Bessie’s Blue Ribbon Cider Basted Apple Dumplings

apple dumplings - The vintage cook

Fresh Apples are wrapped in a home-made dough, baked and then covered in a delicious apple cider syrup!


It was during the Christmas season. The year was 1977. Ron and I had been dating and he wanted to introduce me to his very special Grandparents “Pop and Mom-Mom.” He was addicted to his Grandmothers delicious cooking and recounted to me all of her specialties. His favorite were her Sour Cream Cookies.

The day finally came when I would meet The Mrs. Mom-Mom Bessie Potteiger. She had prepared a special meal for us. I already felt a warmth and familiarity before we arrived.

When the front door opened and Mom-Mom saw Ron, she had this love light in her eyes.  She put her hands on his face and then hugged him.  He was 29-years-old at the time. I was so impressed by his affection towards his Grandmother, and her to him, that she must surely be a wonderful lady.  OMG!  THAT was one of the most beautiful and emotional moments I ever saw.

The “little old lady type” did NOT describe Mom-Mom. She was up-to-date with her fashion, a sharp dresser, every hair in place, with manicured fingernails. We immediately bonded over the topic of cooking.

Mom-Mom Bessie  had such a loving and generous way about her. We spent time in the kitchen together over the years. She shared with me the process of her favorite dishes, such as Fasnachts, Apple Dumplings and even her Holiday Potato Filling. I cherish these memories. I just LOVED that lady!

She made the BEST apple dumplings. She had no measurements and just “dumped” the ingredients. These apple dumplings are the closest I could get to hers. This recipe earned a Blue Ribbon in the Just A Pinch Recipe Club.

apple dumplings - The Vintage Cook



CONTRIBUTOR: Susan is a recent Pillsbury Bake-Off Finalist and skilled Home Cook. She grew up admiring her mother in the kitchen as she prepared dinner every night. She says it was like watching her very own private cooking show. During the turn of the century, her Great-Grandfather owned a confectionary store in Bethlehem, PA. He was famous for his homemade ice cream and pastries. Susan is the Designated Guardian of his handwritten recipe book! She is also a Community Cook for Taste of Home Magazine. We are grateful to have her at The Vintage Cook to share timeless classic family recipes.
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Pigs in a Blanket with Puff Pastry

Pigs in a Blanket Recipe - The Vintage Cook

An appetizer that doesn’t require dipping because the creamy flavorful dip is on the inside! These FANCY type pigs in a blanket are wrapped in puff pastry as opposed to the usual canned dough.

So what is The Junior League? To put it simply, it’s a women’s volunteer organization that has been around since 1901. There are various chapters in every state and local groups within each area. The Junior League are known for their compassion and commitment to community service. They also deserve some accolades for their publication of high quality cookbooks with lots of family recipes. I love them!

It was a mission of mine to have a JL cookbook from every SINGLE state. It’s like, Stamp Collecting, so fun!

Click on the book if you’d like to buy it!

Today’s feature is “Meet Us In The Kitchen” from The Junior League of St. Louis (Missouri). It’s a beautiful and barely vintage cookbook (2000) with some wonderful looking recipes. Pastel artwork on the cover is from a local artist.

I made the very first recipe in the book. It’s a gourmet version of an old favorite. The author of the recipe tells a story of how in the 1960’s her mother used straight pins in place of toothpicks to improvise. However, she didn’t get all the pins out before serving the piggies to her husband. Please do use toothpicks! (New Cook Note: Cooking toothpicks like wood or bamboo, not Plastic) Here is the great part, you don’t need to use toothpicks although I did stick some in after they were done baking. This is a fun party appetizer.

I hope you enjoy this easy appetizer recipe as much as we did. You can put your own spin on it too with different mix-ins to the cream cheese. We used a spicy ground mustard.

Pigs in a Blanket Recipe - The Vintage Cook

Thank you for stopping by!



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How To Make Homemade Caramel Apples with Video!

Level : Difficult- requires constant whisking and temperature monitoring.

Don’t you love the fall season? My favorite thing about autumn and all of the other seasons, is the change itself. Change is good. Change reminds us to stop and pause, notice where we are, where we’re going.

I’m a caramel apple freak. I have always loved the caramel with peanuts. When Mema and I were in Nashville and visited a little candy shop we were amazed at the coatings. From crushed Oreo cookies to mini-peanut butter cups, the possibilities are endless.

If you roam the grocery displays this time of year you might think the way to make caramel apples is to spend a half-hour unwrapping little squares. Well, you can, but… why bother when you can make a fresher tasting caramel with just a few ingredients? It’s buttery, gooey and makes your kitchen smell like a confectionery store. (more…)

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Perfect Snickerdoodle Recipe

What is a Snickerdoodle?

You might think a Snickerdoodle is simply a sugar cookie, dusted with cinnamon and sugar…Well not exactly. The one defining ingredient which differentiates it from its sister sugar cookie is Cream of Tartar. If it doesn’t have Cream of Tartar, it’s really just a sugar cookie rolled in cinnamon and sugar, not a Snickerdoodle. The origin is thought to be with the Pennsylvania Dutch. They said it’s from the German word Schneckennudeln (lit. “snail noodles”) but others claim it’s simply a New England cookie with a “fanciful name.”

Have you ever dipped your finger in some Cream of Tartar? It’s tart and has a similar taste of baking soda. Cream of Tartar is a natural substance that is derived from crystals that form in the casks during the fermentation process of grape juice. I think it’s safe to say, however, that Cream of Tartar is non-alcoholic! It will help to stabilize a baked good that contains egg whites.

I’ve tried a few recipes that claim to be the best, but every good vintage recipe can be better, and I hope that is what I’ve achieved here in my salute to the Snickerdoodle.

The Standard Ingredients

The original recipe I worked from is a typical one found in cookbooks and on-line. It calls for two eggs, which I thought left the cookie with too much of an egg-scented essence, so I removed one yolk and reduced the flour. There were also two teaspoons of Cream of Tartar, which I thought overpowered the overall cookie. It had an equal part butter and shortening component, which works well in some cookies but in this case the cookies were hard by the end of the day. I increased the shortening and decreased the butter to leave us with a soft center and butter crisp edge that is less greasy. A cookie that is too greasy is not suitable for dipping in tea or coffee!

Sugar Burns Faster

Finally, the instructions in most recipes say to roll the whole ball in cinnamon and sugar, but leaves the bottoms easily scorched because of the sugar. For best results, just roll the top part of the cookie in the sugar mixture. Here is what happens when you roll the whole ball in sugar.

I hope you will enjoy a little classic cookie flavor from the past.

Old-Fashioned Snickerdoodle Recipe

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Author: Vintage Cook


  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 egg white
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Cinnamon & Sugar Mixture

  • 3 Tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, cream together with a fork (or mixer on low speed) the shortening, softened butter, and extract until light in color. Slowly add in the sugar until all creamed together. Then add the egg and egg white until incorporated well. Set aside.
  • In another medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, salt, cream of tartar, and baking soda. With a spoon, gradually mix into the wet mix bowl. May use your hands to finish blending as it gets thick.
  • On plate, mix the 3 Tbs. sugar with cinnamon.
    With a cookie scoop, measure out equal Tablespoon-sized balls, and gently roll on one side into the sugar-cinnamon mixture. Place un-coated side down onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheet or baking mat. If you do not have parchment paper or a baking mat, lightly grease pan with Crisco shortening or cooking spray.
  • Bake for 8 minutes or until just golden. Let cool, and store in an air-tight container to keep soft. Special Note: Take them out a little bit before they start to golden. The centers will still be bubbling and you might think you are taking them out too soon, but they continue to cook once you remove them. AS soon as they are just cool, put them in an airtight container. This prevents them from getting hard.

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BreadsContests and WinsFavorite

Smokehouse Cranberry Cheese Bread

Smokehouse Cranberry Cheese Bread

This homemade Cranberry Cheese bread is for certain a WINNER. The texture is flaky and light. The flavor is smoky and cheesy with a little tart sweetness from the cranberries and pure maple syrup. This is the winning recipe from the 2015 National Festival of Breads and it was won by my friend Lisa Keys.

Lisa and I first became friends on facebook many years ago. We both belonged to Cooking Contest Central and have the mutual love for cooking contests. I suppose though I never really got to know Lisa until the tragic event of losing her only son, William. She began to journal the grieving process on her blog, Good Grief Cook. Not only did I get to know her a little better, I had the privilege of getting to know the heart of a very special young man who is now an Angel to many.

L to R: Ronna, Lanie, Patrice, Mary, Lisa
L to R: Ronna, Lanie, Patrice, Mary, Lisa

When Lisa was invited to Kansas to compete with this bread, she invited my husband and I to join her as guests. We drove to Manhattan, Kansas which is just an hour away. It was thrilling to watch her win. I also was able to meet a few other exceptional ladies I’d been wanting to meet too. Ronna Farley is also my sweet friend and she went on to win the contest in 2017.

More about Lisa. She is accomplished in everything she does. She has been successful in her 30-year career as a Physician Assistant and also as a competitive cook. She even won CHOPPED on Food Network! I admire her most on a personal level though. I think she represents STRENGTH, TENDERNESS, WISDOM and PATIENCE. I also TRUST her, especially with baking advice.

Let’s Bake this Bread. Did I mention the texture? It must be the tofu. Everything about this bread is wonderful. It’s simple and snazzy too.

Smokehouse Cranberry Cheese Bread

Lisa absolutely forbid me from “throwing in” the extra ounce of cheese from my block. Notice the recipe calls for 6 ounces not 7. She reminded me of the importance of weighing ingredients. She said I had to snack on that extra ounce. 🙂

For the Recipe and Video tutorial, click here. RECIPE 

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