Lemon Lavender Muffins

I hosted my church lady friends for a retreat recently and I pulled together a menu that was a departure from the tradition breakfast casserole.  I enlisted the help of my friend Pam and we created a “spa-inspired” menu that not only delighted the senses — bright colors in the fruit and vegetables, and the scent of lavender, citrus, mint and rosemary, but their 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 make 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 tasted 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.

I’ll share the other recipes in a follow up post — Fruit gazpacho with pureed cantalope, peaches and mango, and an egg-spinach bake in sweet bell pepper cups.

Trellis House Coffee Cake

I tried a new recipe for my Saturday night baking ritual — The Trellis House signature coffee cake.   You can read all about our fabulous trip to Ogunquit, Maine here last October and our stay at this Trip Advisor 2019 Travelers’ Choice winner The Trellis House Bed & Breakfast. The proprietor, Laurence Plotkin, has a cookbook full of the delicious recipes they prepare for their guests.  I picked up a signed copy during my stay.  Glen and Laurence, and their adorable dog Bentley, are the perfect hosts.  We fell in love with them and still keep in touch.  We are even preparing for another trip in October.  And, Laurence hinted that when I visit if I bring friends with me he will lead a lobster dinner cooking class.  Do I hear the sound of my friends out there booking a reservation?!  Wouldn’t that be the best ever to fill the house with Home with a Twist readers!

Laurence graciously offered to let me share his recipe for this yummy coffee cake.

At the Trellis House we must have the perfect breakfast coffee cake!  This is our signature recipe and we couldn’t be more proud of it.  We adapt the recipe by adding 2 cups of blueberries, raspberries, diced apples, or any fruit that is at its peak and it is perfect each time.  This recipe can be made up ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen before baking…a real time-saver.


1/3 cup of packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

4 TBL butter, softened

1 TBL ground cinnamon

1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts


3 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 TBL to toss with berries

1 TBL baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 3/4 cups sour cream room temperature

1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup sugar

3 large eggs, room temperature

7 TBL butter, melted and cooled

2 cups fresh berries (or other fruit) sorted and stemmed

For the streusel:  Using your fingers, mix brown sugar, sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon together in bowl until mixture resembles wet sand.  Stir in pecans.

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350.  Butter two 9-inch square cake pans.  Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream, brown sugar, sugar, eggs and melted butter until smooth.  Gently fold in egg mixture or other fruit with one tablespoon of flour and then fold into batter.  Scrape batter equally into prepared pans, smooth tops, and sprinkle with topping.

Gently tap pans on counter to settle batter.  Bake cake until tops are golden and puffed and toothpick inserted in centers comes out with few crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes.  Let cakes cool in pans for 30 minutes.  Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Laurence’s cookbook is a must for your library.  It’s full of those delicious, yummy recipes we long for after we’ve returned home from vacations.  It features first courses and starters, breakfast breads, pancakes, french toast and waffles, egg dishes, happy hour and sides, turndown favorites and Glen’s favorites.  You can purchase a signed copy directly from The Trellis House or from Amazon.

Blueberry Lemon Quickbread

On Saturday nights I bake for church the next day.  I was reading through my latest issue of Magnolia Journal and spied a few quickbread recipes.  Click on this link to access three quickbread recipes, but I made it easy for you and included the Blueberry Lemon Quickbread recipe below for you to make tonight!

Note:  I made a few changes to the recipe.  First, I love to bake with buttermilk so I swapped the milk for buttermilk.  I added 2 tsp. of lemon extract for a more intense lemony flavor, and I increased the blueberries to 1 cup.  I did follow the suggestion for the glaze over the warm bread.

This recipe is a keeper!  Happy baking to you.

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.  I made them for my Galentine’s Day party earlier this week.  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.

Reese Witherspoon’s Applesauce Cake

My besties and I had so much fun traveling to Waco for Reese Witherspoon’s debut of her new book Whiskey in a Teacup. The equally adorable and enchanting, Jenna Bush Hager, chatted with Reese on stage in the Silo’s lawn at Magnolia Market.  It was just like we were eavesdropping on two girlfriends talking about boys, movies and recipes.  Everyone walked away from the evening with a signed copy of her book.  We even got to wave to Chip from the window of his office.  We also spied baby Crew in his grandmother’s arms, with the older children watching from the rooftop deck.  It was definitely a family affair!

I came home that weekend and went to work baking her recipe for Applesauce Cake, and it did not disappoint.  I am sure Reese won’t mind that I am sharing her recipe with you.

For the cake:

1 cup (2 sticks of butter), softened

2 cups of sugar

3 cups of applesauce (I used organic cinnamon applesauce)

3 cups of all purpose flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg (I didn’t have any so I used apple pie spice)

1 3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup golden raisins (I was tempted to leave these out, but don’t.  They are perfect in the cake).

1 cup chopped pecans (feeling daring, substitute with candied pecans)

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the icing:

2 cups packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup heavy cream

4 TBL. butter

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat the oven to 325.

To make the cake:

Grease and flour a 9 inch bundt or tube pan (I used Mother’s tube pan).  In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Mix in the applesauce on low speed.  The butter mixture will separate a little from the applesauce, so don’t worry that they don’t mix together completely.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt.  Remove 1/4 cup of the flour mixture and dredge the raisins and pecans in it.  Fold the remaining flour mixture slowly into the applesauce mixture until just combined.  Add the raisin and pecan mixture along with the vanilla extract and stir together by hand.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 90 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center part of the cake comes out clean.  Let cool slightly and remove the cake from the pan, allowing it to cool completely.

To make the brown sugar icing:

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, cream and butter.  Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occassonially until smooth.  Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, powdered sugar and salt until smooth.  Very quickly pour the icing over the cake, allowing it to spread and drip down the sides to set.  The icing sets up very quickly, so it looks best when it is allowed to flow naturally.

Reese suggests making this a day or two before you want to eat it because the cake gets moister with each day.  It slices beautifully and honestly if you wanted to leave off the icing and just have it plain it would be just as delicious.

You can watch me icing the cake here .  Happy baking!

Bake the Bag with King Arthur Flour

I follow King Arthur flour on social media and I was so excited with their new challenge — “Bake the Bag series delivers new recipes via email each week until you’ve used up every scoop of a 5-pound bag of flour. This first nine-week challenge features White Whole Wheat Flour, a mild-flavored, light-colored 100% whole-grain flour that’s perfect for those who might be hesitant to try whole wheat. ”

After you sign up here you are sent the first week’s recipe to your email inbox.

Along with the first recipe you receive a printable shopping list to stock up on all the ingredients for the full nine week challenge.

Week one — Whole-grain banana bread with a 50/50 mix of white and whole wheat flour.   I rarely bake with whole-wheat flour and I was curious how this would turn out.   At the bottom of each recipe they provide baking tips, including substitutions.  One tip was to rough mash your bananas so your bread has big bites of chunky banana.  I tried this tip and I will definitely follow it from now on.

My favorite part of bread is the soft crack down the middle of the loaf.  And, my house smelled heavenly as it baked!  See the big chunks of banana!

I have to say this was probably my favorite banana bread recipe to ever make.  Really!  The whole-wheat flour yields a nutty-like taste to the bread and since the recipe only uses brown sugar, it’s very molasses-y and not too sweet.  It slices like a dream.  I can see slices spread with soft cream cheese and cut into fingers for brunch or afternoon coffee.

My next recipe arrives in my inbox on August 23.  It’s kind of exciting to see what I will be making.  Want to join me and gain access to the recipes — sign up here today!

Together we will #bakethebag!

Old Fashioned Yellow Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I posted a picture of a slice of this cake on my Instagram and Facebook and apparently alot of you like this kind of cake!  Does it bring back memories of Grandma making it for you for your birthday?  Because that’s exactly what it’s referred to when I found the recipe on Pinterest. It’s from the blog Modern Honey and she calls it the “Best Ever Yellow Birthday Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting!  White cake with white buttercream is my first choice on all occasions, but this cake will gladly be my runner-up!

It’s ultra rich and moist.  I think the longer it sits, the better is gets.  It slices perfectly, too.  It makes enough for three layers, but I chose to only bake two.  I think you could also convert it to a 9×13 cake as well.  There is just something so pretty, though, when you serve a layer cake.

Yellow Birthday Cake with Milk Chocolate Frosting
Author: Melissa Stadler, Modern Honey

4 Large Eggs
⅔ cup Whole Milk or Buttermilk (I used buttermilk)
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2¼ cups Flour
1½ cups Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
¾ teaspoon Salt
1 cup Butter, softened, cut into cubes
2 Tablespoons Oil
⅓ cup Vanilla Pudding Mix (instant)

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
1½ cups Butter, softened
1 cup Cocoa
5 cups Powdered Sugar
⅓ cup Cream, Half n Half or Milk

*This recipe can make a two layer cake or a three layer cake (the layers will be thinner). If you would like to make an extra large triple layer cake, 1½ times the recipe and use three 8 or 9 inch cake pans.


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla.
3. In a standing mixer, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
4. Beat the butter into the flour mixture, one cube at a time. Continue to beat until it resembles coarse crumbs.
5. Add the ½ of the egg-milk mixture and oil and beat the batter is light and fluffy. Add remaining egg-milk mixture and vanilla pudding and mix just until combined.
6. Take a spatula and scrape the sides of the bowl.
7. Spread into greased pans and smooth tops with a spatula.
8. Bake for 16-22 minutes, depending on the depth of pans. If the cake layers are thin, they will cook for less time than the thicker layers.
9. Let cakes cool. Run a knife around edge of cake pan and flip over. Frost with milk chocolate frosting.
10. To make Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
11. In mixing bowl, cream together butter, cocoa, powdered Sugar, and cream until light and fluffy. You may want to add more cream or milk depending on consistency. Once cake has cooled and has been removed from pans, frost each layer with frosting.
12. Top with chocolate shavings, chocolate chips, sprinkles, M & M’s or whatever your heart desires.
13. This is one baked good that gets even better the next day, if covered

I liked this cake so much I made two!  One for co-workers and one to share with neighbors…and maybe sneak another piece or two for me!

Heavenly Coconut Desserts

Today would have been my daddy’s 95th birthday.  One of his favorite things in life was coconut!  Coconut everything — pie, cake, those ghastly coconut rolls from truck stops, snowball cupcakes, you name it.  If it had coconut on it, Daddy ate it.  The problem for him was that no one else in the family liked it, so Daddy rarely got to enjoy it.  As you can see in this photo, he has that look, “yep, it’s never coconut.”

I have to say, I have never made a coconut pie or cake.  So, I took to the best source Southern Living magazine to see what I could find…recipes that I would be willing to eat.

Coconut Lemon Poundcake
Coconut Cream Tarts with Macadamia Nut Crusts

And, this is a recipe I have made and they are delicious.  Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies.

The cookie recipe came to The New York Times in 2000 during the Bush-Gore presidential campaign when Family Circle magazine ran cookie recipes from each of the candidates’ wives and asked readers to vote. Laura Bush’s cowboy cookies, a classic chocolate chip cookie that’s been beefed up with oats, pecans, coconut and cinnamon, beat Tipper Gore’s ginger snaps by a mile.

Our family visited the George W. Bush Presidential Library back in December and Sister Bee picked up copies of Mrs. Bush’s recipe cards in the gift store.  Here is a copy of the Cowboy Cookie recipe.  I made them right away and they are very delicious, despite the addition of coconut!

I think Daddy would approve of all these recipes.  They are all on my Pinterest page.  Do you have a coconut recipe I should try?  I’d love to hear from you.

Banana Walnut Crumb Cake

The recipe for this delicious cake is brought to you by Pizzazzerie, a beautiful blog I follow.  This recipe arrived in my inbox one day and I pinned it to my cake board on Pinterest knowing it would be something I would want to try.  We had a bunch of ripe bananas left over at work, and I had a ladies event at church coming up — the perfect combination to set this cake into motion!

If you are looking for a Mother’s Day gift for someone who loves to entertain, Courtney Whimore’s book Pizzazzerie Entertain in Style is the perfect coffee table book.

The Banana Walnut Crumb cake has all the right elements going for it — it’s easy to make, it bakes beautifully, it slices perfectly and it’s a great way to use up ripe bananas.  I am not a walnut fan, but I did make sure to include them just in a smaller amount and I substituted buttermilk for the milk.

You can either access the recipe here or below.

Ingredients For the Crumble:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (I used 1/2 cup)

For the Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 ripe bananas
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk (I used buttermilk)

For the Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons milk or heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13 baking pan with nonstick spray.
To make the crumble topping, melt butter and set aside to cool for 2-3 minutes. Stir in brown sugar and granulated sugar. Add flour, salt, and cinnamon and stir to combine. Mix in chopped walnuts, use a rubber
spatula or back of fork to crumble the topping together. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until blended. Add mashed bananas and beat until just combined. Add
eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. Stir in the flour and milk alternately, beginning and ending with the milk.  Pour half of the batter into the baking pan. Sprinkle half of crumb topping. Then pour the
remaining batter on top. Finish with the remaining crumble topping. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  (my cake was done at about 45 minutes so be sure to check it)

TIP: Cover cake with aluminum if top begins browning too much. Allow to cool before glazing.

To make glaze, whisk together powdered sugar with vanilla extract and milk. Add more powdered sugar if you want a thicker glaze or more milk for a runnier glaze. Drizzle on top of cake.

It’s perfect for dessert, a snack or morning brunch.  It’s a keeper and I hope you will buzz over to Pizzazzerie for more ideas.

Super Easy Sweet — Grown Up S’Mores

Miss Bee and I made these at Sister’s house a few summers ago and we still enjoy making them.  So easy and is reminiscent of the traditional s’more, but with a twist — of course!

All you need is a fresh baguette loaf, soft butter, a family size package of chocolate bars, your choice, course vanilla sea salt and fresh raspberries.

Slice the bread into 2 inch slices and slather on soft butter on both sides.  Place slices on a parchment lined baking pan.  Turn up oven to 450 degrees or light your gas grilled if you want grill marks.  Place bread in the oven for about 3-5 minutes until lightly brown and crispy.  Watch carefully, because the bread can burn quickly.

Remove from the oven and place a slice of chocolate on top of the slice of bread.  Sprinkle with a pinch Jacobsen vanilla sea salt and return to oven to help warm the chocolate — maybe 1-2 minutes.  Remove from the oven, place on serving platter and press a raspberry into the warm, melty chocolate.

Have fun trying different chocolate varieties — dark, milk or bittersweet, caramel or raspberry, orange infused chocolate.  Really, any chocolate of your pleasure works.  It’s the perfect touch of sweet after dinner to enjoy with bubbly or a dessert wine.  Give it a try!