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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 .

Poppy Seed Thumbprint Cookies with Meyer Lemon Filling Recipe


Thumbprint cookies are probably some of the very best cookies in all the cookie kingdom. I’ve been waiting for Meyer lemons for months, therefore I didn’t just want to make just any old recipe with them hence this very special post. I wanted to try to make something I’ve never seen before. If I didn’t accomplish that, seems like I may have at least decided upon the world’s longest cookie title ever…  Poppy Seed Thumbprint Cookies with Meyer Lemon Filling.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen thumbprint cookies.

Poppy Seed Thumbprint Cookies Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1  t. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 cups of flour.
  • 1/8 cup poppy seeds

Cream together butter and sugar, then mix in egg, vanilla, salt, & flour until dough combines together.

Scoop out a small ball of dough – cookie scoop works great. Either roll each cookie dough ball in poppy seeds if you like a lot or sprinkle them on each cookie. Place about a dozen per half sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

Almost makes me happy.

Using something very small, press the “thumbprint” in the middle of each cookie. Or if you rather, you know, your thumb. Make sure there are no open sides that your filling will be able to drip out of. You can just press suspicious cracks closed with your fingers before baking.

Probably makes me even happier.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until bottoms of cookies are light golden brown.

While the cookies bake, so maybe let’s make the filling.

Meyer Lemon Filling Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
  • Zest from fresh Meyer (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water

Regular lemons will work fine too, but there is something very special about Meyer lemons. They’re like the perfect love child of lemons and oranges.

You can adjust the liquid to the thickness you desire by adding more or less. Hence, it is wise to start with less as you will want your icing pretty thick for these cookies.

Finally, using two small spoons, scoop some icing into one then control the amount you need to fill each thumbprint with the other spoon.

In conclusion, happiest.


Homemade German Chocolate Cake Recipe


I love a dark, moist German Chocolate Cake. The real magic, though, maybe the penuche topping. I can still almost see it on top of my great aunt & uncle’s bar glowing on top of a 9X13 pan of chocolate cake. All messy and perfect and messy.

German Chocolate Cake Recipe

Penuche Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups pecans, chopped & lightly toasted
  • 7 ounces sweetened coconut,shredded

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Mix in heavy cream, egg yolks, sugars, vanilla, & salt. Continue stirring and cook over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Watch closely. Stir in pecans and coconut too. Finally, allow to cool to room temperature and then save inside refrigerator until cake is ready.

German Chocolate Cake Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 350F.

Place dry ingredients into mixer. Place eggs, buttermilk, oil, sour cream and vanilla in a container and beat together well. Add wet ingredients with dry ingredients. Finally, add hot water on low speed. Scrape down edges of bowl to be sure to incorporate all ingredients into batter. Mix on medium speed for a couple minutes.

Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans by coating with butter (making sure to cover all inside edges) then sprinkle with flour. Coat well but remove excess flour. Of course, the easiest way to prep your pans, though, is to use non-stick baking spray.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until a fork poked inside comes out clean. Also, carefully touch top quickly and see if cake springs back up. If it does, it is ready.

The benefits of freezing your cakes.

Allow cakes to cool completely. If baking cakes ahead of time, you can wrap well in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to use too. Freezing often makes for a very moist cake. This recipe, however, is very moist without freezing as long as you remove it from oven at just the right time. Cakes are also way easier to frost when frozen. Therefore, a prettier cake.

After everything has cooled, place one cake on a plate. Place half the filling on the first layer. Place second layer on top. Frost sides with frosting. Also, spread penuche over top layer. Finally, I placed a pretty border around the top.

In addition, you can also bake your cake batter in a 9X13 baking pan and top with penuche for a less fancy version since this is perfect for a casual potluck.

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 6 ounces high-quality, unsweetened chocolate, melted

Place butter, powdered sugar, salt, and maybe cinnamon into mixing bowl. Start out on low then turn speed up after powdered sugar has combined with butter. Mix until light & fluffy. Melt chocolate in microwave in 30-second intervals or rather over a double boiler until a small piece or two is still yet unmelted; hence, you won’t overheat it. Then remove from and continue to stir heat until melting process is complete. Carefully add melted chocolate into frosting mixture at once. Finally, whip until an especially noteworthy chocolate frosting.


Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe


I collect old church cookbooks. I figure if you can’t trust the old recipes of good, Christian women trying to show off to their congregation, who can you trust?

One day I went hunting for a pineapple upside down cake that would not harm any boxed cake mixes. I, of course, started with my church cookbooks. Nothing. Another. Nothing. Another. Nothing. I finally found one but the recipe included shortening and didn’t trip my trigger.

Eventually, I came up with this one which is perfect for all your potluck showing-off needs.

IMG_1074 (1)

Preheat oven to 350F.

Cake Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup hot water

Cream sugar & butter together. Mix in dry ingredients. Place eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil, butter. & vanilla in a medium bowl and mix together well. Pour wet ingredients into mixture and continue to mix. Add hot water. Turn mixer off and use a rubber spatula to scrape ingredients from sides of bowl down into batter. Mix some more until well combined. Set aside.

 Topping Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • About 9 canned pineapple rings
  • About 9 maraschino cherries (more if you like)

Stir brown sugar into melted butter. Pour brown sugar mixture into a 9 X 13 baking pan. Lay about 9 pineapple slices evenly across pan on top of brown sugar mixture. place a cherry in the middle of each pineapple slice. Carefully pour cake batter into baking pan.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until cake springs back when touched in middle or if a clean fork poked into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Place a 9 X 13 platter over cake. Carefully flip cake over onto platter. Makes about 9 servings.

Trigger-trippin’ goodness. I think it will have you singing hallelujah and doing the hula in no time.


Homemade Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese frosting Recipe


I admit, my memories of carrot cake are a bit abnormal. When a bakery shelf becomes your natural before school nap habitat, you catch glimpses of bakers taking full sheetcakes out of a room-size, ferris-wheel oven.

You watch your mom carefully remove parchment papers the size of a small child off bottom of each cake. You drool as each cake is cut into the sizes requested for each special-order customer.

You nap some more.

You wake up to dozens of 8-inch carrot cakes decorated with cream cheese frosting and carefully placed in a revolving case.

You pretend you can eat the cakes through the glass. You run to the back next to your momma’s side when you notice a customer giggling at your dramatic, cake-longing expressions.

You watch the carrot cakes go out the door one by one as customers proudly carry their box out to their cars to their celebrations.

You play with plastic cake decorating embellishment toys. (Even though I was shaped like a muffin and never danced, the ballerinas were my favorite).

You laugh as, once again, the baker purposefully trips and pretends to drop a gorgeous wedding cake and your mom’s heart rate drops. “You jerk,” she replies to the man who signs her paycheck. This is almost a daily occurrence.



Preheat oven to 350F.

Carrot Cake Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • Dash of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots, grated
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts (optional)

Place dry ingredients into mixer and mix until stirred together. Stop mixer and add remaining ingredients. Mix well.

Butter and then flour 2 8-inch pans or one 9X13 pan. Pour batter into pans (or pan).

Bake for 45-55 minutes. Cake is done when fork comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool completely. If baking in 9X13, just wait for cake to cool completely, make half a batch of frosting, frost top of cake, and serve out of pan.

If making 2 8-inch cakes for a layered cake, make complete recipe of frosting. Wrap each cake in plastic wrap and freeze overnight or for a few hours then place on platter and frost. The easiest way for beginners to frost a cake is to use a decorating bag with a large tip to decorate. This alleviates crumbs that can happen when spreading with a spatula. Freezing your cakes before frosting also helps cut down the cakes and creates a moister cake.


Frosting Ingredients

  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 pounds powdered sugar
  • Sea salt (to taste – this might take up to a teaspoon)
  • Few drops of water if needed

Mix frosting ingredients together on lowest setting until powdered sugar is combined. Turn up speed and whip for about 8-10 minutes. If frosting is too sweet, it needs more salt.

And then you grow up and you realize. Cake is community. And you start a food blog. Cuz everyone deserves to have a community of happiness. And cake. And jerks. And happiness.


Old-Fashioned Fresh Coleslaw Recipe


Sweet, humble, colorful, and healthy. Cole slaw is all that I strive to be.

This dressing is also fantastic for other salads. One might consider making a couple batches and keeping some in the fridge for BBQ nights on the deck.


Ingredients for the Slaw

  • 1 cup green cabbage, sliced fine
  • 1/2 cup purple cabbage, sliced fine
  • 3 stalks of kale, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped

Ingredients for the Dressing

  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Sea salt
  • Pepper

When making coleslaw, it is best to cut up the salad ingredients and prepare the dressing and chill them separately until party time. Until then, never the two shall meet. This will keep your coleslaw crisp and refreshing.

Hey, Slaw. You go, girl. May I be more and more like you when I grow up.


Fresh Roasted (or Grilled) Restaurant Salsa Recipe


I haven’t met a soul yet who can resist Mexican restaurant salsa and chips. We get full before our meal comes. Amirite?

How spiffy would it be to make your own salsa at home and have the power of making your salsa as mild or spicy as you like? How awesome would it be to have the power to say you’ll skip the 2,794-calorie burrito platter and just get full on the chips & salsa freebies?

Your answer is here. Let’s salsa.


If oven-roasting, preheat oven to 350F. If grilling, turn grill on medium-high.


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 medium tomatoes, stemmed & cut in quarters (I like vine-ripened but fresh outta the garden are for sure the best)
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and cut into quarters 1-3 jalepeno peppers, stemmed & cut into quarters (removing seeds is optional)
  • 4 garlic cloves, remove peels after roasting
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (optional, great addition when using out-of-season tomatoes)
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 3 green onions, roots removed then diced
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, leaves only

Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over a half sheet pan that has sides. Place tomatoes, onion, peppers, and garlic cloves on pan. Drizzle with a couple more tablespoons of olive oil. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Place pan in oven for about 20 minutes or until sizzling. If grilling, place larger items on grill and turn occasionally until charred on outside edges. Place smaller items in a cast iron pan drizzled with olive oil to heat up.

Place all ingredients into a large food processor and pulse until the texture of restaurant salsa as pictured above. Sample with a tortilla chip to be sure the flavoring is right and that there is enough salt to bring out all the gorgeous flavors of your salsa.

Now that you’ve saved 2,794 calories, let’s do margaritas, you zesty little thing.


Easy Tomato and Cucumber Salad


This super dooper easy salad option flew off my radar for years. In fact, this very post has been a draft in my reserves waiting for me to publish since 2012. And then I saw how gorgeous it was again and here we are.

If you dislike Miracle Whip, please avert your precious eyes. If you must, you can replace the Miracle Whip with regular mayonnaise but, of course, it will have a savory flavor rather than sweet.


  • 6 medium vine-ripened tomatoes
  • 1 English cucumber, diced
  • 3/4 cup Miracle Whip
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Nothing terribly fancy to see here but a fun, tasty (and don’t forget easy) option to remember when your garden blossoms this year.


Old-Fashioned Date Bars Recipe


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


Preheat oven to 350F.


  • 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.


Magic Bars Recipe


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…


Preheat oven to 350F.


  • 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.


Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe


Basic but not boring. Golden brown disks filled with dreamy chocolate nuggets. Childhood memories all in one perfectly baked cookie. Deliciousness that makes the whole household come to a complete halt almost as fast as homemade rolls or bacon.


CHocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 T. vanilla extract (but I prefer vanilla paste)
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 2 T. milk
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 12 ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cream butter and sugars together in mixing bowl. Add eggs, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and milk and combine well. Mix in flour. Gently but thoroughly stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Place a parchment paper upon a cookie sheet. Use an ice cream scoop to measure cookie dough. Place about 9 per pan with plenty of space in between for the great spread which shall happen – almost as exciting as the great rise of the dinner rolls or the dramatic, sizzling goodness of bacon.

Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.


Flour Scooping Tips

  1. Scoop lightly and generously, don’t shake flour down and don’t try to get as much in the measuring cup as you can.
  2. Use butter knife only for leveling the top of the flour.


© Deanna Morauski 2009-2017