Baking Through History: Potato Chip Cookies

Potato Chip Cookies

I found the cookbook “Pass the Plate: The Collection from Christ Church” is a massive antique shop outside of Charlotte.

The shop, called The Depot at Gibson Mill, has aisle and aisle of antiques, some junk, and books. Lots and lots of books – including old cookbooks.

If you’re ever in the Concord area – I definitely recommend stopping there. But, make sure you have at least two hours to go. Even then, however, you won’t see it all. It is big.

In one of the aisles, I found this old church cookbook, which was published in 1981.

The book was published by the Episcopal Churchwomen and Friends of Christ Episcopal Church in New Bern, North Carolina. In the foreword of the book, there is a short history of the town and the church parish.

According to the book, New Bern was settled in 1710 by a colony of Swiss and German Palatines. It was named in honor of Baron Christopher deGraffenried’s native Bern, Switzerland. In 1715, in the Province of North Carolina, the “Act for Establishing the Church and Appointing Select Vestrys” was created and that marks the start of Christ Church in New Bern. The site where the church is currently located in the town has been used for more than 300 years.

New Bern has a special place in my heart because it was where I met my husband when we both attended the annual U.S. Marine’s Ball in 2005. He was there with his mom and I was there with a friend. We danced the night away. I called him a stud muffin. And, we’ve been together ever since.

So this recipe, Potato Chip Cookies, are cookies with crushed potato chips in them. Salty. Sweet. How could this recipe be bad? The recipe doesn’t say what type of potato chips to use but I would assume it is plain chips with salt – nothing too crazy like jalapeño. 🙂

So, here is the recipe:

Potato Chip Cookies
Submitted by Patricia Byrum McCotter and by Carol Coleman Pursell 

  • 1 cup butter or margarine
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup potato chips, crushed
  • 4x powdered sugar
  • ½ cup pecans, finely chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, sugar, flour and vanilla well. Add nuts. Add potato chips. Pinch into marvel-sized pieces and place on cookie sheet. Press flat with fork. Bake 13 minutes and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Yield: 5 dozen

I cut this recipe in half because even though I share with my coworkers – I don’t need 5 dozen cookies.

This recipe is just OK. It is not my favorite, but I definitely don’t hate it. I could tweak it a bit to maybe add more salt or more sugar, but I’m not sure that would help. I could also make the bigger, but, that could alter the way it bakes. If you try these and love them, let me know! I’d love to hear from you.

There are so many more recipes in this book that I can’t wait to tackle including Applesauce Cupcakes and what’s called the “Totally Amazing Tomato-Spice Cake.” That one even has a note that says, “A delicious way to use up your garden’s bumper crop! Children refuse to believe there are tomatoes in this cake.”

…We’ll see about that one… stay tuned!

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Baking Through History: Casserole Cookies

Cookies…baked in a casserole dish. I have never heard of such a thing. And…I likely won’t try them again.

In the “Wyoming Centennial Cookbook (1890-1990)” published by the Johnson County Extension Homemakers Council, there is a recipe for Casserole Cookies. This book is also where I got the Fudge Nut Cookies recipe.

Johnson County, Wyoming has quite the history. According to its county website, it is a “place of sheep herders and cattle barons, renegades and rustlers. Where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid holed up after their outlaw exploits. Where miners consumed with gold rush fever passed through on the Bozeman Trail. Where some of the most famous Indian battles in American history occurred. And where the Johnson County Cattle War, a rangeland dispute which historians often deem one of the most notorious events in our history, left its mark here in the late 1880s … and that Owen Wister wrote about in his epic American novel, The Virginian. One of Johnson County’s biggest attractions is the magnificent Bighorn Mountains.”

This recipe was submitted by Mildred Ann (Weber) Anderson, I couldn’t find much on her life in Wyoming. She might still be living (which would be awesome) because there is no obituary for woman by that name that matches a time in Wyoming. I hope, somehow, this video and blog post finds her and I can ask her about this recipe.

In all my recipe reading, I’ve never seen casserole cookies. And, after baking it, I think I know why…

Casserole cookies
Recipe from Mildred Ann (Weber) Anderson 

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dates chopped
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp almond extract

Beat eggs in buttered 2 quart casserole dish. Add sugar, mix well. Add dates, coconut, nuts, vanilla, almond extract.

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes, stirring 4 or 5 times while baking. Cool and stir occasionally. When cold, form into balls, roll in powdered sugar and flatten with fork

This recipe is not my favorite. I did halve it, which I really should not have done. They did not have enough moisture to eventually make them into cookies. It made more of a crumbly granola (which my husband liked) rather than a cookie you could bring together and roll in powdered sugar.

If you happen to make these – and they turn out – please let me know! I want to see what they look like.

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Baking Through History: Great Grandma’s Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls with Cream Cheese Frosting

If you remember my second video about Ginger Cookies, you’ll remember how much my great grandma Laura loved to bake. Read more on those cookies – HERE.

Here again is another recipe from her given to me by her daughter, my great aunt, Betty.

Betty wrote about this recipe in the email to me and said, “I love the taste of this dough because of the nutmeg in it. I loved helping so I could eat the dough. I liked my mother-in-laws caramel syrup better than mom’s, so I don’t have mom’s recipe for the syrup. Mom also used this dough recipe to make her kuchen. Hope this helps. I haven’t made these in years!” – – Betty

I love these kinds of recipes – ones passed down from mother to daughter and down the line. 

Caramel Rolls

It is interesting to me that there is shortening in the dough. I did quite a bit of research on this because I expected butter.

Shortening, according to King Arthur Flour, adds a tenderness to dough and cakes. It can also help if your all-butter cookies are spreading too much in the oven. Shortening can be substituted in any recipe 1-to-1 for butter. The reason so many recipes call for butter over shortening…flavor. Butter has more flavor than shortening. In this recipe, however, there is butter in the filling, which I am sure will make these delicious.

You can make them as regular cinnamon rolls and add your own favorite frosting recipe or you can make caramel rolls as listed below.
I tried both – baking half and half in different pans.
This can make 15 large rolls or 24 medium size rolls.
You’ll need multiple pans and an instant read thermometer.

Here is the recipe as sent to me by Betty:
Cinnamon Rolls
Betty Goetz from her mom, Laura Berreth

Step One:

  • 1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast

Dissolve yeast in warm water.

Step Two:

  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 1 cup milk, scalded

Heat milk to 180 degrees. Mix shortening into the milk to melt. Milk will need to cool to below 110 degrees before adding to mixing bowl for dough, so it doesn’t kill the yeast.

Step Three:

  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs (beat them first before adding)
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 T. lemon juice (if desired)
  • 7- 8 cups bread flour
  • Mix all ingredients (including yeast mixture and milk mixture) into stand mixer or bowl. Slowly add in flour and knead dough until it can be handled without sticking to your hands.

Transfer dough to lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise 60-90 minutes, punch down, and then rise again for 60 minutes.

Step Four:

  • 1/2 stick of butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup brown sugar (depending on size of rectangle)
  • 2 T. Cinnamon

Roll dough into large rectangle; spread with soft butter, sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.
Roll up, beginning at wide side.
Cut into 1 and 1/2 inch pieces.
Place in pan or pans and let rise until puffy.
Add optional caramel syrup (recipe below) after they have risen but before baking.
Bake 20-30 minutes at 325 degrees.

Step Five (if making rolls with frosting):

  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tblspn milk

Mix together to create cream cheese frosting.
Spread over cooled buns.

Caramel Syrup for Cinnamon Rolls
Betty Goetz from Stella Goetz (Dwight’s mom):

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup margarine or butter
  • 4 T. water
  • 4 T. white corn syrup
  • 1 T. vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup whipping cream

Mix together first 6 ingredients in a sauce pan, stirring constantly.
Bring to a boil.
Boil 1 minute and then, off the heat, add 1 cup cream.
Cool before pouring over unbaked, risen rolls.
Bake rolls as noted above.
**Caramel rolls might take a few minutes longer.

My great grandma’s recipe is absolutely delicious. The rolls come out tender and soft. I used bread flour in it, though the original recipe didn’t note which kind to use. I also added the measurements for the filling since those were not listed in the original.
I will definitely bake these on a cookie sheet with them separated rather than smooshed into a square pan. I think the air circulation will be better and they will brown more.

If you bake this recipe, let me know! I’d love to hear from you on how it went.

I have two more recipes from my great grandma that I’m going to bake up for you. One is called Peppernut Cookies and the other is a Christmas favorite in my family. Kuchen. I’ll be baking up the kuchen on Dec. 14, so stay tuned for that episode!

I have also come across a recipe for potato chip cookies and one for cookies baked in a casserole dish… I am too intrigued to not make those for you. Thanks for watching!

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Baking Through History: Great Grandma’s Ginger Cookies

I think I get my love of baking (and gardening) from my great grandma. She was a great baker and always had something sweet to eat when I visited her home in Herried, South Dakota.

Ginger Cookies from Laura Berreth

My great grandma, Laura Vossler Berreth, lived to be 95 years old. Her family was part of a group called “Germans from Russia” who started arriving in the U.S. in the 1870s.

I remember my great grandma fondly, and I love the recipes she passed down to my grandma and my aunt, who then passed them to me.

According to her obituary, she was born in 1915 on the family homestead near Terry, Montana. When she was quite young her parents moved back to the Vossler homestead, located northeast of Zeeland, North Dakota. They lived in a sod house, which her grandparents built when they homesteaded the land.

She led quite the interesting life painting, working, crafting, growing roses and irises and even moving to Lodi, California for a time before coming back to the North Dakota/South Dakota area.

One note in her obituary that made me smile was this: “She will always be remembered for her kuchen and gingersnap cookies.”

I’ll be making her kuchen (German for cake) in an upcoming video. 

My grandma, Carol, shared this ginger cookie recipe with me recently. She said it was one of her favorites that her mother made – along with Peppernut cookies (a post on that also coming soon.)

The recipe is below – and in the video, I scaled down the recipe by half so I wouldn’t have quite as many cookies to eat.

Ginger Cookies or Ginger Snaps
By Laura Berreth

  • 1 cup (201g) sugar
  • 3/4 cup (143g) shortening
  • 1 egg (50g)
  • 1 cup (280) molasses, I use light
  • 2 tsp. soda
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • a pinch of salt
  • 3 1/2 cups (420g) flour

Mix everything but the flour with a mixer, then add the flour and mix by hand, as it gets too thick for the mixer to handle.  Lightly form balls the size of a walnut, dip in sugar and put on a cookie sheet. 
Bake at 325 degrees about 13 minutes for a soft cookie like Mom used to make, also how I make them. If you bake them longer they will get hard, more like Ginger Snaps.

After baking these cookies, I’d have to say, they’re quite tasty. They are an acquired taste, however. You either love them or you don’t.
The cookies were soft in the middle and crunch on the sides right after baking. After sitting out, covered, for a few hours, they got more chewy.
If you’re not expecting that, it can be different. However, it is how I remember them when I had them at my grandma’s.

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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.

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