Our family Thanksgiving is always full - full people, full house, full tummies, full of laughs, full of blessings, and of course - tons of food... you know the drill!

This year it was held at my sister-in-law's plantation, Orange Grove. Thursday was just a glorious day and got even better when lots of family arrived - some 40 people. In they came with main dishes, casseroles, sweet potato dishes, salads, collard greens, cranberry sauces, Virginia ham, two kinds of turkeys producing a feast for all!

The main event was the frying of the turkey... all done by the able and talented turkey fryer - Chip Walker. He performed his task without a hitch and produced the most splendid, best tasting, non-dry fried turkey ever. Many thanks Chip ('cause we ALL remember what happened last year)!

My contribution to the feast was two desserts. The first one was a Coconut Cake that I will post about later. The other was Sticky Toffee Pudding - an English dessert that I make every year for the masses.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Butter a 13 x 9 pan (metal, not glass)

  • 1 stick softened butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 16 ozs. chopped and pitted dates
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (non-aluminum)

Cream butter and sugar until well mixed. Add 4 eggs and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Mix well.

In a food processor, pulse the 2 cups of boiling water and the 16 ozs. of dates until well mixed. Add 2 teaspoons of baking soda, 2 and 1/4 cups all purpose flour, and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Pulse until well incorporated. Add this mixture to the butter mixture and mix well.

Pour into prepared baking pan and bake 35-40 minutes or until top springs back.


  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar

Place all the above in a saucepan and bring to a slow boil. Cook about 5-8 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Cut the cake into squares, top with warm sauce. Then, top with slightly sweetened whipped cream.

This is some kind of goodness!


They (by the way, who is "they") say, Sunday is a day of rest. But not today, our church had it's Pre-Thanksgiving Bake Sale and yes, I made Derby Pies and then worked at the sale. All the money raised is being sent to our partner church in Haiti to feed the hungry and destitute after this devastating Hurricane season they have experienced. We are all so blessed every day that we have a roof over our heads, readily available food (most of us will never know starvation) and for the most part - good health. I am feeling very thankful!

After working the sale, I spent the afternoon in a friend's commercial kitchen producing 42 pounds of Southern Fried Pecans. What would have taken me 4 - 5 hours at home, took about 1 hour from start to finish. Many, many thanks Tony.

As for the recipe for the pecans, I have not decided yet whether to market them or not so until then, I will not post the recipe. Sorry...

They are Divine!

Until then, Happy Thanksgiving.


For a short of period of my life, I lived with my grandmother, Granny. She was a big influence in my life, especially in her love of food. She was an amazing cook. Every year at Christmas, she made the most unbelievable fudge and sands (now called Mexican Wedding Cookies).
I have yet to find or duplicate the recipe for the fudge, but I did find the recipe for the sands.
When I first made them, I miscalculated the amount of butter and had to add a stick of melted butter at the end to make the dough come together. A disaster that turned out to be the better way to make these cookies. I have tried them with the proper amount of butter as the recipe indicates and the way that I initially made them. I also have added the rice flour to the recipe. Anytime I want a cookie that is a bit crispy, I add rice flour.
As it turns out, the disaster way is the best method. I am sharing with you the best method recipe.

  • 1 stick soft butter
  • 1 stick of melted butter
  • 8 Tablespoons of sugar
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon of Rice Flour
  • 2 Cups Chopped Pecans
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place softened butter and 8 Tablespoons sugar in the bowl of mixer. Beat together until incorporated. Add flours nuts and vanilla. Beat at slow speed until this comes together. Add 1 stick of melted butter. Mix just until incorporated. Roll into small balls and place on baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper.

Bake 25 - 30 minutes or just until they start to brown. Rotate sheets half way through baking process.
Remove from oven and immediately sift xxx sugar over the top.

Makes about 6 dozen.
Store in airtight tin.


Well, it has been a long time - maybe September since I posted. BUT, I have a really good excuse - I have been in London for the birth of grandbaby #9 - a girl named Marguerite Louisa Letton Mackinnon, born 10/17 - a beauty as evidenced by the picture.
I will soon be posting pictures of my latest cooking adventure (venture). With the help of my really good friend, Tony Page, I will use his commercial kitchen this weekend for production of Southern Fried Pecans.
Then getting ready for the Holiday season, I will post my famous Grannie's Sands.. you will not be disappointed!
Until then, Bon Appetit!

THE Perfect Pound Cake

There is just that tiny hint of Fall in the air. Tiptoeing outside at 5:30 to get the paper, I could feel it, smell it! Where is the blanket of humidity that we experience here in the South? I hope it is gone for good... but I doubt it. In the meantime, I will enjoy any day where the humidity is lower than 50%. That is a good thing.
Now on to THE Perfect Pound Cake - this recipe is thanks to my step-son, Thomas, a great guy and good cook. He always makes this for family occasions and was sweet enough to share it with me. Now you can enjoy this family favorite.
With Pound Cake, the methodology is the most important part. Do not ever, ever over beat it once the dry ingredients have been added. That is the secret to THE Perfect Pound Cake.


  • 3 Cups Sugar
  • 2 Sticks of Real Butter (at room temperature)
  • 6 Large Eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract (or 1 Tbs. Almond Extract)
  • 3 Cups All Purpose Flour (measured before sifting)
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 8 Ounces of Sour Cream

Prepare 10 cup pound cake pan or bundt pan. Butter liberally and dust with flour.
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

Place butter and sugar in large mixing bowl. Beat until well mixed.
Add eggs one at a time. Beat well after each egg.
Add the extract. Beat will to incorporate.
Sift the dry ingredients on to a sheet of wax paper.
Slowly add 1/4 dry ingredients. Turn mixer to slow speed and mix just until incorporated.
Add 1/2 cup of sour cream. Slowly mix until incorporated.
Add 1/2 of remaining dry ingredients. Slowly mix just until incorporated.
Add remaining sour cream and repeat as above.
Add the last of the dry ingredients and repeat as above.
Remember, this is critical. Just mix until incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan and place in oven.
Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.
Turn oven down to 300 degrees and bake for 60 -65 minutes. (In my oven, I bake for exactly 63 minutes).
During the initial cooking process, do not open oven.
To test for doneness, just cake tester. If it comes out with crumbs, it is done.
Remove from oven and place on wire rack for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, remove from pan.


September 14th is the day of our church Bake Sale to benefit Rancho Maranatha Mission in Mexico. My wonderful friends, Kirsten and Kari, who are the brainchildren of Cooks for Christ is hosting the Bake Sale. Did someone say Bake Sale - wow! I must make some Derby Pies. They are always big sellers. So folks, below is the recipe which is always a favorite with friends and family. Whenever I make them, I make two and put one in the freezer for those times when you need a pie quickly. If you freeze one, take it out about an hour or so before you need it and thaw. Right before serving, put it in the oven on 350 degrees for about 10 minutes to heat.


  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter (no substitute) melted and cooled
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon (or use extra vanilla)
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell (I use Mrs. Smith's deep dish pie shells)
In a small bowl, melt the butter in microwave. In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs; combine them with the flour, salt and sugar. Mix well. Add butter, chocolate chips, pecans, vanilla and/or bourbon (if using). Stir thoroughly until well blended. Pour into pie shell and bake in a 325 degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream on each serving.

PS If I could only take photos like my daughter, Claire, I would be in good shape here.


Wow! What a night! Barack has been my main man since the Democratic Convention in 2004 and last night, he proved he IS presidential. Barack and Biden are the ticket to take this great country of ours forward.

As for the boating, some dear friends of ours have a boat (no, dah!) and have included us in a day sail tomorrow. We are so looking forward to going and being on the waterway... nothing prettier than the Intracoastal Waterway in Charleston - a sense of freedom and beauty!

Oh and the brownies... I asked what could I bring and they wanted the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies and Chocolate Mousse Brownies. Of course, I am happy to oblige. The recipe follows below.


  • 1 Stick Butter
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 2/3 cups of sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (if desired)
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream
  • 6 ounces of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 13 x 9 inch metal pan, place a sheet of tin foil. Grease and flour the foil. Set aside.
Heat butter and chocolate chips in a 3 quart mixing bowl. I do this in microwave. Stir until blended. (Cool slightly) Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well. Do not over mix.
Pour into prepared pan.

Prepare mousse topping. Heat cream and chocolate chips in microwave and stir until slightly cool. Beat in remaining ingredients until foamy.

Pour mousse topping over brownie batter. Bake 45 minutes; cool 2 hours before cutting.
Cut into 2 inch squares.

Have a Safe and Happy Labor Day Weekend - let us all pause to remember why we are celebrating this holiday here in the USA.

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake and Good Friends

Many, many years ago, I belonged to a cooking group - about 15 ladies of all cooking talent levels. We met every month or so and "taught" each other how to cook. More than cooking, it was a lot of laughs, a lot of conversation and a lot of growing up together. One of the members was my sister-in-law, Louisa, who shared this tried and true recipe for Buttermilk Chocolate Cake. It has become a favorite of our dear friend JC and on the occasion of his leaving for Brazil for a month he requested that I make it for him and other good friends who came for supper last night. So I did and am now sharing with you! (This was the last piece so I hid it for the photo).

  • 2 Sticks of Butter
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups Sugar
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons of Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Buttermilk
  • 2 Eggs Beaten
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a 13 x 9 inch metal baking pan.
Heat butter and water in microwave until butter is completely melted.
In the bowl of a stand-up mixer, combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder and salt.
Pour the butter/water mixture over and mix well.
Combine the eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and baking soda. Mix well with a fork or whisk.
Pour over the mixture in the mixing bowl and mix until well blended. Medium speed is fine.
Pour into prepared pan and bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Will be done when top springs back. Do not overcook.


While the cake is baking, make the icing.
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 3 1/2 Tablespoons of cocoa powder
  • 1 Box 10X Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/3 Cup Buttermilk

Beat in stand up mixer until well combined.

When cake is done, remove from oven and immediately spread frosting on top.

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipping cream.


Today is the first day of my posting for this blog. Wish me luck!
I have a dear friend in the hospital and I know these will cheer him up.

This recipe is my very own for the Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie - truly crispy.

Pre-heat oven to 385 degrees
  • 2 Sticks of Real Butter - Softened
  • 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs - at room temp.
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Cup White Rice Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Cup Toasted Pecans (if desired)

Mix butter and sugars together until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat together.
In a separate vessel, mix flours, baking soda and salt. Add to butter/sugar mixture.
Add chocolate chips and pecans - just mix in until incorporated.

Place in oven and immediately turn the heat down to 350 degrees and bake for 10-12 mins. Half way through the baking process - rap the sheets on the counter to remove any air. Will be done when they are slightly brown on the top.

Remove from oven and cool on wire racks and WOW!!!


STAY TUNED! This exciting new blog will start up soon with lots of confections!