Did you know that it’s easy to make homemade Marshmallows? I didn’t until recently.
When browsing through a hundred-year-old cookbook, I saw a recipe for Marshmallows. I was intrigued, and decided to give the recipe a try. The Marshmallows were fun and easy to make. They were light and fluffy (and so much fresher and tastier than store-bought marshmallows) – and would be perfect in cocoa, in s’mores, or roasted over a fire.
Another plus- So many modern candy recipes call for corn syrup, so I was thrilled that sugar was the only sweetener in this recipe.
Prepare an 8 inch by 8 inch pan by thickly covering the bottom of the pan with confectioner’s sugar.
Combine the sugar and 6 tablespoons water in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil using medium heat while stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved; then reduce heat and continue to gently boil until it reaches the soft ball stage (245° F.). Do not stir. In the meantime put 6 tablespoons of water in a mixing bowl and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let sit for about 10 minutes or until the sugar mixture reaches the soft ball stage.
Remove the sugar mixture from the heat and pour into the bowl with the dissolved gelatin while beating rapidly. Continue beating. When the mixture begins to thicken, add the vanilla, then continue beating until the mixture is very thick and sticky. The beating process will take 10-15 minutes.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar. This mixture is extremely sticky. A mixing spoon that has been coated with butter or shortening can be used to spread the mixture in the pan.
Let sit for at least four hours (or overnight), then cut into squares using a knife that has been coated with butter or shortening (or that has been dipped in boiling water). Coat the cut edges of the marshmallows by tossing in a bowl that contains powdered sugar.
It’s cold and blustery here – and time to make a hearty soup. I searched though my hundred-year-old recipes and came up with the perfect soup for a cold winter day – Bean Chowder.
This savory, comforting, filling and nutritious chowder is made with dried navy beans, salt pork, onions and tomatoes; and it hit the spot perfectly. This recipe is a keeper (though if I made it again I might shorten the prep time by using canned navy beans).
Here’s the hundred-year-old recipe:
And, here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:
Time: 30 minutes active prep time; actual time=15+ hours
1 quart (4 cups) water + approximately 2 quarts water
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups dried navy beans
1/2 pound salt pork, diced into small pieces
2 medium onions, thinly sized
1 quart (28 oz. can) canned tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
In a large saucepan bring 1 quart water and the baking soda to a boil using high heat. Remove from the heat, then stir in the navy beans, and cover. Let sit overnight (10-12 hours). Then drain the beans. Rinse thoroughly and then put into a large dutch oven or soup pot. Add one quart water, the diced salt pork, and the onions. Bring to a boil on high heat, and then reduce heat and let gently simmer for four hours. Add additional water as needed (approximately one additional quart of water will need to be added).
At the end of the four hours, add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and sugar. Cook for an additional hour, and then serve.
Put the celery in a medium sauce pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil using high heat; then reduce heat and simmer until tender (about 10 minutes). Drain well.
In another pan, using medium heat, melt butter; then stir in the flour, salt, and pepper. Gradually, add the milk while stirring constantly. Continue stirring until the white sauce thickens. Gently stir in the cooked celery, and remove from heat.
In the meantime, bring 1 1/2 to 2 inches of water to a boil in a skillet, then reduce to a simmer. Break each egg into a small bowl or cup, then slip into the water. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove the poached eggs from the water using a slotted spatula, and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
To assemble the dish: Put the creamed celery in the serving dish, then gently place the poached eggs on top of the celery. If desired, garnish with celery leaves.
I’m always on the outlook for hundred-year-old winter vegetable recipes, so I was thrilled to find a recipe for Spiced Sweet Potato Balls.
The outside of the Spiced Sweet Potato balls were crisp and browned, while the inside was nutty, rich, and spicy with the warm blend of nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. The balls contained ground nuts, which added a nice texture and flavor dimension when combined with sweet potatoes.
3 large sweet potatoes (approximately 3 1/2 cups mashed)
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup nuts, ground (I used walnuts.)
Place whole sweet potatoes in a large saucepan; cover with water and bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender (30-45 minutes). Remove from heat and drain. Remove the skins from the potatoes then mash until smooth; mix in butter, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. Add ground nuts, and stir to combine. Shape into 1-inch balls, then gently roll in flour.
Melt 1/2 inch of shortening in a large skillet. Slip the sweet potato balls into the hot shortening, then gently roll the balls with a fork until all sides are a light brown. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.
Cook’s note: The mashed sweet potato mixture is very sticky. The key to success with this recipe is shaping the balls, and then gently rolling the balls in the flour while continuing to shape.
What’s a cross between peanut butter cookies and pancakes? . . . answer: Peanut Butter Griddle Cakes.
I came across a hundred-year-old recipe for Peanut Butter Griddle Cakes, and decided to give it a try. The recipe was incredibly easy. I whipped the batter up in a couple minutes–and in a couple more minutes I had beautiful golden brown griddle cakes. They were light and fluffy, and a hit at my house. My husband said, as he polished off the last griddle cake, “You should make these again.”
Put all ingredients in a mixing bowl, beat until smooth. Heat a lightly greased griddle or skillet to a medium temperature, then pour or scoop batter onto the hot surface to make individual griddle cakes. Cook until the top surface is hot and bubbly, and then flip and cook other side.
The week after Christmas is left-overs week at my house, so when I saw a hundred-year-old recipe for Potato Puffs I had to give them a try.
The Potato Puffs were light and creamy with just a hint of onion. When, I served the Potato Puffs, my daughter said, “Mom, this recipe is one of your better hundred-year-old recipes.” In other words, this recipe is a winner.
1 teaspoon onion, grated (use additional grated onion if desired)
milk, as needed
salt and pepper, optional
Preheat oven to 425° F. Stir the egg into the mashed potatoes. If too thick, add a little milk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Drop heaping teaspoons of the potato mixture onto a greased baking sheet. Bakes 20 – 25 minutes or until lightly browned.
Notes: (1) If left-over mashed potatoes have been refrigerated, warm in a microwave or on the stove top, prior to adding the egg. The potatoes only need to be warm, not hot. If the potatoes are quite hot, be sure to immediately start vigorously stirring when the egg is added to keep the egg from beginning to coagulate. (2) Potato Puffs may be refrigerated and reheated. Put in a 400 ° F oven for 20 minutes or until hot.
I’m a black walnut aficionado The bold, rich taste of black walnuts is lovely in candies and baked goods. And, as a bonus black walnuts are quite nutritious. They are a good source of vitamin E and iron, and have lots of protein. They also contain “good” polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that can help reduce “bad” cholesterol.
Black walnuts are seldom sold in stores, so each autumn I scope out black walnut trees on nearby public property, and then forage the walnuts. I then hull the walnuts (and walk around for at least a week afterwards with walnut-stained hands), and then spread the hulled nuts out on newspapers to dry for several months.
A couple days ago my husband and I began to crack the walnuts, and then to pick the nut meats out, which is a challenge in itself. I swear that black walnuts are the most difficult nuts (except for maybe hickory nuts) to crack.
Now that I had the shelled nuts, I was ready to begin baking with them. I selected a hundred-year-old nut bread recipe. Any type of nuts could be used in the recipe–but black walnuts would have commonly been used in the early 1900s.
The Black Walnut Bread was easy to make, and it was a taste treat with the embedded, robust, savory pieces of black walnut. This recipe is a keeper.
1 cup black walnuts, chopped (or other type of nut)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease two loaf pans. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a mixing bowl, and stir to combine. Add egg and milk, and stir just enough to blend the ingredients. Add the black walnuts, and gently stir to spread the nuts throughout the batter. Pour into the greased pans. Bake about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean.
I couldn’t figure out why the old recipe said that after the batter was poured into the loaf pans that they should “stand aside to raise twenty minutes” before baking. Since this recipe called for baking powder (and not yeast), it didn’t seem like it needed to rise prior to baking so I ignored that step.