Grandma’s Egg Noodles

“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps, the end of the beginning.” — Winston Churchill This quote has always stuck in my head. Going back over how Grandma lived her life, I think that this is how she greeted each day. We’re going to work through parts of one of the sacred dishes Grandma Furnish was known for: “Chicken and Noodles.” But we’re going to do this in small steps and you can hold my hand, and we’ll do this together. Everyone would wait in anticipation during holiday meals or family meals for Chicken and Noodles. I can remember this dish from way back when we’d have it at Grandma’s house…chicken fresh from the coup, noodles so fine they were like hair. One of my favorite memories is when an old laying hen would be used for dinner, the egg sack would get cooked along with the chicken and the tiny little egg yolks, now hard boiled, would be added to the dish. When Grandma would make noodles, she would never measure flour…she’d mark the amount of noodles she was making by the number of eggs she’d use for the batch. Her trusty glass Kitchen-Aid mixing bowl would always be filled with the right amount of flour. Then a well would be made in the center and the lightly beaten eggs would be added. You’d mix the eggs with a fork pulling in the flour as you go until a perfect dough formed. After a bit of kneading  out would come the rolling pin, and after cutting the... read more

Grandma Furnish’s Mashed Potato Candy

No one takes me serious when I tell them about this candy. My Grandma made this every year for me and my brother. And yes, it really is made with a potato.  This is one of Grandma’s unwritten recipes, although I’m sure someone out there has a written down version. Its extremely easy, and always starts a conversation. You should try it, I’m betting it’ll be a favorite of yours too. Grandma Furnish’s Mashed Potato Candy 1 medium potato, baked in the microwave 1 tablespoon butter dash salt 2 pounds powdered sugar (this is an estimate, you’ll add the sugar till the texture is right. A wet potato will take more) 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut 1/4 cup pecans (I like to crush mine, Grandma always left hers whole) 1 package of chocolate coating Cut the baked potato open and scoop out the flesh into a mixer bowl. Add butter and salt. Mash until smooth. Begin adding powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time. At the beginning the potato will liquefy; but as you add more sugar the mixture will form a soft dough. The final dough texture should be soft but not sticky or gooey. Add the coconut and pecans and mix until blended. Form the dough into two logs and tightly wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator until completely cold and firm. Melt the chocolate coating. At this point, you can coat the logs whole, but I like to cut them in half because the little logs coated in chocolate look just like it’s namesake…the potato. Coat them in steps, starting with the bottom,  placing the candy... read more

Grandma’s Favorite Unwritten Recipes

Some of Grandma’s favorite dishes are recipes that weren’t written down, or that were so well known that no recipe was needed. I’ll toss in a few of those as I can, starting with one of her favorite make ahead dishes. This one is incredibly simple but does requires a little bit of planning. A few weeks before any holiday meal, Grandma would fix this up in a Tupperware storage container and stash it in the back of the fridge to wait out the event. Occasionally, we’d forget they were there and they’d not make an appearance at the meal, but Grandma didn’t care…these were her favorites, she loved to eat them anytime. She’d have her own canned pickled beets ready when she needed them; but if you’re not gardening or canning, store bought are just as nice. And from experience…don’t wear a white shirt when you dish these up…as much as you might try, you’re bound to get a splash somewhere. And now would be the time to stash these beauties in the fridge, and they’ll be ready for Christmas dinner. You’ll be able to tell how long they soaked by how far into the interior of the eggs the beet juice has worked itself. Pickled Beets and Eggs 6 hardboiled eggs, peeled 2-3 cans of pickled beets (about a quart of beets and juice) Layer the beets and eggs in a tight lidded container, beginning and ending with beets. Don’t drain the beets, adding all the juice is important to get the eggs to turn a brilliant scarlet color. Mix the container on a daily basis, because any eggs... read more

Grandma Furnish’s Texas Sheet Cake

This recipe was another you could always count on seeing at any holiday gathering. It is really easy to make and very delicious. Make sure you follow the directions and put the icing on the cake while it’s still hot. The icing melts down into the top of the cake and makes it extra moist. Once its cool, you can cut it into squares or bars. Grandma Furnish’s Texas Sheet Cake Prepare one jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides) by greasing and flouring, set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together: 2 cups sifted flour 1 tsp cinnamon 2 tsp baking soda Add: 2 cups sugar Bring to boil: 2 sticks margarine or butter 2 tablespoons cocoa 1 cup water Pour into the dry ingredients and mix. Then add: 2 eggs Mix well and add: 1/2 cup buttermilk Mix the batter well (about two minutes) and pour into prepared jelly roll pan. Bake for 15 minutes or until cake springs back in the center. Prepare the following icing while the cake is baking and pour over the top of the cake as soon as it comes out of the oven. Bring to a boil: 1 stick of margarine or butter 4 tablespoons cocoa 6 tablespoons buttermilk Add 1 pound of confectioners sugar and one cup of chopped nuts, stirring until... read more

Grandma Furnish’s Divinity

Another Holiday favorite of mine was Grandma’s Divinity. Fluffy white clouds of sweet goodness, its truely divine. This one is a little tricky to make, the humidity has to be low, and I’m assuming this is why we only enjoyed it during Christmas. You can add any kind of nuts you like to the candy. My favorite is pecan, but I can remember Grandma used walnuts in hers. Grandma Furnish’s Divinity 2 cups sugar 1/2 cup white corn syrup 1/2 cup hot water dash salt Cook this to a hard ball stage. While the syrup is coming to temperature beat 2 egg whites until foamy. When your syrup is to temperature, turn the mixer back on (this is definately one for a stand mixer unless you’re ultra coordinated) and slowly add the syrup to the egg white foam. Beat until dry looking (stiff peaks). Then add: 1 tsp vanilla nuts, chopped Spoon onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, and allow to dry in open air, turning over once to make sure the bottom is also dry. Once dry, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate.... read more

Grandma Furnish’s Oven Carmel Corn

Nothing says fall like carmel corn. Another one of Grandma’s great recipes, this one is part fun and part science. Here’s a clue to get started: You’ll need 1 1/8 cup of unpopped corn to make 9 quarts. Read through the recipe and get all your ingredients ready before you start because candy making runs on its own schedule. When you have the sugar to the right temperature, you have no time to run to the cabinet and get the rest of what you’ll need. Also, a tip from Grandma is that you run your baking soda through a sieve to get rid of any lumps (you can measure it into a bowl and mash it good with a spoon to do the same thing). Enjoy! Grandma Furnish’s Oven Carmel Corn Pop enough corn to measure 9 quarts. Place on two cookie sheets in the oven set to 275 degrees to dry and heat. Boil to hard ball the following ingredients: 2 cups brown sugar 1/2 cup white corn syrup 1/4 cup water 1 cup or 2 sticks of oleo (that’s margarine for us younger folks) pinch of Cream of Tartar 3/4 tsp salt Turn off heat and add: 1 tsp vanilla 1 1/2 tsp baking soda Stir well and quickly and add to warm popped corn. Stir until well covered and put back on two cookie sheets in oven at 275 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove and cool. As it cools it will crisp. Love you,... read more

Grandma Furnish’s Peanut Brittle

This is one of my favorite recipes from Grandma. Her peanut brittle is like nothing you’ve ever had…tender, light and melts in your mouth. I’ve made it many times for my friends and they all agree its the best brittle recipe they’ve ever tried. You can substitute almonds, cashews, walnuts or pecans instead of the peanuts, but you have to make sure they are raw. If they are already roasted they will burn before the brittle is ready to dump. As with all candy recipes using sugar syrup, have all your ingredients ready BEFORE you start. You can’t go grab the rest of your ingredients out of the cabinet when you’re syrup is at temperature or you’ll be very sorry and end up with a burnt mess. A tip from Grandma is that you run your baking soda through a sieve to get rid of any lumps (you can measure it into a bowl and mash it good with a spoon to do the same thing). Also, Grandma always reminded me….don’t burn yourself. Grandma Furnish’s Original Peanut Brittle 2 cups white sugar 1/2 cup white corn syrup 1/2 cup water Cook these ingredients to a hard ball. Then add: 2 tablespoons butter 1 pound raw peanuts dash salt Cook and stir until it turns light brown (golden). Remove from fire, add the following: 2 tsp vanilla 3 tsp baking soda Quickly stir and pour on the 2 buttered cookie sheets. As soon as you can touch the edges, stretch the candy as thin as you can using two forks (assistance is best here…get a friend to help). I usually butter... read more

Grandma’s Recipes

I’ve promised this for a while now. Last Thanksgiving, Grandma sat down with me after we cleaned up from dinner and went through her recipes. I took pictures of all the recipes she said were her favorites. Some were hers and some were from her friends and family. So we’ll work our way through them and I’ll post them here under drucooks. Happy Holidays, Dru P.S. Love you Grandma…miss you... read more