Grandma’s Molasses Cookies

From: Sophia Heim Ulmer
Each year at the Penn Colony Reunion on the second Sunday of August the ladies search for the favorite recipe of past years to bring for the dessert table. Here is one that used to grace the table for years when the picnic was held outside in Wesley Heim’s grove right north of Dawson of Hwy 75, or down at Art Heim’s grove just east of there. Long tables covered with oil cloth were filled with food and desserts the faithful cooks of the past would bring to feed the colonists. As the year goes on I will print the recipes of this year’s winners. In fact it would be MORE fun to just come to this year’s reunion and join the FUN.
Grandma’s Molasses Cookies
1 cup of molasses (preferably sorghum)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup brown sugar
3 T lard (heaping)
1 t soda
Add nutmeg and enough flour to stiffen dough
Place on greased cookie sheets and bake until done
(the Grandmother is Sophia Heim Ulmer….grandmother of board member, Marilyn Thacker Ogle, Neil Thacker, Shirley Williamson Haner, and Bob Williamson) She came to Nebraska in 1874 as a child in the family of Jacob G. Heim and married Martin Ulmer who came to Nebraska a few years later.

Easy and Healthy Treat

Bob Williamson
2 cups milk
1 cup shredded coconut
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup flour
8 tablespoons butter
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Place all ingredients in mixer – mix well
Pour into a greased and floured pie plate
Sprinkle nutmeg on top
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes
Cool and enjoy

Buttermilk Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½ cup milk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, melted


Sift flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar into large bowl.  Stir in beaten egg and milk.  Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk and add to flour mixture. Add melted butter and stir until blended. Pour about  ¼ cup of batter for each pancake onto hot, seasoned griddle.  When golden on bottom and top starts to bubble turn.  If griddle becomes dry, add ½ teaspoon corn oil to hot surface. Serve pancakes immediately.

SCHNITZ UN KNEPP (middle size dumplings)

Cecelia S. Ulmer 1924 (recipe in her handwriting fell out of a
book her family donated to the museum)
1 qt. dried apples soaked overnight in water to cover or more than cover.
In morning cook about a 3lb. chunk of ham.
Cook slowly 3 or 4 hours. Then add the apples and water. Boil over very slow fire
another hour. Add 2 tablespoon brown sugar.
During boiling period
prepare the Knepp as follows. Mix 2 cups sifted flour with 1 teaspoon
salt, 4 tablespoons melted butter. Add enough rich milk to make
a very thick batter. Thick enough to leave a spoon standing easily.
With a teaspoon put knepp 1 spoon at a time with ham. Cover tightly
and cook 15 minutes without lifting cover. Place ham in center of
deep platter, around place schnitz and knepp.
Grandma E. Ulmer used to use cornmeal mush and fry it on both
sides. Then we would put the shnitz over it as we wanted.
This is a Penn. Dutch recipe from a long time ago.

Baked Custard

Carolee Heim
6 eggs, whisked
2/3 cup sugar
½ tsp. (scant) salt
4 cups hot milk
2 tsp. vanilla
Combine eggs, sugar and salt; slowly add hot milk.  Place in a high 2 ½ quart casserole dish in hot water. Bake at 325 degrees for 40 minutes; or use custard cups and bake 30 minutes.
This is my “comfort food”. The ladies whom I invite to share my dinner enjoy it because they can’t buy it, and it is a nice light dessert – better than ice cream, they say.  I begin making this in the 50’s and still do.
“Tis the Season to Check Old Time Recipes”
Bob Williamson
The following recipe was collected by Elma Heim Larimore.
She says, “trying to get a recipe for Grandma’s best loved cookies was a major project, for Grandma “used the judgment” method. If you tried to nail her down on some of the measurements she was cagey. A bowl of sour cream, a couple handful of flour, a pinch of salt, two “blubs” of molasses — who could make cookies that way? Grandma could and they were delicious
“Grandma” was Mrs. Jacob G. Heim, but I rather think a lot of other “grandmas” made them too. This is the best we could do, though they rarely come out as good as hers. Is it us, the ingredients, the stone jar she kept them in, or our lack of “judgment”?
I cup of sorghum molasses,
1 cup sour cream,
1 cup brown sugar,
3 heaping teaspoons lard,
1 teaspoon soda (rounding),
½ teaspoon nutmeg,
about 3 ½ cups flour.
Drop from a spoon on greased pan, bake in a moderate oven till edges are brown and center springs back when touched lightly. When cooled store in a covered container. They were moist and sticky and good. A soft cookie which makes you smile and want more than one.
This recipe taken from the “Folklore” book of the Pennsylvania Colony of Nebraska. Great Christmas present and can be purchased from the Colony for $20.


Bob Williamson
Love to take a day’s drive in any direction and do
some “snooping” in ole buildings which house antiques.
Not much into furniture, but things like old cookbooks
catch my eye and I usually find me a chair and sit for
a while going through the pile. One such day the wife
and I ventured over to Mound City, Missouri and found
a couple places to enjoy.
It was there I found this old tattered book published
by Casey and Timm Funeral Home in Auburn, Nebraska.
The phone was 93 in Auburn and 101 in Stella, so you
can venture a guess of the date. In those days the
funeral home even offered the thoughtful service
of “ambulance service.”
Recipes submitted were from pioneer ladies by the
names of: Mrs. Eleanore McMullen, Cora Helmick, Mrs.
Mazy Mason, Mrs. H. W. Schulz, Mrs. Elvin McQueen,
Mrs. John Chism, Mrs. Emma Higgins, etc.
Found me a recipe I think I will give a try. “Meat
Loaf” submitted by Mrs. L.M. Van Deventer. The recipe
2 lbs. pork sausage (ground)
2 lbs. hamburger
4 eggs
3 cup cracker crumbs or bread crumbs
Salt and pepper
1 pint canned tomatoes
Mix together ingredients, add milk to make a soft roll.
Put in pan and cover with bacon strips. Pour over loaf
2 cups of milk with tomatoes and bake 2 hours. Add
onion if desired.
Wife says sounds greasy but what the heck, never
used to worry about fatty acids, grease, and such.
Bettcha it filled your tummy and kept you warm while
sawing wood for the furnace in the winter or scooping
Bon Appetit
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