How to make classic, creamy German Knoephla Soup

Knoepha Soup

Is there anything more cozy to have on a cold day than soup? What about a soup from your childhood that brings back great memories?

Even though I only ever had this soup at school or a restaurant in North Dakota, Knoephla (or Knepfla) soup is one of my favorites from the German culture.

Knoephla is roughly translated into “little buttons” and are, in fact, little dumplings. The knoephla can be used in a number of ways, like a casserole, but the most popular way is in soup.

The soup is a chicken stock based, creamy soup with the dumplings, carrots, onions and potatoes. It is warming and comforting. It also is great to have when you’re sick. If you’re lactose intolerant like me, you can add coconut milk or just take about multple lactaid pills.

Knoephla Soup

Ingredients for soup:

  • Water
  • 3 tblspn. butter
  • 1 4-cup container of chicken broth (low sodium)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 4-5 medium red potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups Milk, half & half, cream or 1 can of coconut milk (your choice)
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients for Knoephla dumplings:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • Between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup Milk

Instructions:

Knoephla – In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. In a separate dish, combine the egg with about 1/4 cup milk. Slowly add in the milk and egg mixture to the flour and mix with your hands. Continue to add more milk until it becomes a shaggy dough. Place dough onto a clean working surface sprinkled with flour until the dough comes together. Roll into long, 1-inch thin logs and cut into 1-inch pieces.

Soup – In a large soup pot, melt butter and sauté onion, celery, carrots and potatoes until softened, about 8 minutes. Add in diced garlic, cook for 2 minutes. Add in stock and water to just cover the vegetables and add two bouillon cubes. Bring to a boil and lower heat to simmer 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add in the pieces of knoephla and simmer about 10 minutes.

Then, add in the milk/cream/half & half or coconut milk and stir well. Taste and add more salt/pepper if needed. Heat thoroughly, but don’t bring to a boil.

Serve with a side of bread, if you like.

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How to make a delicious, hearty winter dinner of Pastie (meat pie)

Pastie with gravy

Everyone has the dishes they love from their childhood. The one or two meals that just bring back great memories and makes you feel good when you eat it. For me, one dish is called “Pastie,” pronounced [pass-tee].

The dish, which originated in England, can be made two ways: a smaller, filled hand pie or a standard pie, like the one my mom made. It’s filled with any spiced meat, onion and potatoes. It can be fried or baked. The hand pie version is apparently very popular in Michigan and Cornwall, England.

I’ve made some changes to my mom’s recipe by adding in some extra spices and pouring over gravy when it is served, but the essence of the original dish I grew up with is there.

Here’s what you need.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pie crusts (store bought or homemade)
  • 1 pound ground beef, cooked and drained
  • 3-4 larger red potatoes, diced into 1 inch chunks
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Worcestershire sauce – add to taste (optional)
  • Soy sauce – add to taste (optional)
  • 1 packet of brown gravy, prepared separately

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a sauté pan, pour in olive oil and add onion. Cook onion until softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook until soft, about 2 minutes. Remove onion and garlic from the pan into a separate bowl. Add in ground beef and cook until browned. Drain excess fat from ground beef and add back in the onions and garlic. Add in the potatoes, salt, pepper and spices. Cook until the potatoes start to become translucent.

While the mixture is cooking in the sauté pan, prepare the pie pan by placing one of the unbaked pie crusts in the bottom of the pie dish.

Once the potatoes are just starting to cook, place all the filling into the crust and top with second pie crust. Crimp edges, slice a vent into top of pie to allow steam to escape and place in oven to bake for 30-35 minutes.

If the pie crust starts to brown too quickly, you can place aluminum foil over the top to stop the browning.

Once baked, let cool for 10 minutes while you prepare the brown gravy. Slice into pie pieces and serve with gravy on top.

Enjoy!

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Baking Through History: Fudge Nut Cookies

Fudge Nut Cookies

Baking is sharing. A three layer cake, a pecan pie, a dozen cookies – each calls for sharing. Someone could eat a dozen or two dozen cookies, but why keep them for yourself?

But when did desserts become a thing? Food historian Deborah Krohn said in a Food & Wine article from June 2018 that the first cookbook for desserts didn’t surface until the seventeenth century, when the idea of having a separate course for sweets first came into existence.

“Up until the seventeenth century, sweet and savory dishes were put out on tables indistinguishable from each other,” she said to Maria Yagoda, who wrote the article for Food & Wine.

Recipes and home cookbooks are passed down from generation to generation, and favorite recipes are shared with friends. This is why old church cookbooks and centennial cookbooks for a community are created – people want to share their recipes.

Wyoming Centennial Cookbook

My mom recently sent me an entire box of old cookbooks. There is one from our old church in Glenburn, N.D. and one from her home state of Wyoming.

In the “Wyoming Centennial Cookbook (1890-1990)” published by the Johnson County Extension Homemakers Council, dozens of people shared their favorite recipes.

The book even has recipes from lawmakers from the time, including from former First Lady Barbara Bush, who submitted “Mexican Mound – a Great Bush Favorite!” This recipe is for a walking taco with corn chips, taco meat, cheese and toppings.

Former Wyoming First Lady Jane Sullivan submitted two recipes – Ambassador Black Bottom Pie and World’s Finest Chocolate Gateau, which has raisins and Scotch in it. Marilyn Quayle, wife of former Vice President Dan Quayle, shared her mother’s “fried biscuit” recipe. I love that the homemakers council reached out to them for recipes – and that they responded.

There are quite a few I plan to bake, but I’ll start first with Fudge Nut Cookies. It is unique because it uses cottage cheese!

It was submitted by a woman named Helen Rinker. From my research, she was a basketball player, a teacher, a past president of the Johnson County Homemaker’s Club and met her husband at a country dance. She passed away in February 2013 at age 91. She was noted in her obituary as a “great wife, mom and grandmother and loved spending time with her family.”

Her recipe for Fudge Nut Cookies makes 9 dozen cookies. I am not sure how many people were in her family – but that is a ton of cookies! The original recipe is below, but for my video I’ve scaled it down by one third, to make it more manageable. 

Fudge Nut Cookies
By Helen Rinker

  • 1-½ cup (307.5) shortening
  • 3-½ cup (703g) sugar
  • 4 eggs (200g)
  • 2 cup (324g) cottage cheese
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • 5-½ cup (660g) flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup (100g) cocoa
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Cream together shortening and sugar. Add eggs, cottage cheese, and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, soda, cocoa, salt. Add nuts and/or chocolate chips.

Cover bowl and chill dough for 1 hour in the refrigerator. After chilling, form into balls. Roll in powdered sugar

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-14 minutes (depending on size of cookies.) Makes 9 dozen cookies.

After baking these cookies, I think I need to add more chocolate!! The bites without the chocolate chips were good, but the ones with them were excellent. I could also add a chocolate drizzle to the top to really bump up the flavor.

If you bake these, let me know! I’d love to hear how they went for you.

Other posts in Baking Through History:

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Enjoy the video below to see how I made them and how they turned out.