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‘It’s all good’

By Staff | Oct 21, 2011

Saturdays are baking days for Grace Hartog, of Sanborn, who is compiling a cookbook of her favorite recipes for her family.

By Darcy

Dougherty MaulsbY

Farm News staff writer

SANBORN – Just as surely as farm trucks and wagons filled with grain arrive regularly at the Hartog Elevator, so does Grace Hartog, 92, who has brought homemade treats to the elevator since 1945.

“I fix whatever I feel like, whether it’s caramel bars or monkey bread,” said Hartog, Sanborn’s well-known “Lunch Lady,” who enjoys baking for the crew at the elevator, which has been owned by the Hartog family since 1937.

These cream puffs include simple ingredients, such as vanilla pudding in the filling.

This “morning lunch,” which Hartog has provided in some form since 1945 after she married co-owner Cornie Hartog in 1945, may include cream puffs, almond bars or other favorites.

“It’s all good,” said Richard Postma, one of the truck drivers who works at the Hartog Elevator.

“I don’t use cheap stuff in my cooking,” noted Hartog. “You want to use high-quality ingredients.”

Her time-honored recipes feature hand-written notations like “very good!” and “kids like it.”

Hartog began fine-tuning her culinary skills when she was growing up on a farm near Hull, where her mother, Theodora, would bake five loaves of bread each day to feed her large family.

Grace Hartog’s famous caramel bars are always a favorite treat at the Hartog Elevator.

“I did a lot of cooking to help out,” said Hartog, who graduated from high school in 1937.

Although she worked as a teacher at the local Christian school in Sanborn and was a bookkeeper at the elevator, which is now managed by her son, Curt Hartog, she always made time to bake special treats for her family and the elevator employees.

She also enjoys cooking the main dish when her family gets together the second Sunday of every month.

While feeding 49 people might be daunting for a less experienced cook, it’s no problem for Hartog, who is compiling a cookbook for her family.

“My health is good, so I plan to keep on going. I keep finding new recipes I want to try.”

Grace Hartog, who delivers morning lunch each day at the Hartog Elevator, visits with employee Susan Larson, who weighs all the trucks that deliver grain to the elevator.

Grace’s Famous Caramel Bars

(These treats are always a favorite at the Hartog Elevator, Hartog said.)

1 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

1/4 teaspoon salt

“I don’t use cheap stuff in my cooking. You want to use high-quality ingredients.” —Grace Hartog Sanborn

1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 sticks margarine, melted

1 bag of caramels

1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Combine flour, oatmeal, salt, brown sugar, baking soda and margarine. Reserve one cup of the mixture for a crumb topping.

Press remaining mixture in a 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Melt caramels with milk in the microwave. Pour caramel mixture over the baked layer. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the caramel layer.

Sprinkle reserved crumb topping over the chocolate chips. Bake for an additional 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and cut into bars.

Pizza casserole

(Hartog said she often triples this recipe when her family gets together for Sunday dinner.)

2 pounds hamburger

1 onion, chopped

2 cans tomato soup

2 cans cream of celery soup

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 package egg noodles

Mozzarella cheese

Brown the hamburger. Add onion and both kind of soups. Boil noodles until done and drain.

Combine hamburger, onion and soup mixture, noodles and oregano and pour into a 9-by-13-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Top with mozzarella cheese after removing casserole from the oven.

Cream puffs

1 stick of butter

1 cup water

1 cup flour

4 eggs


3 cups milk

2 3.4-ounce packages instant vanilla pudding

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup of whipped cream or Cool Whip

Bring butter and water to boil in a pan on the stovetop. Add 1 cup flour. Dough will form into a ball.

Add four eggs one at a time. Stir each egg into the mixture. Using a large tablespoon, drop each cream puff onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Bake 30 minutes more at 350 degrees. (Never open the oven door while the cream puffs are baking.)

To make the filling, combine the milk, pudding and vanilla extract. Add whipped cream.

Cut each baked cream puff in half. Use a tablespoon to insert a dollop of filling in each cream puff. Replace the top of each cream puff.

Almond bars

(Saturdays are baking days for Hartog, who enjoys making these bars.)

1 cup margarine

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

4 egg yolks

2 cups granulated sugar

2 tablespoons almond flavoring

1/2 cup flour

1 / 2 cup milk

Combine margarine, flour, baking powder, salt and milk.

Press half of the dough in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch pan. Roll out the remaining dough and set aside.

Combine egg yolks, sugar, almond flavoring, flour and milk. Place this filling on top of the dough in the pan.

Top with rolled out dough. Sprinkle the dough with granulated sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Yields 24 bars.

Monkey bread

(Hartog said she adapted this tasty recipe from one shared by her former neighbor, Sadie Buteyn.)

4 cans biscuit dough

Sugar and cinnamon mixture (add the amount of cinnamon you prefer.)

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup vanilla ice cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup butter

Cut each biscuit into four pieces. Roll pieces in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Place biscuit dough in a greased 9-by-13-inch pan. To make the caramel mixture, combine the granulated sugar, brown sugar, ice cream, vanilla extract and butter.

Bring to a boil. (Hartog completes this step in her microwave.) Pour caramel mixture over the biscuit dough. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Chicken on Sunday

1 cup rice (uncooked)

1 can cream of celery soup

1 can cream of mushroom soup

2 broiler chickens, cut up

About half a bag of potato chips, crushed

Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan. Sprinkle rice on the bottom of the pan.

Combine milk, cream of celery soup and cream of mushroom soup. Pour mixture over rice.

Lay chicken pieces on top. Sprinkle with crushed potato chips. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

You can contact Darcy Dougherty Maulsby by e-mail at yettergirl@yahoo.com.

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