Hundred-Year-Old Potato Puffs Recipe

potato-puffs-1
Source: Larkin Housewives Cook Book (1915)

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.

potato-puffs-recipe
Source: Larkin Housewives Cook Book (1915)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Potato Puffs

  • Servings: 3-4 servings
  • Time: 35 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

2 cups warm mashed potatoes

1 egg, beaten

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.

Old-Fashioned Black Walnut Bread (Nut Bread) Recipe

black-walnut-bread

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.

Here is the original hundred-year-old recipe:

Source: Larkin Housewives Cook Book (1915)
Source: Larkin Housewives Cook Book (1915)

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Black Walnut Bread (Nut Bread)

  • Servings: 2 loaves
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

4 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg, slightly beaten

1 1/2 cups milk

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.

Nut Bowls

Mid-century nut bowl
Mid-century nut bowl

Many of my December memories are linked to food: cut-out cookies, homemade fudge,  fruitcake, and nuts in the shell. Yesterday I saw a display of nuts in the shell at the supermarket and bought a bag. When I got home I dug out my mid-century nut bowl.  Each time I crack a nut, my thoughts go back to chatting with my mother while cracking, and then nibbling on, nuts in the farmhouse kitchen when I was a child.

This morning I browsed through a hundred-year-old issue of Ladies Home Journal and saw an ad for a Parsons Nut Bowl. Nuts in the shell have been a holiday tradition for a long time.

Parsons Nut Bowl Advertisement (Ladies Home Journal, December, 1916)
Parsons Nut Bowl Advertisement (Ladies Home Journal, December, 1916)

Hundred-year-old Cocoa Recipe

CocoaBrrrr, it’s snowy,  the temperature outside is in the single digits, and I’m cocooning until the weather improves.  Then I remembered  seeing a  recipe for  Cocoa in a hundred-year-old home economics textbook, and knew it was the perfect time to try it.

The Cocoa only took a few minutes to make – and soon I was relaxing with a steamy cup of rich and creamy Cocoa.  There was no comparison to the modern pre-mixed cocoa products.  The Cocoa made using old recipe was better . . . much, much better.

Here are the old directions for making Cocoa:

Source: Foods and Household Management: A Textbook of the Household Arts by Helen Kinne and Anna M. Cooley (1915)
Source: Foods and Household Management: A Textbook of the Household Arts by Helen Kinne and Anna M. Cooley (1915)

Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks:

Cocoa

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 10-15 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

4 teaspoons cocoa

4 teaspoons sugar

2 cup milk

Put the cocoa and sugar in a bowl, and stir to combine. Add 1 tablespoon and milk and stir until smooth; then add another tablespoon of milk and stir.  Set aside.

Put the remainder of the milk in a medium sauce pan. While stirring constantly, heat the milk until hot and steamy using medium heat; then stir in the cocoa mixture. Remove from heat and serve.

When I made this recipe, I looked at the Cocoa recipe on the can of cocoa. The recipe on the can called for more sugar, and had a 2 to 1 ratio of sugar to cocoa, while the hundred-year-old recipe had a 1 to 1 ratio of sugar to cocoa which resulted in a delightful hot drink that featured the nuanced chocolaty notes  of the cocoa without being overwhelmed by the sweetness of the sugar.

Preface in Hundred-Year-Old Church Cookbook

Source: Tried and True Cook Book, published by The Willing Workers, Minneapolis Incarnation Parish (1910)
Source: Tried and True Cook Book, published by The Willing Workers, Minneapolis Incarnation Parish (1910)

People compile church and community cookbooks for many reasons: to preserve favorite recipes, for fund-raising purposes, to help community members get to know each other better, etc.  But I must admit that I was surprised when the preface in a hundred-year-old church cookbook promised to make readers’ husbands “contented” men.

Hundred-Year-Old Hermits Cookies Recipe

hermit-cookies

Tis the season . . . for baking cookies. Old-fashioned, traditional cookies are my favorite, so I was thrilled to find a hundred-year-old recipe for Hermits. Hermits are a soft, spicy, raisin cookie. They have been around a long time so there are lots of variations. This recipe was for the traditional drop cookie version.

The Hermits were delightful. They had a lovely texture and the right amount of chewiness. The old-fashioned goodness of the Hermits was enhanced by just the right amount of cinnamon and mace, and a hint of molasses.

The recipe was easy to make–and would be a perfect addition to a holiday cookie tray.

Here’s the hundred-year-old recipe:

Source: American Cookery (October, 1916)
Source: American Cookery (October, 1916)

And, here’s my updated version of the recipe for modern cooks:

Hermits

  • Servings: approximately 40 cookies
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon milk

1 tablespoon molasses

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon mace

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups flour

1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375° F.  Put butter in a large mixing bowl, and stir (cream) until smooth; then stir in the brown sugar. Stir in milk, molasses, eggs, cinnamon, mace, and baking powder. Add flour, and stir until all ingredients are combined. Add raisins, and stir gently to distribute the raisins throughout the dough. Drop rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Bake 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned.