Just Across My Fence Recipes
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Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake

Makes 1- 9×13″ pan. This is a moist, heavy chocolate cake.

1/2 cup shortening (try with Butter-flavor Crisco)
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 Tablespoons baking cocoa (Hershey’s Special Dark is especially good if you can find it)
2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease a 9×13″ pan.
Cream together shortening and sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg and vanilla, mix well.
In another bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk, until all the flour mixture and the buttermilk have been added. Stir until it is all mixed and moistened. This will be a thick batter.
Spoon into the 9×13 pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the center of the cake springs back when touched lightly.

This cake really doesn’t need frosting, but shake a little powdered sugar over the top before serving, if desired. Also excellent served warm with vanilla ice cream!

Dandelion Jelly

Don’t be scared… it sounds odd, but dandelion jelly has about the same color, texture, and flavor as honey. This is an old pioneer recipe.

Makes 5 – half-pint jars

One quart dandelion blossoms (pick the flower heads only, pack them into a quart canning jar as you pick them)
2 quarts of water
1 package of pectin (such as Sure-Jel Premium Fruit Pectin™)
5 1/2 cups sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablesoon butter

Put the dandelion blossoms in a large pot and add the water. Bring them to a hard, rolling boil, and let them boil for 5 minutes.
Strain the dandelions out of the liquid using a collander or a slotted spoon. Throw out the dandelions, reserve all the liquid. The liquid will be an odd greenish-yellow color, but don’t give up. Pour the liquid through a fine strainer, such as a jelly bag. I pour it through a clean dish towel draped in a pitcher. This gets out all the fine leaves and petals that were left in the liquid after you removed the flowers. What you have when you’re done straining should be a green-yellow liquid with no debris in it.

Prepare your jars by washing them and keeping them warm in a sink full of hot water. Prepare the two-piece caps. Start a large pot of water simmering for a water bath for your jars when they’re full.

Now you’re ready to make the jelly. First, measure out 5 1/2 cups of sugar into a bowl, and set it aside for later.
Measure 4 cups of the dandelion liquid into a large pot. If you use the same pot yoou boiled the dandelions in, make sure to wash it out first! Stir the powdered pectin into the dandelion liquid. Bring to a hard, rolling boil over high heat. Pour the measured sugar slowly into the pot, stirring like mad to get it all mixed in. It is very handly to have a helper while you’re mixing the sugar in, so one person can pour and one person can stir!
Now add the lemon juice and butter. Return the mixture to a boil, and boil hard one minute. Remove from the heat and ladle into a jar, leaving a half-inch of head space. Put the two-piece cap on, and put the jar right into the water bath. There should be enough water to cover the jar lid by an inch.
When all the jars are full and in the water bath, put the lid on the pot and let them boil for 15 minutes. (10 minutes if you’re not at 6,000 feet above sea level like we are.) Remove the jars from the water, and let them sit on a counter for a day, untli they seal and set. This is a soft-set jelly, the consistency of honey.
Try it on fresh biscuits!

Grandma G’s Fudge








Here’s the first of our “collected” fudge recipes.

4 1/2 cups of sugar
1/8 tsp salt
3 Tablespoons butter
1 – 13 oz can evaporated milk
2 tsp vanilla
12 oz white chocolate chips
14 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 – 16 oz bag mini marshmallows
2 cups of nuts

Butter a large cookie sheet with a rim.

Bring sugar, salt, butter, and canned milk to a boil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. You’ll think that it would cook faster over high, but that’s a good way to burn the milk. Stir constantly, boiling for 8 minutes; stir constantly or the milk will scorch even on medium heat.
Remove from heat, and add the vanilla, both kinds of chocolate, marshmallows and nuts to the pan. Beat until all the chocolate and the marshmallows are melted.
Pour onto the cookie sheet you got ready.
Allow to set before cutting, at least half an hour, which will be hard to do because it smells so delicious. Makes about 4 pounds. Excellent for gifts at the holidays!

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

This was a popular recipe because it was quick – an easy recipe to produce on a day when you were spring cleaning or canning and needed a fast bread recipe.

4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 cup dried currants (or raisins)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, soda and salt. Add currants and stir. Add buttermilk. Stir until just moistened. Turn onto floured cookie sheet, and knead with floured hands about 10 times. Shape dough into an 8″ diameter round and put it in a greased, round cake pan. Cut a cross into the top with a sharp knife. Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Maggie’s Whole Wheat Oatmeal Bread

Maggies Bread

This is a wonderful, moist whole wheat bread. You can’t hurry the oatmeal, though, it must cool or you’ll kill the yeast.

1 1/2 cups water,
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup oil, corn or canola
2 eggs
1/2 cup honey
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 cups whole wheat flour
1 pkg active dry yeast mixed in 1/4 cup water
2 heaping Tbsp vital wheat gluten

In a saucepan, bring water and oats to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and put in a large bowl; cool to 110°-115°.
To oat mixture, add eggs, honey, oil, salt, yeast, vital wheat gluten, and half the flour; mix well. Add enough remaining flour to form soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes.
Place in a greased bowl; turn once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down and divide into half; shape each piece into a loaf. Place in two greased 8 x 4 loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, 45-90 minutes.
Bake at 375° for 35-40 minutes. Brush tops with butter if desired. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Sweet Milk Doughnuts


These are different from the doughnut recipe on page 31 of the study guide.  Those on page 31 are raised doughnuts that require yeast.  These are cake doughnuts that do not have to rise.  The name “sweet milk” means that they use fresh milk, not sour milk like buttermilk.
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup milk
4 1/2 cups flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Oil for frying
Beat eggs and sugar in a large bowl.  Add vanilla, butter, and milk.  Sift flour, salt, spices and baking powder in an bowl; add to egg mixture and mix well.
Start oil heating in a sauce pan, two inches deep.  Heat the oil over medium heat. 
Roll the dough to 1/3 inch thick.  Cut for doughnuts and check the temperature of the oil.  The oil should 375°F.  (If you don’t have a thermometer, try dropping a single drop of water in the oil.  Stand back, if the oil is hot enough to fry the doughnuts, the water will pop).  Drop the doughnuts into the oil one or two at a time.  Fry until light browned on both sides.  Serve plain or roll in powdered sugar.

Teetotaler Mincemeat

Here is the complete, correct recipe for mincemeat!
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 pound ground pork or beef
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tart apples, chopped
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup ground suet* (or shortening)
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 pound raisins

Mix all ingredients together, bring to boil, and then simmer on low heat for 30 to 45 minutes.  Remove from heat, cool and refrigerate.  The flavors “mingle” the longer it sets, so plan to let this to set awhile before using it.  Chapter 20 calls for mincemeat pie, so keep your mincemeat refrigerated and plan to use it when you get to Chapter 20, or freeze it for a later time.   Mincemeat should be checked during storage to prevent dryness.  If it looks dry after it has been stirred, add a peeled, grated apple, or 3 Tablespoons of apple juice concentrate. Refrigerate for use in Chapter 20.

*Suet is the fat from the area around the kidneys of cows and sheep.  Many supermarkets will give you “suet” that really isn’t suet, just fat from other parts of the beast, for feeding birds.  Make sure your butcher knows you’re making mincemeat!  If you feel you just can’t use suet, shortening or butter has a similar melting point, but it will change the flavor and character.

Mincemeat Cookies

We make mincemeat in the Just Across My Fence study guide. It’s in Chapter 16, on page 91 of the guide. For the study, we need to save some of the mincemeat for a pie in Chapter 20, but you should have enough left over to try this recipe too!

1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 pint mincemeat
4 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a large bowl, cream together shortening and sugar. Stir in eggs and mincemeat. Add dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Drop the batter by rounded spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake 4 minutes, then flatten cookies slightly with a wooden spoon or spatula. Cook 4-5 minutes more. Let cool on cookie sheet a few minutes before removing to wire cooling racks. Makes 4 dozen.