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Cupcakes, monster bars

By Staff | Aug 26, 2016

MARDY SCHAEFER cuts into a pan of monster bars. She likes to add M&Ms to the recipe with colors that represent the time. She added red, white and blue candies to this pan of bars because of the Olympics.

LATIMER – When Mardy Schaefer first started collecting recipes, she saved them in a file box.

As her recipe collection grew, she eventually graduated to a three-ring binder when the file box could no longer hold them.

She is now on her second three-ring binder after filling her first one.

Her sources for most of her recipes are farm publications, including Farm News, she said.

She will clip a recipe from a publication sometimes before her husband, A.J., reads it. Occasionally, A.J. will start reading a magazine article only to find he can’t finish it because his wife cut out the recipe that was on the back side of the page.

IT’S EASY to see why Mardy Schaefer’s cream-filled cupcakes are a favorite.

Schaefer, who has taught elementary classes for more than 30 years in the CAL Community School District, said her classroom habits show up in her kitchen, where the family raises corn, soybeans and hogs.

Her binders of recipes are carefully organized and often include comments such as “Good” and “Excellent” in the same way a teacher grades student’s papers.

But it is when her three granddaughters arrive during holidays and each summer that Schaefer enjoys the most, as she is both grandmother and teacher.

“When are we going to bake, Nana?” is the question she waits to be asked by Isabella, 6; Eva, 6; and Teagan, 4.

“I’ve got the kitchen stocked up when they arrive,” Schaefer said.

MARDY SCHAEFER has two three-ring binders of recipes she clips from magazines and Farm News.

But before they start baking, grandmother and granddaughters put on their matching polka dot aprons that have been waiting since the last visit.

Their kitchen specialties are monster bars, cookies and muffins.

Schaefer grew up on a family farm in Franklin County near Sheffield. She and A.J. Schaefer met while they were students at Iowa State University.

Her parents were Albert and Gretchen Moehle. Her mother lives by herself in her home in Sheffield at age 93.

Schaefer said her mother taught her to bake. Now, Schaefer bakes for her mother.

MARDY SCHAEFER’S cream-filled cupcakes are a favorite of the students and faculty at CAL Community School District where she teaches.

“Every Saturday we made Hershey bar brownies,” Schaefer said.

Besides her three-ring binder, Schaefer uses archives on the Farm News website to search for recipes.

She said she likes the Farm News recipe pages because she feels like she gets to know the cooks she reads about.

She recently made a peach dessert for her mother’s card club that she located from a previous Farm Cook story.

Her favorite Farm News recipes are:

  • Monster bars from a 2015 Farm Cook feature with Chelsey Henkenius of Lake City.
  • A chicken casserole recipe from the March 21, 2014 feature on Deb Van Bruggen, of Hospers.
  • Helen Huitink’s recipe for peppermint ice cream dessert, printed Dec 9, 2011.

MARDY SCHAEFER said she likes recipes she can cook and freeze, such as this chicken casserole.

“I love to bake,” Schaefer said.

The HoHo bars and almond cookies are recipes she frequently makes for her mother.

Baking allows her to freeze food she can later thaw and serve to family, her students and faculty at the CAL school and community gatherings.

She said she always has two or three casseroles in the freezer waiting for the next occasion.

“There is always an opportunity to take things in a small community,” she said. “I always have treats in the freezer.”

When visiting her children and grandchildren in Texas and South Carolina, she makes meals for them that are frozen to be used at a future date by thawing and serving.

Cream-filled cupcakes

2 eggs

2 cups sugar

2 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda, with 1 cup hot water

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup oil

1/3 cup cocoa

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk

Mix all the above.

Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cool completely

Cream filling:

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup milk

1 tablespoon water

1/4 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup Crisco

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix filling well.

Add 1 cup powdered sugar. Beat for 5 minutes.

Fill cake decorator and squirt filling into cupcakes.

Can be frosted.

Pillow-soft almond sugar cookies

Yield: 36 to 40 cookies.

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup butter (cold)

1 tablespoon corn starch

2/3 cup shortening (room temp)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

Coarse sugar for rolling dough balls

2 teaspoons almond extract

2 3/4 cups cake flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Cream sugar, butter and shortening. Stir in eggs and almond extract.

Combine flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt and add to butter/egg mixture.

Use electric mixer to ensure dough is thoroughly combined.

Chill dough in fridge for at least 30 minutes. Working in batches, roll 2 teaspoons of dough into a ball and roll in raw sugar.

Place on pan about 1-inch apart. Return unused dough to refrigerator between baking batches.

Bake cookies for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and gently press rounded tops of cookies flat with back of a spoon while the cookies are still warm and pliable.

Allow cookies to cool on pan for 1 minute.

Transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.

Caramel apple salad

1 8-ounce package whipped topping, thawed

1 package instant butterscotch pudding mix, dry

1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple with juice

3 cups apples, diced

1 cup pecans, chopped

1 cup miniature marshmallows

Mix whipped topping with dry pudding mix and pineapple with juice.

Stir in remaining ingredients.

Mix well. Refrigerate.

Crunch apple

and grape salad

Fruit dressing:

1 cup honey vanilla Greek Yogurt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 stalk celery, diced

1/2 cup sour cream

Juice from one-half lemon

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Fruit and nuts:

4 apples (your choice), cored and diced

1 pear, cored and diced

2 cups seedless grapes, halved

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup slivered almonds

Combine dressing and refrigerate.

Prepare fruit and nuts in a large bowl.

Pour dressing over fruit and stir gently to combine.

Serve immediately.

HoHo bars

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup oil

1 cup water

3 tablespoons cocoa

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

1/2 cup buttermilk

Beat the first seven ingredients together.

Add eggs and buttermilk.

Spread in a sprayed jelly roll pan.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cool for one hour.

Filling:

1 cup sugar

1 cup Crisco

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon water

1 cup powdered sugar

Beat everything but powdered sugar for 5 minutes on high speed.

Add powdered sugar; beat well.

Spread on cooled cake.

Frosting:

1 cup sugar

6 tablespoon milk

6 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

Boil sugar, milk, and butter together for one minute.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread on top of filling.

DO NOT USE THE FOLLOWING THREE RECIPES UNLESS THEY’RE REALLY NEEDED

Monster bars

2 cups oatmeal

1 cup brown sugar

1 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 C. melted butter, not softened

Combine dry ingredients and mix in melted butter. Reserve 1 cup of this mixture and pat into remainder into 9X13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes.

Combine:

1 can sweetened condensed milk

cup peanut butter

Pour over crust when it comes out of the oven. Sprinkle on 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup of M&Ms. Top with reserved oatmeal mixture and pat down gently. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Chicken casserole

1 large onion

1 large bell pepper, chopped

Vegetable cooking spray

2 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts

1 10-oz can fat-free cream of chicken soup

1 10-oz can fat-free cream of mushroom soup

1 10-oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies

1 teaspoon chili powder

teaspoon pepper

teaspoon garlic powder

12 6-inch corn tortillas

1 8-oz block reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded

Saute the onion and the bell pepper in a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium high heat for 5 minutes or until desired tenderness.

Stir in the chicken and the next six ingredients. Remove from heat.

Tear tortillas into 1-inch pieces; layer 1/3 tortilla pieces in the bottom of a 9X13 inch baking dish, coated with cooking spray.

Use 1/3 of the chicken mixture and pour over the top, then sprinkle on 1/3 of the grated cheese

Repeat and this makes 2 layers.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes until bubbly.

Peppermint ice cream dessert

Layer the following in a 9-by-13-inch pan.

Layer 1: Mix 20 crushed Oreos with 1/2 cup butter and press into pan.Freeze.

Layer 2: Layer 1/2 gallon peppermint stick ice cream over Oreos. Freeze.

Layer 3: Spread 1 can fudge topping over ice cream layer. Freeze.

Layer 4: Cover topping with 1 8-ounce container of Cool Whip.

Layer 5: Sprinkle with Hershey’s chocolate curls.

6 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips

Boil sugar, milk, and butter together for one minute.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Spread on top of filling.

DO NOT USE THE FOLLOWING THREE RECIPES UNLESS THEY’RE REALLY NEEDED

Monster bars

2 cups oatmeal

1 cup brown sugar

1 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1 C. melted butter, not softened

Combine dry ingredients and mix in melted butter. Reserve 1 cup of this mixture and pat into remainder into 9X13 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 9 minutes.

Combine:

1 can sweetened condensed milk

cup peanut butter

Pour over crust when it comes out of the oven. Sprinkle on 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup of M&Ms. Top with reserved oatmeal mixture and pat down gently. Bake 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

Chicken casserole

1 large onion

1 large bell pepper, chopped

Vegetable cooking spray

2 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts

1 10-oz can fat-free cream of chicken soup

1 10-oz can fat-free cream of mushroom soup

1 10-oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies

1 teaspoon chili powder

teaspoon pepper

teaspoon garlic powder

12 6-inch corn tortillas

1 8-oz block reduced fat cheddar cheese, shredded

Saute the onion and the bell pepper in a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium high heat for 5 minutes or until desired tenderness.

Stir in the chicken and the next six ingredients. Remove from heat.

Tear tortillas into 1-inch pieces; layer 1/3 tortilla pieces in the bottom of a 9X13 inch baking dish, coated with cooking spray.

Use 1/3 of the chicken mixture and pour over the top, then sprinkle on 1/3 of the grated cheese

Repeat and this makes 2 layers.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes until bubbly.

Peppermint ice cream dessert

Layer the following in a 9-by-13-inch pan.

Layer 1: Mix 20 crushed Oreos with 1/2 cup butter and press into pan.Freeze.

Layer 2: Layer 1/2 gallon peppermint stick ice cream over Oreos. Freeze.

Layer 3: Spread 1 can fudge topping over ice cream layer. Freeze.

Layer 4: Cover topping with 1 8-ounce container of Cool Whip.

Layer 5: Sprinkle with Hershey’s chocolate curls.

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