Old-fashioned Coffee Candy Recipe

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, December 21, 1912:  Had quite a time putting things in order this morning, but how long they will stay that way I can’t tell. Ruth made some Christmas candy this afternoon.


Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

What kind of candy did Grandma’s sister Ruth make? . . .Maybe old-fashioned Coffee Candy? . . . Dare I suggest it? . . . I tried making Coffee Candy last December and it was a disaster that crumbled into tiny pieces. (See Interpreting Old Recipes: The Case of Coffee Candy.)

Usually when I have a cooking failure I never make the recipe again. But, bolstered by everyone’s comments and suggestions last year, I decided to try it again.

I made some adaptations to the recipe I used last year. Here’s what I did:

Old-fashioned Coffee Candy

Boil together over moderate heat, without stirring, one-half cup strong coffee, two tablespoons butter, and two cups sugar. Boil to soft ball stage (238 degrees).  Remove the pan from stove. Beat rapidly until it creams. Stir in a cup of chopped walnuts, press firmly into a buttered pan and cut into squares. (I used a 6 1/2-inch square pan.)

This Coffee Candy turned out much better this year. It had a nice coffee flavor, and a texture similar to pralines. It still had a slight tendency to crumble when I cut it, but most pieces came out of the pan just fine.

Old-Fashioned Black Walnut Cookie Recipe

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, December 18, 1912:  Am beginning to get ready for Christmas. Picked out some walnut bits.

black walnut cookies

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

What was Grandma going to make with the walnuts?  Maybe she made cookies . Here’s an old recipe for Black Walnut Cookies.

Old-Fashioned Black Walnut Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vinegar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cup coarsely chopped black walnuts

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix butter, brown sugar, and eggs together. Stir  in milk and  vinegar. Then, stir in baking soda and salt. Add flour and stir until combined. Stir in black walnuts. Chill in refrigerator for at least 1/2 hour. Drop rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 8 – 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Yield: approximately 3 dozen cookies

I love these cookies. They are an old-fashioned soft cookie with the robust, rich taste of black walnuts.

Here are several previous posts about Black Walnuts that you might enjoy:

How to Crack Black Walnuts

Hulling Black Walnuts

Old-Time Black Walnut Cake Recipe

Old-time Oyster Fritters Recipe

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, December 3, 1912:  Nothing much to write.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write much a hundred years ago today, I’m going to share an old recipe for Oyster Fritters with you.

Oysters were a very popular late fall food in central Pennsylvania years ago.  Even though the area is about 150 miles from the Chesapeake Bay—it is within a day’s train trip from the Bay; and shellfish, even a hundred years ago, were regularly transported into the area.

I have wonderful memories of eating Oyster Fritters when I was a child—and still make them once or twice each year whenever I’m able to find oysters for sale in my local supermarket.

Oyster Fritters

1 pint oysters, drained and coarsely chopped

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 cup milk

1/2 cup melted shortening or lard

Mix all ingredients except shortening together. Melt shortening in a skillet. Drop oyster mixture by tablespoonfuls into the hot shortening. Fry until lightly browned; flip and cook other side. Drain on paper towels.

Old-Fashioned Mock Cherry (Cranberry Raisin) Pie Recipe

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Monday, November 25, 1912:  Today, don’t remember.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Sounds like a slow day for Grandma. Since she didn’t write much I’ll share a hundred-old-recipe for Mock Cherry Pie that I made for Thanksgiving.

The pie is made with cranberries and raisins. It’s enticingly  tart–yet sweet–and a nice addition to my repertoire of Thanksgiving pies; but it tastes  (surprise, surprise) more like a cranberry raisin pie than a cherry pie.

Mock Cherry Pie

Pick over and wash three cupfuls of cranberries, and cook in half a cupful of water until broken.  Add one cupful of sugar and one cupful of cropped raisins. Bake between crusts in 9-inch pan.

Adapted from recipe in Good Housekeeping (November, 1912)

Old Squash Muffin Recipe

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, November 13, 1912:  Nothing of any account seems to be happening around here, so I can’t write much.

Here are the squash muffins I made.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Another slow day for Grandma—the total opposite from my life.

I’m bustling around getting ready for Thanksgiving—cleaning the house and planning the menu for the big day.

I recently flipped through the November, 1912 issue of Ladies Home Journal looking for recipes that might be good this Thanksgiving.

Here’s a keeper I found for Squash Muffins. I tested them yesterday—and plan to make them again for Thanksgiving.

They’re delicious served warm with butter—and have a wonderfully delicious, delicate taste. They are less sweet than many modern muffins.

And, here is the picture of Squash Muffins in the November, 1912 issue of Ladies Home Journal.

Here’s the recipe—slightly adapted for modern stoves and ingredients.

Squash Muffins

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put two-thirds of a cupful of cooked squash into a bowl, then add a quarter of a cupful of sugar, two well-beaten eggs, two cupfuls  of flour, half a teaspoonful of salt, three teaspoonfuls of baking powder and three tablespoonsfuls of melted butter. Mix well and bake in well-greased muffin pans for approximately twenty minutes. If these muffins are intended for a luncheon or a tea, a quarter of a teaspoonful of powdered ginger may be added.

Makes approximately 18 muffins

I added ginger—even though we ate the muffins at dinner.

I used hubbard squash, but butternut or other winter squash (or canned/frozen squash) would also work. I peeled and cubed about 1 1/2 cups of squash and boiled in water in a pan on the stove for about 15 minutes. I then drained the squash, mashed and measured out two-thirds of a cup to use in the recipe.

Old-fashioned Candied Sweet Potatoes

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Sunday, November 11, 1912:  Am at a loss at what to write.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma was at a loss as to what to write, I’ll share a favorite old recipe for Candied Sweet Potatoes.  I always make this recipe for Thanksgiving. It’s easy and delicious.

Candied Sweet Potatoes

1 pound sweet potatoes (about 3 medium)

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)

1 tablespoon milk

Put potatoes in large sauce pan. Add enough water to cover potatoes. Cover and heat to boiling; cook 30 to 35 minutes or until tender (i.e., can be easily poked with a fork). Drain. Slip off skins. Leave potatoes whole or cut into pieces.*

In a skillet, melt butter. Add brown sugar and milk; cook over medium heat; stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Reduce heat to low. Add sweet potatoes, roll gently in syrup until glazed and heated through. Can let sit in pan on low heat for a few minutes while glaze thickens to desired consistency.

*Alternate directions to cook the sweet potatoes: Peel potatoes and cut into serving-sized pieces prior to cook cooking. Bring water to boiling; cook for 20 to 25 minutes or until tender.

Yield: 3-4 servings

Open-faced Apple Pie

17-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, October 15, 1912:  Ditto.open-faced apple pie

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Another slow day a hundred years ago. . . .

This Fall, I’ve enjoyed making old-time apple recipes. Here’s another one that I really like.

Open-faced Apple Pie

Pastry for a 1-crust pie

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Approximately 5-6 medium Macintosh apples*

1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line 9-inch pie pan with the pastry.

Put the sugar, flour, and cinnamon into a medium bowl; stir together. Peel, core, and quarter the apples. Put the quartered apples into the bowl with the sugar mixture; stir gently to coat apples. Arrange the apples in the pie pan by  placing the apples closely together on their sides. Small pieces of apples can be used to fill any gaps between the apple quarters. Add the milk to the pie by pouring it between any two of the apples.

Cook the pie at 425 for 10 minutes. Then reduce the heat to 350. Cook approximately 25 additional minutes or until the apples are tender when poked with a fork.

*Other apple varieties that keep their shape when cooked can be substituted for the Macintosh apples.

In case you have lots of apples like I do, here are links to some previously posted apple recipes.

Stewed Apples

Old-fashioned Apple Dumplings

Two Apple Crisp Recipes

Traditional Apple Betty

Old-Fashioned Apple Sauce


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