Monday, June 30, 2014

Dark Chocolate Frosting

This is so yummy!  It’s not for the faint of heart, I’ll say that!  It can be fickle and you kind of have to know when to stop adding powdered sugar.  But it’s so worth it!  And hey, if you do end up eating it with a spoon, no worries…it tastes like a spoon full of fudge!  Worst case scenario, you crumble your cake and layer it with the frosting in a parfait dish (guilty!  I’ve done this before!).

1 stick butter, no substitutions

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar (you may need less; you may need more)

Combine the cream and sour cream in a measuring cup, mixing until smooth (or as good as you can get it).  Set aside.

Place a large saucepan with the butter in it over medium heat to melt the butter.  Over the heat, stir in the sugar, cocoa, and salt.  The mixture is going to be grainy and thick. 

Slowly add the cream mixture, while whisking.  Continue to cook without boiling until the sugar is dissolved (about 6-8 minutes).  If necessary, reduce the heat to medium low. 

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Allow to cool at room temperature, then whisk in the powdered sugar until desired consistency.   Use as desired.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Vanilla Cupcakes

True confession: I have been scared to try making homemade vanilla cupcakes. I’ve tried one recipe but with not-so-great results. Most recipes call for cake flour. I have nothing against it, really, it’s just expensive and not something I use often.

So, I found this gem on a website: and modified it a bit. When I baked them today, I was very surprised at the outcome! They were very easy to make (almost as easy as a box mix). They pull away from the cupcake liner for the most part. They’re very moist and spongy! They are tasty, even without icing! A winner in my book!

So, here’s my recipe…

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

Stir these together in a mixing bowl:

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


3 large eggs
1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix with a mixer until the dry ingredients are moist. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes or until fluffy.

Fill liners 1/2 to 2/3 full of batter. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the top springs back when lightly touched (if it leaves an indention, bake a few more minutes).

Let cool completely on a cake rack. Frost as desired.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


This is a very large batch, so feel free to cut it down to a smaller amount.  When I cook, I like to cook a lot so Austin has leftovers for lunch. 

This is flavor-packed!  I prefer to sauté the onions so they aren’t crunchy.  It gives the meatloaf a different taste too.

2 1/2 pounds ground chuck (or higher quality meat)
1/2 onion, chopped and sautéed in a bit of oil until almost transparent
5 teaspoons McCormick Grill Mates (we like Montreal Steak, the one with Worcestershire is good too)
garlic powder, a few shakes
1/3 cup quick oatmeal
2 eggs
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
1/4 cup ketchup

Mix everything together with your hands.  Form 3-4 small loaves.  Place on prepared baking rack (place a sheet of foil over a baking rack, place on a cookie sheet, take a knife and poke holes in the foil).  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, or until done. 

If fixing ahead of time, spread the mixture into a 7x11 pan and place in the refrigerator until needed (up to 24 hours).  Cut the mixture in half (short side), then cut each in half again to make 4 loaves.  Remove from pan and place on prepared backing rack.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Egg Custard Pie (makes its own crust)

This is a recipe from Mammy (Austin’s grandmother).  I love this recipe because there’s no crust to make!  It sort of makes its own crust.  I also love that it’s so easy and I usually have everything on hand for it. 

If you have high quality vanilla that you save for special occasions, this is one time you want to use it.  In some recipes you can’t really taste the vanilla but in this one you can!

This is good warm or cold.  You can make individual pies in custard dishes.  You can make one deep dish pie.  You can make two thinner pies.  You can serve it alone (which is what I do) or you can add some berries and/or whipped cream to it.

Beat these items together with a whisk:

4 eggs, beaten well

1 ¾ cups sugar

½ cup self-rising flour (or ¾ teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt added to ½ cup plain flour)


2 cups milk

1 stick butter or margarine, melted

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

Beat well.  Pour into greased deep dish pie pan.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until set.  It will brown on top but that’s okay.