Lemon Lavender Muffins

Now that we can start safely hosting small groups of friends, I love to find different recipes that delight the senses — bright colors in the fruit and vegetables, and the scent of lavender, citrus, mint, and rosemary, and the taste buds, too.

Lavender is believed to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to heal minor burns and bug bites. Research suggests that it may be useful for treating anxiety, insomnia, depression, and restlessness.  I enjoy diffusing lavender while I am getting ready for work in the morning especially if I anticipate a busy day ahead.

Phoebe in an English Lavender Field

I found this recipe for Lemon Lavender muffins from A Pinch of Yum. I didn’t take the time to prepare these in advance to try them first, so I was a little nervous to experiment on a new recipe (Mother always said, “never serve your guests a recipe you haven’t tested yourself first.”)  Hoorah, they were a success!  You could definitely smell and taste the blend of lemon and lavender.  They weren’t a fluffy muffin, more like tea bread consistency.  I think next time I might make them in a loaf pan rather than a muffin tin to see how they turn out.

I purchased organic lavender buds from Amazon.  You zest and juice a whole lemon then make a lemon-lavender infused sugar for the batter and to sprinkle on the tops of the muffins after they are iced.

A Pinch of Yum – Lemon Lavender Muffins:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons dried lavender buds
  • 1 lemon – juice and zest 
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup Almond Milk (I used almond vanilla)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon (more or less) Almond Milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Pulse the sugar, lavender, and lemon zest in a food processor until smooth. The goal is to break down the lavender. Set 1/4 cup aside.
  3. Beat the 1/2 cup sugar, butter, and eggs until fluffy. Beat in honey, almond milk, lemon juice, and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients gently until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into a prepared muffin tin (I just greased mine, no liners). Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and the tops spring back when you touch them.
  5. Whisk ingredients together for glaze. Pour a spoonful over the top of each muffin and sprinkle with reserved sugar.

Note from Mrs. Twist:  This batter is super thin and chunky from the butter.  This worried me because I am used to a batter consistency that is thicker.  But, it didn’t seem to affect the outcome so push forward.

These muffins would be lovely wrapped up in cellphane with a sprig of lavender and a ribbon to give as a gift or lovely gesture.


Creme De Menthe Brownies – just like Andes Mints

Over 20 years ago a co-worker named Mike made this recipe for Crème de Menthe brownies for an office party.  He gave me the recipe printed from an email that I still have in my recipe binder.  The first time I wanted to make them, Mr. Bee offered to do the work and I’ve never looked back.  We refer to them as “Doug’s Brownies.”  They are rich, different and make a lovely addition to your dessert table because of the pretty green color.  These would be perfect for St. Patrick’s Day!  I promise people will be asking you for the recipe.  Still amazing after all these years!

Crème de Menthe Brownies

Bottom Layer:

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

4 eggs

1 cup flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 16oz can of Hershey’s chocolate syrup (this is hard to find, you can substitute if needed with the syrup in the bottle)

1 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter and sugar and add other ingredients in order.  Blend well. Pour into a greased and floured 9×13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Cool completely.

Middle layer:

3 cups powdered sugar

3/4 cup butter

3 TBL Crème de Menthe liquour

Mix and spread over cooled brownies.

Top Layer:

1 cup chocolate chips

6 TBL butter

Melt chips and butter.  Let cool until easy to spread over the middle layer while slightly warm.  Refrigerate until ready to cut and serve.

Brown Butter Streusel Apple Pie

Since the pandemic, our neighborhood HOA hosts food trucks once weekly. It’s been such a nice relief to look forward to a dinner prepared by someone else. This past week a vendor sold produce. I couldn’t resist the pile of golden delicious apples in a basket. I brought them home and made a pie over the weekend. Here’s the recipe from Bakefeed.

It is really good. A twist on the traditional apple pie. I am sharing the recipe with you below. Don’t be overwhelmed with the length. It’s worth the extra time.

Apple Pie with Browned Butter-Oat Streusel

Deep-Dish Piecrust Dough (recipe follows)
6 to 8 medium (840 to 1,120 grams) Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples
⅓ cup (73 grams) firmly packed dark brown sugar
⅓ cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons (24 grams) cornstarch
Browned Butter-Oat Streusel (recipe follows)

1. On a lightly floured surface, roll Deep-Dish Piecrust Dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer to a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate, pressing into bottom and up sides. Trim excess dough to ½ inch beyond edge of plate. Fold edges under, and crimp as desired. Freeze for 30 minutes.
2. Peel, core, and slice apples. In a large bowl, toss apples with sugars, cinnamon, and salt. Let stand for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
4. Transfer apples to a colander; drain and discard liquid. Toss drained apples with cornstarch, and spoon into prepared crust. Top with Browned Butter-Oat Streusel.
5. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (180°C), and bake until golden brown and bubbly, 35 to 40 minutes more. Let cool for 30 minutes before serving.

Deep-Dish Piecrust Dough
Makes 1 (9-inch) deep-dish crust
1¼ cups (156 grams) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon (12 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (3 grams) kosher salt
½ cup (113 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
5 to 7 tablespoons (75 to 105 grams) ice water

1. In the work bowl of a food processor, place flour, sugar, and salt; pulse until combined. Add cold butter, and pulse until mixture is crumbly. Add ice water, 1 tablespoon (15 grams) at a time, just until dough comes together.
2. Shape dough into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Dough may be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

Browned Butter-Oat Streusel
Makes 1¼ cups
¼ cup (57 grams) unsalted butter
¾ cup (94 grams) all-purpose flour
½ cup (40 grams) old-fashioned oats
¼ cup (55 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
¼ cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
½ teaspoon (1.5 grams) kosher salt


1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Cook until butter turns a medium-brown color and has a nutty aroma, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, sugars, and salt. Drizzle with browned butter, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Crumble with your fingertips until desired consistency is reached.

Pie 101: My Six Essential Pie Baking Tools

We are entering the pie season, everyone!  Think of all the fall flavors – pumpkin, pecan, apple, oh my! If you love pie and want to learn how to make a delicious, flaky crust but have been afraid to try – join me this Saturday, October 10, 10:30 a.m. for a hands-on pie crust class. We will take a short break to let the crust chill, and you can register for part two, where I will teach you how to make my mother’s Buttermilk Pie. It’s THE best y’all!

Regardless if you learn your pie skills from YouTube or me, there are some basic tools you will need to bake pies like the British Baking pros. Here are my Six Pie Baking Tools:

What kind of pie pan do I need? I have done the work for you. Research says the two best types of pie pans – are either a 9-inch glass Pyrex dish or a metal pie plate. Let’s break it down.

Pyrex Easy Grab Pie Plate

Glass heats slowly and allows heat to build gradually and evenly. It also allows you to check on the progress of the bottom of your pie. This set is the Pyrex Easy Grab Glass Pie Plate. Comes in a set of two at Amazon here.

Goldtouch Pie Pan

Aluminum and steel pie plates heat up quickly and evenly, which tends to be great — unless your pie needs to be in the oven for a long time, and then you run the risk of over-browning. This pan is the Williams-Sonoma GoldTouch Pie Pan here.

Rolling Pin. I like a wooden French rolling pin, but that’s my preference. I feel like I have more control over the dough’s thickness because I can guide the dough with my hands instead of the handles. It’s lighter and more maneuverable than its American cousin.  I like this one from Amazon.

Non-Stick Baking Pat.  I like to roll my pie, cookies, and bread dough on a non-stick baking mat. What’s nice about a baking mat is it’s oven safe up to 480 degrees so you can also use it to not only roll your doughs but bake your cookies and other baked goods on it assuring non-stick features—no need for oil, parchment paper, or cooking sprays.  For easy cleanup, I prefer not using my countertops to roll out the dough. You can roll mats up to store in the cabinet. I like this set from Amazon.

Pie Weights. I bought a container of pie weights years ago, and I am so glad I did. Pie weights come in handy when the recipe requires you to pre-bake the pie shell before pouring in the filling. The weights keep the dough from shrinking, bubbling, or buckling while it bakes. You can pick up a set at Amazon for less than $6.

Pastry Cutter and Bench Scraper. Some recipes will instruct you to use a food processor, but I prefer to mix my dough by hand. A pastry cutter is helpful during the first step of breaking down your butter and flour. After you’ve rolled out dough, a sturdy bench scraper will make quick work of any mess. It’ll scrape up all the flour and stubborn dough scraps left behind, helping you clean up in a few easy swipes. Plus, it’s handy for dividing blocks of dough without scratching the counters. This set is from Amazon.

Pie Shield. I use a pie shield every time I bake a pie. The shield allows pies to rise, reduces spillage, and prevents pie crusts from burning or over-browning. It’s a great tool. This one is from Amazon for $7.

You can add other things to your tool kit, but for now, these six kitchen tools will be a great start to your pie-making success!

If you want to register for this Saturday’s Pie 101 Class, check it out here. After you register, I send you the recipe, instructions, and Zoom access link.

Then, on October 24 you can put your pie dough making skills to good use when we meet again to make Chicken and Sweet Potato Pot Pie here.

I hope this helps to inspire you to take advantage of the cooler weather to bake something fabulous. Let’s meet me in my kitchen without ever having to leave your home!

Pumpkin Caramel Bars

I pinned so many pumpkin recipes over the weekend and decided to give the Fudgy Pumpkin Caramel Swirl Bars from the Food Charlatan a try.  I have over 250 bars and brownie recipes pinned to my Pinterest board — you can check them out here.

I put my own twist on them by adding one-half cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips on top of the melted caramel.  The end result was a cross between a spice cookie, a snickerdoodle, and a salted caramel brownie.


  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 and 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons vanilla (not a typo — yes Tablespoons)
  • 2 and 1/4 cups flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (11 ounce) package caramels
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (optional:  I added this, it was not included in the original recipe)


1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper, or grease the pan. (You can do foil too. Grease the foil).
2. In a large bowl or stand mixer, melt the butter.
3. Add the brown sugar, pumpkin, and vanilla, and beat well.
4. Add the flour to the bowl but don’t mix. Spoon the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into the flour and gently stir into the flour.
5. Beat well, stopping to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
6. Pour about half of the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula to smooth it on the bottom of the pan.
7. Bake at 350 for about 19-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and it is set in the middle.
8. Remove from the oven but don’t turn it off.
9. Meanwhile, melt the caramels and milk in a medium microwave safe bowl. Start with 45 seconds, then stir well. Continue to heat in 30-45 second intervals, stirring well each time. When the caramels are almost smooth, stop microwaving and stir until smooth.
10. Pour the caramel over the hot baked layer in pan, spreading to within 1/2 inch of the edges.  Sprinkle the optional chocolate chips over the caramel.
11. Drop reserved batter by spoonfuls over caramel layer. Cut through batter with knife several times for a marble effect.
12. Bake a second time for 25-30 minutes or until center is set. A toothpick test won’t work because the caramel layer is too gooey.

Fall is Coming Y’all – Pumpkin Streusel Coffee Cake

Y’all!  I am ready for fall, and a change of scenery with pumpkins, and pumpkin waffle candles a burning! It’s technically not until September 22, but as soon as pumpkin hits the shelves at Trader Joe’s my happy season has begun.  I had my first PSL from Starbucks on August 29 – fall is my favorite!

This recipe from Crazy for Crust for Pumpkin Coffee Cake will be your new fall friend.  Here’s the thing, it doesn’t call for any eggs.  Don’t panic, it turns out fine (I was worried, so I wanted to offer you some reassurance).

For the Coffee Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used pastry flour)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pure pumpkin puree (I swear by Trader Joe’s organic canned pumpkin)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup nonfat milk

For the Streusel
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Pinch salt

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9×9” pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
Stir in pumpkin, vegetable oil, vanilla and milk until mixed. Pour into prepared pan. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, mix melted butter with 1/4 cup flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir with a fork to
combine. Spread on top of pumpkin cake layer.
4. Bake 30-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted 2” from the side of the pan comes out clean.
5. Store covered on the counter for up to 2 days or freeze for up to one month

This recipe along with 400 other yummy recipes for breads and muffins can be found on my Pinterest board.  Please feel free to follow!

Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Banana Bread

I was gifted the most lovely cookbook for my birthday and I’ve already made several recipes including the one I am sharing with you today – Brown Sugar Banana Bread.  I love a moist slice of breakfast bread with coffee in the morning, but sometimes banana bread can be, well, boring. I love the twist on this recipe.  Faith, Family and the Feast is written by Kent and Shannon Rollins. You may know Kent from his wildly popular Cowboy Cooking show on his YouTube channel.

So here is the recipe:


2 very ripe bananas (I used three in my recipe and it was fine)

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1 stick butter, melted

1 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

2 TBL light brown sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 with a rack in the middle. Butter a 9×5 inch baking pan. In a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream together the bananas, cream cheese, and sugar until smooth. Mix in the butter.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly mix the flour mixture into the banana mixture. Whisk in the vanilla. Scrape the batter into the loaf pan.

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the batter.

Bake for about 45 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool to warm, then run a knife around the sides and turn the bread out of the pan. Invert and serve.


A Fun Way to Serve Ice Cream – in a Watermelon

I follow the Satellite Sisters podcast – which if you are looking for a fun way to connect with other women who feel like friends – please listen to their show. Recently, as they were sharing their plans for celebrating the 4th, they talked about a longtime family tradition of filling a watermelon with ice cream. I don’t have anything else going on so I thought I would give it whirl.

First, I took a small roundish watermelon, washed the rind, and cut it in half lengthwise starting at the stem. I scooped out all the watermelon down to the rind and saved it for another day (I love watermelon in the summer!). You won’t need the other half so just save it too, or give it to a neighbor.

We also cut off just a little of the end so the roundness of the watermelon half would make it level. I set the watermelon down inside a small dish and froze the watermelon for several hours.

I let Miss Bee select the flavors of ice cream to represent the colors of the watermelon – pints of mint chocolate chip, vanilla, and strawberry. All Bluebell ice cream, of course. Three pints easily filled the watermelon. It kind of reminded me of Neopolitan ice cream. Mother served it all the time and I remember what a treat it was to have her slice it right from the carton and put on a dessert plate after dinner.  It was so pretty!

I forgot to take a photo of spooning the ice cream into the hollowed-out watermelon, but basically I treated it like I was icing a cake. With an off-set spatula (or the back of a big tablespoon), just spread the first layer of mint chocolate chip ice cream into the bottom of the watermelon. Spread up the sides to the top and try to make it evenly spread around the entire, inside base of the watermelon. Put the watermelon back into the freezer and let it freeze for several hours. Repeat with the vanilla, then freeze until hard. Lastly, before I put in the strawberry ice cream I sprinkled in few chocolate chips to resemble watermelon seeds, scooped in strawberry ice cream, a few more chips, then emptied the pint evenly spreading the ice cream all over the top to the edges of the watermelon rind. I took a few more chocolate chips and placed them upside down in the ice cream. We let it freeze another few hours, then we had the finished product!

I have been collected vintage blue glassware lately, and this set of hobnail glasses were perfect for serving the ice cream. You don’t always have to use bowls to serve ice cream – use your pretty glassware. This set came from The Antique Azalea (follow her on Instagram).

We tried seeing if you could slice pieces of the watermelon and serve it, but the rinds were frozen solid so we just decided to scoop out the frozen dessert. You could definitely add hot fudge sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry. But, we made do with a sprig of peppermint from the garden.

We enjoyed sitting by the pool, with our feet in the water, enjoying our new ice cream treat. Happy summer y’all!

Blueberry Butterscotch Pie – Oh Me Oh My!

Do you know what you can do with all those beautiful blueberries available in stores right now? Let’s think outside blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, and blueberries on your yogurt – let’s put them into a pie!

I am sharing bestie’s recipe for Blueberry Butterscotch Pie. She first made this for me about 20 years ago, and ever since, it has been Mr. Bee’s favorite pie recipe. When blueberries bake, they pop open and make the most delicious berry pie. I promise if you make this, first, people are going to think it came from a bakery because it’s so beautiful, and second they will for sure ask you for the recipe.  Here’s a printable for your recipe box.



One pie crust, unbaked

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

1-pint blueberries

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp salt


1/4 cup butter

small bag of butterscotch morsels (if 12 oz bag, you are only using half the bag)

1/8 tsp salt

3/4 cup flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine lemon juice and blueberries in a bowl. Stir in sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Gently mix.

Pour into a 9-inch unbaked pie shell. Cover edges with foil and bake 20 minutes.

While pie is baking, melt morsels and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat, stir in salt and flour. Blend until it forms large crumbs. Transfer to a small heat-proof bowl and place in the freezer while pie continues to bake so the mixture firms up. When the pie comes out the oven, take the crumble mixture and stir it with a fork to break up the crumbs slightly. Sprinkle evening over the pie and bake the pie for another 25 minutes. Watch the edges of the crust, and if they start to brown too much, cover again with foil.

Let it cool and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Be sure to print the recipe for your files here.  This pie says, “Hello, Summer!”


Shirley Temple Cake

Looking through Pinterest recently, I found a recipe from Tastes of Lizzy T for a Shirley Temple Cake!  I loved this iconic drink when I was little.  Mother and Daddy would order me this mocktail to enjoy as they visited with their friends over dinner.  I always felt so special.  In fact, I dare you not to smile when you sip one!

A bartender may have invented the origin of the Shirley Temple drink at Chasen’s, a restaurant in Beverly Hills, to serve the then-child actress Shirley Temple. Temple herself was not a fan of the drink, as she told Scott Simon in an NPR interview in 1986: “The sugary sweet, icky drink? Yes, well, those were created in the probably middle 1930s by The Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood, and I had nothing to do with it. But, all over the world, I am served that. People think it’s funny. I hate them. Too sweet!” Adding an ounce and a half of vodka or rum produces a “Dirty Shirley.”  I wonder how Miss Temple would like that?

The cake is really yummy.  It’s very much like a pound cake base with a citrus finish from the added 7Up and lemon extract.  The maraschino cherries add a pretty touch.  Find the recipe from my Pinterest Cake Board here.

Since I have made it, I will make a few suggestions on how I would modify the recipe for next time.

  1.  I would get a larger jar of cherries and chop them, so they are more evenly distributed through the cake instead of just putting in whole cherries.
  2. The recipe calls for you to pour the reserved juice over the cake once it’s removed from the cake pan.  I would probably leave the cake in the pan, pour the juice over a hot cake, let it sit for about 10 minutes, then invert it onto your cake plate.  I think this would allow the juice to absorb more into the cake.

Other than that, I think this is a winning recipe and would be perfect to have for dinner or take to a pot luck.  Add a dollop of whipped cream and a sprig of mint, and it makes for a pretty presentation.

I hope Shirley approves — I know I do!