Old Family Recipes Help Celebrate Payson's 125th


The following are the best four recipes submitted to the Payson Roundup in our recent call for old family recipes.

Recipient of the commemorative plate is Dorothy Dixon.


Payson Roundup reporter and special sections coordinator Teresa McQuerrey presents Dorothy Dixon with a Payson Centennial commemorative plate for her Sweet Roll recipe, submitted for the paper's Old Family Recipe celebration of the town's 125th anniversary.

Dorothy Dixon, 84, of Payson shared a recipe she remembers her mother making at least 80 years ago in California.

"When I lived at home, my mother used Rawleigh products. This Sweet Roll recipe was used many times. Through the years, I've made the Coffee Cake many times and it is a family favorite. Last year I made this roll and entered it in the Gila County Fair and won a first-place blue ribbon," Dixon writes.

Sweet Roll

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon Rawleigh's nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

1 package yeast

1 egg, beaten


Rawleigh's cinnamon

Heat buttermilk until lukewarm. Pour it over sugar, butter, soda, nutmeg and salt. Add yeast and egg. Let stand a few minutes for yeast to soften. Add flour - enough to make batter a little softer than bread dough.

Do not knead. Just stir in flour a little at a time. Place in a warm place, about 80 to 85 degrees. Cover with damp cloth. Let rise to more than double in bulk. Put on a floured board and pat into a rectangle, 18-inches-by-6-inches. Spread with soft butter, sugar and Rawleigh's cinnamon. Roll like a jellyroll. Transfer to a large greased cookie sheet. Shape into a crescent. With a scissors cut almost through the crescent about an inch apart along the (long) side. Turn pieces on the cut side, lightly crimping. Let dough rise until very light. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 or 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool. Frost with powdered sugar frosting and decorate with candied cherries, if desired.

Barbara Brice Mahaffey, of Pine, is a fourth generation Gila County pioneer. Her mother, Louise, was born in Payson in 1910. Her parents were Marshall Brown and Inez Robbins Brown.

"When my sisters and brother were growing up, our mom used to fix us Sonora Enchiladas for dinner. We loved them and they were always very special. Our cousin Reed Plumb (Polly Brown's grandson) was usually at our house when we had Sonora Enchiladas, because he loved them, also. After our mother passed away, my sisters and I would try to make the enchiladas for our families, but we never could make them right and yet they were so simple. A few years ago, one of the books published by the Daughters of Gila County Pioneers had a section on recipes and there was our recipe. The secret was masa, which was used instead of cornmeal." The recipe is as follows:

Sonora Enchiladas


4 cups masa

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups water

3/4 cup lard (shortening)

Mix first three ingredients in large bowl and shape dough into golf-ball size balls, then flatten on waxed paper until between 4 and 5 inches around.

Melt lard in skillet and when very hot, fry patties on both sides. Remove patties from skillet and drain on paper towels.

Chile Sauce

4 tablespoons lard (shortening)

3/4 cup flour

2 ounces red chile powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

5 cups of water

Longhorn cheese, shredded

Chopped lettuce, green onions, diced tomatoes and olives

Fried eggs

Melt lard in skillet; add flour, chile powder, garlic powder and salt. Stir ingredients until moistened, then add water and stir until sauce is smooth. Let thicken like gravy.

Put a masa patty in chile sauce for a minute and put on large, ovenproof plate, sprinkle with shredded cheese and top with about a cup of the chile. Place in 375-degree oven for 3 to 4 minutes until cheese melts. Remove from oven and top with more cheese, lettuce, green onions, diced tomatoes and olives, if desired. Top with another patty and place a fried egg on top.

"We used to see who could eat the biggest stack. My brother Bob and cousin Reed usually won," Mahaffey said.

Janet Nicholas of Payson submitted a recipe she found in the Scottsdale Progress back in the 1960s.

"It has been rumored that many years ago Arizona Cowbelles who had a three- or four-hour drive to a meeting, used to use extra foil and wire it to the manifold of their car or truck and arrive at the meeting with a cooked contribution. Rumor has it," according to the information printed in "Geezer Goodies," from which Nicholas copied the recipe.

"I showed it to my friend Elaine Drorbaugh, who has a lot of Arizona history herself and she said, ‘Yes they did' (confirming the rumor about manifold cooking). So I thought I'd send it in. Although it is not from covered wagon days, it still was a part of the Arizona history. Plus it's yummy!" wrote Nicholas.

Foil-Baked Steak

2 pounds Swiss steak (round or chuck steak, tenderized by pounding)

1 tablespoon butter

1 envelope dry onion soup mix

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms

1/2 sliced green pepper

1, 15-ounce can chopped tomatoes, drained (reserve juice)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon A-1 sauce

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Cut steak into serving portions. Spread out a 20-inch sheet of heavy-duty foil wrap and spread with butter. Arrange steak on foil, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle onion soup mix on meat. Then place green peppers, mushrooms and tomatoes on top. Season with salt and pepper. Mix tomato juice with A-1 sauce and cornstarch. Pour over meat mixture. Bring up sides of foil and seal tightly. Bake at 375 degrees for two hours. Pull back foil, sprinkle parsley on top and eat.

Edna McDougald Warren, 91, of Pine had an old family recipe she and her family enjoyed in Georgia.

"Living on a farm in the northern mountains of Georgia, there was hardly ever time to bake cookies, but for a treat, we eight kids occasionally got Old Fashioned Tea Cakes," writes Warren.

Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes

2 eggs

1/2 cup lard

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups flour

Cream lard and sugar well. Add well-beaten eggs and blend. Sift together and set aside flour, baking powder and salt.

Add milk and vanilla to creamed mixture. Add sifted mixture. Combine (more flour may be added to make a stiffer dough).

Roll dough to about 1/4-inch thick and cut into desired shapes. Bake in a moderate oven (about 350 degrees) until golden brown.

Here is another old-time recipe from the Daughters of the Gila County Pioneers' book "A Cultural History of The Pioneer Women of Gila County, Arizona and Their Descendants" Vol. 2, published by Git A Rope Publishing, Inc.

Honey Oatmeal Cake

(Norma Jean Haught Peace)

1-1/2 cups boiling water

1 cup oatmeal

1/4 pound margarine

1-1/2 cups honey

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Add oatmeal to boiling water and let stand for 10 minutes. Cream margarine and honey, add to oats. Add eggs and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Bake in greased, floured pan at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes.

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