Why This Blog?


Come in and make yourself at home. I'm so happy to be able to share my recipes here with you.

I bake mostly cookies, quick breads, muffins and scones -- sometimes pie, sometimes cake, but nothing too fancy. I prefer simple recipes that call for ingredients that I already have in my kitchen.

These are the recipes I will share with you. They come from family and friends, magazine clippings saved through the years, favorite cookbooks, and other blogs.

I'm so glad you came to visit. Enjoy your stay!

Michael Ann

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Chocolate Bourbon Cake

If you like rich and dense chocolate cake, you'll really enjoy this recipe. I have this recipe clipping saved from a Family Circle magazine dated 9/17/2002.  It's super easy to make, you don't even need a mixer! It's made in a pan on the stove.  The original recipe calls for instant espresso powder, but I substituted strong coffee for a portion of the water.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt  (omit if you use salted butter)
1 cup water 
1/2 cup strong coffee
1/3 cup bourbon whiskey
1-1/4 cups (2-1/2 sticks)  unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

2 cups powdered (confectioners') sugar
2 TB light corn syrup
3 to 4 TB milk
1 square semisweet chocolate, melted (optional).  You can use chocolate chips too.

Heat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 9-inch bundt pan (or use PAM spray for baking). 

In medium size bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.

In a medium saucepan, combine water, coffee, bourbon, and butter.  Over medium heat, stir mixture just until butter melts. Remove from heat. Whisk in granulated sugar. Let cool for 10 minutes. 

Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Gradually whisk in flour mixture until combined.  Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Do not over bake or it will be dry.  Let the cake cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invert cake onto wire rack; remove pan and let cool completely. You will glaze the cake while it's still on the wire rack.

To make the glaze, sift the confectioners' sugar into a bowl. Add corn syrup and enough milk to make a smooth glaze, not runny.  Spoon or pour the glaze over the cake and let it run over the sides.  You can use an off-set spatula to help cover the cake completely if you like.  Drizzle melted chocolate over the top of the cake, if desired. Use two spatulas to lift the cake onto a clean plate. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days.  


Sunday, October 6, 2019

Buttermilk Cake with Cider Icing

I recently bought one of those little recipe books that they place by the check-out stand at the grocery store.  I'm a sucker for those little books. I still have some from the 1970s and '80s 😊  This one is a Taste of Home collection called "Fall Baking."  I love Taste of Home so I knew it had to be good! A photo of this cake was on the cover and it caught my eye for sure.

So I made this today and it is DELICIOUS! Easy to make too. You do have to go buy some buttermilk. REAL buttermilk (not milk with vinegar added) After all, the cake features this ingredient!  You need cream cheese and apple juice or cider as well. 

1 cup butter, softened
2-1/3 cups sugar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs, room temp
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk

4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4-1/2 cup apple juice or cider 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch fluted tube cake pan, or use PAM or Baker's Joy.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add it to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk. The batter will be thick.  Pour into prepared pan.

Bake 45-50 min. until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  You may need to cover the top with a piece of foil (arch it up to keep it off the batter) about 15 minutes before it's done. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.  Cool completely before icing.

When ready to ice, mix cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar. Add cider bit by bit until it reaches a pour-able consistency. I had to use the whole 1/2 cup.  Pour in a ring around the top and let the icing flow over the sides. Sprinkle with some nutmeg if desired. This actually really adds to the flavor!

Happy Baking!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Fig Pistachio Scones

I've been scrambling to use up all my figs! I've made jam, scones and cookies and even dehydrated a bunch in my new dehydrator. I have a bread recipe I want to try too.

Once again I consulted my trusty Simply Scones cookbook and sure enough, there was a fig scone recipe. Who could resist the addition of pistachios? If you don't have pistachios, slivered almonds or walnuts would be lovely as well.

This recipe makes about 6 scones.

1-1/4 cup flour
3 TB brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt (omit if you use salted butter)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, chilled
1 large egg
2 TB milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup shelled pistachio nuts
1/3 cup chopped trimmed figs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly butter a  baking sheet. 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.  Using a cheese grater, grate the cheese into the flour mixture and stir until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (Or cut butter in with a pastry blender.)  

In a small bowl, stir together the egg, milk and vanilla.  Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine.  The dough will be sticky.  Stir in the nuts and figs until evenly distributed.

Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 3" between scones.   Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes before removing to wire rack.  Serve warm or cool completely and store in an airtight container.


Friday, August 23, 2019

Peach Cobbler

There are many recipes on the internet for Peach Cobbler, but I always stick with my trusty Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (from 1976) for this dessert. If you're looking for a good old-fashioned basic Peach Cobbler recipe, this is it. Enjoy!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Have an 8" round or square pan ready. You do not need to grease it.

Biscuit Topping:

1 cup flour
2 TB sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup milk
1 egg

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter (or grate it in with a cheese grater) and stir until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Combine the milk and egg in a small bowl, then add all at once to dry ingredients, stirring just to moisten.  Set aside.


Peeled and sliced peaches (about 4 cups)
1-1/2 TB cornstarch
1/4 tsp Mace (or Nutmeg)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
1TB lemon juice
1 TB butter

Combine cornstarch, Mace, brown sugar and water in a saucepan. Cook and stir on medium high heat, until thickened.  Add the peaches, lemon juice and butter. Cook till peaches are hot, about 5 minutes.

Pour filling into baking dish. Immediately spoon on the biscuit topper in 6 or 7 mounds. Bake for 20-25 minutes or til golden brown. Do not under-bake or it will be mushy.  Serve warm with cream or ice cream.


Friday, August 9, 2019

Fig Thumbprint Cookies

We have a little fig tree and I try to eat as many as possible, just raw. Love 'em! But this year I wanted to find some recipes to use them in as well.

My Sicilian Nana used to make a traditional cookie called a Cuccidade, with sweet dough and a fig filling. They are SO good but a LOT of work, and they call for dried figs, not fresh. I will blog about those another time!

I found this thumbprint cookie on Allrecipes.com, one of my favorite recipe sites. I made a few changes and added the icing which I think really elevates the cookie.

These are not overly sweet cookies, they are more in the tradition of Italian cookies, made to dip or drink with your coffee. I love them and they received good reviews from my taste-testers!


2-2/3 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (omit if using salted butter)
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla

Fig Filling:
1 cup chopped fresh figs (4 or 5 large figs)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 cup powdered sugar
Enough milk to make drizzle consistency

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, beat sugar and butter until fluffy.  Beat eggs in one at a time, until combined. Stir in vanilla.  Fold in the flour mixture until well blended.

Put figs, honey, cinnamon and nutmeg in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Mixture should be slightly thinner than jam. Add more honey if necessary.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on a non-stick cooking sheet.  Make thumbprints into the balls with your finger or with a measuring teaspoon (dip in flour so it won't stick).  Spoon ~1 tsp filling into each thumbprint.

Bake in preheated oven until edges are golden, 10-12 minutes.  Cool a few minutes and remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Drizzle with the icing.


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Plum Almond Scones

My plum tree is overflowing, so I've been looking for ways to use them up, besides feeding them to the chickens. 🐔  I made jam for the first time and it turned out great! Then this morning I went to my trusty Simply Scones cookbook to see if there was a recipe for Plum Scones. There was... I made them.... and they turned out delicious! My son came over for breakfast and he agreed.  These scones are not too sweet and the addition of toasted slivered almonds takes them to the top.  I decided to make a simple powdered sugar and milk icing for added sweetness and appeal. You can ice them or not, your choice. Enjoy!!

Plum Almond Scones
Makes ~12 scones


2 cups flour
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (omit if you use salted butter)
6 TB unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
1 large egg
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup chopped plums (2-4 firm fresh plums)
1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds, toasted*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly butter a baking sheet.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. (Omit salt if using salted butter.)  Using a cheese grater, grate the cold butter into the dry ingredients and stir until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. 

In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, egg and vanilla.  Add the mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to combine.  Stir in the chopped plums and almonds until evenly distributed.

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, drop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between scones.  Bake 15-17 minutes, or until the tops are lightly browned and toothpick inserted into the center of a scone comes out clean.

Remove from baking sheet and serve warm, or cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container. 

Make a simple glaze of powdered sugar and milk to drizzle over the top if desired.

*To toast almonds, place in a non-stick pan over medium heat on the stove and stir until lightly browned.


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