It’s been another picture-perfect day here in central Iowa – I swear we reached the 70s!!! I got my day started with a little spring cleaning. Washed the laundry and sheets, dusted and organized the whole house. Ahhh, that feels MUCH better! Kept the doors wide open the whole time so I could whistle while I worked in the fresh air, too! ;)
I broke around noon to head to the gym. My goal was to tear up the treadmill with my 5.7 Mile Butt & Ab Blasting Treadmill Routine, but I petered out 3/4 of the way through…it happens. Ended up at 4.56 miles. Acceptable!
It was WAY to gorgeous to stay inside, so my Mom came over and we walked around our neighborhood loop, then I donned some gloves and pruning shears to clean up the front garden. Sadly, one of our bushes received a haircut he will not soon forget.
I don’t know what happened! One minute I was trimming back the dead branches, and the next, the entire front of the bush was gone! 8O
Oh well, I think my Mom and I are going to rip them, and those God-awful mini trees, out in a few weeks and replace them with a row of low-maintenance hedges. The mini trees were cute back when they were 2 feet high, but they’ve reached their awkward teenage years and are growing tufts every which way.
In happier news, my day-lilies have sprung up! :D
Alright, enough garden talk. I don’t even know why I’ve devoted this much of a post to it – I loathe gardening! Onto more important things like Maple Almond Butter…
YES!!! Justin’s Nut Butters………are the best thing since, um, anything. The Maple Almond Butter is my absolute FAVORITE – it tastes like maple frosting!
Jars of the stuff are like $10 around here, so I buy the individual-sized packets for $.99 at Hy-Vee or Target.
I slathered the packet onto a toasted, whole-wheat bun after my workout for a rejuvenating snack. Unnnnbelievable. I’ve also got a packet of Chocolate Hazelnut Butter sitting on my counter. Can’t wait to try it!
Ok, now let’s talk about one of the most unbelievable things you will ever eat. Like, ever. The Pioneer Woman’s Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. EVERRRR!
This chocolate cake has had me in a tizzy for the better part of two weeks. You see, Ben’s Grandmother who passed away this Fall used to make something called Cookie Cake.
There actually no cookies in cookie cake, and he doesn’t remember why it’s even called that, but it’s chocolate sheet cake smothered in chocolate icing that only Grandma makes right. Ben doesn’t even like chocolate cake, but he’d always go on and on about how delicious and moist his Grandmother’s special chocolate cookie cake was. :)
I felt a little sparkle inside of me when I came upon this recipe a couple weeks ago.
All the elements were there – chocolate, icing, a sheet pan, the promise of greatness – what if, just WHAT IF, I could re-create Ben’s beloved Grandmother’s Cookie Cake for him?!
Ben had to work today so I’ve been telling him for the past week or so that while he was hard at work, I’d be baking up a special surprise for him. “Tell me!” he’d beg over and over, but I refused. I wanted to knock his socks off!
Then he called today just as I was pre-heating the oven.
“Ohmygosh, I’m so excited, I’m just getting ready to make chocolate cake!”
“Chocolate cake?! Is that my surprise?! Chocolate cake????“
I freaking blew the surprise 2 hours before he was to get home. I’m smooth like that!
We had a good laugh about it, but now he’s anxiously watching the clock until he gets to come home and taste what will hopefully fill the cookie cake void inside of him!
After you mix up the luscious cake batter including cocoa, butter, flour, eggs and sugar, you pour it into a sheet pan – hence the name The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. I don’t have a sheet pan that I like to bake with, so I used a 9×13 glass pan and dropped the baking temp from 350 to 325.
I knew it was going to be good when I tasted the batter. Holy. Moly. HOLYMOLY! Buttery chocolate silk!!!
After a quick bake in the oven, the cake was off to cool in the breeze. :)
While I got to work on the naughtiest frosting ever.
I don’t even like chocolate frosting, but this was believable!!! Butter really does make everything better!!!
I could hardly stand sitting back and waiting for the icing to set so I could dig in. (I had to, you know, test it to make sure it’s ok for Ben’s consumption…)
I could barely contain my giggles – this cake totally lives up to its name. It IS the best chocolate sheet cake. Ever!
Moist, fluffy, and so.stinkin’.chocolatey. I just seriously can’t get over it.
I know this cake isn’t Cookie Cake, but maybe it’ll take Ben back for a bit, and hopefully Grandma approves! :D
Ok Ben’s due home any minute now and, after some cake snarfing and reminiscing, we’re off to grab some pizza and beer. Wow, good thing I worked out today. ;)
OH! The winner of the $25 Gift Card + Salad Gift Basket Giveaway is…
Jennifer: Woohoo! Thanks for the chance to win! And I’m a mixer ;)
Have a great night everybody!
Do you have any fond cooking memories or dishes from your grandparents?
Growing up, whenever we’d travel to visit my Grandma & Grandpa in Ohio, no matter WHAT time of year, my Grandma would have a big, bubbling pot of her Chicken Noodle Soup waiting for us when we got there. It was the only thing that got us through those 12 hour drives!!!!