Music, Memories & Motherhood
NOTE: This post was originally published at Chocolate on My Cranium. Some of my earliest childhood memories involve music. My dad would play the guitar and sing for my sister and me, as we would take our bath every night. Our favorites were John Denver classics and this funny song about what people were wearing to a wedding. He would start the song in a super high falsetto voice whenever the girl would ask “Whatcha gonna wear to the wedding?” And then he would sing the answer in a low, Southern drawl as the man, saying “I think I’ll wear my overalls”. My sister and I would laugh like it was the first time we heard it, and then beg him to sing it again.
Road trip memories are tied to the Judds and Colin Raye. Whenever I hear one of their songs, I’m back in my parent’s minivan, coloring with a pack of brand new crayons and playing card games with my siblings. So I guess I’ve always experienced the power of music. It can change a mood, heal a heart, and transport us to a different time in our lives.
As a mom, I’ve tried to capitalize on this power. We play classical music during homework time. At bedtime we play Primary music. During dinner there’s often Mercy River or Michael Buble playing through the kitchen. (Um, Michael Buble is darling.)
But my newest idea involving music has been my favorite so far. Last year I set a goal to become a better mom by creating more memories with my kids. So now, whenever I feel like we’re doing something that has the potential to be a “memory”, I turn on music. If we’re making cookies, music goes on. (We make cookies a lot. Probably too much.) If we’re doing a craft or coloring, music goes on. Even if we’re doing chores, there’s music. My hope is that in 30 years my kids will hear a Bethany Dillon song and automatically think of chocolate chip cookies…or dusting.
So my dad taught me the power of music, and my mom taught me the power of chocolate. When you combine good music and good chocolate it’s like an unstoppable force; a guaranteed journey towards happiness. Lest I get too dramatic, let’s share a recipe, shall we? This is the PERFECT potluck dessert, but be warned. You may be bombarded with requests for this recipe. Your life and the lives of your loved ones may be threatened if you don’t share it. So be prepared to share, or at least go into hiding. (Thanks to Cooks Illustrated, for this gem.)
TEXAS SHEET CAKE
2 c. flour 2 c. sugar 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/2 tsp. salt 2 large eggs PLUS 2 yolks 2 tsp. vanilla 1/4 c. sour cream 8 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped 4 Tbsp. butter 3/4 c. oil 3/4 c. water 1/2 c. dutch processed cocoa powder
FOR THE ICING: 1/2 c. butter 1/2 c. heavy cream 1/2 c. dutch processed cocoa powder 1 Tbsp. corn syrup 3 c. powdered sugar 1 Tbsp. vanilla 1 c. toasted pecans, chopped (optional)
CAKE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 18x13 rimmed baking sheet. Heat chocolate, butter, oil, water and cocoa in large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes.
Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in large bowl.
Whisk eggs and yolks, vanilla, and sour cream in another bowl until smooth.
Whisk chocolate mixture into flour mixture until incorporated. Whisk egg mixture into batter
At this point you can reward any helpers you may have.
Then pour the rest into a baking sheet.
Bake until toothpick comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.
ICING: About 5 minutes before the cake is done, heat butter, cream, cocoa, and corn syrup in saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally until smooth. Off heat, whisk in sugar and vanilla. Spread warm icing evenly over the HOT cake and sprinkle with pecans. (We left off the pecans because I happen to have very.picky.kiddos.)
Let cake cool to room temperature on wire rack for 1 hour then refrigerate until icing is set, about 1 hour more.