This recipe for "Black Gingersnaps" was passed down to Edwin and Elizabeth Bearinger from Edwin’s grandmother, and the recipe may even go further back than that. It was also made by Elizabeth’s daughter, Bev, who sold them at that first maple syrup festival in 1965!
Although many would expect a cookie recipe to contain processed white sugar, the Black Gingersnaps use dark molasses and dark corn syrup as the main sweeteners. Interestingly, dark corn syrup is just a mixture of corn syrup and molasses. Molasses has a slightly spicy flavour so the inclusion of both molasses and dark corn syrup would create a really unique cookie flavour. This is why the recipe notes "these really snap!- spicy and crisp." The measurements for the recipe's ingredients are somewhat different than would be found in a modern-day cookbook. Rather than using cups or fluid ounces, this recipe measures using pints.
There are very few instructions with this recipe as the first six ingredients are combined and brought to a boil, then the seventh and last ingredient is added in before rolling out the dough. They can be cut into any shape, which may be why Elizabeth Bearinger's daughter, Bev, enjoyed making these for the 1965 maple syrup festival. There is also no indication of many cookies this recipe makes, likely because the cook could decide how big of shapes to cut out.
This recipe for "Raw-fried Potatoes" was one that was passed down to Elizabeth Bearinger from her mother.
This recipe perfectly captures the essence of Mennonite cooking -- it's rich, delicious, high in fat, and cost-effective. This recipe contains only two primary ingredients: potatoes and some form of fat to coat the potatoesin (butter, lard, or bacon drippings). The recipe notes that sausages can be added to make it a more authentic Dutch breakfast. All of these ingredients would have been easy to find and cheap to buy in a rural area like Elmira. Many rural Canadians grew their own potatoes and had their own livestock or, at the very least, knew someone who did. This recipe also reflects elements of Mennonite culture as the instructions are brief but easy to follow.