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Posted on Wed. Nov. 14, 2012 - 12:10 am EDT

Cookbook author shares her ‘Best’

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To buy cookbook

Available at Memory Lane, 126 W. Van Buren St., Columbia City, or by sending a check to Schuman Cookbooks, 2565 W. Schuman Road, Columbia City, IN 46725. Cookbooks are $15 plus shipping. The shipping cost is $4 for one to three cookbooksand $6 if shipping four to five cookbooks.

Fort Wayne — On the advice of friends, Nancy Schuman of Columbia City, and her sister, Mary Schuman of Indianapolis, published a cookbook in 2003.

“Sharing Our Best” had 200 recipes.

Since then, the Schuman sisters have published their second cookbook, “Sharing More of Our Best,” which also has 200 recipes.

Both sisters are retired from Purdue Cooperative Extension Service in Indianapolis. About a year and a half ago, Nancy moved back to the family farm in Whitley County. Between the two, they have more than 80 years’ exhibiting at the Indiana State Fair in the Culinary Arts Department. In 2001, they were presented with the first Indiana State Fair Master Baker Award.

“Although both books feature a lot of baked goods, they also have a ‘Family and Friends’ section with a variety of recipes,” Nancy says.

She also notes that the new cookbook has added two more sections, including “By Request, Select State Fair Champion Recipes.”

“The second book also has a ‘Vintage 4-H Recipes’ section, which has 25 of the recipe favorites from when we were in 4-H in the ’50s and ’60s,” she adds. “We kept our folders from years in 4-H.”

Q. What’s your favorite cookbook?

A. There are so many. Probably the one I would go to is a “Farm Journal Cookbook.” When I have questions on baking, it’s “The Complete Book of Baking by Pillsbury.” Taste of Home, I like their recipes.

Q. Do you have a lot of cookbooks?

A. I would guess 100. Actually, this is a reduced amount of cookbooks. I took a box of cookbooks to the library in Indianapolis for their public sale. The problem now is that I go on the Internet and print off recipes. I have a stack of papers with recipes that I may or may not try.

Q. What’s your favorite cooking utensil?

A. I have a lot of things I couldn’t live without, but I would say my cookie scoop. It keeps them round. I was introduced to it in the early ’80s and it’s been my favorite tool.

Q. What’s your favorite food?

A. It would obviously be chocolate. I can think of some others but chocolate would be primary.

Q. What vegetable do you eat most often?

A. Probably broccoli, and if you asked that question 20 years ago, it would not have been broccoli. It would have been at the bottom of the list. I guess it’s the health consciousness of me coming out. I don’t know.

Q. What advice would you give beginner cooks?

A. Read the recipe before doing anything. In preparation, get all the ingredients out before you start anything – organization and preparation. If I make a mistake, it’s because I’m in a hurry. I may look back and say, I think I left something out.

Raspberry Pecan Bars

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter, cut into pieces and softened

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped toasted pecans, divided

1 (10 ounces) jar raspberry preserves or seedless jam

Place pecans on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool. In large mixer bowl, combine flour, sugar, butter, salt and vanilla. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. By hand, stir in 1/2 cup pecans; reserve 3/4 cup crumb mixture. Press remaining crumb mixture on bottom of a greased 9-inch square baking pan. Place preserves in a small bowl and stir. Spread preserves over crumb mixture; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup pecans and reserved crumb mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes or until crumb mixture is lightly browned and preserves are bubbly. Cool completely; cut into bars. Makes 25 to 36 cookies/bars.

Rocky Road Cookies

1 (6 ounces) package chocolate chips

1/2 cup margarine

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips and the margarine over low heat; cool. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. Add chopped nuts and remaining chips to flour mixture to coat them with flour. Set aside. Beat eggs; then add sugar and mix. Add cooled chocolate mixture, vanilla and flour to egg mixture. Mix until ingredients are blended in. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2-inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake 8 minutes or until almost no imprint remains when touched with finger. Immediately remove from baking sheet. Makes 3 dozen.

Lemon Pecan Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1 cup sugar

1 egg

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add egg, honey, lemon zest and lemon extract; beat until smooth. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture; stir until soft dough forms. Stir in pecans. Drop tablespoons of dough 3-inches apart onto a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Store in airtight container. Makes 3 1/2 dozen.

Cook’s Corner is a weekly feature. If you know of someone to be profiled, write to Cook’s Corner, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne, IN 46801-0088; fax 461-8648; or email

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