Holm Family Cookbook

Some eat to live, we live to eat!

Cowgirl's Foodie Blog

A Festive Gluten Free Cookie to Enjoy!

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on December 16, 2012 at 3:15 PM

This recipe  has become one of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes. It's easy, there is no baking, the cookie can be made gluten free and it looks festive!

Festive Gluten Free Coconut Cookies

The surprising ingredients are deliciously combined and rolled into this cookie - aren't dates and nuts healthy?! The original recipe called for margarine, but I used butter, with no difference in the consistency of the cookie. The recipe also called for Rice Krispies, but I used the Gluten Free Rice Krispies, which worked out fine and did not compromise the flavor.

I often use the packaged chopped dates, rather than chopping them my self. This cookie also freezes well. Just make sure they are not crowding each other or stacked.


Skillet Coconut Cookies

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)

2 beaten eggs

3/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

1 cup chopped dates

1 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups Gluten Free Rice Krispies

3 cups (7 ounce bag was perfect) sweetened shredded coconut


Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. In a bowl, beat the eggs and then combine the sugar. Add to the melted butter in the skillet.

Add the salt and chopped dates, cook until thickened, 10 - 15 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture as it cooks and mash the dates to break them down.

When thickened, remove from the heat, stir in the nuts, vanilla, and Rice Krispies. Return to the heat and cook for just a few more minutes to help combine the ingredients.

Remove from the heat.

Gluten Free Cookies Ready to Roll

Using a teaspoon, form into walnut size balls and roll in shredded coconut. Makes 3 dozen.

I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as I do - a fun addition to any cookie assortment.

~ Susie



It is a Small World After All

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on December 11, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Hachiya Persimmon Tree

Tis the season to see Hachiya persimmon trees around northern California looking like their bare branches have purposely been decorated with bright orange ornaments. People often move into homes with persimmon trees growing in the yards and have no idea what to do with the fruit. This happened to our cousin Wendy when she bought our grandparent's house several years ago. Last year she received a great recipe for a persimmon trifle. Settle in as I tell you the story about how she received the recipe.

My sister Susie attended San Jose State University in the 1970s. While living in the dorms there, she had a roommate named Candace who later in life moved to Chicago.

Fast forward to the early 2000s. Susie was staying with her friends, LouAnne and Lowell, who were living in the caretaker's cabin on our family's ranch in the Livermore Hills. One morning Susie walked down the long dirt lane to get the newspaper that was delivered at the bottom of the lane. While she was down there, a car driving by stopped. A young woman got out of the car to introduce herself as Melody, the new neighbor who had recently bought the ranch next to our family's ranch.

Susie was quite surprised to recognize Melody as someone she had once met in Chicago while visiting Candace. Needless to say, they were both quite surprised to meet again, so far from Chicago, and in such a rural location! Proving once again, that it is a small world. Since that day Melody and her husband, Steve, have attended many of our events at the party barn.

Our cousin Wendy lives about 1/8 of a mile from Melody and Wendy often shares the persimmons that grow at her house with Melody.  For years Wendy has been at a loss as what to do with the persimmons, so Melody shared a persimmon praline trifle recipe with her. Wendy made the trifle for our annual New Year's Day party and again recently when our cousins from Denmark were visiting. The first time she made it the pralines cooked a bit too long, however, they made a crunchy candy that Wendy chopped up and put into the trifle. I, personally thought the crunchy praline was fabulous in the trifle. Whether the pralines are crunchy or not, the persimmon trifle is very, very good.

Persimmon Trifle

Persimmon Praline Trifle

Ingredients for pralines

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup half-and-half

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup pecan halves

Ingredients for trifle

8 ounces mascarpone

1 pint heavy cream

1/3 cup granulated sugar

6 tablespoons dark rum

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

6 medium wild Hachiya persimmons, very ripe

2 cups cubed pound cake (1/2 inch cubes)

To make the pralines:

Spray a nonstick baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine the sugars and half-and-half in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the butter, vanilla, and salt and continue cooking until the mixture reaches 260 degree F on a candy thermometer. Working quickly, remove the pan from the heat, stir in the pecans, then pout out the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading it as thin as possible. The mixture will start to harden quickly. Let the pralines cool completely, then chop into 1/4 inch pieces.

For the trifle:

Place the mascarpone, cream, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of the rum, and salt into a mixing bowl. Mix on low and increase the speed to medium high. Whip the mixture just until it holds a firm, creamy peak.

Place a medium-mesh strainer over a large bowl. Remove the stem ends from the persimmons. Squeeze the pulp out of the skins. Using a rubber spatula, press the pulp through the strainer. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of puree.

Place one-third of the mascarpone cream in the bottom of the dish, spreading it out to the sides. Top with one-third of the persimmon puree. Sprinkle with half the cake cubes. Brush the cake cubes with 2 tablespoons of the rum. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the praline. Repeat the layers, ending with the mascarpone cream on top, a final drizzle of persimmon puree, and a sprinkling of pralines. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.


Almost Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on November 26, 2012 at 9:45 AM

My daughter, Laina, has been making the pumpkin pies for our extended family's Thanksgiving dinner for the last three years. She started making them when she was 16-years old.  The tricky part about her pie making is that she doesn't open a can of pumpkin puree to make them; she actually cooks the pumpkins and purees them herself. She does take a shortcut and uses frozen pie crust.

A pie pumpkin used to make pumpkin pies

Laina uses pie pumpkins to make her pies. You can usually find these pumpkins in the produce section of the grocery store before Halloween and until after Christmas. The pie pumpkins are smaller than the pumpkins used for jack-o-lanterns. The pie pumpkins are also sweeter and the texture is not as grainy as the larger pumpkins.

Baked pie pumpkins

To make the puree, she bakes the pumpkins, scrapes out the seeds, and purees the cooked pumpkin--she does not use the shell.  It is not as complicated or time consuming as one might think.  And, the results are so much tastier than store bought pies and puree.

One of Laina's pumpkin pies

Laina uses the frozen pie crusts from Trader Joe's, which taste and look homemade. So, Laina's pies are almost homemade . . . .

Pumpkin Pie - Makes one pie


One pie pumpkin

1/2 can sweetened condensed milk

1/2 can evaporated milk

2 large eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

1/4 tsp. ginger

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 pie crust


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Wash and dry the pumpkin. Cut pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds and strings.  Place the pumpkins cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours or until tender. Allow pumpkin to cool and then scrape the cooked pumpkin out of the shell.

Place the cooked pumpkin into a blender and puree until smooth. Laina likes to put the evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk with the cooked pumpkin in the blender on the liquefy setting to make the texture smoother. Pour the pureed pumpkin into a bowl and mix in the eggs, then the salt, sugar, vanilla, and the spices. Mix well to make sure there are no spice clumps.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a 9" pie plate with a pie crust and crimp the edges. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the pie crust. 

Bake the pie in the 425 F oven for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Bake 40 more minutes or until the pie is no longer jiggly in the center.

Cool the pie before serving.  We store our pumpkin pies in the refrigerator.

~merry carter~


We must have pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie.

- David Mamet


The Best Strawberry Ice Cream Ever

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on November 4, 2012 at 10:15 AM

We were invited to participate in the Sunol Pioneer Folk Festival that was held yesterday at the Sunol Regional Wilderness Park in Sunol.  Our Great, Great Grandmother Caroline Arnett's family moved from Missouri to Sunol and she lived there until her marriage to Daniel Teeter in 1870. Unfortunately, Caroline died twelve years later at the age of 33.

Here is a copy of Daniel Teeter and Caroline Arnett's wedding certificate. I have transcribed what is written on the certificate below. Apparently spelling was not a strength of the person that did the writing.

THIS CERTIFIES THAT The RITE of holy Matrimony WAS CELEBRATED between Daniel M. Teeter of Pleasanton Almeda, Co. Cal and Caroline E Arnett of Sunole off the Same Co. on the 27 day off June at Sanleandro Almeda Co. Cal by Gor. Smith Justis off the pese in the year off our lord 1870

We had a great time at the festival and have been invited back again next year. It appeared the other people at the festival had a great time too. The setting for the festival was just beautiful and the weather was just perfect. There were craft booths where at no charge people got to make stick horses, clothes pin dolls, stamped leather accessories, and they got to plant seeds to take home in a pot.  Cousin Wendy and my sister Nancy happily went home with stick horses and clothes pin dolls. There were food booths, again at no charge, where the attendees could make their own lemonade, taste horehound candy, apple fritters and biscuits made in a Dutch oven, and hand cranked ice cream.

Nancy cranking the ice cream maker at the Sunol Pioneer Festival

We manned the hand cranked ice cream booth. The ice cream was a hit.  Men, women, and children were excited to take turns cranking the handle of the ice cream maker.  Many of the people came back for seconds and some came back for thirds and fourths. Several of the people said the strawberry ice cream was the best strawberry ice cream they had ever had (however, some of the people had just hiked five miles, so anything cool would have tasted great).

A few people from India stopped by and told us about making hand cranked ice cream in India where there is either no electricity or electricty for only three hours a day. The ice cream flavors some of them made was mango, cardamom, or saffron. Other people visiting from India that had not seen or made hand cranked ice cream were very interested in how it was made and where they could buy the makers to take back to India.

Some of the leftover hand cranked strawberry ice cream

We used our grandmother's recipe that we have posted in our blog before, but this time we made some changes. The recipe below reflects those changes.  You can use this recipe with other fruit, such as peach, which is one of my favorites.

Granny’s Pumped Up Strawberry Ice Cream - Makes 5 quarts

Ice Cream Ingredients

6 pints ripe strawberries, cleaned and hulled

2 pints heavy whipping cream

1 pint half-and-half

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

Needed for the ice cream maker


Rock salt


Mash the strawberries until smooth. In a large bowl, combine the fruit with the cream, half-and-half, sugar, and vanilla and mix well.

Pour the mixture into the freezer canister and insert the dasher into the canister. Place the lid on the canister and put the canister into the bucket.

Pack the area between the canister and the bucket with ice and rock salt. Add a 3- or 4-inch layer of ice and then pour a layer of salt, at least a few handfuls. Repeat the layering until the ice is about an inch or two below the cannister lid. Don't go above the lid and take care not to get the salt into the canister.

It will take about 1/2 hour to an hour for the ice cream to thicken in the hand crank maker.  The ice cream thickens in about 15 to 20 minutes in an electric maker. With the electric maker, be sure to turn the maker off as soon as the ice cream is thick or the motor can burn out.


In our family homemade ice cream was a tradition at birthday parties and summer events. Why not make it one of yours?


More Mini Desserts

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on October 17, 2012 at 9:40 AM


The assortment of mini desserts I served at Bunco

After Christmas dinner last year I served a tray of assorted mini desserts to my guests and they loved them (click here to read about them). What my guests loved about the minis was that they could say "I'll try one of each" and they would only be consuming the calories of one regular sized dessert, that they could eat one mini dessert and not feel too guilty about eating a dessert, and they loved having an assortment to choose from.

Recently it was my turn to host Bunco at my house. In my Bunco group the hostess is expected to serve dessert after the game. It was really hot that week, so I thought some refreshing minis would be the way to go.  I'd wanted to make lemon mousse for a long time, so I used this opportunity to make it.  Along with the mini lemon mousses, I made mini raspberry trifles using this recipe (click here) and I assembled the mini trifles in champagne glasses. I also served Trader Joe's mango ice cream in some mini dessert glasses that I bought at Pier 1 Imports. I topped the mini ice cream desserts with a dollop of whipped cream and a Trader Joe's coconut cookie.

Mini raspberry trifles made in small champagne glasses

Mango ice cream served in mini dessert glasses

Well, the Bunco group enjoyed the desserts, but they gave me some grief about setting the bar too high for the next Bunco hostess. No worries, she was happy to serve pies from Shari's.

There are so many desserts that you can make as a minis. I recently had a mini tiramisu at a luncheon and mini tarts are always fun and easy to make.

Lemon mousse in mini dessert glasses

Below is the recipe I used to make the lemon mousse. If you make this recipe, you will actually be making lemon curd first and then will make whipping cream to fold into the curd to make the mousse. For the best flavor, be sure to use fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Lemon Mousse - Makes 6 regular sized servings or 12 mini servings

Ingredients for the lemon curd

3 large eggs

3 large egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar

Zest of 4 lemons (zest the lemons before you juice)

1/2 cup lemon juice (approximately five or six lemons)

Pinch of salt

2 sticks (8 oz) butter, cut up into small pieces

Ingredients for whipped cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup sugar


To make the curd, you are going to use a double boiler improvised by using a medium pot filled with a few inches of water and a large glass bowl. Bring the water in the medium pot to a boil.  Do not place the glass bowl on it yet.

Pour the three eggs and three egg yolks into the large glass bowl. Add the 1/2 cup of sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt to the eggs and whisk.

Set the bowl over the pot with the boiling water.  Fast and furiously whisk the contents of the bowl. Keep the mixture moving or it will turn into scrambled eggs.  The mixture will become frothy and then creamy. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens. It will take about 10 or 11 minutes to get to this point.

Remove the bowl from the boiling water.  Start adding handfuls of the small pieces of butter to the thickened lemon mixture.  Keep adding the butter until it has all been mixed in.  If any lumps remain, put the bowl back on the pot with the boiling water until melted.

Push the curd though a fine mesh sieve to remove the stray bits of scrambled egg that may have formed.

Put a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the curd to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cool.

To make the whipped cream, beat the cream and sugar together in a medium bowl until soft peaks are formed. Gently fold 1/3 of the whipped cream into the curd at a time. Take care that you don't completely deflate the cream, so the mousse is somewhat fluffy when served.

To fill small dessert glasses, fill a corner of a gallon Ziplock bag with the mousse. Cut the tip off of the corner of the bag and pipe the mousse into the glasses.

Garnish with raspberries and thin strips of lemon peel.

Have fun with it. Your guests will love them!


Uncle Frank's Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on July 8, 2012 at 11:35 AM

Uncle Frank and his pastry blender

Our mother’s twin brother, Frank Holm, was born four minutes after she was. Although she never let him forget she was the oldest twin, therefore the boss, he continued to make her chocolate chip cookies often during her final years. Chocolate Drop, Toll House, Chocolate Chip, our mom loved all of these cookies!  These cookies were welcomed, cheered and devoured rather quickly upon receiving them. We even made sure they were served at her memorial reception. I knew this was a recipe we needed to save and share.


I recently visited Frank and his wife Joan, while there I asked for the recipe. Frank modestly said, “It’s just the Crisco recipe.” After getting a copy and hearing the story, it isn’t just the Crisco recipe. Frank put his own twist on the cookies to make them Uncle Frank’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. He added cinnamon, nuts and extra chips to make them his own. The last batch he made for the family, Frank used pecans instead of walnuts. He also uses a pastry blender and not an electric mixer. While talking about the recipe we discussed using real butter instead of the Crisco Shortening. I would prefer butter and will need to do some experimenting, but here is Uncle Frank’s recipe. They are delicious!


Uncle Frank’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 3 dozen cookies


1 1/4  cup firmly packed brown sugar

3/4  stick Crisco Baking Sticks Butter Flavor - all vegetable shortening

2  tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 3/4  all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

3/4  teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon of cinnamon, heaping

1 whole bag of chocolate chips

1  cup of chopped nuts, he prefers walnuts, but the pecans were very tasty!


Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine brown sugar, shortening, milk and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat until light and fluffy. Beat egg into creamed mixture. Combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Using the pastry blender, mix into creamed mixture until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop rounded tablespoons of dough 3 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies (his are usually chewy!) or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet on a cooling rack. Remove cookies to rack to cool completely.

 ~Susie Calhoun~

Think what a better world it would be if we all, the whole world, had cookies and milk about three o'clock every afternoon and then lay down on our blankets for a nap. ~Barbara Jordan


The Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on May 31, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Our father, Wayne Calhoun

Our father's 85th birthday is today. It will probably be his saddest birthday as our mother, his wife of nearly 62 years, died a couple of weeks ago on Mother's Day. Tonight my daughters, my sister Susie, and I will take him out for dinner. Last Sunday we did have a small gathering of his close friends and some family members to acknowledge his 85 year milestone.

Our mom and dad on a date in Santa Cruz

Pineapple upside down cake is our dad's favorite cake, so on Sunday I set out to make a good one for him. I actually ended up making two pineapple upside down cakes. One of the recipes that I used was advertised as Dole's original recipe. The other was an interesting recipe with fresh pineapple that I found on epicurious.com and tweaked a bit.

When I served the cakes everyone wanted to try a small piece of both. Hands down the cake with the fresh pineapple was the best.  It was much more moist and full of flavor. I've provided both recipes below.

The pineapple upside down cake with fresh pineapple and rum was the favorite

Fresh Pineapple Upside Down Cake


1 medium pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cored

1 stick butter

1 cup packed brown sugar


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 stick unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon dark rum

1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice

1 tablespoon dark rum for sprinkling over cake

Equipment Needed

10-inch cast-iron skillet 


Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease the skillet well. Cut pineapple crosswise into pieces about 1/2 inch thick. Arrange pineapple in the skillet in concentric circles, overlapping pieces slightly. Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add brown sugar and simmer over moderate heat, stirring, 4 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over the arranged pineapple.

Sift together flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt. Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, then gradually beat in granulated sugar. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla and rum. Add half of flour mixture and beat on low speed just until blended. Beat in pineapple juice, then add remaining flour mixture, beating just until blended. (Batter may appear slightly curdled.)

Spoon the batter over pineapple topping and spread evenly. Bake cake in the middle of the oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Let cake stand in skillet 5 minutes. Invert a plate over the skillet and invert cake onto plate (keeping plate and skillet firmly pressed together). Some of the pineapple may have stuck to the bottom of skillet. Replace and rearrange any pineapple stuck to bottom of skillet and scoop up the brown sugar topping and fill in where needed. Sprinkle the rum over cake and cool on plate on a rack.

Serve cake just warm or at room temperature.

The pineapple upside down cake made from Dole's original recipe

The Original Dole Pineapple Upside Down Cake Recipe


1 20-ounce can either crushed -or- sliced Hawaiian pineapple

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup milk

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup brown sugar

Maraschino cherries for garnish (I did not use these)


Drain the juice from 1 large can either crushed or sliced Hawaiian Pineapple. Sift 2 cups flour. Sift again with 2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cream 1/2 cup butter or substitute and gradually add 1 cup sugar; cream well. Beat yolks and whites of 2 eggs separately. Add yolks to creamed mixture; mix well then add flour and 1/2 cup milk alternately mixing well. Fold the 2 beaten egg whites and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large oven-proof frying pan. Spread 1 cup of brown sugar over pan. Add pineapple (if sliced is used place slices closely together on the sugar; if crushed simply pour in the well-drained fruit). Pour cake batter over fruit. Bake 45 minutes. Turn upside-down on serving dish and garnish with maraschino cherries. Whipped cream may be spread over top.


Happy 85th birthday Dad!


Tiny Treats Cupcakes

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on February 26, 2012 at 7:45 PM

Maple Bacon Cupcakes!

I started baking just for fun and family get-togethers about a year ago. My mother in law asked me to bake some cupcakes and cake pops for a church group event she was hosting and I jumped at the chance. She kept telling me to make up some kind of price list because the women there were going to want to order more cupcakes from me after this, and I kept procrastinating. Finally, I sat down the night before delivery and made up a few price points for cupcakes and cake pops. From that one party I have filled over 100 orders! It has tree branched/snow balled into quite the busy little hobby for me. I have done everything from 1st birthdays to funerals.

Guinness Cupcake (the manly cupcake!)

The most interesting thing has been all of the different people I have met throughout my baking adventures. From people who love my cupcakes and cake pops, to people who have never had a cake pop, and are a little scared to try one. I love it when people come to me and ask me to make a flavor I have never made before – like the Apple Pie. A customer asked what kind of autumn flavors I could make and the first thing that came to mind was of course, Pumpkin Spice. She agreed and asked if I could maybe try to make an Apple Cupcake that tasted like pie as well. I told her to give me 2 days to work this out and when I did she would be the first to taste it. I figured it out and let her try it and she fell in love with it. It is a lightly spiced vanilla cupcake with homemade apple pie filling in the middle and vanilla butter cream on top. She also loved the Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes as well (which has Cinnamon Cream Cheese frosting on top) and ordered 2-dozen of each!

The Apple Pie Cupcake

Baking helps me relax after spending all day taking care of all the duties of a stay-at-home mom. So for me it's not about orders to be filled, it's more about how I am helping someone out that doesn’t have the time to bake for themself. And as stressful as it can be, in the end, when I deliver their orders and see how excited they are about how I have decorated their goodies and personalized something as simple as a cupcake just for them – that is a really good feeling for me.

Pumpkin Cupcake

Lavender Honey Cupcakes

1/2 cup butter

2 eggs

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons dried lavender (you can usually find it at health food stores like Van’s)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup milk

Honey Frosting (recipe below)

Dried lavender (optional for a light sprinkle on the top of the frosting)

Allow butter and eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Meanwhile line cupcake pans with cupcake papers. In a medium bowl mix together flour, baking powder, 2 teaspoons of lavender and salt.

In another mixing bowl mix together the butter and eggs with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Once mixed together add sugar, honey and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour and the milk.

Spoon batter in to cupcake pan with liners and fill about 3/4 the way full.

Bake 10-12 minutes (Depending on your oven, you will need to keep an eye on them. For me it takes about 15 minutes but I am constantly checking in them after about 10 minutes). Cool completely, then frost and sprinkle with dried lavender.


Honey Frosting

1-8ounce package of Cream Cheese

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups powder sugar

3 tablespoons honey

Beat together cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add vanilla and honey and beat well. Add powder sugar slowly (or it will blow up and into your face!) and mix well. Continue to add powder sugar until the frosting forms peaks and they don’t move. If your frosting is too thick add about one teaspoon of milk to thin it back out.

Good luck and happy baking!

~ Cousin Kellie Alcon

 Tiny Treats Cupcakes - Click the Facebook icon for more information about Kellie's Tiny Treats.

The New Foodie Rage - Mini Desserts

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on December 28, 2011 at 12:55 AM

The tray of mini desserts that I served on Christmas Day

Mini desserts are the rage at restaurants, catered events, and parties these days. Most people want something sweet after dinner and don't want a large dessert. Many of us also like to try a few different things, so the minis are just perfect. I decided to serve mini desserts after dinner on Christmas day this year and my guests were excited that I served them.

To make it easy on myself I bought two premade mini desserts and my daughter, Whitney, and I made one. One of the desserts that I bought was a box of mini cheesecakes from Costco. There were actually three flavors of cheesecakes in the box, which brought the number of different desserts up to five. The second dessert that I bought were mini chocolate dipped vanilla ice cream cones from Trader Joe's. These were a hit. My guests were thrilled to get the ice cream cones.

Mini cheesecakes from Costco

Mini chocolate dipped vanilla ice cream cones from Trader Joe's

The dessert that Whitney and I made was a chocolate mousse layered with crushed Oreo cookies that we topped with fresh whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, and a Hershey's Kiss all made in shot glasses. Most dessert recipes can be prepared in mini containers.  I purchased the shot glasses that I served them in at World Market. Pier 1 Imports currently has a nice selection of mini glasses and other serving dishes for mini desserts and appetizers. If you stop by the store, Pier 1 Imports has a pamphlet about tasting parties that includes ideas and some recipes. The Pier 1 Imports website has a beautiful display of photos and recipes - click here to check them out.

Chocolate mousse layered mini desserts that my daughter and I made for after dinner on Christmas Day

Mini martini glasses available at Pier 1 Imports stores

Mini sampler set available at Pier 1 Imports

The mini desserts can be easy to make. Whitney and I really did not follow a recipe. We made a packaged mousse recipe, crushed Oreos, and made some whipped cream. To get the mousse and the whipped cream into the glasses without making a mess all over the sides of the glasses, we put the mousse and whipped cream into plastic zip-lock bags with a hole cut into one corner of each bag and piped the mousse and whipped cream into the glasses.  I put a frosting tip into the hole in the bag with the whipped cream so that the whipped cream looked a bit more decorative. We sprinkled some decorative candies on top of the whipped cream and topped the dessert with a Hershey's kiss.

Surprise your guests this New Year's Eve with some mini desserts. Go crazy with them!


The Cookie Exchange: Year Three

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on December 12, 2011 at 9:40 AM

A sample of the wide variety of cookies and candies from this year's exchange: chocolate crinkles, double orange, snickerdoodle biscotti, shortbread, English toffee, lemon drops, chocolate balls

Three years ago I blogged about a Christmas cookie exchange 11 of my coworkers and I started that year at work. At the first exchange we were wowed by the French chocolate bark our coworker Louella brought for the exchange. She neatly packed the bark into twelve small green glass bread pans. The wife of another coworker brought chocolate Christmas mice, which were also a hit.  Click here to read about the first exchange

That year I brought the spritz cookies that my family and I make at a yearly spritz cookie making party. To read about the cookie making party and see the recipe, click here. 

Last year, I was not into making cookies for the exchange, so I made homemade peanut brittle. Believe it or not, peanut brittle is quicker and easier to make than cookies. Click here to learn how to make it and get the recipe.

I spent some time this past weekend prepping for the third annual cookie exchange. I made muddy buddies, a snack mix, instead of cookies. And, as I am writing this blog, it is 6:30 a.m. and I have potatoes baking in the oven for the luncheon we have in conjunction with the cookie exchange. The first year we had a taco and taco salad bar at the luncheon.  I made easy picante chicken in a crockpot for the tacos and salad. Click here for the recipe.  Last year we had a baked potato bar. When the call went out this year for ideas for the luncheon some people wanted tacos again, others wanted baked potatoes. There were no suggestions for anything new, so we are having a taco and baked potato bar.

It's now 9:30 p.m. and I'm feeling a bit queasy from all of the decadent sweets that I ate today. The variety of cookies and candy that my coworkers made for today's cookie exchange was incredible. There were snickerdoodle biscotti, lemon drop cookies, shortbread, English toffee, oatmeal raisin cookies, double orange cookies, chocolate mint chip cookies, and chocolate crinkles. Louella wowed us again this year with some chocolate balls made from an Ina Garten recipe. Besides the wide assortment of cookies and candies, there was also a variety of packages that the cookies were packed in.

A sample of the cookie packagings

Muddy buddies

Muddy Buddies


9 cups Corn Chex, Rice Chex, Wheat Chex, or Chocolate Chex cereal (or combination)

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup butter or margarine

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar


Measure the cereal into a large bowl and set aside. In 1-quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter uncovered on high for 1 minute; stir. Microwave about 20 seconds longer or until mixture can be stirred smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture over the cereal, stirring until evenly coated, and taking care to not break the cereal. Pour into a 2-gallon resealable food-storage (Ziploc) plastic bag. Add powdered sugar. Seal the bag; shake until well coated. Spread on waxed paper to cool. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

NOTE: If you don't have a 2-gallon resealable Ziploc bag, use two 1-gallon bags. Put 1/2 of the cereal mixture and powdered sugar into each bag. Rotate shaking the bags.


Christmas cookies and happy hearts, this is how the holiday starts.

Robert Mukhar's Whiskey Cake

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on September 26, 2011 at 7:45 AM

Our friend, and recipe tester, Robert Mukhar, has made his Whiskey Cake on several occasions. I knew some of our readers would enjoy the recipe! He got the recipe from his mom who had ripped it out of an old magazine, probably the Ladies Home Journal. Thank goodness for those magazines!



Robert first made the Whiskey Cake for an “inventory potluck” at Macy's. Robert works in the Lancome department as Merchandising Manager. On those nights when they all have to work late to take inventory, “it makes for a better evening while counting those Lancome lipsticks!” Ever since then, Robert has made it for birthdays and during the holidays at the guest’s suggestion or request. Robert says, “It always makes for a festive affair! Please enjoy & drink (eat) responsibly. I made it the other day with a devil’s food cake mix & everyone loved it even more!”


Whiskey Cake

1 box yellow cake mix (without pudding) or devils food (yum!)

1 box instant vanilla pudding or chocolate (if making the devils food version)

4 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1 cup milk

1 shot whiskey (a double shot is ok too)

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)


Combine all ingredients except nuts. Mix 3 minutes on high speed. Add nuts. Pour into well greased bunt pan. Bake at 350* for 30 to 50 minutes. My gas oven cooks fast so it's done in about a 1/2 an hour.



1 stick butter

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup whiskey (or a little more)


Melt butter. Add sugar and whiskey. Cook until dissolved and almost of a syrup texture. After removing cake from oven, poke holes in top (I use a chop stick) leave the cake in the pan while doing this. Pour about 1/2 of the topping on the cake, let cake sit in pan to cool for a while, and allow topping to settle in. Remove cake and pour the rest of topping over it. Serve alone or with whipped cream or ice cream—enjoy!


I love whiskey, even in cake. Thanks for sharing Robert!! ~ Susie

Josey, Rory, Robert and Brenda at the Cowgirl Museum in Fort Worth Texas, modeling aprons from the "Apron Chronicles" Exhibit

"Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake."  W.C. Fields

The Going Away Luncheon

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on August 18, 2011 at 11:25 AM

Strawberry shortcake

Throughout my career in IT I have had the opportunity to host and mentor interns. Several years ago I participated in a program that brought native Hawaiians to the mainland to learn a variety of technologies, such as networking, computer hardware repair, and vacuum technology. I really enjoyed working with the Hawaiians. I learned a lot about the islands and the Hawaiian culture. Also, most of the Hawaiians would bring me macadamia nut shortbread. If you have not had these cookies before, you ought to try them. They are awesome.

This summer I had the opportunity to mentor a student named Whitney from a small college in South Carolina. She is the sweetest and most polite young lady I think I have ever met. I'm hoping some of her southern manners rubbed off on me.

The time Whitney was here just flew by--it seemed like she had just arrived and it was already time for her to go back to South Carolina. To send her off, I hosted a luncheon at my house.  Since the luncheon was during a workday, I had to make things that were quick to make, but  I also wanted the food to be good. I ended up serving chicken Marsala (click here to go to the recipe. I am telling you folks, this chicken Marsala rocks!), baked potatoes, Caesar salad, fresh fruit display, strawberry shortcake, and Trader Joe's tiramisu.

Chicken Marsala

When it came to the strawberry shortcake, instead of making individual shortcakes, I made one large cake. In the interest of time, I used canned whipped cream instead of whipping my own. I found the recipe on-line and it looked beautiful when served. Unfortunately it looked a lot better than it tasted. The cake was heavy, hard, and I could taste the shortening.

Since this cake looked so nice when it was ready to serve and was fairly easy to make, I was determined to tweak the recipe to make one that tasted as good as it looked and I think I succeeded.  Here is my tweaked recipe:

Strawberry Shortcake


3 to 4 cups sliced strawberries

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar, plus 4 tablespoons of sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 egg

2/3 cup milk

2 cups heavy whipped cream

1 tsp vanilla

2 tablespoons sugar


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease and flour one 9 inch round cake pan.

Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar onto the strawberries. Mix in and let the sit. 

Into a medium sized mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add 1/3 cup sugar and mix. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour mixture. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter with the flour until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. 

Break the egg into a small bowl and beat the egg.  Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the milk and beaten egg. Use a fork to mix the ingredients. Mix until nearly all of the flour is mixed in. Roll up the mixture and kneed two times, while still in the bowl to mix all of the flour in.

The egg and milk poured into the "well" in the center of the flour

Spread the batter into the greased and floured cake pan. Sprinkle a bit of sugar on top. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool for about 15 minutes on a wire rack.  To remove the cake from the pan, place a platter that is larger than the cake pan over the top of the pan. Hold the plate onto the pan and turn the pan upside down. The cake should drop onto the plate. Cut the cake in half, making two layers. If part of the shortcake breaks while you are cutting it, no worries. You can use the whipped cream to hold it together.

The dough spread into the cake pan

Shortcake baked to a golden brown

Pour the whipped cream into a mixing bowl. Add the vanilla and sugar. Whip the cream until you can form peaks.

Spread 1/3 of the whipping cream on the bottom layer of the cake. Spread half of the strawberries on top of the whipped cream. Place the top layer of the cake on top of the bottom layer. Spread 1/3 of the whipping cream on the top layer of the cake and spread the rest of the strawberries on the top.

Serve each piece of shortcake with a dollop of whipped cream.


July 17th is National Ice Cream Day - Get Ready!

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on July 13, 2011 at 8:46 AM

In preparation for National Ice Cream Day on July 17th, we wanted to share our Granny’s famous ice cream recipe. Our cousin Lori and her family came out from Texas this 4th of July and she whipped up a batch of the strawberry ice cream for the family reunion on the Circle H Ranch.

A good time was had by all, and the ice cream was quickly inhaled.

Taking a dip in the cement pond - holding water since 1938!

Granny saved ice cream making for special summer occasions—such as birthdays, Father’s Day, or the Fourth of July.


Before she got an electric ice cream maker, the cousins would all get to take turns turning the crank on the old ice cream machine. I can remember all the cousins fighting over who would get to lick the dasher from inside the ice cream machine.


The famous ice cream dasher

Here are my favorites from Granny’s ice cream recipes.

Granny’s Strawberry Ice Cream

6 pints ripe strawberries, cleaned and hulled

2 pints heavy whipping cream

1 pint half-and-half

3/4 cup sugar

11/2 teaspoons vanilla

In a food processor or blender, process 5 pints of the berries until smooth. In a large bowl, combine the fruit with the cream, sugar and vanilla and mix well. Mash the remaining pint of strawberries with a potato masher and stir into the cream mixture. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Makes 5 quarts.

Granny’s Peach Ice Cream

8 ripe medium-size peaches

2 pints heavy whipping cream

1 pint half-and-half

3/4 cup sugar

4 tablespoons amaretto

Drop the peaches into a large pot of boiling water and blanch for 2 minutes. Remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and cool. Slip the skins off of the peaches, cut in half, and remove the pits. Process 6 of the peaches in a food processor or blender until smooth. In a large bowl, combine the fruit with the cream, half-and-half, sugar, and amaretto and mix well. Cut the remaining 2 peaches into 1/4-inch dice; stir them into the cream mixture. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Makes 4 quarts.

~ Lori Neely South

Baking Champ

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on May 24, 2011 at 1:12 AM

Jamie (a few years ago) with green beans picked in Papa's Garden

My niece Jamie has a yearly bake-off competition at work and this year she won 1st place!  There were about 12 entries in this year's competition.  Some of the items entered were cupcakes, chocolate sheet cake, key lime pie and almond bars.  Jamie made a chocolate layer cake with chocolate frosting using recipes from the Cake Doctor book, which she modified.  She layered fresh cut strawberries in between the layers. Everyone told Jamie that her cake was very moist and not too rich.

Jamie gets to keep the “Baker of the Year” trophy on her desk for the year.

Jamie's "Baker of the Year" trophy

I’m so glad to see the skill of baking has carried over to the 5th generation of the Holm family.

Congratulations Jamie!


Jamie's award winning cake

Jamie's Winning Cake Recipe

Vegetable oil spray for misting the pans

Flour for dusting the pans

1 package (18.25 ounces) plain yellow or vanilla cake mix

1 package (3.9 ounces) chocolate instant pudding mix

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/3 cups of water

1 cup of melted Hershey chocolate chips

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

Chocolate Frosting Recipe

2 sticks of butter (softened)

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

8 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

6 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions for cake:

Cook at 350 F.  Lightly mist two 9-inch round cake pans with vegetable oil spray, then dust the pans with flour.  Shake out the excess flour and set pans aside

Place cake mix, pudding mix, cocoa powder, water, melted chocolate chips, oil and eggs in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until the ingredients are incorporated, 30 seconds to 1 minute.  Stop the machine and scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes longer, scraping down the side of the bowl again if needed.  The batter should look thin and well combined.  Divide the cake batter evenly between the two prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops withthe rubber spatula.  Place the pans in the oven side by side.

Bake the cake layers for approximately 30-35 minutes. Transfer the cake pans to wireracks and let the cake layers cool for 5 minutes.  Run a dinner knife around the edge of each cake layer and give the pans a good shake to loosen the cakes.  Invert each layer onto wire rack then invert again to another rack so that the cakes are right side up.  Let the layers cool completed, 20 minutes longer. 

Meanwhile, make the chocolate frosting and slice the strawberries.

Slice the two 9 inch cakes evenly in order to make a four layer cake. Layer the chocolate frosting and strawberries between each layer.  Frost the top and side of the cake, working with smooth, clean strokes.  Top the cake with three uncut strawberries.

Directions for Frosting:

Place butter, cocoa powder and vanilla in a mixing bowl.  Add the powdered sugar and also add the tablespoons of milk.  If frosting is not moist enough, add another tablespoon of water.  Mix until soft and creamy.

A Reason to Celebrate...National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day!

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on May 15, 2011 at 8:57 AM

You may not realize this, but today is National Chocolate Chip Day, who would have known?!

An entire day set aside for America’s favorite cookie. No one has been able to discover any congressional records or presidential proclamations for the occassion, but the chocolate chip cookie is certainly deserving of the accolades.The marvelous, melt-in-your-mouth treats haven’t been around all that long. According to wikipedia.com the stories goes like this...

The chocolate chip cookie was accidentally developed by Ruth Graves Wakefield in 1930. She owned the Toll House Inn, in Whitman, Massachusetts, a very popular restaurant that featured home cooking in the 1930s. The restaurant's popularity was not just due to its home-cooked style meals; her policy was to give diners a whole extra helping of their entrées to take home with them and a serving of her homemade cookies for dessert. Her cookbook, Toll House Tried and True Recipes,

was published in 1936 by M. Barrows & Company, New York. It included the recipe "Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie", which rapidly became a favorite to be baked in American homes (that included the Holm family, this is by far our mother's FAVORITE cookie of all times, she was 7 at the time of publication, no wonder!).

When googling “chocolate chip cookie recipe” you discover 1,300,000 pages dedicated to the chocolate treasure, that’s a lot o’ chocolate chips!! Some of the mainstays that popped up were Betty Crocker’s “Ultimate” Chocolate Chip Cookie, Sunset Magazine’s “Perfect” Chocolate Chip Cookie, Hershey’s also had the “perfect” cookie (how's a woman to choose??). Of course Martha Stewart has a recipe, “soft and chewy” as she brings up the age old question, “thin and crispy or soft and chewy?” Land O’ Lakes Butter touts a gluten free recipe, and just to cover our bases, and there is no shortage of vegan chocolate chip cookie recipes, 344,000 vegan chocolate chip recipes can be found on google, and supervegan.com had “The best vegan chocolate chip cookie ever. Serious." And then we really need to remember the source, Nestle Toll House, the original recipe. But when it comes right down to it, we stick with our Granny’s recipe, found in The Holm Family Cookbook!!

Granny’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ione Teeter Holm

Makes 4 dozen cookies

1 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco), plus more to oil the pans

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup firmly-packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

21/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 (12-ounce) package chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375˚F and oil (or spray) several cookie sheets. In a bowl, cream together the shortening and both sugars. Add the eggs, water, and vanilla and mix until well blended. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed shortening mixture and mix thoroughly. Add the nuts and chocolate chips and mix again. Drop spoonfuls of the dough onto a cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until light brown.

Happy Baking!! Nancy

Jewish Apple Cake - Philadelphia Style

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on March 7, 2011 at 9:45 AM

Philadelphia style Jewish apple cake

Several weeks ago I pulled a recipe for Jewish apple cake out of the Relish magazine that comes as an insert in my newspaper. I had never heard of nor eaten Jewish apple cake before I saw the recipe in the Relish magazine, but being a lover of almost anything with apples and cinnamon it was something I wanted to try. The article that accompanied the recipe said that you will find Jewish apple cake in the bakery cases at coffeehouses in Philadelphia, which has the fourth-largest Jewish population in America. The cake is often served at gatherings during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, when eating sweet foods is believed to ensure a sweet year. In the Jewish apple cake, vegetable oil and orange juice are used in place of milk and butter, to meet kosher laws saying that dairy cannot be eaten at the same meal as meat.

I bought the Granny Smith apples needed for the recipe and when I started to make the cake I discovered I only had three eggs and I needed four. So a week later I bought the eggs and had the apples only to discover that I didn't have the orange juice. Yesterday the stars were aligned. Finally, I had all of the ingredients needed for the cake and the time to make it. My 15-year old daughter Whitney and I worked as a team to make the cake and we got it in the oven in no time.

The cake turned out great and tasted as good as it looks.

The ingredients for the Jewish apple cake.

The last layer of apples

The last layer of batter

A slice of the Jewish apple cake

Jewish Apple Cake - Philadelphia Style - serves 16


6  cups peeled and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples (about 3 large)

1/2  cup plus 5 tablespoons, granulated sugar, divided

4  teaspoons cinnamon

3  cups all purpose flour

1  tablespoon baking powder

1/2  teaspoon salt

4  eggs

1/2  cup light brown sugar

1  cup vegetable oil

1/2  cup orange juice

2 1/2  teaspoons vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350F. Grease, sugar and flour a 10-inch Bundt or tube pan. Be sure to grease the Bundt pan really well. If you use cooking spray, be sure to heavily coat the pan with oil, otherwise the cake will stick. Combine apple slices with 5 tablespoons granulated sugar and cinnamon; set aside. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat eggs with remaining granulated sugar and brown sugar. Add vegetable oil, orange juice and vanilla; beat well. Gradually blend in flour mixture and mix until well blended (about one minute). Pour one third of the batter into the pan. Top with half the apple slices, draining off any liquid. Pour in half the remaining batter and top with remaining apple slices. Top with remaining batter, making sure the apples are covered. Bake 55 to 60 minutes, until the top turns golden brown and a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes in pan. Turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Recipe by Carolyn Wyman.

NOTE: I used olive oil in my cake because that's usually the only oil that I have. If you use olive oil in baking, be sure it is an extra virgin oil, otherwise the strong taste of olive oil will flavor your baked goods.

Happy Monday!


Did someone say cookie?

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on December 19, 2010 at 10:32 AM

I'm worried, is this enough dessert???

Our family has never been shy when it comes to dessert - as the 1960's table above paints quite a picture! As we were gathering recipes for the cookbook, we realized we had as many dessert recipes as all the other sections combined. Some of the mainstays from the table pictured above include Sophie's Danish Cookies, Gingerbread Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cowboy Cookies, Oatmeal Crisps, Russian Tea Cakes, Rosettes, and Spritz (I think our all time favorite) pictured below with the recipe. All of these recipes, and many, many more our found in The Holm Family Cookbook.



Spritz Cookies


Granny carried on the Danish tradition of celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve by inviting friends and relatives for lunch. She served traditional foods such as her famous Danish pickles,open-face sandwiches, and spritzkage or butter cookies. This is her recipe. She used a cookie press (we still use her's, shown in the picture below), which is needed for these cookies. In the evening, the Holm children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren opened presents and sang discordant carols. Ione’s granddaughters have carried on her tradition of making spritz cookies at Christmastime. In true Holm fashion, they make a party out of it. Makes 5 dozen cookies.

 - Ione Teeter Holm


21/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

3/4 cup sugar

Dash salt

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract


Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Sift together the flour and baking powder. In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and salt. Beat in the egg and vanilla until well mixed. Add the dry ingredients, a little at a time. Put the dough in a cookie press using the 1/8-inch ridged cookie design disk and press the dough out onto cool, unbuttered cookie sheets.



Bake until set but not brown, 10 to 12 minutes.



Remove from the oven and cut the strips into 3-inch lengths while they are still hot.


The End!

Edible Gifts

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on December 13, 2010 at 1:04 AM

During the holidays I often make peanut brittle or English toffee to give as gifts. I also make canning jar bread, which is pumpkin or zucchini bread made in wide mouth canning jars and sealed. People really seem to appreciate receiving homemade gifts and for those people that have everything, consumables are usually the best gifts. I have already made six batches of peanut brittle to give as gifts during this holiday season.

Tins filled with peanut brittle and ready to give as gifts

The thought of making candy used to scare me as I mistakenly thought making candy would be a very long, complicated process. I have since discovered that as long as you can follow instructions and read a thermometer, you can make candy. In most cases it is not a long process. The peanut brittle that I make takes less than an hour. The English toffee is a two step process because you have to wait for the toffee to cool before you put the chocolate on it, but in total it too takes less than an hour and the outcome is very impressive.

The recipe that I use for the peanut brittle is from our cookbook. The ingredients are very common and you probably have most of them in your pantry, with the exception of the raw Spanish peanuts. Many grocery stores carry the raw Spanish peanuts during the holiday, but if you can't find them at a grocery store, try a health food store. Here is the recipe with very detailed instructions.

Mimi's Peanut Brittle - Serves 12

Equipment needed:

Candy thermometer

3-quart pot

Silicone or heat resistant spatula--don't use metal utensils or you could burn yourself

Measuring cups and teaspoon

14-inch by 20-inch baking sheet


2 cups sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup hot water

Pinch of salt

2 1/2 cups raw peanuts - Spanish peanuts work well

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

The Peanut Brittle Ingredients


Lightly butter the baking sheet. I don't have 14-inch by 20-inch baking sheet, but I have a 10-inch by 16-inch pan with sides. The sides are important if you don't have the larger cookie sheet--without the sides the hot molten candy will spill onto your counter.

Lightly Buttered Cookie Sheet

Before you start cooking, be sure to measure out the baking soda and vanilla into separate containers. If you have to take the time to measure them out later, the peanut brittle will burn.

In the 3-quart pot, combine the sugar, corn syrup, hot water, and salt. Mix well. Cook over high heat until the mixture reaches 300 degrees F or the hard crack stage. It will take at least 15 minutes from the time the sugar mixture starts to boil until it reaches 300 degrees.

The Boiling Sugar Mixture

Slowly add the raw peanuts to the boiling sugar mixture and stir in the peanuts. Reduce the temperature to medium-high and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture turns a soft yellow. Note:  This is the trickiest part of making the peanut brittle. Adding the peanuts to the mixture will reduce the temperature of the sugar mixture. The peanuts will become a cluster that you will need to keep stirring and mixing or the peanuts will burn. It is important to maintain the 300 degree temperature. Keep mixing the peanuts until the peanut cluster loosens up and all of mixture is boiling again. It is easier to stir the peanuts if you don't have the thermometer in the pot at this time, but be sure to make sure the temperature doesn't get too hot or too low.

Once the sugar mixture has turned a soft yellow and the peanuts have become a shade darker, stir in the baking soda and the vanilla, and still well until it is all mixed in. The mixture will boil up to the top of the pot. This is why it is very important to have a 3-quart pot--to prevent the candy from boiling up all over the stove.

The Yellow Peanut Brittle Mixture Boiling Up to the Top of the Pot

Continue to stir well or the bottom will burn. Turn the candy out onto the baking sheet and spread the peanut brittle mixture into a thin sheet. When cool, break it into pieces and store in an air-tight container.

When I give the peanut brittle as gifts, I put the peanut brittle it into quart-size or sandwich-size ziploc bags and put the ziploc bag into decorative tins. One batch of peanut brittle will yield about three 12-ounce quart-size bags or four sandwich size bags.

Peanut Brittle Turned Out onto the Lightly Buttered Cookie Sheet

The Peanut Brittle Broken Up into Bite Sized Pieces


Blessed are those who can give without remembering, and take without forgetting.

 ~ Princess Elizabeth, Asquith Bibesco


Posted by holmfamilycookbook on July 19, 2010 at 9:20 AM

Summer time means fair time for the Holm family. The annual Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, CA, has played significant and varied roles in our lives. Many of us have been exhibitors at the fair. As a small child, I remember going to the fair to see my grandfather’s hay on display. It was at the same fair that I saw an “iron lung.”


Because agriculture has been such a large part of our lives, the Junior Livestock Show and Auction is the event in which most Holm family members have participated. The Holms, Calhouns, Neelys, and Carters have all exhibited market lambs, beef cattle, and horses, with many of their 4H and Future Farmers of America projects being sold at the Junior Livestock Auction. Dick and Ione Holm were ardent supporters and stayed late into the evening, bidding on and buying not only their family’s animals, but also their friend’s. We continue to honor Dick and Ione by sponsoring an award in their name each year. Bob Holm continues the tradition of buying at the auction and has been buyer of many champion lots. Numerous family members help host the Junior Livestock Booster’s annual barbecue.


Livestock is not the only area in which the Holm family has competed for prizes and won! Tilli Calhoun and Nancy Mueller both have won prizes in the Fine Arts and Photography Department. Petra Holm has wowed the judges with her beautiful knitting and crochet.


For some of us, the fair has been a place of employment. I began working at the racetrack, where Hank Neely would often enjoy an afternoon. Merry Carter, Wendy Howe, Nancy Mueller, Patsy Neely, and I have all spent summers working in the Competitive Exhibit Department, working with everything from art to wine, and pies to pigs.


Gelato was a main staple during the 2010 fair. Matt the owner of Colossal Gelato likes to use local produce…It is made fresh daily. At the Alameda County Fair he used fresh ollalaberries, blueberries and blackberries from Brentwood for Berry Mountain, Fresh Blood oranges for Blood Orange and fresh cherries for Cherry Chocolate Chip – he invited in the fair manager’s family to learn how to make it. He also had frequent buyer cards available – buy 5 get one free. His next stop on the fair circuit is Santa Maria, so you can only imagine how delicious the strawberry will be!!


Our next stop on the fair circuit is the Amador County Fair in Plymouth, CA,  July 29 - August 1, my husband Troy Bowers happens to be the CEO. Through a fair connection, I was invited to go on a blind date with Troy - what good fortune - I married him! Troy’s father, Bates, was the fair manager and his mother, Jean, was the secretary of the Kings District Fair in Hanford. (The fair must run deep in our blood!)


We have not often entered baked goods in the county fair, but our longtime family friend Howard Bettencourt has. He graciously gave us his award-winning pie recipe to include in our cookbook. His pies are a remarkable sight—and delicious. (It looks best when it's whole, before they cut into it for the judging!)

Howard’s Blue Ribbon Boysenberry Pie  

Howard Bettencourt has been entering pies in the Alameda County Fair for more than 15 years and he has a box of blue and gold ribbons to show for his efforts! He is famous for his crust, which he rolls out between sheets of wax paper, rather than a floured countertop. He says avoiding the extra flour keeps the crust tender.


Pastry crust

2½ cups sifted unbleached or all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup butter-flavored Crisco

5 tablespoons cold water



4 tablespoons instant tapioca

4 cups fresh boysenberries

1½ cups sugar

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 425ºF.


To make the crust, in a medium bowl mix together the flour and salt. Using a pastry blender or a pair of knives, cut the shortening into the flour. Add the water all at once and mix with a fork.


Then pull the dough together with your hands. Divide the dough in half and roll out 1 piece between 2 sheets of waxed paper. Line the bottom of an 8-inch pie pan with the dough. Set aside.


To make the filling, grind the tapioca in a coffee grinder to break it down. In a bowl, mix the tapioca with the berries, sugar, and lemon juice and toss well. Pour the fruit into the uncooked pastry shell. Roll out the second piece of dough between 2 sheets of waxed paper and cover theberries with it. Press the edges together to seal, then crimp them. Cut vents in the top to allow steam to escape. Bake for 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350°F and continue baking until the filling is bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Let cool before serving.  Makes one 8-inch 2-crust pie


~ Susie Calhoun


"Fair time is fun time!!"

Dutch Oven Cooking

Posted by holmfamilycookbook on March 21, 2010 at 11:35 AM

I love Dutch oven cooking. For those of you that are not familiar with it, Dutch oven cooking is done outdoors with cast iron cookware and hot coals. This method of cooking is a great way to have a good hot meal when you are out in the middle of nowhere without electricity or don’t have an oven or stove available.

To keep things simple and easy to clean up, I use the match light or the light in the bag coals. I light the coals in a disposable aluminum turkey pan. I use another aluminum turkey pan by lining the bottom with a specific number of coals, place the Dutch oven on top of the coals, and then put a specific number of coals on the top. The disposable turkey pans are fairly sturdy and I have used the same ones for a few years.

Dutch oven in aluminum turkey pan

Some Dutch oven chefs use special equipment for heating the coals and holding the coals and Dutch ovens while the food is cooking. A Dutch oven table is an example of that equipment.

Dutch oven table

A favorite dessert that I make for special occasions at the family party barn is a caramel apple crisp. I found this recipe a few years ago on Byron’s Dutch Oven Cooking Page website.

Caramel apple crisp

Caramel Apple Crisp Serves 16


8-10 large granny smith apples; peeled, cored and sliced

2 Tbs. lemon juice

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground cloves

3/4 tsp. salt

1 (12 oz.) jar caramel sauce


2 cups brown sugar

2 cups flour

1 cup instant oatmeal

1 cup butter; melted

½ cup chopped walnuts

In a buttered 12" Dutch oven add apples and lemon juice; stir to coat apples. In a separate dish combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt; stir to mix. Pour dry ingredients over apples and stir until apples are well coated. Spread out apples and pour caramel sauce over the top. In a medium bowl combine brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, and walnuts; stir to mix. Using a fork, mix in melted butter to form coarse crumbs. Spread topping evenly over apples. Cover Dutch oven and bake using 10-12 briquettes bottom and 16-18 briquettes top for 60 minutes. 

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