Austinite Tammy Spence offers this recipe that she says has been passed down through generations of her family. “My great-grandmother made these when they first came to Austin in the 1800s,” she said.

Makes: 12


·       2 cups flour

·       2 teaspoons granulated sugar

·       1/2 teaspoon baking soda

·       1/2 teaspoon salt

·       1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper

·       1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

·       1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes

·       1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

·       2 tablespoons fresh chives

·       1 cup buttermilk

·       Parmesan cheese, if desired.


   In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Chop butter into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add cheese and chives, and toss well. Pour in buttermilk and mix until fully combined. Dough will be sticky.

  Drop by 1/4 cupfuls of dough evenly onto a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.

  Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.


Austinite Janie Sevier offers this Easter goody recipe this month that she says came from her grandmother, whose husband was an early-day Austin grocer.

Serves: 36.


· 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour

· ½ teaspoon salt

· ½ teaspoon baking soda

· ½ cup unsalted butter, softened

· ½ cup vegetable oil

· 1 cup Extra Fine Imperial Sugar

· 1 teaspoon vanilla

· 1 egg

· 1 tablespoon lemon zest

· 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Chocolate Butter Icing

· 1 cup unsalted butter, softened

· 3 ½ cups Imperial confectioners sugar

· ½ cup cocoa powder

· ½ teaspoon salt

· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

· 4 tablespoons heavy whipping cream


Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease cookie sheets. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix butter, vegetable oil and sugar until light and fluffy and pale yellow. Add vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and lemon juice. A flour mix a little at a time.

Drop spoon-sized dough balls onto prepared cookie sheets. Slightly flatten each one. Bake for 10 minutes, or just until cookies begin to brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool while making the frosting.

Beat the butter (medium mixer speed) until fluffy. In a medium bowl, sift together powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Add sugar mixture to butter, a little at a time. Once blended, add salt, vanilla extract and heavy cream, and beat for about three minutes or until stiff peaks can form. For stiffer consistency, add more sugar. For thinner, add additional cream one tablespoon at a time.

Using a spatula, smooth about one tablespoon of chocolate icing onto each lemon cookie. Garnish with sugar sprinkles.


After many requests, we offer this recipe for Civil War hard tack, those flour-and-water biscuits that have been around for centuries.

It dates to 1861, a real and tasty snack courtesy of and with acknowledgement to

Serves: 10


· 2 cups flour

· ½ tablespoon salt (optional)

· ½ to ¾ cup water


Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Combine flour with salt in a mixing bowl. Add water and mix with hands until the dough comes together.

Roll out on a table to about 1/3 inch thickness. Use a knife to cut 3-by-3-inch squares from the dough. Place on baking sheet, and use a dowel to make 16 evenly-spaced holes in each square.

Bake for at least four hours, turning over once half-way through baking. Cool on a rack in a dry room.

If the hardtack biscuits are kept in sealed containers, away from moisture and insects, we’re told they’ll keep for quite some time.


 Austinite Sally Ward passes along this month’s recipe for a tasty Czech cookie that’s been a people-pleaser in her family for generations:

Serves: 12.


·       2 cups flour

·       1 teaspoon baking powder

·       ¼ cup salt

·       ½ cup butter

·       ½ pkg. of dry yeast (1½ tsp)

·       2 tablespoons warm water

·       2 eggs, separated

·       ¼ cup sour Smetana cream

·       ½ teaspoon Watkins vanilla

For filling

·       ½ cup granulated sugar

·       ½ cup ground walnuts or pecans

·       ½ cup Watkins almond extract

·       Regular or powdered sugar


  Measure flour and sift. Add baking powder and salt in bowl. Cut in butter. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in the egg yolks, sour cream and vanilla. Blend into flour, mix well. Will be a hard dough. Refrigerate one hour.

  Preheat oven to 400. Beat egg whites until foamy. Add granulated sugar a little at a time. Beat until stiff. Fold in nuts and almond extract.

  Divide dough in four parts. Roll each in 9-inch circle. On board sprinkled with sugar, cut each circle in 12 wedges.  Aunt Mary pinched dough in size of a walnut and rolled in circle. Put one heaping teaspoon of filling in center and spread. Roll up. Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown on a lightly greased baking sheet. Cool on wax paper and serve.


Pflugerville resident Jen Buchanan sent this recipe for a “winter soup” that, family history has it, belonged to her great grandmother who settled north of Austin after the Civil War. “It’s delicious and easy to make,” she informs.

Serves: 4-6.


· 2 slices of bacon

· 1 medium sized onion

· 1 small green pepper

· ¾ cup of Navy beans

· 1 medium sized potato

· 1 carrot

· 1 outside stalk of celery

· 1 ounce of butter

· 1 quart of meat stock

· 2 tomatoes, peeled and diced


Soak Navy beans in cold water for 4-6 hours. Fry bacon for one minute in a saucepan, add the butter, carrot, onion, celery and pepper after cutting them in small dices. Cover pan and cook slowly for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add Navy beans and meat stock, cook for one hours, then add raw potato cut in quarter-inch dices and tomatoes. Season to taster until the ingredients are well done. If soup is too thick, add more meat stock.


More than a year ago, Austinite Carolyn Peters sent this recipe for wassail that she says was served for years at Pioneer Farms’ Candlelight Christmas events. “It came from someone’s grandmother who served it for years at the First Baptist Church,” she notes, “but you can add a little hooch to liven it up, if you like.” With numerous requests that we reprint it for the Christmas season, we do so.

Serves: 10-12.


· 2 quarts apple cider

· 1 ½ cups orange juice

· ¾ cup pineapple juice

· 1 tablespoon brown sugar

· ½ teaspoon lemon juice

· 2 cinnamon sticks (3 inches)

· Dash ground cinnamon

· Dash ground cloves


In a large saucepan, combine all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Discard cinnamon sticks. Serve hot in mugs.