July 28, 2014

Texas Sheet Cake


My oldest son's favorite cake is Texas Sheet Cake.  He and his family stayed with us this past weekend, and so I made it for dessert.  I believe he said I was the "devil".  It's too tempting!!  It's kind of like Lay's Potato Chips.  You can't eat just one piece.  

This is in my opinion the best chocolate cake of all chocolate cakes.  It is also very easy to make.


I have made Texas Sheet Cake for years, and it is always a favorite for family as well as to share with friends.


It would be excellent to make and take to your next potluck or to have for your next gathering at home.

Texas Sheet Cake:

2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup water
4 tablespoons of cocoa
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 beaten eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt butter, water, and cocoa in a sauce pan.  Pour over sugar and flour mixture.  Blend well.  Add buttermilk and eggs.  Mix in baking soda and vanilla.  Bake in a sheet cake pan at 325 degrees for 25 minutes.  

Frosting:

Boil 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1/3 whipping cream, 1 stick of unsalted butter, and 4 tablespoons of cocoa.  Pour over 1 box of powdered sugar while hot.

After cake has cooled to room temperature, spread frosting on top.

Serve to family and friends!


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July 20, 2014

Blackberry Pie


Blackberries are in season here in southern Illinois, and last weekend, I went to a local farm stand and bought a pint of blackberries.  I'm not crazy about them.  I like the taste of them just fine.  I just don't like the seeds.  However, Cudjoe loves blackberries and blackberry pie.  So I made it for him!


The bounty of Union County is truly amazing!  There are several local farmers who grow tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, blueberries, strawberries, zucchini, blackberries, peaches, and cucumbers.   I'm sure I haven't listed everything.   At the right hand corner of this picture are Donut Peaches.  I have never heard of nor seen them before.  Maybe my next trip to the stand, I'll buy some to try.


Fruit pies are actually easy to make.   I make it easier by using refrigerated pie crust.


When I cut this, it was not cool or set yet, but I like it like that.  And how about a little vanilla ice cream on top?  After it sets, you can, of course, cut a wedge, which I did later, but didn't get a picture of it.


Blackberry Pie:

1 pint blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon  cinnamon
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoon butter

Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Rinse blackberries and then place them in a mixing bowl.  Add the sugar, flour, vanilla, water, and cinnamon.  Stir until mixed.

Line the pie plate with one of the pie crusts.  Prick it with a fork in several places.  Pour blackberry filling into pie crust.  Cut the butter into slices and place on top of the blackberry filling.  Add the second crust to the top and pinch around edges.  (I don't cut any of it off.  I pinch it over because I like lots of crust.)  Cut three slits into the top of the pie crust.  Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes.  Set timer for 30 minutes and check every five minutes until it is done.

Serve to family and friends!










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July 13, 2014

Four Stack


This is a recipe that my family has made for many years.  My grandmother and her sister first made it for us.  Whenever we had a family gathering, my grandmother would often make this for dessert.  Everyone loved  it.  One time my cousin and uncle were leaving our Christmas family party for awhile, and my cousin took it out of the refrigerator and said he was going to take it with him to visit his other grandmother so we wouldn't eat it while he was gone!


When I make it, it always makes me think of my Mimi and my Aunt Fannie.  It is especially great to make in the summer time because it is cold.


You can also substitute lemon pudding or any flavor of pudding you would like for the third layer.  I used to make it with pistachio pudding, as well.   Can you still buy pistachio pudding?  If you would like to make it for your next family gathering, here's the recipe:

Four Stack:

First Layer:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 stick of butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar

Melt butter in the microwave oven in a microwave-safe bowl, add in graham cracker crumbs, and sugar and mix together.  Pat down firmly in a 9 x 13 serving dish.  I used a 9 x 13; however, my grandmother always made it in a large square Corning Ware Dish that I wish I had because it made the perfect thickness for the four-stack, and I am going to try to find one like that in my near future.

Second Layer:

1 - 8 ounce Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened 
1 cup of powdered sugar
1 cup of Cool Whip

With a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, beat cream cheese until whipped well, add powdered sugar and Cool Whip and mix together.  Spread on graham cracker layer.

Third Layer:

2 small boxes of chocolate pudding
3 cups of milk

Mix together pudding and milk until thickened.

Four Layer:

Spread Cool Whip on Top of pudding mixture.

I sprinkled cocoa powder on top, or you could put chocolate shavings on top or nothing at all!  The world is your oyster.

Serve to family and friends.




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July 6, 2014

Bruschetta




My sons, their wives, and my grandson were at our house for lunch on Father's Day.  We swam, visited, and ate lunch.  We had burgers on the grill, baked french fries, and watermelon salad.  While we were sitting around the pool, my oldest son asked, "where are the chips and dips?"  Well, I hadn't planned an appetizer, per se, so I looked around the kitchen and had everything to make bruschetta.


I cut the baguette in a diagonal and buttered each piece and toasted the bread in the oven.  I added chopped tomato, feta cheese and basil that is growing in the backyard.


You could drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the top.  I didn't.  One thing I've learned since making this bruschetta and blogging for a year now is I need to make notes in a notebook about each recipe I concoct or adapt because when I get ready to post, I tend to forget what I've done!

Bruschetta:

French Bread Baguette
Feta Cheese
Tomato
Basil
Butter

Cut French Bread Baguette into slices on the diagonal.  Butter each slice of bread and place under the broiler until toasted.  Add, feta cheese, chopped basil, and ribbons of basil.  

You could also drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Serve to family and friends!




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