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My Grandmother Matha's Recipes

Heirloom Family Recipes

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Parker House Rolls

Parker House Rolls

Linda Larsen
My maternal grandmother, Matha, was the best cook I've ever known. Her rolls were legendary, her turkeys always moist and tender, and just a bite of her crumbly butternut cookies at Christmas would make you swoon.

She taught me how to make her Parker House Rolls, and I have never seen dough come so alive before or since. It was springy, as smooth as a baby's bottom, and almost had breath. Each year when I make the recipe for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I try to achieve results like hers. I've always fallen short, but I keep on trying.

My mother tells me that she could make divinity just using a spoon. I've burned out mixers trying to make divinity, and only made it successfully when I finally got a heavy duty stand mixer!

I think it's so important to pass recipes along from grandmothers, mothers, and aunts. These handwritten notes on scraps of paper are pieces of our history. If you're lucky enough to still have your relatives around, ask them about their favorite recipes and write them down! You could make it a family project, and get your kids involved too.

If you are a fairly experienced cook, or if you have taken my How to Bake and More How to Bake email classes, you can make these recipes. (If not, take the classes now and you'll be ready by the time Thanksgiving rolls around.)

This holiday season, think about your relatives, whether long lost or present, and celebrate their lives and memories with special recipes. And if you don't have family recipes, you can borrow mine and start your own traditions. I think my Grandmother would approve.

My Grandmother Matha's Recipes

  • Parker House Rolls
    This is the secret recipe for the lightest rolls you will ever eat. Follow the instructions carefully.
  • Carrot Pineapple Salad
    I didn't know this was my Grandmother's recipe until I talked to my Mom. I love the color, texture, and flavor of this fabulous gelatin salad. Try it!
  • Manthy Rolls
    These rich and delicious rolls are perfect for Christmas morning. You can make them the night before and let them rise overnight in the refrigerator. When hot out of the oven, they're better than Krispy Kreme doughnuts!
  • Chocolate Sundae Pie
    This spectacular pie is a vanilla mousse pie topped with sundae toppings. You must use pure vanilla extract and pasteurized eggs in this recipe.
  • Peanut Cakes
    I crave this recipe every year when picnic time rolls around, but they're also great for the holidays. A slightly chewy cake is cut into squares, frosted with vanilla frosting and rolled in chopped peanuts (salted or not; your choice!) My Grandmother would make it for picnics, along with potato salad, baked chicken, and the Carrot Pineapple Salad. Simply spectacular.
  • Matha's Coffeecake
    Here's another good choice for Christmas morning. This old fashioned recipe makes two coffeecakes, which would feed eight people if two or three don't devour it!
  • Grandma's Sugar Cookies
    These light and crisp sugar cookies are the best! They melt in your mouth. Frost with tinted Buttercream Frosting and decorate for the perfect Christmas cookies.
  • Norwegian Heirloom Cookies
    My Grandmother was 100% German, my Grandfather 100% Norwegian (in fact, he emigrated to America when he was 17 years old!). These classic cookies are buttery and tender with a great almond flavor.
  • Butternut Balls
    I remember these crumbly, buttery, vanilla cookies very well. The dough is wrapped around a pecan half or a chocolate kiss before baking. Yum.
  • Date Oatmeal Cookies
    These simple old fashioned cookies are great for filling a cookie jar to the brim, or tuck into your children's lunchboxes.
  • My Great-Grandmother's Turkey Stuffing
    This is the best stuffing; it's slightly sweet, full of raisins, apples, and onion. Use it for your Thanksgiving turkey this year.

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