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Happy Holidays

Anne Mansfield’s
Off-the-Grid Ginger Puff Cookies

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Makes four dozen

  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1 cup sugar, plus more for dipping
  • 1 egg
  • 4 Tbsp molasses
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp ginger

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream the vegetable shortening and sugar. Add egg and molasses and blend well. Sift dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture. Roll dough into small balls and dip in sugar. Place two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake about 12 minutes. Cookies will flatten out while baking and crack on top when cool.

Courtesy of Anne Mansfield, Associate Director of the Environmental Law Center. Anne has been advising students at the ELC since 1997. She lives off the grid in Tunbridge in a house with solar electricity and solar hot water. Her ginger puff cookies, from an old family recipe, won a blue ribbon at the 2011 Tunbridge World's Fair.

Laura Gillen's Applesauce Cake

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  • For the cake:
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups thick applesauce
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • For the caramel frosting:
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 325°. 2. Cream the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy. Fold in the applesauce. 3. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and baking soda. Remove ¼ cup of the mixture and toss with the pecans and raisins.(Feel free to use any dried fruit and nuts. I have used dates and almonds, cranberries and walnuts, etc.) 4. Fold the bulk of the flour mixture into the batter. Fold in the vanilla and the coated fruit and pecan mixture. 5. Pour into a nine-inch tube pan that has been either greased and floured or greased and lined with wax paper. Bake one and ½ hours, or until done. Cool slightly in the pan before turning onto a rack to cool completely. 6. When cool, frost with caramel frosting. yield: Ten to one dozen servings.

Place the brown sugar, cream and butter in a pan. Heat slowly, stirring, until mixture reaches a full, rolling boil. 2. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and confectioners’ sugar. Beat the frosting until it reaches a thick coating consistency. Spoon over the cake. Extra frosting can be poured into a buttered pan and, when set, eaten as caramel fudge. Note: The frosting smooths out the top surface of the cake if it is not completely flat. The cake will keep for weeks.

Nina Thomas' Cape May French Toast

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  • 1 loaf French bread (day old)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup half & half

In a saucepan, melt butter and brown sugars until blended. Pur mixture into a 9 x 13 baking pan and spread evenly. Slice bread in 3/4 inch slices and arrange in pan over sugar mixgture. Let set overnight in refrigerator. Bake in a 300-degree oven for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle top with sugar.


Shirley Jefferson's Fried Chicken

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  • 4 chicken legs
  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 4 chicken wings
  • Lawry’s Seasoning (available at most grocery stores or at
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • Crisco oil

Wash chicken legs, thighs and wings thoroughly (avoid breasts; they’re too dry). Mix salt, pepper and Lawry’s Seasoning in a large paper bag. Beat milk and egg together in a large mixing bowl. Dip chicken in mixture, then place in bag with seasoning mixture and shake. Put a deep iron skillet on stove with burner set to high. After 5 minutes (or when skillet is hot), add Crisco until it forms a deep pool. Fry chicken for about 20 minutes. Check for doneness.


Dean Geoffrey Shields' Apricot Soufflé

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  • 2/3 cup dried California apricots
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 8 egg whites
  • Butter and sugar for coating soufflé dishes
  • 1 cup sour cream and 3 Tbsp powdered sugar for sauce

Prepare four individual soufflé cups by coating with butter and sprinkling with sugar. Soak apricots for two hours, then simmer for 15 minutes in water to cover. Drain apricots and purée with 2/3 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp lemon juice. Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Beat egg whites with a tiny pinch of salt until stiff. Fold purée into egg whites and spoon mixture into soufflé cups. Place dishes into a bainmarie (call me if you don't know what this is). Bake at 400-degrees for 25 minutes or until tops of soufflés turn golden (discipline yourself not to open the oven door befor the soufflés are done). Meanwhile, whisk 3 Tbsp powdered sugar into the sour cream. Remove soufflés, sprinkle with powdered sugar, and bring to the table with a flourish. Don't drop the dishes (I have)! To serve, crack each soufflé crust with a spoon and dollop it with the sweetened sour cream.