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Morning Sun
  • Fall: The season of ginger, cinnamon and molasses

  • She finally self-published a 53-page cookbook in the 1970s, “From Field to Table... (A Collection of Original Zoar Recipes).” All of these were from her personal recipe box, handed down for more than 100 years by her family. She termed the book a “hopeful effort.”

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  • On cool fall afternoons, I’d sneak down to Zoar, Ohio, with my reporter’s notebook for a visit at Hilda Morhart’s old house. She’d offer me a high stool in her kitchen as she rolled out her Old German baked goods. The room would fill with intoxicating aromas.
    Hilda always was good for story leads — she knew everything happening down there — but she resisted “personal publicity.”
    She finally self-published a 53-page cookbook in the 1970s, “From Field to Table... (A Collection of Original Zoar Recipes).” All of these were from her personal recipe box, handed down for more than 100 years by her family. She termed the book a “hopeful effort.”
    Hilda was too humble to take any credit. She insisted the credit line read “Compiled by Hilda Dischinger-Morhart.” Her friend, Edna Bimeler Lueking, offered glimpses of old Zoar through pen and ink drawings.
    The small book is filled with legendary foods harking back to when Zoar was a commune of German Separatists who fled Europe to seek religious freedom. You’ll find the simple recipe for ginger cookies that made my taste buds smile.
    Hilda collected recipes and tips. She suggested adding chopped celery to cottage cheese, a big improvement. If you use baking soda, dissolve it first in milk, and it works much better.
    One item she always had in her refrigerator was a ball of raw dough called Hefeteig. She’d cut off portions as needed for two dinner rolls or perhaps a small loaf of toast bread.
    Hefeteig (yeast dough)
    1 cup milk
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 tablespoon salt
    1 cake compressed yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast)
    1 cup lukewarm water
    6 cups sifted flour
    6 tablespoons melted shortening
    Scald milk and add sugar and salt. Cool to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water and add to milk. Add 3 cups flour and beat until smooth. Add shortening and remaining flour. Knead well. Place in a greased bowl and cover. Set in a warm place away from drafts. Let rise until doubled, about three hours.
    It may be shaped into twists, braids or buns and baked at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
    Ingwer Kuchelchen (ginger cookies)
    1 pound brown sugar
    1/2 pound shortening mixed with 1/2 pound butter or margarine
    1 quart molasses
    6 1/3 cups flour (more if needed)
    1 1/2 tablespoons ginger
    2 tablespoons cinnamon
    1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
    2 teaspoons baking soda, dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
    1 cup milk
    Cream together sugar and butter-shortening mixture. Stir in molasses. Add flour and spices. Add baking soda in warm water. Stir until combined. Chill overnight.
    Roll out dough as thinly as possible on pastry board. Cut with cookie cutters and place on cookie sheets. Brush the cookies with the milk. Bake each batch for 10-12 minutes at 300 degrees.
    Page 2 of 2 - Note: Baking on parchment paper prevents scorching.
    Meat-Filled Peppers
    6 green peppers
    1 1/2 pound ground beef
    1 cup rice, cooked
    2 eggs, beaten
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 can condensed tomato soup
    1/2 cup water
    Remove pepper stems and seeds. Drop in boiling, salted water to cover and simmer 5 minutes. Remove, turn upside down to drain. Fill peppers with mixture of meat, rice, eggs and salt, piling high. Add water to tomato soup and place a teaspoon over each pepper. Pour remaining liquid around peppers. Bake at 350 degrees about 45 minutes.
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