Marjorie Johnson Recipes

Posted on Jun 1, 2014 09:00pm

Marjorie Johnson, author of "The Road to Blue Ribbon Baking with Marjorie," is here teaching us how to make some of her delicious award-winning baked goods right at home!


Sour Cream Coffeecake

Makes two 9-inch coffeecakes. 

This coffeecake won so many blue ribbons both at the Minnesota State Fair and the Anoka County Fair. It also won the sweepstakes at both fairs several times. It is easy to make and such a moist, tender coffeecake. When you make the batter, be sure and beat the butter and sugar into a very creamy mixture. All that beating incorporates air and that makes for a fine grain coffeecake. Be sure not to overbake. The directions say 30 to 35 minutes, but ovens vary so much in temperature. Although you might set it at 350 degrees your oven might heat 25 to 50 degrees hotter or cooler. I had an oven range that was always 25 degrees hotter than what I set it at. I could tell it was hotter, because everything was done in fewer minutes or it got too brown if I left it in for the time given. I bought a portable oven thermometer to check it. I wish it was possible to check and oven thermometer to see if it is accurate, like you can when you use a candy or deep fry thermometer. But if you suspect your oven’s thermometer doesn’t seem correct and if you confirm your suspicions with the portable oven thermometer you use, then I would say the built-in thermometer is off and the one you place in the oven is correct.

This is a favorite recipe that gets rave reviews.

I like that I can make two coffeecakes with this recipe by putting the better in two 8- or 9-inch cake pans that are 1½ inches deep. If you use the 8-inch pans you will have a little too much batter, so I have a small doll-size cake pan I always use for a sample to taste.

The reason I like that it makes two is because I can enter one in the state or county fair and still have one for the family to eat or to give away. I know you’re going to love this recipe.



For the Batter:

¾ cup butter

1½ cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

4 eggs

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1½ teaspoons baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1½ cups dairy sour cream


For the Streusel:

½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed

2 tablespoons butter, melted

½ cup chopped nuts

½ cup flaked coconut

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon grated orange zest


For the Powdered Sugar Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

3 to 5 teaspoons milk

½ teaspoon almond extract or vanilla extract



In a large electric mixer bowl, place butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat together very well until the mixture is creamy and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat well after each. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to butter mixture alternating with the sour cream, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Use speed 1 or stir in with a wooden spoon. Set aside.

To make streusel, combine all of the streusel ingredients in a bowl and stir with a fork well until mixture is crumbly.

Into two greased and floured 9 x 1½-inch round pans, put ¼ of the batter in each pan. Spread out evenly. Sprinkle ¼ of the streusel over each batter. Take the remaining batter and divide it equally over the streusel in each pan. Top each pan with an equal amount of the remaining streusel. Bake in a preheated 350º oven for 30 to 35 minutes until done or until a cake tester poked in the center of the coffeecake comes out with no batter clinging to it. Let rest in the pans on a wire rack to continue cooling.

Combine the glaze ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth. Dribble over the tops of the cooled coffeecakes into an attractive glaze pattern. 


Frosted Brownies

Makes 48 brownies

I have two brownies in my cookbook because they both won blue ribbons. This recipe was entered under the frosted brownie entry number. Brownies are easy to make and since they are always baked in one pan – easy cleanup. This recipe makes a larger amount of batter so is baked in a 9x13-inch pan.



For the Batter:

4 squares unsweetened chocolate

½ cup butter

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1½ cups all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts


For the Frosting:

¾ cup evaporated milk

½ pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

⅔ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Preheat oven to 350º. Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil. Let it extend over the edges.

In a large microwaveable bowl, place chocolate and butter, and microwave on medium until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate melts. Stir in the brown sugar and granulated sugar. Stir in eggs and vanilla until well combined. Stir in flour, salt and nuts. Spread the batter in a greased 9x13-inch pan. Bake until brownies begin to pull away from pan, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven to cooling rack. After 10 minutes turn brownies out on a rack and remove foil. Allow brownies to cool, then frost them. Cut into squares*.

For the Frosting:

In a 1-quart glass measure, microwave evaporated milk on high 2-3 minutes, until simmering. Whisk in chocolate until smooth. Let cool in ice-water bath, stirring, until very cold and just thickened, 12 minutes. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar, then vanilla, then chocolate mixture. Beat on medium 1 minute, until thick spreading consistency. Frost brownies.

*I cut the edges off the sides of the brownie to make an even rectangle. Then it is easy to cut perfect-shaped bars.



Makes 4 dozen.

My daughter, Marilee and Marleen, love gingersnaps. Marleen makes these when she needs cookies for birthdays or school events for her sons. This is one of the recipes that filled my basket when Iwas on the red carpet interviewing stars. I remember Helen Mirren said, “I’ll take one,” then walked a few steps, came back and said, “No, I think I will have two,” started to walk away again and came back and said, “No, I think I’ll have three.” It was amusing.



¾ cup shortening

1 cup packed light brown sugar

¼ cup molasses

1 large egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ cup sugar (for dipping)



Preheat oven to 375º.

Cream shortening, brown sugar, molasses and egg in large bowl. In a separate bowl sift flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture, blending until mixed. Dough can be chilled for easy handling.

Shape the dough into balls 1-inch in diameter. Roll balls in sugar, place on baking sheet. Bake 8 to 9 minutes at 375º. Cool on the sheet for one minute before transferring to rack.


Blueberry Cream Cheese Pie

I always bake my pie in a glass pie pan. I like glass better than a metal pan. I use part butter in my pie crust for the flavor of butter. I always use a pastry cloth and a rolling pin cover to roll out my pie crust. It is easier to roll out.



For the Crust

Pie Crust for a double 9-inch pie pan (see recipe below)

Milk or cream



For the Filing

¾ cup sugar plus 2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

⅛ teaspoon salt

3 cups fresh blueberries, divided

2 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon lemon juice


For the Cheese Layer

3 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons sugar

¼ cup dairy sour cream

½ teaspoon grated lemon peel



Baked flower cutouts

7 blueberries




Preheat oven to 425º.

Press ⅔ of pie crust dough between hands to form a 5 to 6-inch “pancake.” Form remaining dough into smaller pancake. Roll and press the larger pancake into 9-inch pie plate. Flute edge. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes and cool completely.

Roll remaining dough into ⅛-inch thickness. Cut out seven 2-inch flowers using a cookie cutter. Cut ¼-inch hole in center of each. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Brush with milk. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425º for 7 to 9 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely.

For filing, combine ¾ cup sugar plus 2 tablespons sugar, cornstarch and salt in medium saucepan. Add lemon juice and 1½ cups blueberries.

For cheese layer, combine cream cheese, 2 tablespoons sugar, sour cream and lemon peel in a small bowl. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread on bottom of baked pie crust. Spoon filling over cheese layer.

For decorations, place one flower cutout in center of pie and remaining six cutouts around edge of filling. Place one blueberry in center of each flower. Refrigerate.


Pie Crust



2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup shortening

¼ cup butter

4 to 5 tablespoons ice cold water



Combine in a mixing bowl the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in half the shortening and butter until particles are very small. Cut in remaining shortening and butter until particles are the size of small peas. Sprinkle in water, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork after each addition. Mix lightly until all flour is moistened. Gather dough together into a ball. Divide in half. Flatten each piece to a 5-inch round. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes. On a lightly floured cloth and using a floured stockinet-covered rolling pin, roll dough from center to outside evenly in all directions. Roll dough 2 inches larger than inverted pie pan. Lift circle carefully into pie pan by rolling pastry around rolling pin and unroll into pan.


Recipes courtesy Marjorie Johnson, “The Road to Blue Ribbon Baking with Marjorie.”

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