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NORTHWOODS COOKS: Sweet treats from Itasca-Mantrap members

Carrot cake decorated with little orange carrots made of frosting is a fun dessert for those thinking spring. To make it even richer, make a layer cake with frosting in between layers.

Second-hand stores are a great place to find cookbooks of all varieties. That is where I recently found a copy of the Itasca-Mantrap Electric Cooperative's 75th anniversary cookbook from 2015. It is a collection of favorite recipes from the cooperative's members and includes old photos and bits of history. The introduction to the cookbook shares that the cooperative was organized in 1939 and the first pole was set in 1940. Electricity was first brought to members in 1941. The recipes in the book were submitted by members of the cooperative.

Bonnie Bourdeau's Simple Orange Coffee Cake

2 tablespoons butter, melted plus more for pan

16.3-oz. can refrigerated biscuits

1/4 cup minced walnuts

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons orange zest


1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

2 oz. softened cream cheese

2 teaspoons orange juice or more to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Separate the biscuit dough into 8 biscuits. Place one biscuit in the center of the pan. Cut the remaining biscuits in half, forming 14 half-circles. Arrange the pieces around the center biscuit with cut sides facing in the same direction. Brush melted butter over the tops of the biscuits. In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, sugar and orange zest. Mix well and sprinkle over biscuits. In a small bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, cream cheese and orange juice. Blend until smooth, adding more orange juice if needed to thin. Drizzle glaze over warm coffee cake and serve.

Bernice Hind's Carrot Cake

2 cups sugar

1 cup oil

4 eggs

3 cups finely grated carrots

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons vanilla

Nuts, if desired

Mix sugar, oil and eggs together. Add carrots. Shift flour, salt, soda and cinnamon and add to other mixture. Stir in vanilla. Bake at 350 degrees for 28-30 minutes. Cream all frosting ingredients together and frost once cake has cooled.

No-Bake Key Lime Pie by Juanita Pautz

1/2 cup key lime juice

8 oz. cream cheese

1/3 cup sugar

8-ounce container of Cool Whip, thawed

Graham cracker pie crust

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in sugar. Gradually blend in key lime juice until smooth. Fold in Cool Whip, blending well. Pour into graham cracker pie crust. Chill until set, at least four hours. Top with a thin layer of whipped topping before serving.

Kathy Thompson's Eclair Dessert

8-oz. container Cool Whip

2 small packages instant french vanilla pudding

3 cups milk

1 can chocolate frosting

1-lb. box graham crackers

Mix pudding and milk. Fold in Cool Whip. Line 9-by-13-inch pan with graham crackers and pour half of pudding on top. Add second layer of crackers and add remaining pudding and one more layer of crackers. Frost and refrigerate the day before serving.

Salted Nut Roll Bars by Jessica Davis

2-1/2 tablespoons butter

12-oz. package peanut butter chips

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 cups mini marshmallows

1 jar dry roasted peanuts

Melt butter and peanut butter chips together and take off heat. Add sweetened condensed milk and mini marshmallows. In a greased 9-by-13-inch pan, layer 1/2 jar dry roasted peanuts. Spread mixture over nuts and pat down. Layer the other 1/2 jar of peanuts on top. Chill until set.

Fudgy Brownies with Cocoa by Betsy Lee and Mary Joyce Thomas

3 or 4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 oz. cream cheese

1 cup melted buter

1 cup flour

3/4 cup cocoa

1/4 cup baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup nuts

Mix all ingredients and bake in a 9-by-13-inch pan at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.