It’s Texas Sheet Cake, Y’all!

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Well howdy!

After reading the book That’s Not Hay in My Hair this month, I’ve been so inspired by the great state of Texas. Coincidently, I’ve also been missing one of my sisters who lives in Texas, so reading that particular book gave me a feeling of visiting her homestead, so to speak.

Over the years that she and her family have lived in Texas, I have detected the faintest of Texan accents emerging from my sister, and I love it! I love hearing her sweet voice exclaim, “Hey!”, “Howdy!” or “y’all!” as if she were a Texas native. It makes me smile!

So, hey howdy! I’m in the mood for baking up a Texas Sheet Cake for y’all  — which fits very nicely into our patriotic desserts leading up to the 4th of July! Barbecue, Texas Sheet Cake, sparklers and fireworks — sounds like a great 4th to me!

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Texas Sheet Cake

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

for the cake:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup coconut oil

1 cup water

4 Tablespoons cocoa powder

***

1 3/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup raw cane sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

***

1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 cup milk with 1 teaspoon lemon juice)

2 eggs

1 Tablespoon vanilla

***

-preheat oven to 350 degrees

-In medium-sized saucepan, bring butter, coconut oil, water and cocoa to a boil; remove from heat.

-In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and sugars. Add the butter/cocoa mixture and stir with a wooden spoon.

-Add in beaten eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.

-Pour into a greased 13″ x 18″ sheet cake pan (or jelly roll pan).

-Bake for 13-14 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

for the frosting:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

2 Tablespoons milk (or vanilla almond milk)

1 cup pecans, crushed

extra crushed pecans for garnishing

-With a stand mixer or hand mixer, combine butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until well blended. Add maple syrup and milk — mix until light and fluffy. Gently stir in pecans by hand.

-Immediately spread frosting over the warm cake — the frosting will melt and spread easily. Allow to cool, and top with additional crushed pecans, if desired.

This cake is incredibly moist and flavorful — the chocolate/pecan frosting gives it an extra measure of deliciousness with a subtle hint of maple.

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Enjoy and Happy 4th!

White Chocolate Chip-Cranberry Cookies

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Continuing my patriotic theme for 4th of July celebrations, I decided on a white chocolate-cranberry cookie because one of America’s favorite desserts would have to be a delicious cookie paired with a cold glass of milk, am I right?

These cookies are soft with a slightly crispy edge — the sweetness of the white chocolate compliments the dried cranberries so very well.

We have our white and red ingredients, so my recommendation is to serve these goodies with fresh summer fruit — preferably in the blue and red colors to complete the theme. 😉

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White Chocolate Chip-Cranberry Cookies

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened

2/3 cup raw cane sugar

1/3 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup vanilla (or plain) almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

3/4-1 cup dried cranberries

***

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees

-With a stand mixer, hand mixer or by hand, beat together the butter, coconut oil and sugars.

-Add the vanilla and almond milk, mix well.

-Gradually blend in the flour, baking soda and salt until well combined, but not overmixed.

-Gently fold in the white chocolate chips and cranberries.

***

Scoop into rounded tablespoons (a cookie scoop works great!) and bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are a soft golden brown.

-Cool for 2-5 minutes before transferring to a plate.

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Enjoy on the 4th as well as any day of the year!

 

 

 

Idaho Cherry Pie

 We are currently in the middle of a heat wave with temperatures reaching the triple digits. Summer has indeed arrived, and one of my favorite summer celebrations is the 4th of July!

During the month of June, I would like to share some of my favorite star-spangled desserts to celebrate America’s birthday with a bang!

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The girls and I have thoroughly been enjoying cherry season — my parents’ cherry tree is filled with ripened cherries! We’ve literally picked bags full, and it is still bursting with color! The robins who built their nests nearby are also extremely delighted and have become quite tame as we pick cherries together!

I was inspired to bake a patriotic pie for my first dessert — which would also be a great addition to any summer picnic or party!

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Idaho Cherry Pie

Pie Crust Recipe from King Arthur Flour

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

*I substituted 1/4 cup Palm Fruit Shortening for the Vegetable Shortening

Cherry Filling

5 cups tart cherries, pitted

1/2 cup raw cane sugar

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/4 cup raw honey

1 Tablespoon vanilla

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

***

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-While preparing your pie crust, combine cherries, sugar, coconut sugar, honey and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl. Stir well, allowing flavors to combine.

-When crust is ready, add lemon juice, cornstarch and salt to cherries and stir well.

-Pour cherry filling into prepared crust and top with stars and stripes crust décor.

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-For the stars, I used a star template, but a star cookie cutter would be ideal. For the stripes, simply cut into 1″ strips to lay across the pie, sealing ends to the edges of the crust.

-Brush stars and stripes with egg white and sprinkle with raw cane sugar.

-Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until crust is a deep golden brown and filling begins to bubble.

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Serve warm or cool. This pie pairs extremely well with a scoop (or two) of vanilla  ice cream! It’s as American as apple … er, cherry pie!

Enjoy!

Raspberry-Honey Cupcakes

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Can you believe we’re in the last few weeks of spring — then headed into the glorious, sun-filled days of summer?

As many of you already know, we are a homeschooling family, and in these last few weeks, it is getting harder to stay focused on our studies. I find my daughters, as well as myself, gazing dreamily out the windows. The weather is warmer, the days are growing longer, and let’s face it, it’s a wonderful time of year to be outdoors! We’re in the home(school)-stretch and should be finished up by early next week!

I felt it was only fitting to celebrate a  wonderful homeschool year, two lovely daughters who fill every day with sunshine and a hip-hip-hooray to summertime! I was inspired to make these cupcakes by my girls — a touch of honey topped with a dazzling raspberry pink! Andno artificial colors are needed for the frosting!

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Honey Cupcakes

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened

3 large eggs

2 Tablespoons vanilla

3 Tablespoons raw honey

1 cup raw cane sugar

***

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 cup vanilla almond milk

***

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

***

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

-With a stand mixer or hand mixer, blend butter and coconut oil well. Add eggs, vanilla, honey and sugar and mix on medium for 2-3 minutes allowing mixture to become light and fluffy.

-Add dry ingredients alternately with vanilla almond milk and yogurt. Mix until well incorporated, but do not overmix.

-Fill cupcake liners approximately 2/3 full, and bake for 17-18 minutes or until toothpick comes out of cupcakes clean.

***

Raspberry-Honey Frosting

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup palm fruit oil

1 Tablespoon vanilla

***

2/3 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup raw honey

***

3 2/3 cups powdered sugar

***

-With a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat oils and vanilla until smooth and creamy.

-In a saucepan, heat raspberries and honey on low until berries have softened.

-Gently pour the raspberry-honey mixture through a colander — push with a spoon to extract all of the raspberry juice and incorporate into the oil and vanilla mixture.

-Gently begin added the sifted powdered sugar about one cup at a time — mixing well after each addition.

-After frosting cooled cupcakes, garnish with additional raspberries and/or coconut flakes, if desired.

-Makes approximately 2 dozen cupcakes

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I think these cupcakes are especially wonderful when enjoyed outside in the sunshine!

Enjoy!

Mother’s Day Lemon Meringue Pie

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Mother’s Day is one of my favorite days — celebrating our wonderful mothers as well as the joys of motherhood.

God has blessed me with a wonderful mom whom I cherish, and since Lemon Meringue Pie is one of her favorite desserts, I would like to dedicate this post to her in honor of Mother’s Day. 

In addition, God gave me the great blessing of two precious daughters, so this post is dedicated to them as well. They are my treasures.

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Pie Crust

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 Tablespoons palm oil

6 Tablespoons coconut oil, cold

5-6 Tablespoons ice water

-Preheat oven to 475 degrees

-In a food processor, gently combine all ingredients on pulse until dough forms medium-sized pebbles. Do not over-mix. Alternatively, a pastry cutter can be used to blend ingredients.

-Wrap dough in plastic wrap or place in a small glass bowl, and refrigerate 10-15 minutes until chilled.

-Gently press pie dough into a 9 inch pie dish and return to refrigerator for 20-25 minutes.

-Prick dough with a fork, and bake in a preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until softly golden.

Lemon Pie Filling

*Slightly adapted from the Joy of Cooking Cookbook

-In a medium-sized saucepan, blend together:

1 1/4 cups raw cane sugar

1/3 cup cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Blend  in well:

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Whisk in:

4 egg yolks

3 Tablespoons coconut oil

-Stir over medium heat with a wooden spoon until mixture begins to simmer. Cook for one minute — mixture will thicken. Pour into prepared pie crust.

Meringue

-With a stand mixer or hand mixer, whisk until soft peaks form:

4 large egg whites

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

-Slowly blend in:

2 Tablespoons raw cane sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

-Spread meringue over hot pie filling, ensuring edges of crust are sealed.

-Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.

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Wishing you a beautiful and joyous Mother’s Day!

Freshly-Baked French Bread

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I am becoming more and more excited with organic bread baking! Because my daughters love deli-style sandwiches, fresh rolls and, of course, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, I have been on a quest to find a delicious, soft bread recipe that I could bake organically and that wouldn’t tend to dry out by the next day.

I headed straight to Pinterest where I found an overwhelming amount of “the best” bread recipes. I went ahead and picked one, and I do believe this has been my favorite bread so far!

I absolutely love baking bread from scratch now — organic with no preservatives, additives or ingredients that really shouldn’t be there. This bread has only six ingredients and is so much better than store-bought!

Homemade French Bread

*recipe slightly adapted from lil’ luna

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 6 cups flour, divided
  1. Dissolve your yeast in ½ cup warm water.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine hot water, sugar, salt, oil and 3 cups of the flour and stir.
  3. In a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to mix the yeast mixture and the hot water/flour mixture together.
  4. Add the remaining 3 cups of flour, one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Once all of the flour is added, cover with a clean dishtowel and let sit for 15 minutes.
  5. Separate your dough into 3 pieces (I typically make a sandwich loaf, traditional French loaf and some extra rolls or buns.) This dough is very sticky, so you will probably want to flour your hands and sprinkle a little on the dough itself. On a floured surface, roll each piece into a rectangle shape then form into a oblong loaf or place in a greased bread pan. You can also form this dough into round balls, slightly flattened, for rolls and buns.
  6. Place the dough on a greased baking pan, seam side down. Score the bread across the top 3 or 4 times, and brush with additional grape seed oil. Cover and let dough rise  for 30-40 minutes in a warm place.
  7. Bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes at 375 degrees or until golden brown.
  8. Note – when baking hamburger/hot dog buns or rolls, baking time will be approximately 15 minutes, depending on the size of your bread.
One batch of this delicious dough produced all of the various breads you see in the first picture! This dough is so versatile and oh-so-soft! Use it for sandwiches, served with pasta, for hamburgers/hot dogs … even delicious little rolls with butter and honey!
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Enjoy!

Cheesy-Bacon Egg Bake

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In addition to being some of the most wonderful women you could ever meet, the ladies at our church are very well-known for their phenomenal cooking — especially on Easter Sunday! We have a tradition of gathering early to share Easter breakfast together, and for those interested in cooking/baking, several recipes are available if you don’t have a particular dish in mind.

Last week as I pondered whether to bring cinnamon rolls or fresh fruit, I glanced over to see a printed recipe for an egg bake. What caught my eye the most was that the recipe called for 18 eggs!

Because we have seven sweet hens who bless us daily with an abundance of eggs, I am always on the look-out for a tasty egg dish!

This recipe is a keeper! Eggs with a soft, creamy layer of sour cream — pause for dramatic effect — covered in melting cheese and bacon! Did I also mention this recipe is one of the easiest dishes I’ve ever made?

This recipe is not my own, and I have to find out who contributed it! To thank her and give her a hug, of course!

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Cheesy-Bacon Egg Bake

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

18 eggs (salt and pepper to taste, scrambled to soft stage)

1 cup sour cream

1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup crumbled bacon

-Scramble eggs to soft stage and spread into a greased 13×9 pan.

-Spread sour cream over the eggs.

-Sprinkle cheese and bacon on top.

-Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

*Side note — you could easily add a delightful variety of fresh vegetables or mushrooms to this dish. Serve with fresh fruit, if desired, and enjoy!

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Freshly-Baked White Rustic Bread

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After a long pause, I’m back to baking fresh bread! I am a novice when it comes to bread making, and as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I have always been intimidated with the idea of baking my own loaves. I pictured my bread turning out as hard as a rock or as flat as a pancake! Or both!

But I have been finding some fabulous bread recipes which have greatly encouraged me! The most recent was found on Pinterest via the Creekside Cook. The title read: Stand Mixer Italian Bread. Stand Mixer … hmmm … definitely worth a try, right?

Yes, definitely, and now I’m so excited to share the recipe I found! I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have! Once again, I want to thank Donalyn for sharing her recipe on Pinterest.

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For the most part, I followed the recipe exactly as it was written — however, after baking these loaves a few times, I made a few slight changes:

-I prefer cooking/baking with organic ingredients whenever possible — which is typically very easy to do with a recipe!

-Instead of spraying the bread with water while baking, I chose to brush the bread with oil twice during baking. Grapeseed oil or extra-virgin olive oil worked wonderfully! I also topped the bread with Italian herbs and kosher salt before baking.

-When adding the additional flour during the second mixing, I only needed approximately 1/2 cup instead of a full cup. (I added the additional flour 1/4 cup at a time as stated in the original recipe.)

-My bread seemed to be done after 25 minutes — possibly our weather? Or elevation? So I would recommend keeping an eye on it after 20 minutes of baking.

The first loaf vanished very, very quickly! So the next time, I made two loaves. This recipe is also perfect for homemade hamburger buns!

So delicious served with olive oil, Italian herbs and a sprinkle of salt!

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Coconut Cake With Blackberry-Honey Syrup

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It is safe to say that I have caught the spring bug, and I love it! Sun-filled afternoons, soft rains and … wait for it … I was even able to open a few windows this week to let in the fresh air!

I tend to brush off the “official” day of spring because it is feeling so much like spring already! I am eagerly awaiting the first blossoms, buds and honey bees, and I suddenly have a great desire to clean everything in the house using all-natural, lemon-scented cleaning products!

This enthusiasm has carried over into the kitchen — culminating in a recipe I came up with for coconut cake with blackberry-honey syrup. I pictured this cake in the midst of a sunny spring picnic or family gathering. I could almost hear the robins tweeting in the background, and I am so excited to share it with you! I only wish we could gather to enjoy it together!

Coconut Cake

*I prefer to use all organic ingredients

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened

3/4 cup raw cane sugar

3/4 cup coconut sugar

4 large egg whites

1 Tablespoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups vanilla almond milk

1/2 cup coconut flakes

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-Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

-In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, combine butter, coconut oil and sugars. Add egg whites and vanilla and mix on medium for 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy.

-Gradually add dry ingredients, alternating with the almond milk, until batter is smooth.

Pour into a buttered/floured 13×9 cake pan and bake for approximately 27-29 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean in the center.

-While cake is cooling, prepare frosting and blackberry-honey syrup.

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Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

3 Tablespoons butter, softened

3 Tablespoons palm fruit shortening, softened

2 1/2-3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup vanilla almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

-In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, combine butter and shortening until creamy. Add vanilla. Alternate powdered sugar with almond milk until creamy.

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Blackberry-Honey Syrup

4 cups blackberries, frozen

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

3/4 cup raw honey

-In a medium-size saucepan, combine all ingredients on low-medium heat and stir. As blackberries begin to soften, increase heat to medium and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1-2 minutes or until syrup begins to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

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-When cake has cooled, frost and sprinkle with the flaked coconut.

-Before serving, drizzle individual servings with the blackberry-honey syrup and sprinkle with additional coconut flakes.

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I hope you will enjoy! Here’s to a lovely spring!