Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday Season!

Cocoa Drop Cookies

Holiday cocoa drop cookies dipped into vanilla almond bark and sprinkled with .....Christmas sprinkles!
Bill ate one of these cookies and he LOVED the vanilla bark side!
He's my official taste tester and fellow lover of sweets. In fact, he would be happy if I dipped the WHOLE cookie in almond bark. 

However, I love the contrast between the dark chocolate of the cookie and the white of the almond bark side.

Personally, I like using almond bark in place of chocolate because it is so easy to use. 
Just pop two or three squares of almond bark and 1 tsp solid vegetable shortening into a small deep bowl and microwave in 30 second bursts and stir until the bark is melted and smooth. 
You are ready to dip cookies!

Yield: about 4 dozen cookies
Time: 1 hour chill time          8-10 minute bake time for each cookie sheet of cookies.

  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 2/3 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Place sugar, butter, egg, water, and vanilla into a medium size bowl and mix until blended.
  • Stir in flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir until mixed well.
  • Cover bowl tightly and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2 inches apart on to an ungreased, or parchment paper lined cookie sheet. 
  • Bake until almost no indentation remains when touched, with is about 8-10 minutes. 
  • Immediately remove from the cookie sheet and cool.
Dipping the Baked Cookies
  • Once the cookies are cool, melt 3-4 squares of vanilla almond and 1- 2 tsp. of solid vegetable shortening in a small, deep bowl, following the package directions. I wing it and put the ingredients in the bowl and microwave in 30 second bursts and stir in between the bursts until the almond bark and shortening are melted. 
  • Dip each cookie into the bark, shake off excess bark, and add sprinkles. My method consists of pouring the sprinkles into a soup bowl and holding the dipped cookie over the bowl as I sprinkle the decorations on each cookie. This is a great job for the kids! 
  • Set dipped cookies onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. 
  • When the cookie sheet is full of dipped cookies, put the cookie sheet into the freezer for 5 minutes to set the vanilla bark.
  •  Remove cookie sheet from the freezer and cookies are ready to start packaging.
Enjoy eating some homemade happiness on a plate! 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Applesauce Drop Cookies with Easy Caramel-Coffee Frosting

Christmas Applesauce Drop Cookies dressed up with a vanilla almond bark swirl and gold food spray.

My annual Christmas baking began on December 21 this year.
I just had a little trouble getting into the baking mood after making and decorating a half sheet cake for our CMA Christmas party. How about you? There always seems to be so much to do between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. 

Additionally, I made 4 dozen cutout snowmen cookies for the Christmas cookie exchange at work. I love baking, but sometimes I just need to make the baking easy on myself by making drop cookies to accompany the decorated, holiday sugar cookies. 

Yield: about 3-4 dozen cookies 
  • Heaping teaspoonful of dough makes 3 dozen
  • Slightly rounded teaspoonful of dough makes 4 dozen
Time: 1 hour chill time       8-10 minutes bake time

Cookie Ingredients
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
Caramel-Coffee Frosting  See the recipe and ingredients below
  • Put brown sugar, shortening, applesauce, and egg into a medium sized bowl and mix well with a whisk, or a hand mixer.
  • Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir by hand until blended well.
Cover and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour. I make the cookie dough the evening before I want to bake.
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  • Measure dough out with a teaspoon and scoop out a rounded teaspoonful. Use a second spoon to aid in dropping the dough onto your cookie sheet.
  • Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough about 2 inches onto an ungreased, or parchment lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until almost no indentation remains when you touch the cookie top. Also, cookies will harden somewhat as they cool.
  • Immediately remove from the cookie sheet and cool. 
Cookie Baking Tip
Lining a cookie sheet with parchment paper makes transferring hot cookies VERY easy. 

You just slide the entire sheet of cookies out of the pan and onto the cooling rack. 
No trying to slide a spatula under hot cookies! Yeah!
Caramel-Coffee Frosting

  • 1/4 cup salted butter 
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp. caramel flavoring
  • 2 Tablespoons cold coffee
  • Heat butter in a 1.5 quart sauce pan over low heat. 
  • Remove pan from the heat when the butter is melted.
  • Stir in powdered sugar and caramel flavoring
  • Stir in coffee until frosting is smooth and spreadable
  • Cover tightly until ready to use the frosting
This frosting dries quite quickly, so keep a damp paper towel over the frosting and cover tightly if you need to stop frosting your cooled cookies. 

Perfect Drop Cookies Every Time Tips
  1. Keep the cookie dough refrigerated in between batches
  2. Put cold cookie dough onto a cool cookie sheet each time. Baking times are figured from the time you put a batch of cold dough onto a cool cookie sheet. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Snowman Cookie Exchange Winner

My adorable snowman cookies won 1st in the Best Decorated category in the annual Christmas cookie exchange at work. 

Sugar Cookie recipe   Click Here  Use a 3 inch gingerbread man cookie cutter
Royal Icing recipe      Click Here  Use clear vanilla extract to get snow white icing. 

Icing Colors
  • Apply the white royal icing with a butter knife and allow to dry for about 20 minutes.
  • Tint a small amount of icing black with Americolor Gel Super Black.
  • Tint a small amount of icing orange with 1 drop Americolor Gel Super Red, and 2 drops Americolor Gel Yellow.
  • Put tinted icing into a small decorator bag. Carefully snip the very end of the bag off. Pipe onto the cookies. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Polar Bear Christmas Cake

Blue-eyed polar bear Christmas cake made with American butter cream frosting and a cooking-from-scratch pumpkin spice cake.
Bear Cakes
Bear cakes are a favorite of mine - camo bears, biker bears, and NOW a blue-eyed, polar bear Christmas cake. 
Love how the wreath turned out!

This is a "spur of the moment" cake. 
After arriving home from work at 5:30 PM,  I made the decision to start baking.

I grabbed my bear cake pan, prepped it, and whipped up a pumpkin spice cake to pour into it while the oven was preheating
While the cake was baking, I started thinking about Christmas frosting colors and decorator tips. 
Fur color was easy. I wanted an Arctic white polar bear and a green wreath.

Eye color took a little thought. However, I settled on blue because I knew it would be the perfect pop of color. Then I could add the leftover blue frosting to the bowl of green frosting for the wreath. No waste that way!

I pulled out my decorator tip container and looked through the plastic baggies containing decorator tips. As I looked through them, I thought:
No, not floral flowers or basket weave. Hmmm...maybe the #5 frosting tip for berries, eyes, nose, and paws.For the sides I wanted a LARGE tip that would cover a maximum amount of cake. I picked a Russian tip that looks like an extra large #233 grass tip, the actual #233, and a very small star tip.  
#5 frosting tip for berries and paws. #233 grass tip for the wreath.
Russian Tip was a Fail.

I spent an exasperating 20 minutes trying to pipe fur onto my bear with the Russian tip. 
  • The frosting kept sticking to the tip when I released pressure on the bag.
  • I tried starting on the cake and slightly above the cake. Same results. 
  • Then I tried changing the angle at which I held the bag. Same results. 
After scraping the frosting back off the cake several times,
I switched to a large, 2D tip. Hence, the feathery looking fur. I filled in around the paws, face, and any bare spots left by the 2D tip with a medium open star tip. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Redeemed Riders 2016 All-Buttercream Christmas Party Cake

At the Christmas party, 
our friends and CMA family gathered around the cake table to look at the holiday cake. As a hobby baker, I appreciate the many compliments that the decorated cake received. Yes, in my opinion, the compliments paid for the hours I spent on making, baking, and decorating the party cake.  
The Christmas Party Cake
A two layer cake that is half white cake, half devils food chocolate with a strawberry buttercream filling. Five rows of petals and a ruffled border decorate the cake sides. 
My first time piping greenery onto a cake. 
With a #104 petal tip, I made pine cone roses and rose leaves. Other decorator tips that I used were a #233 grass tip for the pine needles and a #5 piping tip for the trios of small red berries. 
Frosting Colors
For the rose leaves and pine needles, I used Wilton leaf green, Wilton copper, Wilton brown,and a drop of Americolor black gel food coloring to achieve the various colors. A mix of Wilton burgundy and Americolor super red, gel food coloring was used for the ruffle border, side petals, berries, and lettering. 

Tutorial Videos for the Visual Learner
I am a visual learner, which means video tutorials are the perfect way for me to learn new piping techniques. There are several tutorials that I have watched multiple times before practicing the demonstrated techniques that I used on this cake and I want to share that information with you.
  1. Liz Larson's Elk and Pinecone Cake -
  2. Olga Zaytseva's BC Red Roses Wreath Cake -
  3. Olga Zaytseva's BC English Roses Wreath Cake -
  4. Brigitte Fultz's Petal Technique -
Dare to challenge yourself to become a better cake decorator! Honestly, you can be a self-taught cake decorator by watching these videos and practicing the techniques you see. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Selling Cupcakes at a Community Marketplace Event

A local organization is hosting a community marketplace on the first Saturday of December. 
Their community marketplace event began several months ago, but this will be my first time to participate by selling cupcakes.

Do you have trouble picking only four cupcakes to bake? It is terribly difficult for me to make a decision when it involves cupcake flavors and frosting choices.

Impromptu Survey
I tried an impromptu survey on my personal Facebook page to have my friends and family help me pick four cupcake and frosting flavors to make. What I discovered is that everyone has a personal favorite and some were not on my list.  The first two cupcakes on my list below were the front runners in my cupcake survey.

My picks are:
  • chocolate with peanut butter buttercream
  • carrot cake with cream cheese frosting
  • pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese frosting
  • sugar-free, marbled chocolate/vanilla cupcakes with a sugar-free vanilla cream cheese frosting.
Packaging and pricing the cupcakes was my next knotty problem. 
I kid you not, I sat with an online baking/pricing calculator, pen, and paper for a couple of hours to figure out how much my total cupcake and packaging cost were per cupcake. Then, I had to decide if my community will pay $1.10 - $1.20 per cupcake. After a great deal of thought, my price point is going to be:

Individual cupcakes - regular $0.90  and sugar-free $0.80
Half-dozen - regular $4.80 and sugar-free $4.40
Dozen - regular $9.00 and sugar-free $8.80

These prices are higher than bake sale prices, but lower than custom cupcake shops. 
More importantly, my costs are covered, I will make a small amount of profit for my time and labor, and someone will be eating some homemade happiness on a plate, or cup in this instance!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Baking Hen Shoulda Been a Stewing Hen!

The Baking Hen
Wow! I bought a "baking hen" a couple of weeks ago. Note the parentheses, I am being sarcastic
After thawing the frozen bird, I was ready to bake it for supper last night.
And the Meat Thermometer Said...
I baked the hen using a meat thermometer and took it out when it reached the correct temperature for poultry. Pushing gently down on the drumstick of the bird, I found that there was very little yield in that drumstick joint. Quickly, I relocated the meat thermometer from the middle of the breast to the back of the breast by the thigh. Yep, the thermometer still read 160 degrees Fahrenheit. The bird was done.
A Rubber Chicken or a Tough Old Bird?
However, after letting it rest for 20 minutes, my serrated knife acted like I was trying to cut through a firm, rubber ball. After switching to a newly sharpened butcher knife, I managed to cut off some breast meat for supper. The meat was done and wasn't dry, BUT Bill and I had to cut it up with steak knives. Our jaw muscles had a nice workout though.

Laughing through our meal of "tough old bird", we finished dinner and the remainder of the "baking hen" went into a large pot of water on the stove. Once the water started simmering, I tried to stick a fork into the bird every 30 minutes. It took two full hours of simmering to make that hen fork tender!

I am positive I bought the world's oldest baking hen AND it should have said stewing hen on the outside wrapper!

To conclude this post, chicken and noodles will be on the Bonham menu next.

Friday, November 25, 2016

SalleeB's Thanksgiving Pies

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend! 
I hope your 2016 Thanksgiving dinner was, or will be, wonderful. What a marvelous Thanksgiving day Bill and I enjoyed with the girls and their families! 

On Wednesday evening,
I joined Ashley in her kitchen and visited with her while making bread stuffing. 

Ashley has recently started baking from scratch and Momma Sallee gave her a couple of pointers for her apple pie and crust. As a mom and a cook, I am going to tell you that Ashley's apple pie, pumpkin pie, and turkey were perfect. Her boyfriend Scott also cooks and he made the mashed potatoes.

My contribution to the family meal included a cherry pie, cranberry-orange sauce, and traditional, out-of-the-can jellied cranberry sauce. However, as you can see in the picture above, I made a pumpkin pie that stayed at home for Bill and I to eat over the weekend. 

Thanksgiving Day 2016 was wonderful. The afternoon of joking, laughter, eating, and family time is stored in my memory for the rest of my life. I am thankful for such a precious memory.


Chill and Thrill Pie Crust - A Never Fail Pie Crust 
I published my go-to pie crust recipe in a post called, "Chill and Thrill Pie Crust." The link to the recipe is below.

Click Here for the recipe. 

Quick and Tasty Cherry Pie


  • 2 cans of cherry pie filling
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • pie crust for a 9 inch double crust pie


  • Open the two cans of cherry pie filling. Using a spatula, remove the filling from the cans and put into a 1 quart bowl. 
  • Add the almond extract, cinnamon, and allspice to the bowl.
  • Using a spatula, gently fold the spices and extract into the filling. You want to keep the cherries from breaking apart as much as possible. 
  • Put the filling into a pie crust lined, 9 inch pie pan. 
  • Gently level the cherry pie filling
  • Place the top crust onto the pie and crimp the edges together. 
  • Cut a few small slits into the top crust
  • Put the pie into a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool at room temperature.

Cut and serve up a slice of  homemade happiness on a plate!

SalleeB's Pumpkin Pie

  • 1-14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1-15 oz. can of pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg and 3 egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 
Note: 1 and 1/2 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice can be used in place of the cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • one 9 inch pie crust. 

  • Mix pumpkin and eggs in a one quart bowl until smooth
  • Add all of the ingredients to the pumpkin/egg mixture
  • Mix until blended well
  • Pour into a pie crust lined, 9 inch pie pan
  • Put into a preheated, 425 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 15 minutes before lowering the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and baking for an additional 30 - 40 minutes. 
To test for doneness
 Insert the blade of a knife into the pie about midway between the center and edge of the pie. Lift the knife and look at the knife blade. If it doesn't have pumpkin on it, the pie is done. 

You may notice that in the picture above there isn't a slit, or hole in the pumpkin pie. I carefully and gently touched the center of the pie with a fingertip. The pie felt firm, the center had expanded upward and was rounded. I judged the pie to be done based on this. My hands are not super sensitive to heat, but I don't recommend that you try my method. 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Baby Floral Celebration Cupcakes

A coworker is having her second baby. 
After her family reveal party on a Friday night,  I made two dozen celebration cupcakes to take to work on Monday morning. As you can see, Baby Number 2 is a girl!

Start with two dozen of your favorite cupcakes and a batch of your favorite butter cream frosting. 
Divide the frosting into small bowls and tint the desired colors. I used Wilton and Americolor gel food coloring in the following combinations:
  1. pink with a touch of burgundy - blossoms
  2. lemon yellow with a touch of copper - flower centers and blossoms
  3. lemon yellow with a touch of red - orange blossoms
  4. leaf green with a tiny touch of brown - greenery

Note: I used two colors in my pastry bag for the blooms and kept reloading the same bag with frosting.
Decorating Tips Used
1. Wilton 2D tip for the butter cream flowers
2. #5 piping tip for the yellow flower centers
3. #68 leaf tip for the greenery
4. #3 piping tip for writing the "Baby" topper

Steps for Frosting the Cupcakes with Butter Cream Frosting
  1. Using the #68 leaf tip and green frosting, pipe a band of greenery around the outside edge of each cupcake. Note: It is not necessary to frost the cupcakes with a base coat of frosting. I piped the blooms directly onto the bare cupcake tops that were edged with the band of greenery. 
  2. Using the 2D tip and two colors of frosting, cover the top of each cupcake with flowers. To create height, slightly overlap some of the blooms, and in the center of the cupcakes, pipe a bloom or two over the first layer of blooms. 
  3. Fill in gaps between the flowers with the leaf tip and green frosting. 
  4. Using the #5 piping tip, place a small dot of yellow frosting into the center of each flower. 
  5. Carefully place the "Baby" cupcake topper onto each cupcake

How to Make the Baby Cupcake Topper

  • 3 - 4 blocks, or squares vanilla almond bark
  • 1 tsp. solid, vegetable shortening
  • tiny drop of red, gel food coloring
  • Melt almond bark in a microwave following the package directions.
  • Add a tsp of solid, vegetable shortening and stir into the melted almond bark until it is melted.
  • Add a tiny bit of red gel food coloring to tint the almond bark pink. 
  • Place a sheet of parchment paper onto two baking sheets.
  • Spoon the warm, tinted almond bark into a piping bag that has been fitted with a #3 piping tip.
  • Pipe the word Baby about 26-28 times onto the parchment paper covered baking sheets.Try to hold the tip slightly above the parchment paper as you pipe the word. 
  • Place the baking sheets into the freezer for about 10-15 minutes, or until you are ready to put them on top of the cupcakes. 
  • When completely cooled and solid, gently lift each word from the parchment paper and place carefully onto the frosted cupcakes. 

SalleeB Shares: Subpar Desserts for $16

Hi there. Last night the hubby and I had dessert at a local chain restaurant.
You know the saying, "hindsight is 20/20"? NOW we know ordering dessert was a bad and costly idea. After a lengthy wait, long enough that we thought our order was lost, the two desserts and beverages arrived.
Should've Looked at the Price
Now I do have to say that the hubs didn't look at the menu price because the words "Chocolate Lava Cake" robbed him of his common sense.  Chocoholics know what I am talking about don't you? Yes, we are taking part of the  blame for the dessert debacle.
The Hubs Chocolate Lava Cake
Bill's chocolate lava cake looked good except for the two walnut sized scoops of vanilla ice cream. The size of the lava cake actually made the minuscule scoops look even smaller.

Being in tune with the hubs, I knew he didn't like it because he paused after he chewed the first bite of cake once.

He went ahead and ate it, but probably shouldn't have because he told me the ice cream tasted "weird." Also, the "lava" was chocolate syrup drizzled over the cake and maybe a little bit in the center.
My Strawberry Cheesecake
I did look at the menu prices and figured about $4.00 for a slice of strawberry cheese cake would be good. After all, it is hard to mess up cheesecake.

My slim wedge of cheesecake was about two inches wide at the outside edge. Since I am trying to cut calories, it was the perfect size and it taste great!

By comparison, the cheesecake just made the quarter of a cup of  thawed, frozen strawberries and juice look slightly pitiful. Yes, that was what topped that lovely wedge of cheesecake.

Comparing Bill's dessert with mine, mine was the better of the two sweet treats. Cheesecake won over chocolate this time.

The waitress arrived with the bill for our lovely desserts.
Yes, you hear sarcasm. Here is where the hubs went into price shock. Silently he handed me the ticket so I could read it and go into price shock with him.

Chocolate Lava Cake with vanilla ice cream     $6.49 
Strawberry Cheese Cake                                      $3.99
Coffee                                                                   $2.49
Soda                                                                     $2.49
Total                                                                     $15.46  before tax was added. 

Wow! The beverage prices were sky-high!
I am going to rant a little bit here. For $2.49 I can buy two, 2-liter bottles of soda! AND when you fill a glass full of ice you might have 4-5 ounces of soda in your glass. The hubs may have drank 20 ounces of soda. What the heck?  Additionally, my coffee cup might have held about 8 oz. of coffee and I only refilled it once! For $2.49 I should have drank half a pot!

Okay, I am trying to calm down and remember things like overhead that a restaurant has to deal with.

I think what bothers us the most about our dessert experience, is that we could have gone to another local restaurant and eaten a meal with drinks, and dessert for an additional $5.

Sure, the dessert wouldn't have been cheesecake, but the self-serve ice cream and dessert bar would have been infinitely better than Bill's chocolate syrup lava cake and weird tasting ice cream!

Here in the Ozarks we have a lot of  folk sayings and I am going to conclude this post with my Great-grandma's favorite saying:
Don't buy a pig in a poke, or Don't buy something you haven't looked at! 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Chocolate Chip Cake and Starlight Cake with Fall Candy Decorations

The Fall Festival  at church is tomorrow and I promised to bake 6 cakes for the cake walk. Besides cakes for church, I need to bake mini-cupcakes for the Halloween party at work, too.

In most of my cake/cupcake posts, I choose to use boxes of cake mix. Today is different. Instead of cake mix cakes, I chose to use two recipes from my 1985 Betty Crocker cookbook, chocolate chip cake and starlight cake.

Starlight cake is a yellow cake that is made with vanilla extract. The chocolate chip cake uses brown sugar and granulated sugar. The batter does smell like chocolate chip cookie dough!

Maybe because of my cake mix ways, I did not use the shortening called for in the recipes. Instead, I substituted 1/2 cup of canola oil for the shortening, and reduced the amount of milk from 1 1/4 cup to 3/4 of a cup. Personally, I was happy with the batter and my cakes were nice and moist.

Starlight mini-cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting. Each cupcake is topped with black and orange sprinkles and two pieces of candy corn. 

Starlight cake with peanut butter buttercream frosting.  The cake is decorated with a candy pumpkin, candy corn, orange/black sprinkles mix, and mini-flower decors. 

Chocolate chip cake with peanut butter buttercream frosting. See the frosting recipe below.

Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting - This recipe will frost about five single-layer 8" cakes. 


  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 2 lbs. of powdered sugar
  • about 3/4 cup of milk
  • 3 tsp. vanilla extract


  • Put butter and peanut butter into a large mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed until the butter and peanut butter is light and creamy. 
  • Add one third of the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Beat on low speed until the powdered sugar is blended with the butter mixture.
  • Add half of the remaining sugar, and 1/2 cup of milk. Beat on low speed until the powdered sugar is about mixed into the frosting. 
  • Add last of sugar and remaining 1/4 cup of milk. Beat on low speed until sugar is incorporated. If frosting is too stiff, add another Tbsp. of milk and blend at low speed. Then, beat on high speed until frosting is smooth and creamy. 
Chocolate Chip Cake
Yield: 1 - 13x9 cake, or 2 - 8" cakes

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed firmly
  • 1/2 cup granulated, white sugar
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Heat oven to 325 degrees. 
  • Grease and flour your pans. I used disposable pans and skipped this step.
  • Put the flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large mixer bowl. Stir until well blended.
  • Add all of the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients. 
  • Mix on low speed, scraping bowl constantly for 30 seconds. Then beat on high speed for 3 minutes.
  • Add chocolate chips and stir into batter.
  • Pour batter into cake pan(s).
  • Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a wooden tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  • Gently remove  the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack until cool. 
  • Frost with desired frosting. 

Starlight Cake
Yield: 1-13x9 cake, or 2-8" cakes

  • 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated, white sugar
  • 3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 large eggs
  • Heat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Grease and flour cake pans. If using disposable pans, you can skip this step.
  • Place flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir until well blended.
  • Add oil, milk, vanilla, and eggs to the bowl of dry ingredients. 
  • Beat at low speed for 30 seconds. 
  • Beat on high speed for 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. 
  • Pour batter into cake pan(s).
  • Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a wooden tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  • Gently remove the cake from the oven and place on a cooling rack until cool. 
  • Frost with desired frosting. 
Note: For mini-cupcakes put about 1 Tbsp. of batter into each liner and bake for about 12 minutes. I made 24 mini-cupcakes and 1-8" layer cake from one batch of cake batter. 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Sallee's Six: A Sextet of Pumpkin Inspired Cupcakes

The annual trip to the pumpkin farm! 
Pumpkin cupcakes that will leave your taste buds singing an Hallelujah chorus!
Just reading the list below makes my mouth water for some yummy, pumpkin, homemade happiness on a plate! I want to make them all. How about you?

1. Impossible Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes -  A cupcake that taste like pumpkin pie and you can eat with your hands. Yum!    Click Here for the recipe.

2. Pumpkin Cupcakes with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting - A trinity of fall goodness, pumpkin, caramel, and cream cheese!     Click Here for the recipe

3. Pumpkin Carrot Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting - A fall flavor binge of pumpkin, carrot, and maple cream cheese.     Click Here for the recipe

4. Maple Cupcake with Pumpkin Pie Frosting - A healthier cupcake for those who are trying to be good, but still want a fall treat. This is the cupcake for you.     Click Here for the recipe

5. Pumpkin Smores Cupcakes- Graham cracker crust bottom, pumpkin cupcake filled with marshmallow cream and smothered with chocolate ganache. My idea of fall flavor heaven!
  Click Here for the recipe

6. Pumpkin Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting - A traditional pumpkin cupcake with a rich, made from scratch, salted caramel frosting.     Click Here for the recipe

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Spiced Pumpkin - Applesauce Layer Cake with Salted Caramel Frosting

I love the flavors in this rustic layer cake. The salted caramel and fall spices make your taste buds jump for joy! Bill thinks this is the best frosting he has ever eaten. He wants it on his birthday cake.
The Pumpkin and Applesauce Cakes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. cinnamon, heaping full
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. all spice
3/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup 100% pumpkin puree
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour two, 8 or 9 inch round cake pans.
  • Put the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and baking powder into a bowl and mix well. Divide the blended ingredients between two medium bowls.
Applesauce and pumpkin puree waiting to be beaten into the dry ingredients.
  • Add 3/4 cup of applesauce to the dry mixture in one of the medium bowls and add 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree to the other bowl. 
  • To the applesauce cake bowl add the cinnamon, ground cloves, and ground allspice
  • To the pumpkin cake bowl add the pumpkin pie spice
Evenly divided dry ingredients with a spices. The left bowl contains cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. The right bowl contains pumpkin pie spices.
  • To each bowl add 1 egg, 1/4 cup of water, and 1/4 cup of canola 
  • Beat each bowl of ingredients on low speed for thirty seconds, and on high speed for about two minutes. Occasionally scrape the bowl sides as you beat the batter.
  • Pour each bowl of batter into a cake pan.
  • Bake for about 28 to 30 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool the cakes for about 10 minutes in the pans.
  • Remove the cakes from the pans and place on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes. 
Ready to chill in the freezer for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Put the cooling rack with the cakes into your freezer for about 20 or 30 minutes to completely chill.
  • While the cakes are cooling, make the Caramel Buttercream frosting.                           See the recipe below.
  • Once the cakes are completely chilled, you can level and stack the cake.
Leveling, Stacking, and Frosting the Cake
I used 9 inch cake pans which gave me a thinner round of cake. I did not cut the layers in half. If you use 8 inch cake pans, you can slice each cake in half and have four cake layers.
A fine tooth, serrated knife and a cake level help achieve an even layer. 
  • Level the top of the bottom round.
  • Place on a cake plate so that the bottom of the cake layer is facing up
A vintage turkey platter stands in for a cake plate. 
  • Spread with caramel butter cream frosting to within 1/4 inch from the edge.
  • Place the top layer, bottom side facing down,  on top of the frosting.
  • With an angled spatula, spread frosting into the gap between the layers and smooth completely.
  • Spread caramel frosting over the cake top to within a quarter inch of the edge.
  • Swirl the frosting from side to side with the angled spatula
  • Drizzle cool caramel topping across the top of cake in the same direction as the frosting ridges. Allow the caramel topping to drip slightly down the cake sides. 
Caramel Buttercream Frosting 
Yields enough to fill and frost an 8 or 9 inch four layer cake. 
Left over frosting keeps for 2 weeks if covered tightly and refrigerated. 

2 lb. bag of powdered sugar
1 cup of salted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup of solid vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. caramel extract
1/2 cup cool water
Caramel topping for drizzling the cake top

  • Place butter and shortening into a large mixing bowl
  • Cream the butter and shortening together until blended and light colored
  • Add one third of the powdered sugar and blend on low speed until just blended. Scrape the bowl sides constantly
  • Add the caramel extract, half of the remaining sugar, and 1/4 cup of water
  • Beat on low speed until just blended
  • Add the remaining ingredients and beat on low until blended
  • Beat on high for another minute or two until the frosting is blended and creamy.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside. Keep the frosting at room temperature if layering the cakes immediately.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats

My pantry style Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats are great and do not contain expensive ingredients.
My new favorite breakfast-lunch is overnight oats.

Not familiar with overnight oats? Basically, you mix equal parts rolled oats, milk, and/or yogurt with spices, fruit, plus a sweetener in a jar and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight.

I kept seeing recipes for overnight oats with (to me) fairly exotic or expensive ingredients like chia seeds that I don't keep in my pantry.

However, I do like rolled oats so I decided to try making overnight oats with my regular pantry ingredients. That's right, pantry style overnight oats with rolled oats, milk, fruit, and a tablespoon of sweetener.

I LOVE them. 
In fact, I've been taking a jar of overnight rolled oats to work with me for a healthy, light lunch. This month, I have almost eaten an entire container of rolled oats by myself! That's some serious oat love.
So far my favorite is pumpkin pie overnight oats.
Layered and ready to stir before putting into the refrigerator.
Five Ingredients
1/4 cup 100% pumpkin puree
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

  • Put your ingredients into a jar or container.
  • Mix thoroughly and put a lid on your container
  • Let sit in your refrigerator for 8 hours.
  • Your pumpkin pie overnight oats are ready to eat! 

Pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree! Yum!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

SalleeShare: Life is Complicated

Pancakes for supper. A simple and fast dinner for a busy day. 
Lately, dinner at the Bonham house has been fairly plain fare. 
I know this will shock you, BUT I even used prepackaged, add-your-own-meat, pasta dinners twice in the last week. Are you feelin' sorry for the hubby? Don't, he grew up on TV dinners and actually LIKES them.

Yep, I am shaking my head too. Seriously, he actually asks for mac and cheese for dinner. Just mac and cheese. No meat. No side dishes. Just mac and cheese. I digress. Let me get back to the complications of my life.

Writing isn't my pay-the-bills job.
Not yet anyway. My forty hour a week job takes up my time from 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM. 7:00 AM is my departure time and 4:00 PM is my arrival time, the actual job is from 7:55 AM to 3:20 PM.

Once I arrive at home, I spend some snuggle time with the hubby and our doggy children before starting in on home making jobs and writing.

I have had several writing projects put on the back burner, or partially completed, for months. In August, I began putting together my second book of poetry, Faithful Facets: Poetry Inspired by Loving Jesus and Life in the Ozarks. It is now an ebook available at, Barnes&Noble, iBooks, and

Last week I completed a second project, another ebook: A Joyous Journey: Devotional Readings From The Book of Psalms. This ebook is now available at, Barnes&Noble, iBooks,, and, too.

Now you see why I haven't been cooking much. I am sitting in front of the laptop A LOT. My third project is a half-finished book of vegetables for children. It is still sitting on the proverbial back burner.

Yesterday, the hubby and I took a bike ride to Mark Twain Lake/Clarence Cannon Dam to visit with both my daughters and all of the grand kids.
It was a gorgeous day to be riding a motorcycle, warm, no heavy jackets needed.  The rumble of my bike under me, my handsome hubby on his bike in the rear view mirror, and grand kids at the end of the ride made the day perfect!

Supper wasn't a prepackaged meal last night.
It was breakfast for supper, homemade pancakes and syrup. With a tummy full of pancakes, I went to bed and slept for eight hours. I am certain it would have been ten hours, but our baby dog started whining in the kennel because he needed to go outside.

Balancing Life
Now I am sitting here, sipping my cup of dark roast coffee and sharing with you about why I haven't posted much from the Bonham kitchen. Life is complicated when you are trying to balance work, writing, and family time.