Things to Do

Cooking Classes – Texas Hill Country Style

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Locals know Loop 165 to Henly is a scenic back road connecting Dripping Springs to Blanco. The rolling hills and ranchland along Onion Creek provide some of the most scenic views in Hays County. Along the paved blacktop ranch road, driveways cut into the land leading to small country homes or gentleman ranches. Few would suspect that one of these driveways leads to a weekend getaway spot with a unique twist. Onion Creek Kitchens at Juniper Hills Farms is a culinary lover’s dream.

Cooking Classes – Texas Hill Country Style

Photo: Courtesy of Onion Creek Kitchens at Juniper Hills Farms

Winding your way up gravel driveway, splitting the heavily forested acreage, you’ll see a donkey corral on your left and may catch a glimpse of these long-eared cuties frolicking at play. Continuing along the way, a whimsical sign points you to the lodging cabins or follow the knife and fork on the left to the fully stocked commercial kitchen.

Cooking Classes – Texas Hill Country Style

Photo: Marcy Stellfox

Sibby Barrett is proprietor, hostess and culinary guru. A Blanco transplant via Dallas, Barrett spent portions of her childhood in Mexico where her interest in food and cooking developed. Having run a successful floral and event planning business that included a bakery, Barrett found her real love was baking cakes. Her bakery Dallas Affaires Baking Company has served the Dallas area for 30 years and can count among its many customers the Mayor and even Oprah Winfrey.

Cooking Classes – Texas Hill Country Style

Photo: Marcy Stellfox

In 2001, Barrett answered the Hill Country’s call after falling in love with the area as a child riding beside her grandfather in his jeep and moved to the Hill Country full time. What began as a quiet reflective spot for yoga retreats and cooking among friends soon blossomed into a weekend culinary hotspot after a friend suggested she start teaching cooking classes at her home.

Cooking Classes – Texas Hill Country Style

Photo: Marcy Stellfox

Today, Onion Creek Kitchens at Juniper Hills boasts a gorgeous commercial kitchen and dining room, vineyard, garden, apiary, lodging cabins, and Barrett’s private residence. The newest addition to the property is the party barn perfect for birthday parties, rehearsal dinners, corporate events or family reunions.

Cooking Classes – Texas Hill Country Style

Photo: Marcy Stellfox

Classes offered include everything from a full dinner menu to baking specialty classes. The popular 3 Easy Chicks class focuses on one protein (chicken) but offers recipes for three different chicken dishes including sides and dessert. Other titles include Sunday Brunch and Cooking Light for the New Year. Some of the menus can look intimidating to an amateur chef, and though classes are taught by Barrett, it’s the students who do the cooking.

Barrett laughs, “I’ve learned to be everywhere at once. It’s not a successful class until someone catches something on fire, but there has never been a situation where the food was so bad it was inedible.” The classes themselves last about two hours and of course, you share a gourmet meal at the end dining on your culinary creations with fellow classmates.

Cooking Classes – Texas Hill Country Style

Photo: Marcy Stellfox

Not interested in cooking? Doesn’t matter. Just like watching the Food Network live, sign up to be a spectator and spend the class watching others prepare your meal while you observe the entertaining antics relaxing with a glass of wine. And don’t worry, you too get to partake of the meal once class is finished. Interested in bees? There’s a class for that. Homemade gift ideas? There’s a class for that, too.

Cooking Classes – Texas Hill Country Style

Photo: Marcy Stellfox

Even if you aren’t interested in classes, Juniper Hills is still a worthy place for Hill Country hanging out. The cabins are situated in their own private part of the property. Each floorplan is similar and decorated with hints of homey Mexican décor such as the painted ceramic sinks and mirrors and colorful artwork. One cabin has a back porch for bird watching, one comes with its own sauna and another offers an upstairs balcony for reading a book or taking cup of coffee. All cabin guests may enjoy the negative edge swimming pool near Barrett’s home as well.

While meals are not provided when staying over, Juniper Hills convenient location between Blanco and Dripping Springs offers a number of dining choices. Day trips are easily made to Johnson City and even Fredericksburg, where more dining choices are available plus lots of great shopping, wine tasting and other touring opportunities. Pick up a few gourmet snacks and prepare them in your cabin kitchenette with microwave, sink and mini fridge – perfect for whipping up your own simple fare. Or arrange with Barret beforehand for tapas to be delivered to your cabin for a quiet night of relaxation. Pop the top of one of your local wine purchases and enjoy.

Onion Creek Kitchens at Juniper Hills Farms is located at 5818 RR 165 in Blanco, Texas. To learn more check out their website at www.juniperhillsfarm.com.