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The Old Hen B&B closed May 31, 2014. We recommend The Roaring River B&B 425.888.4834 and The Log Cabin B&B 425.533.8278 for your North Bend get-away. Please stay tuned for Deanna's cookbook plans. Here's to starting from scratch. Talking about The Old Hen online? Our hashtag is #theoldhen .

Zucchini Brownies Recipe

It is just a matter of time before you are a part of the zucchini war. Every gardener in America is up to no good right now. Oh, they look sweet; but, their shenanigans include hiding zucchini on door steps, in cars, in mailboxes, and so on. Don’t worry. I’ve got your back. These zucchini brownies will have you missing zucchini season before you know it.

Serves 12-24


Preheat oven to 350F

Zucchini Brownies

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups zucchini, grated
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

Place sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla in mixing bowl and mix well. Add zucchini. Place flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add dry ingredients into mixing bowl and combine. Stir in walnuts.

Prepare 9 X 13 pan with baking spray. Pour batter into pan and bake for about 30 minutes. While brownies back, you can prepare the frosting. When done, a fork poked into the middle should come out clean; and, if you press lightly on the top of the brownies, they will spring back. Allow brownies to cool for about 10 minutes before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoons hot water
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Melt butter in medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in chocolate chips and continue to stir while they melt. Stir in hot water. After they are well-combined and saucy, remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar and salt. Frost brownies then cut into squares.

Then check your back porch for another zucchini and start all over again.

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Zucchini Walnut Sheet Cake Recipe With Orange Frosting

The zucchini is winning. Must use all da zucchini. Must haz cake. Moist cake. And orange glaze-y frosting.

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Preheat oven to 350*F.

Zucchini Sheet Cake Ingredients

  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of one fresh orange
  • 2 cups zucchini, grated
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped

Mix oil and brown sugar together. Mix eggs in well. Add flour, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda, baking powder & salt. Mix well until fully combined. Add buttermilk, vanilla, orange zest, zucchini, & walnuts. Mix until well-combined.

Spray half sheet baking pan with sides with non-stick baking spray. Pour batter into baking pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or until done.

Orange Frosting Ingredients

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • Juice of one fresh orange (chunks of refreshing orange in frosting encouraged)

Stir ingredients together until thick frosting forms. Add more of powdered sugar or juice if too thick or too thin.

You goin’ down, zucchini. You goin’ down.

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Homemade Chocolate Brownies Recipe

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How about being able to say your bake sale brownies are made from scratch without fibbing? How about PTA moms begging for your recipe? How about the pride when your kids asking for extra brownies in their lunch so they can share with friends?

Just when you thought there was no such thing as a moist, chocolate-y homemade brownie with perfect chewy edges outside of the box, here she is. And she’s easy… easy-to-make, that is.


Homemade Brownie Recipe Made With Real Chocolate

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 oz. high quality semi-sweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 4 oz. flour (about 1/2 cup but it’s best to measure in ounces)
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare 9X13 baking dish by spraying with baking spray.

Place about 1/2 inch of water in a saucepan. Place another saucepan over the water-filled one while making sure not to get any water in the top pan. Turn heat on high. Place chocolate & butter in top pan. Wait for water to boil then turn burner off. Stir until chocolate and butter are melted together.

Place eggs, salt, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla into a medium bowl. Whisk together well. Stir melted chocolate & sugar mixture in well. Stir in flour. Stir in pecans if desired.

Pour batter into 9X13 pan. Bake for about 30 minutes or until somewhat firm and top has a shiny crust. Allow to cool before cutting them for as long as you can muster.

Your life is about to change for the better this school year. Bake on, popular girl. Bake on.

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Homemade Fig Newton Cookies Recipe

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I loved eating Fig Newtons when I was little. I never thought about what a fig was and I never realized it’s proper place was halved upon a rustic, proper antipasto platter, drizzled with honey. I never knew how grown up I was to be eating fig cookies. For the sake of the children, the name of Fig Newton cookies has now shortened to Newtons. They come in various kid-friendly flavors and colorful packaging.

Today, we take away all packaging and go rustic. Only, you know, in cookie form. Anti-package-o, if you will.


I know. I know. I’ll stick to my day job. You know, the one where I write recipes and stir in some stupid jokes.

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Fig Filling Ingredients

  • 1 – 7 oz. bag dried figs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Place all filling ingredients into a saucepan. Stir. Turn heat on to medium-high. Watch closely and stir occasionally. When filling starts to boil, watch for filling to thicken. When this happens, remove from heat. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

Cookie Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (plus a little more for working with dough)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream together butter & brown sugar. Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Sprinkle about 1 cup of flour on to a baking sheet. Place dough on baking sheet. Using hands, form into two rectangles. Use floured rolling pin as needed until they are about 12 X 4 inches each. Carefully spread filling down the middle of both rolled out dough pieces.

Fold one side of each over the filling then fold the second side over the filling. Place a parchment paper on a clean cookie sheet. Place cookie rolls on the parchment, leaving space in between them so they have room to spread a little.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Carefully touch cookies for doneness… they should be firm but soft. Over-baked cookies* will be dry. Allow cookies to cool. Slice into the sizes you would like to serve.

*You can improve dry cookies with a basic powdered sugar frosting if it happens to you. Just stir a couple of tablespoons of water into about 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. This creates a glaze you can spread on top of your cookies, making them more tasty after over-baking.

It’s always good to know you have what it takes to make your favorite store-bought goods. Remember the Twinkie Panic of 2012? Of course, I guess if things get really crazy there’s always fresh figs halved upon a rustic, proper antipasto platter, drizzled with honey.

 

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Old-Fashioned Date Bars Recipe

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The date. Strong and subtle. Pair him with sugar-y, oats-y goodness and you have the perfect escort for your next potluck.

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Preheat oven to 350F.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound dates, diced
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, cut into small pieces

Pour dates, water, and sugar into large saucepan. Stir and place over high heat. After filling starts to boil, reduce heat to medium and stir occasionally. Allow to simmer for five minutes. When done, remove from burner and set aside.

Place remaining ingredients into a large bowl. Using a pie cutter, cut ingredients until they combine into a loose crumble.

Press half of crumble mixture evenly into a 9X13 pan. Set remaining crumble aside. Pour and spread date filling evenly over bottom layer of oatmeal crumble.

Top date filling with remaining loose crumble mixture evenly (do not press down).

Bake for 35-40 minutes. Top should be golden brown and filling should be bubbly hot. Allow to sit until cooled to room temperature and filling has a chance to firm up a bit.  Cut into squares.

The season of reunions and picnics is quickly upon us, so let us not forget the decadent date bar. You will never be let down.

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Magic Bars Recipe

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At church last weekend I was reminded of God’s goodness through an inspiring message, fun chats with friends, and let’s be honest. The potluck. This Sunday brought memories back of a classic – Magic Bars. No church cookbook (or blog) would be complete without this recipe so let’s have some church…

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Preheat oven to 350F.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 1 – 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 – 12 ounce bag semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 – 12 ounce bag butterscotch chips
  • 1 – 7 ounce bag sweetened coconut flakes
  • Butter for greasing pan

If making graham cracker crumbs from crackers, place about 24 crackers into food processor and process until crumbs make three cups. Add melted butter and spin until crumbs are moistened.

Spread a couple tablespoons of butter around inside of 9X13 pan. It is important to make sure sides are buttered as the sweetened condensed milk will want to stick to the sides.

Press graham cracker crust makin’s down into buttered pan.

Drizzle can of sweetened condensed milk over crust until fully covered.

Add rest of ingredients layer by layer as evenly as possible so that every bar has all the flavors… walnuts, chocolate chips, then butterscotch chips, then coconut. Gently press layers into sweetened condensed milk just a bit.

Bake in oven for 30 minutes.

Wait about 15 minutes for bars to cool a bit before cutting. Cut into about 12 bars or smaller if you like.

To mix things up, you can exchange ingredients. Replace butterscotch & chocolate chips with white chocolate and walnuts for macadamias. Exchange butterscotch chips for peanut butter chips. For holidays, you can sprinkle with festive candies.

Taste and see that the Lord is good. Amen.

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Lemon Bars Recipe

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As an oldest child, I remember having special privileges – privileges like staying up late with mom to watch Dynasty. Once a week, we would make lemon bars and snack ourselves into the world of shoulder pads and male stunt doubles in awful wigs playing the roles of over-privileged, fighting women.

Lemon bars never made me feel entitled, though; nor, did they throw me into cat fights. After all, many of us oldest kids understand with great lemon bars comes great responsibility. I washed plenty of dishes & piles of laundry and babysat my siblings to earn my guilty pleasures of watching Dynasty.


And, when I hadn’t, I just sneaked behind my dad’s armchair to watch from the hallway. Don’t tell mom.

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Lemon Curd

  • Lemon zest from 3 fresh lemons
  • 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (this will take about 3-4 juicy lemons to create)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (milk is fine substitute in this recipe)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter

Place lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar, and egg yolks into a saucepan and whisk together well. Then whisk in cream and cornstarch until cornstarch is dissolved.

Cook’s notes:

  1. Don’t add the cream before the sugar because the lemon will curdle the milk. Don’t add the cornstarch before the sugar because, well, the lemon will deactivate the Wonder Twin Powers of the cornstarch… it’s all that acid-y science stuff. Basically, sugar brings everyone together. 
  2. Save egg whites in fridge for an egg white omelet or 1/4 cup will replace one large egg in other recipes.

Now that no participants are deactivating other participants and egg whites have been rescued from the trash, place saucepan over medium high heat. Cook while whisking continuously. Remove from heat when you see it start to thicken. Stir in butter until fully melted.  Set aside. Mmmmmmm.

Cookie Bar Dough

  • 2 sticks butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Place all ingredients together in mixer. Mix until combined.

Lemon Bars Assimilation

Press cookie bar dough into an 9X13 pan. Pour lemon curd evenly over cookie bar dough in pan. Bake at 350 for about 30-35 minutes.

Best if served when cooled to room temperature and refrigeration will make them firmer for a cleaner cut – not that mom & I did this. Like. Um. Ever. Sprinkle top with powdered sugar through a sifter if desired. Cut into delightful, golden squares.

Your Own Creative Touch

There are many ways to make these lemon bars your very own. You can mix 1/4 cup of poppy seeds into the cookie bar dough.

Or, how about spreading a thin layer of strawberry jam over the dough before adding your lemon curd.

Or, how about this craziness? Cream cheese filling in the middle? Don’t have a cream cheese filling recipe? No worries. I’ve got your back…

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter (or 1/2 a stick) softened
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Dash of salt

Whip ingredients together for a few minutes. Use as a filling in between the cookie bar layer and lemon curd in your lemon bars.

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Coconut Date Squares Recipe

I’m digging way back in my archives today for a scrumptious take on cake squares. There was once a time when my pictures were tiny and my goal for blogging seemed to be to see how many exclamation points I could use to get my point across. But today is a better day.

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Sour Cream Coffee Cake + Date Balls = Coconut Date Squares


Yes, that is correct – moist, delicious coconut date squares. Holy moly, they almost make me want to return to the days of exclamation points. Cakey and chewy.

CAKE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream

First make the sour cream coffee cake batter. Stare at it for just a moment or two.

COCONUT DATE TOPPING:

  • 2 cups pitted and chopped dates
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 16 graham cracker sheets (2 sections per sheet)
  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups grated, sweetened coconut

Process graham crackers, dates and walnuts in food processor until crumbly.

Split crumble in half. In the first half, stir in sweetened condensed milk.

Spread cake batter evenly into half sheet pan (I use parchment paper, but baking spray is sufficient). Gently spread sweetened condensed milk mixture over the cake.

Stir coconut into second half of crumble and somewhat press into the top layer.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until a fork poked into the center of the cake comes out clean.

FROSTING:

After the squares have cooled about 15 minutes or so, drizzle with a simple powdered sugar frosting (Stir together about 2 cups of powdered sugar & a couple of tablespoons of water until frosting is smooth and reaches the consistency you would like.)

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Homemade Blackberry Crumble Recipe

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blackberry cobbler recipe

Blackberry crumble is a gorgeous, old-fashioned dessert. Traditionally a summer treat, we don’t have to wait for the sunshine anymore with frozen blackberries available year-round.   Let us celebrate blackberry crumble in January and February and March and… well, you get the idea.

Berry Filling

  • 6 cups blackberries
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 tablespoons flour

First, toss blackberries into a bowl. Add sugar, fresh lemon juice,  salt and flour. Set aside for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to allow sugar to draw out the juices from the berries. Smash blackberries as much as you like (or not) with potato masher.

If using frozen blackberries, add one more tablespoon of flour.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place these ingredients into a large bowl. Using fingers, rub ingredients into the butter. When butter and dry ingredients combine and begin to hold together, you are done. Crumbles should be little larger than the size of a pea.

Crumble

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Spray baking pan with non-stick baking spray and then press half of crumble into bottom of a  9 X 13 baking pan.

Welcome back, blackberry filling. Welcome back.

Spread all of the blackberry filling over pressed crumble.

Sprinkle with rest of crumble.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until top is golden brown and blackberry filling is bubbly. It’s best if you allow it to sit for a few hours or overnight to cool to room temperature but hot out of the oven is delightful when served with butter or vanilla ice cream too.

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Apricot Sour Cream Bars Recipe

 

Have I ever mentioned Scandia Bakery? Maybe I have. Maybe even often. Maybe because I’ve made it one of my mini goals to try to recreate the amazing goodies that the bakers made and I still cannot find anywhere else to this day. Like apricot sour cream bars. They’re like mini hand pies only better. You know, cuz they’re all sour creamy and sugary. Give them a try. If you weren’t my friend before this post, I’m pretty sure you will be after you try these.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the following ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well mixed and crumbly (or you can use pastry cutter like the first picture above).

  • 2 sticks of chilled butter cut into small pieces
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt

After combining butter with dry ingredients, add the following in a mixer and blend together:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Admire.

Place half of dough on the counter covered lightly with flour.

Roll out.

Trim off edges so the dough is squared, then cut into 3-4 inch squares.

Place a couple of spoonfuls of apricot preserves onto each square as shown. One 12.75 oz. jar of Smucker’s sugar-free preserves should be about the right amount for the whole batch.

Using a fork, whisk one whole egg in a small dish. Use a brush to coat remaining edges of dough square with egg wash to help it seal when folded.

Fold both sides of square over preserves, then turn upside down and place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Push down both ends of each bar so they stay closed while baking. Coat tops of sour cream bars with egg wash and then lots of sugar. Glorious sugar.

Repeat with second half of dough.

Bake for about 1/2 hour or until dough is golden & fully baked.

You can use any preserves you like best in these bars. At the bakery, the bakers made apricot and strawberry. This was the first time I decided I might like apricot. It must have been because of the sugar. Glorious sugar.

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© Deanna Morauski 2009-2017