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Sweet farm home baking

By Staff | May 8, 2009

Donna Wolf has been cooking for her farm family for more than 50 years. Wolf gets many of her recipes from church cook books like these speedy brownies, chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal raisin cookies.

HAMPTON – As spring arrives, Donna Wolf’s kitchen is looking like a small restaurant with customers coming and going all day long.

The Franklin County farm outside Hampton employees several hired hands. These are Wolf’s “customers” who know that break time on the farm means coffee and treats throughout the day.

“I do a lot of baking,” Wolf said. “We have coffee at 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. for the guys. You have to have a cookie with coffee.” Even if no one else is on the farm, Wolf and her husband of 50 years Morrie still partake in the routine.

Wolf said chocolate chip cookies are always winners. She’s been told her speedy brownies are so delectable one wants to savor each morsel. Oatmeal raisin cookies are also a favorite at the Wolf household.

“I make the brownies for my grandson because they are so quick,” Wolf said. “I sent him back to college with three kinds of cookies last week. The kids love it when he goes back” after visiting home.

The butterscotch bars are just one of many sugary creations Wolf makes. On the Wolf farm, located northeast of Hampton, farm hands enjoy coffee breaks at 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. These breaks are always accompanied with a treat.

Wolf also perfected the art of making pies from scratch, including the crust, a family recipe from her mother. During the summer, Wolf heads a few miles down the road to her daughter’s house to collect apples from a tree for apple pies.

“With all of the apples it takes two to three days before we’re done baking,” Wolf said. With Morrie’s help, and an apple peeler, the work is finished more quickly. “I just use cinnamon, flour and sugar. I still use lard for the crust. Nothing else makes it as flaky.”

Wolf should know. Each year her church, First Congregational, conducts its biggest fundraiser: a pie sale.

“We make 65 pies and get ’em all sold,” Wolf said. “We all make them together in the church basement.”

Wolf continued by describing an assembly line of pie makers – one woman beats the eggs, one cuts up the fruit, one creates the crust, and so forth. The ladies make apple and rhubarb pies in one day. The pies are then sent to the freezer until the sale.

Wolf cuts into a freshly baked sage meatloaf which is a lunch dish she makes for the farm's employees, herself and her husband Morrie.

“We have so much fun,” Wolf said, “but, boy, you’re tired when you’re done.”

When ask if she had ever considered entering her cookies and pies at the Iowa State Fair, she exclaimed, “Heavens no.” She added, with a laugh. “I would be a wreck waiting for the results. Baking at home is much more fun and less stressful.”

Speedy brownies

2 cups of sugar

1 3/4 cups flour

A meal fit for farmers — sage meatloaf, salad and peas.

1/2 cup of cocoa

1 teaspoon of salt

5 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl, combine the first several ingredients. Beat until smooth. Pour into a greased 13×9 baking pan. Sprinkle with one cup of chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 32 minutes. These carry well as there is no frosting.

Oatmeal raisin cookies

1/2 cup of oleo and 1/2 cup of Crisco

1 cup of white sugar

2 eggs

5 tablespoons raisin water (Put raisins in water and let soak for an hour.)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups of quick oatmeal

Cream shortening and sugar. Beat eggs until fluffy. Add raisin water and alternate adding the first mixture with flour. Add oatmeal and well-drained raisins. Drop by big spoonfuls on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

One can cook a large batch and freeze extras. Wolf said they freeze well.

Raspberry salad

1 large box of raspberry Jell-o

1 cup of whole cranberry sauce

1 cup chopped nuts

2 1/2 cups of boiling water

1 1/2 cup of diced celery

2-quart mold or 9-by-9-inch pan

Pour 2 1/2 cups of boiling water to dissolve Jell-o. Chill. Before setting, stir in the cranberry sauce, celery and nuts. Chill until firm.

Pork chops and stuffing

4 pork chops

3 cups of soft bread crumbs

Onions (to taste)

1/4 cup of melted butter

1/4 cup of water

1/8 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1/4 teaspoon sage

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown chops on both sides. Place in shallow baking pan. Lightly mix together bread, butter, 1/4 cup of water, onion and seasoning. Place a mound of stuffing on each chop. Blend soup with a cup of water. Pour over chops. Bake for one hour.

Sage meatloaf

1 egg beaten

2/3 cup of milk

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup crushed saltines

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 pounds ground beef

Topping:

1/4 cup ketchup

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground mustard

Mix first eight ingredients in a large bowl. Shape into a loaf. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

Contact Lindsey Ory by e-mail at lindsey.ory@hotmail.com.

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