Pioneer Recipes
July 1975

“Pioneer Recipes,” Friend, July 1975, 40

Pioneer Recipes

Buttermilk Doughnuts

2 cups buttermilk

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

3 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt


Combine ingredients, kneading in enough flour to make a soft dough that’s not too sticky. Roll out and cut into doughnuts. Fry in deep, hot lard. President Brigham Young enjoyed this pastry.

Apple Candy

2 tablespoons gelatin

1 1/4 cups cold applesauce

2 cups sugar

1 cup chopped nuts

1 tablespoon vanilla

Soak gelatin in 1/2 cup cold applesauce for 10 minutes. Combine remaining applesauce and sugar and boil 10 minutes. Add gelatin and applesauce mixture and boil 15 minutes longer, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add nuts and vanilla, and pour into slightly greased pan. Let set overnight in refrigerator. Then cut in squares and roll in powdered sugar.

Bread and Milk

Break whole wheat bread into bowl of milk. Stir in bits of crumbled cheese and cut green onion. Pieces of apple or little green grapes can be used instead of onions for variety. President Wilford Woodruff often fixed this dish.

Old-Fashioned Muffins

2 cups uncooked oatmeal

1 1/2 cups sour milk

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup melted shortening

1 well-beaten egg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup flour

Pour sour milk over oatmeal and allow to stand a few hours or overnight. Combine sugar, shortening, egg, and stir in oatmeal mixture. Sift together remaining dry ingredients and blend. Bake in greased muffin tins at 425° for 20 minutes.

Horseshoe Cookies

1 cup butter or margarine

1 cup shortening

4 cups flour

1 3/4 cup sugar

1 cup finely chopped almonds

1 tablespoon vanilla

Combine all ingredients then knead thoroughly. Form into horseshoe shapes and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 400° for 15 to 20 minutes. Roll in sugar.


3 cups cornmeal

1 cup flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons molasses

3 cups buttermilk

2 well-beaten eggs

Sift together dry ingredients. Slowly stir in molasses and buttermilk and mix well. Add beaten eggs and beat hard for two minutes. Pour into shallow, well-greased pans and bake at 400° for 30 minutes. A favorite dish of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

Washboard Cookies

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup shortening

2 eggs

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup boiling water

1 cup shredded coconut

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 1/2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Cream together sugars and shortening and beat in eggs. Dissolve soda in boiling water and add to above mixture. Blend in coconut and vanilla. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and blend into mixture. Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and flatten with fork. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes.

Toasted Spice Cake

2 1/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup shortening

2 cups brown sugar

2 separated eggs

1 teaspoon soda

1 1/4 cups sour milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup chopped nuts

Sift together flour, baking powder, spices, and salt. Cream shortening and gradually add 1 cup brown sugar and then add egg yolks in one brisk beating. Dissolve baking soda in sour milk and add alternately with flour mixture. Pour batter into an 8″ square pan.

For icing, beat 2 egg whites until stiff and gradually add 1 cup sifted brown sugar. Beat until mixture forms peaks. Add vanilla. Spread over batter and sprinkle 1/2 cup chopped nuts on top. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes.

Pioneer Hardtack

Hardtack is an old-fashioned flatbread or sea biscuit that was popular with pioneers and sailors because it was lightweight, compact, tasty, and stored well. And it is just as delicious today and handy, too, for hiking, backpacking, or snacking. Here is a recipe for hardtack:

4 cups flour (white, whole wheat, graham, rye, barley, or any combination of flours you like)

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup shortening

2 cups buttermilk, yogurt, cream, or sweet milk

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 400° and measure into large bowl.

2. Mix well and form dough into a ball, then divide dough and roll out a small portion (about the size of a tennis ball) at a time.

3. Roll dough on lightly floured surface as thin as you can. The thinner you roll it, the better the hardtack will taste.

4. Sprinkle rolled-out dough lightly with salt if you wish, cut to any shape desired, and place pieces close together on greased cookie sheet.

5. Bake until edges begin to brown. Remove cookie sheet from oven, turn hardtack over, and bake until it is crisp and dry and lightly browned.

6. As soon as the hardtack is baked, put on rack to cool. Store hardtack in airtight container, and it will stay fresh as long as it is kept dry.

This pioneer hardtack is delicious served plain or with jam, peanut butter, cheese, meat spreads, or whatever you like. Try seasoning the crackers by adding onion powder, cheese, barbecue sauce, bacon bits, herbs, or spices to the dough.