Skip to content

Lizzie Weaver’s Coffee Cookies

May 14, 2016


Last week I shared a recipe from a favorite pastor’s wife at my current church, Trinity Presbyterian. This week I’m reaching way way back to share a recipe from a truly sweet saint of my growing up years, Lizzie Weaver, at my home church, North Goshen Mennonite.


Lizzie and Henry Weaver

Isn’t she just the cutest? (Some of the older women of the church at that time would have still worn covering strings as shown here, as did my grandmother.)

Lizzie Weaver was the deacon’s wife at North Goshen Mennonite, before my mother became the deacon’s wife. (Wouldn’t The Deacon’s Wife make a lovely title for a novel? Wait til you read one of the dreaded duties of the deacon’s wife in my next blog post.) In the first half of the 20th century, a deacon in Mennonite practice was not just a trustee or an elder of the church, but an ordained pastoral assistant in the tradition of I Timothy 3:8.

J.C. Wenger’s history of North Goshen 1936-1986 documents my memory of “Cottage Meetings” held in homes as Wednesday night prayer meetings, and we enjoyed going to Henry and Lizzie Weaver’s home partly because they were both just dears; I’m sure as children we looked forward to the “Coffee Cookies” she served that my mother submitted for the North Goshen Cookbook published sometime during the 60s.


Lizzie lived to the age of 94 and died in 1980–long after my parents moved away from North Goshen. J.C. Wenger also commends the older women of North Goshen for the Pilgrim’s Prayer Circle they convened, which was “a veritable [prayer] power house for the congregation.” It was started by Paul Mininger’s mother Hettie Mininger (Paul served as president of Goshen College for a time). These women, though we as children thought of them as ancient and “cute little old ladies,” were undoubtedly strong matriarchs of the church.

Next week I look forward to sharing here the first of three blog posts out of the biography My Calling to Fulfill: The Orie O Miller Story by historian John Sharp. Orie was an Indiana contemporary of Lizzie, and my distant cousin (more well known for his ties to Akron, Pa.), whose father, D.D. Miller, served as bishop over North Goshen for a time. I’ll also delve more into Henry Weaver’s intersections with my father—and the impact on my own life.

For now, enjoy these old timey, easy-to-make cookies with me, at least vicariously!


Lizzie Weaver’s Coffee Cookies

2 cups sugar (I used white but I bet Lizzie used brown)
½ cup liquid coffee
2 eggs beaten
4 cups flour
1 cup shortening
1 cup raisins or nuts or both
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ cup boiling water
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream the sugar and shortening. Add the boiling water. Dissolve the soda in the coffee and add to other ingredients. Add eggs, raisins, and vanilla. Sift the baking powder and flour together and add to the other ingredients. Stir well. Add nuts if desired. Drop on greased cookies sheets with teaspoon and bake at 350 degrees for 11-13 minutes.


These make great dunking cookies–evoking another powerful memory of dunking cookies with my grandma and grandpa–in coffee of course. (I “marked” those with raisins with two extra dots of raisins on top, so that those who don’t like raisins could just enjoy the nutty version with plain old pecans.)


Mildly amusing side story: These cookies were made most famous in our own family because of the time we could not eat them! My oldest sister baked a batch using a half cup of instant coffee as it comes out of the jar—not liquid coffee like you drink. Our family lore became “The cookies so bad even the dog didn’t eat them.” (Note: I changed the above version to specify liquid coffee so no one else would make that mistake.)


Looking for your stories here: memories of matriarchs of your church and why you remember them? 

Did or does your church have deacons? What role do they serve? 

Or, if you prefer, flopped recipe stories??



From → Faith, Food, Recipes

  1. There is so much here – where to begin . . .

    I do see a halo above Lizzie Weaver’s veiled head. At the moment I’m writing about prayer coverings and covering strings in my memoir, so that part really resonated with me.

    Also, I remember Orie O. Miller from Mennonite publications of my youth. I thought then as I do now that he had a interesting name: Oreo Miller. There are certainly writer genes in that name.

    You remember my Great Flop with an apple cake recipe earlier this year. That’s my flopped recipe story.

    • I had to check to see if there was a halo. 🙂 I’m glad that resonated with you. I’m trying to remember if my grandmother’s covering strings were black, and what that meant. Perhaps you’ll tell us in your memoir.

      In the recent Orie O, Miller Hall of Nations dedication at EMU, speaker/former colleague Ed Stoetz used a visual of a bag of the cookie. Interestingly, Orie never claimed to be a writer or a speaker–his gift was administration and boy did he ever.

      Yes, I recall your turn with a flop and noble confession. 🙂 I’m always happy to learn from the mistakes of others and glad to know these cookies can be soft and semi-nourishing (nuts and raisins).

      Have a great Pentecost Sunday! I was with my mother at our home church 2 years ago this Sunday.

      • Shirley Showalter asked the question about covering strings and black/white issue on her FB page months ago. I think there was no definitive answer about the color of the ribbon, but growing up I noticed black on older women.

      • Good memory recalling this on Shirley’s FB page. 🙂 I bet our grandmothers never thought their offspring would try to remember this minutia!

  2. Dolores Nice-Siegenthaler permalink

    My husband and I remember the day he made “Lazy Wife Cake” from a book of recipes gathered from the Amish and given to us at our wedding.

    Eat baking soda, and you’ll get an idea of what that cake tasted like. Oh, poison. Dave, trusting the recipe as written, had put way too much baking soda in the cake, and, wow, it was awful.

    We learned multiple lessons here.

    • Dolores Nice-Siegenthaler permalink

      Also, I’m going to try Lizzie’s cookies; they sound good.

    • Dolores–Thank you for your word of warning about what was likely an untested recipe in an Amish cookbook. I am currently editing a new cookbook for Lovina Eicher–and the recipes have all been tested but I’m still needing to be diligent about thinking them through regarding process directions–not always clear to the novice cook, which is what we’re aiming for.

      I have had cookies with too much soda. Always a shame to ruin a whole cake or recipe. I do hope your Lizzie cookies turn out well! Thanks for your faith in this adapted recipe!

  3. Alice Risser permalink

    Thanks for making that distinction about the coffee. Many recipes that call for coffee do not and I would rather not use the recipe than make the mistake, and just bypass the recipe.

  4. Arleta R Mann permalink

    Your mother might remember better than I do, but I think of Grandma’s covering strings as white. But when you mentioned it made me recall that my daddy Grandma Miller went to the Emma church and I’m quite sure yours were black. Interesting. Enjoying these stories of the church as I recall visiting so many times over the years.

    • Yes, Uriah and Barbara went to the Emma church. I didn’t actually ask Mom about the color of Grandma Miller’s covering strings. She can’t always remember these details either. (So important!! Ha.) I’ll have to look in some of the photos Melissa so nicely saved on a thumb drive and sent back to me along with Aunt Susie’s photo album. Do you also remember Grandma’s thicker bonnet? I wonder who got that out of the family! I’m glad you’re enjoying the stories.

  5. Margaret Kauffman permalink

    A very interesting blog today…looking forward to the ones that are coming as they bring back many memories, including Henry and Lizzie’s family.

    • So, you knew Henry and Lizzie’s family?? I would love to hear more. I do not know much more than what is in the North Goshen 50 year history by J.C. Wenger. I’m working to post on Tuesday the first of 3 on Orie O.

  6. Athanasia permalink

    Alice would be our church matriarch, I think. She and her husband Bob-Robert just celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. The church took the party to them at their care facility. They are both shut ins now. She always taught Sunday School for as long as she was able. I had her, several times, when I was a child, and when she was older and led Young Mothers Bible study and even older and she led Women’s groups. She’d always wanted to be a teacher but never had the chance for schooling. She lost her whole family in a fire when she was 13 so she arrived out here to be the girl for a family from church. She never left. Bob-Robert left his family when he was 15 due to problems there and hitched across the country…he mis stepped when he jumped off the train (it was still going), broke his leg, was taken in and he also never left, and he became a milk man because that is what his adopted family did. Both families were from our church (that took the two in) so they met as teens. They married when they were 18 and 20. They never had children of their own and no extended family other than some cousins that they kept in touch with.

    Yes, we have the Deacons.

    A flop. This is why I don’t often try recipes out of the newspaper, or now a days , the internet. But I was single and found a recipe in the Journal food page and it looked easy, Batter Rye Bread. I thought it would be easy quick and no problem. It was easy and quick but a big problem. It overflowed the pan and baked long rivulets down the side of the bread pan and down the oven racks. It looked like the inside of a cave with stalactites hanging down. I still have the recipe, though have never used it again.

    • Wow, what a story about Alice and her husband Bob-Robert. Thanks for sharing it. Sad beginning but it sounds like they built a happy life together.
      I love your description of rivulets and stalactites–pretty dramatic! What a mess. I’m sure you could have just kicked yourself. Or the magazine! Hope you have a great day and thanks for checking in here.

  7. Gail Hollingsworth permalink

    Tried the cookie recipe; loved it!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. My connections to the Orie O. Miller story | findingharmonyblog
  2. 10 Mistakes Not to Make in Cooking | findingharmonyblog

Leave a Reply to Gail Hollingsworth Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Jennifer Murch

Art is the only way to run away without leaving home. -Twyla Tharp

Trisha Faye

Cherishing the Past while Celebrating the Present


To walk or tramp about; to gad, wander. < Old French - trapasser (to trespass).

Tuesdays with Laurie

"Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing." —Laurie Buchanan

Hickory Hill Farm

Blueberries, grapes, vegetables, and more

The Centrality and Supremacy of Jesus Christ

The Website & Blog of David D. Flowers

Cynthia's Communique

Navigating careers, the media and life

the practical mystic

spiritual adventures in the real world

Osheta Moore

Shalom in the City

Shirley Hershey Showalter

writing and reading memoir

Mennonite Girls Can Cook

Harmony, grace and wisdom for family living.

mama congo

Harmony, grace and wisdom for family living.


Harmony, grace and wisdom for family living.

Roadkill Crossing

Writing generated from the rural life

%d bloggers like this: