces are the size of large peas. 
  3. Sprinkle with water and stir with fork, in circular motion, until there are no more lose crumbs.
  4. Press together with hands and shape into a ball. Divide in half. 
  5. Turn out on floured surface, pat and shape with hands into circular shape then roll out a little larger than your pie plate. Roll onto rolling pin and unroll into pie plate. Bottom crust should come up higher than edge of pan

FRUIT FILLING – (deep) double crust
  • Brush unbaked bottom crust with slightly beaten egg whites, to keep from getting soggy. Fill with fresh or frozen fruit. (approx 6 cups) Sprinkle with mixture of sugar and flour that is WELL MIXED. (Amounts will vary depending on tartness of fruit and taste preference) I just shake or tap the pan so sugar disperses a bit.
  • Cover with second crust. Fold top crust over and under bottom crust, so that you can pinch the two layers together as you flute them.
  • Brush with beaten egg white and cut small slits. Bake at 400 F for 15 min. Turn down to 350 F and bake for another 50 min. or until juice bubbles out through slits.

Filling Suggestions:
  • blueberries - sprinkle with some lemon rind, mix ½ cup sugar and 4 Tbsp flour
  •  peaches and nectarines – mix  ½ cup sugar, 3 Tbsp flour and 3 Tbsp tapioca
  • blackberries – sprinkle with lemon rind, mix ¾ cup sugar, 4 Tbsp flour and 4 Tbsp tapioca
  •  apples – mix ½ cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 tbsp flour

If you want to make up some fruit pies in the summer while the fruit is handy and get the work over and done with, I would suggest multiplying the recipe:
  • 1 pound (1 pkg) of shortening or lard, 
  • 5 ½ cups flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt 
  • 1 egg, 3/4 cup water, 1 tablespoon vinegar 
Divide the pastry into three or four balls and divide each ball again, so that you can make 3 large double crust pies or 4 small double crust pies to fit 9-inch foil pie plates.

Don’t forget to brush the bottom crust with an egg wash and then again the top.
Because the foil pie plates are smaller, use a little less fruit (4 – 5 cups) and a little less sugar mix if you want them slightly on the tart side.

Freeze pies first to freeze the egg wash on top, then transfer into plastic bags, or do the top egg wash just before baking. Note: a frozen foil plated pie will easily transfer into a glass pie plate later.

Extra Tips:
* Don’t knead pastry, rather handle as little as possible.
* If the pastry tears as you transfer it, don’t re-roll, rather patch and seal with egg wash later.
* Don’t add more liquids because it will give a tougher crust.
* Baked pie keeps up to 5 days in the fridge and can be re-heated. Pie can also be frozen raw and baked later.