Toni Ellen Hurst

Toni Ellen Hurst

As you will read further into this story, Toni is not only a great cook, but she is an educator in the field of cooking and cuisine. Cooking is also a ministry for her on a personal level, so read on, and enjoy this column about one of the finest cooks in our community.

Toni remembers well that her start in cooking began when she was just a little girl. She fondly recounts rolling out dough with her mother to make biscuits. She also received instruction from her grandmothers and aunts. Her paternal grandmother, Ellen Orr, in Little River NC, taught her how to make pound cake, stew a chicken and make dressing.

Her Aunt Mary in Koscuisko, MS gave her instruction in how to set a beautiful table as well as letting her help in the kitchen. Another aunt, Betty Ann, preferred delicious country cooking for huge crowds out of her small kitchen. So Toni learned many facets of cooking and cuisine etiquette.

It just seemed natural for her to follow her love of cooking into higher education. She taught Home EC for two years in Knoxville before going to Cosby High School for six years. She also taught cooking classes at our local Boys and Girls Club for two years. She enjoys hosting bridal and baby showers with other First Baptist Church ladies, and she is a member of their Bereavement Committee at the church that serves meals in times of sadness.

Toni considers her specialty to be homemade desserts. I am positive that whoever partakes of any of her foods will be well served. Today she shares with us her recipes for Snickerdoodles, Beef and Cabbage Soup, Sweet Potato Casserole, and Carrot Cake. Of course, any of these recipes can be made during the upcoming holidays, so I encourage to make them for a scrumptious addition to any meal or event. And most of all, ENJOY!!


1-1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup shortening

2 eggs

2 -3/4 cups all- purpose flour

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

Topping: 2 TBSP granulated sugar and 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large mixing bowl, use mixer to cream shortening and sugar.

Add eggs and mix well.

Add dry ingredients.

Form into quarter-size balls.

Cover and chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour for easier handling.

Put topping mixture in a small bowl.

Roll each ball in topping to coat well.

  • For Christmas cookies, I use red and green sugar sprinkles.

Bake at 350 for 12 – 14 minutes.

Makes about 4 dozen.

Beef and Cabbage Soup:

2-15 oz cans light kidney beans, undrained

Mash 1/3 of can in a small bowl for thickening.

2-14 oz cans stewed tomatoes with celery and green peppers

¼ cup chopped onion

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

2 beef bouillon cubes

3 cups water

1 lb ground beef, browned and drained

1/3 head cabbage, roughly chopped

In a very large pot, bring water to a boil.

Add bouillon cubes, salt and pepper.

Add tomatoes, beans, onion, and ground beef.

Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.

Add cabbage.

Simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.

Serve with hot cornbread.

  • My husband says it’s always better the second day.

Sue’s Sweet Potato Casserole:

3 cups cooked sweet potatoes, peeled and mashed

1 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs, well beaten

½ cup cream (milk is okay)

1 sick butter or margarine, melted

1 TBSP vanilla extract

½ tsp nutmeg

½ tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.

Using a mixer, mix all ingredients until smooth.

Pour into a 9x113 casserole dish prepared with cooking spray.

Topping: ½ stick butter or margarine

1 cup chopped pecans

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup self-rising flour

Mix together well in a medium bowl until crumbly.

Spread over casserole.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Carrot Cake:

2 cups granulated sugar

1-1/4 cups vegetable oil

4 large eggs

2 cups all -purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 TBSP cinnamon

1 tsp salt

3 cups finely grated carrots

1 small can crushed pineapple with juice

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


12 oz powdered sugar

8 oz cream cheese at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 TBSP real butter

2 TBSP milk

¼ cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, use mixer to beat sugar and oil.

Add eggs and mix well.

By hand, gently stir in carrots and nuts.

In another large bowl, sift together flour, soda, salt and cinnamon.

Pour into egg/carrot mixture and stir together well.

Pour batter into a greased and floured 9x13 cake pan OR 2 round cake pans.

Bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on rack for 15 minutes.

Turn over onto rack and cool for 30 minutes.

For frosting:

Using a mixer, beat together butter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, vanilla and milk.

Mix until smooth and creamy.

Spread on top of cooled cake.

Sprinkle nuts on top.

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