Volume IX, No. 3, Spring 1982

Country Menus

by Deidra Morgan

I guess not many people nowadays understand some of the old-fashioned cooking terms. One of my teachers was reading my recipe column in the last issue of Bittersweet. She came across a recipe calling for butter the size of a large black walnut. She couldn't figure out what that meant. She thought it called for the meat from a large black walnut and the word "butter" was a way of measuring the meat of a walnut. I explained to her that "butter the size of a large black walnut" was equivalent to about two or three tablespoons of butter. People didn't used to have sticks of butter. They had a tub or a bowl of butter. They would just dip in with a spoon to get a scoop of butter the size of a walnut. Sometimes recipes called for butter the size of an egg.

I think you will enjoy the following recipes contributed by Lena Burns. She has used these recipes for many years because they are easy to make, and used ingredients she had when she was on the farm. She even used to raise the peanuts for the peanut cookies. Since she has moved, she now substitutes some store-bought ingredients for the original ingredients of these recipes. With true Ozark ingenuity, she continues to use imagination in her cooking, adjusting her recipes, which are all in her head, to use whatever foods she has on hand. She cooks "by guess and by gosh" as her mother did. With that method it is sometimes difficult to write the recipe down for others to use. She knows just the correct consistency of the dough and just how long to cook dishes by long experience.

We tried all these recipes ourselves and have added instructions so that we believe you will have success with them.

These are all rich desserts, but years ago no one on the farm worried about extra calories, using lots of butter, cream, eggs and other home produced products. The never-ending active farm work required three big meals which nearly always ended with a dessert.


1/2 cup sugar 1 cup mixed fruit
1/2 cup shortening 1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg 1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour 3/4 cup nuts
2 tsp. soda 3/4 cup coconut
1/2 tsp. salt


Topping one: Topping two:
1/2 cup melted butter powdered sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar orange or pineapple juice
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup coconut flakes

Cream together sugar and shortening. Add beaten egg. Sift flour, soda and salt together and add to mixture. Then add enough juice to make a moist batter. Add vanilla. Mix brown sugar, nuts and coconut together and add to batter. Mix. Put into an 8 by 12 inch cake pan and press dough down firmly to get rid of the air pockets. Bake at 350°. This cake does not rise much. It will be about 1 to 1 1/2 inches high in this size pan, or higher if you use a smaller pan.

Though this cake is very good without a topping, Lena prefers to dress it up. Topping one is almost like candy. Topping two gives a lighter fruity taste.

Topping one:

Mix together melted butter, brown sugar and cream. Boil 5 minutes in a saucepan. Pour over cake just before cake is done. Sprinkle the coconut over cake. The topping should sink into the cake, so it is important to put it on when the cake is firm, but not browned. Put cake back in oven and bake until topping bubbles and coconut browns.


Topping two:

After cake has cooled slightly, remove to wax paper that has been dusted with powdered sugar. Brush with orange or pineapple juice and dust with powdered sugar. When cool, wrap in wax paper. It is ready to eat when cold. This cake can be baked in two smaller pans with one topping on one cake and the other topping on the other to make two entirely different tasting cakes.


Use any kind of fruits, peaches, apples, grapes, pears, bananas. Today Lena often uses canned fruit cocktail. In the past if no fruits were available, she sometimes used applesauce.
Use one small can condensed milk for cream.
Use cooking oil for lard or butter.


1 cup soft butter 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts
2 cups sugar 1 tsp. cinnamon
2 eggs 1/2 cup chopped dates
1 tsp. vanilla 2 cups sifted flour
1/2 cup raisins 1 tsp. soda
3 cups chopped apples (3 medium apples 1 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar and add vanilla. Beat eggs well and add to this mixture. Set this mixture aside.

Mix together apples, raisins, nuts and dates. Set this aside.

Sift together flour, salt, soda and cinnamon. Add this to sugar mixture and mix well. Then add apple mixture. Do not beat, but stir until well mixed.

Bake at 380° if in glass baking pan, 325° if in metal pan. It takes about an hour if baked in one large pan, less time if put into smaller loaf pans.

Variation: By adding spices and reducing the shortening to 1/3 cup and sugar to 1/2 cup, this recipe makes an apple bread. Both the cake and bread will freeze well.


2 egg whites pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar 1 cup chopped nuts
1 tsp. vanilla 1 cup chocolate tid bits

Beat egg whites stiff. Add sugar and beat well. Add other ingredients. Heat oven to 350°. While oven is heating, drop cookies in small spoonfuls on to the greased, shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil. When oven reaches 350°, turn oven off, place cookies in oven and leave 3 hours or over night. Do not open oven. This helps to retain the heat.


1 cup butter or other shortening 1 egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar 2 1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar 1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 to 1 tsp. vanilla(subject to taste) 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. salt

Cream together butter, sugars and vanilla. Add beaten egg. Mix together remaining ingredients and add to first mixture. Mix thoroughly. Make into one inch balls and place on lightly floured and greased cookie sheet. Press with bottom of glass. Lena used to make pretty designs on cookies by pressing with glasses with designs on them. Bake until lightly brown around the edges at 350°. Watch carefully. The cookies are good and crisp.

Optional: Add chocolate chips, raisins, coconut or nuts, stirring them in last. Lena experiements with her cookies and has found that grapenut flakes give a crunchy taste.


1 cup butter 2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup sugar dash of salt
1 tsp. vanilla 1 cup raw peanuts
2 cups flour

Cream butter and sugar thoroughly. Add vanilla and mix in. Sift together dry ingredients and add. Mix thoroughly with your hands. This will be a dry mixture similar to pie dough when completely mixed. Add peanuts and work them in with your hands. Mold into little balls and press down on greased cookie sheet, or press the dough into a baking dish for bar cookies. Bake in 325° oven for 25 minutes for bar cookies, less for drop cookies. This is a rich short cookie.


Copyright © 1981 BITTERSWEET, INC.

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