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Twink's Treats: Celebrating Melanie

Twink's Treats: Celebrating Melanie

September is in full swing – Labor Day is behind us, fall is in front of us!  The ninth month of the year, those born in September have sapphire as their birthstone and morning glories, asters and forget-me-nots as their official flowers. Astrological signs are Virgo and Libra. Traits of the Virgo include “loyal, analytical, kind, hardworking, practical, focused on health and wellness, problem solvers, dedicated and attentive to family and the elderly and sick, healers”. So true!

I am lucky to have two nieces- one on each side of my family, and am so fortunate that they are important women in my life, friends to me as well as daughters of my heart.  My “Virgo” niece – my sunshine, Melanie- celebrates her birthday this month!  Melanie is the CEO of Alma Diem, and continually amazes us all with her endless energy, enthusiasm, beauty, business acumen and vision, drive, success, compassion and her warm, special healing touch. She can bring sunshine into the darkest room just by entering, and is also my willing “taste tester” when I make a new recipe.  She loves to sit at my dining room table or on my back porch where we solve all the world’s problems with a good glass of wine and whatever I’m cooking that day!  She is a true beauty, inside and out, and is a blessing to me in more ways that I can count. I am thankful to her mother and my dear friend, Gail, for sharing her with me!

In honor of her birthday, I’m sharing one of her favorite desserts from my repertoire.  This is a true Southern pound cake, and worth every bite!  Happy birthday, dear Melanie!

Mel Belle’s Brown Sugar Pound Cake
2 sticks butter, softened
½ cup shortening (I use Crisco)
1 16 ounce box Brown Sugar (I use Domino)
1 cup granulated sugar
5 eggs
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup half and half (I use Land o Lakes)
1 ½ t. pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Grease and flour a 10-inch pound cake (or angel food cake) pan.
In mixing bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer (my beloved Kitchen Aid – thanks to my daughter-in-law, Meg), cream together 2 sticks butter and the shortening until blended, add the brown and the granulated sugars a little at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each. Mix flour, cinnamon and baking powder together, and add a little at a time, alternating with the half and half, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Add vanilla extract and mix well.  Mix in pecans, and pour into the prepared pan. Mixture will be thick. Back for 1 ½ to 2 hours (depending on oven), until a wooden pick comes out clean.  Immediately remove from pan, and cool on wire rack.  Frost with glaze:

1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of half and half

Mix all ingredients until proper glaze consistency, spoon over cake. Enjoy!

Until next time, be kinder than necessary, and act like the person you’d like to be friends with!

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