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dessert

My lovely husband recently crossed the threshold into official “mid-30’s”-dom. We were able to celebrate on his actual day with his family back in his hometown in Southern Illinois and so I knew I could count on his dear mother to make him his favorite dessert – pineapple upside-down cake [made in a cast iron skillet, natch!].

To make sure I didn’t step on any toes but still bake some sweets for my sweetie [awwww..] I sleuthed out what Jeremy’s second favorite dessert was – chocolate-pecan pie. Since I haven’t ventured into making my own pie crust and was already in my pajamas [meaning, no running to the Kreepy Krogs around the corner to see if they might have some non-dodgy pre-made pie crusts available], I got to googling and discovered Deep South Dish‘s Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars.

I tweaked just a few things from the original recipe. I love using King Arthur Flour‘s Midnight Cocoa in place of regular Dutch-processed cocoa. It makes your desserts all that much richer, chocolate-r and less sweet [which is my personal preference]. I also added the optional bourbon [yes, puhleese!] as well as the suggested shredded coconut.

The next time I make these, and there will definitely be a next time, I’ll probably skip the coconut and bourbon and add some cayenne pepper to the mix when toasting the pecans, as well as adding some large flake sea salt to the top of the mix pre-baking to add a bit of a savory edge to the pie.

Do you have a favorite dessert you usually have on your birthday? What is it? I’d love to know!

xo,

@

coconut bourbon pecan pie bars | sweet betweens

Coconut Bourbon Pecan Pie Bars

via Deep South DishChocolate Pecan Pie Bars

yield : 1 9×13 dish / 12-16 bars

Ingredients

Toasted Pecans

1 cup pecan halves

1 cup pecan pieces

1/4 cup [1/2 stick] unsalted butter

2 tsp kosher or coarse sea salt

Crust

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup midnight/black cocoa powder [like this version from King Arthur]

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

3/4 cup unsalted butter, cold

1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Filling

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 heaping TBSP all-purpose flour

3 eggs, large [lightly beaten]

1 cup light corn syrup

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 TBSP bourbon [I used Wild Turkey‘s American Honey]

1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut

2 TBSP unsalted butter, room temperature

Directions

Toasted Pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt butter, pour over pecans and toss to coat evenly. Spread buttered pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, stirring about halfway through.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt and let cool to room temperature.

Crust

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Line a 9×13 baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving excess hanging over the ends to help with the bar removal after baking. Butter foil generously and set aside.

Whisk together flour, cocoa and confectioners’ sugar. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or fork until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

Press crust mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan, making sure to go slightly up the sides [about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch].

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle evenly with chocolate chips and return to oven for 3-4 minutes to begin melting the chips. Remove from oven and, using an offset spatula, spread melted chocolate evenly over crust. Set aside to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Filling

In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and flour. Stir in eggs, corn syrup, vanilla extract, bourbon and softened butter. Finally, stir in toasted pecans and coconut.

Pour pecan-coconut mixture on cooled crust and bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool on rack, about 1 hour. Transfer pan to refrigerator to chill and set for another hour.

Using aluminum overhang, remove bars out of baking pan and cut into bars of desired size. [I did 12 3×3-ish sized bars, 3 rows of 4 bars].

Enjoy!

coconut bourbon pecan pie bars | sweet betweens

You may have read the title of this post, rolled your eyes and said “ugh. doesn’t this woman know the speculoos/cookie butter/biscoff thing is so over?”. For this deliciously creamy, spicy and rich dessert you are going to want to set your need to be on trend aside, swallow that ego and make this pie. Like, yesterday.

I tweaked Darla‘s original recipe for No-Bake Biscoff Cream Pie by adding some [locally distilled!] Prichard’s Sweet Lucy Cream Liqueur. The regular Sweet Lucy bourbon has been my go-to sipping and cocktail bourbon and though I’d purchased the Cream Liqueur ages ago, it had been sitting on our bar shelf gathering dust. Most literally. The bottle caught my eye when I was going back and forth from the refrigerator to the counter assembling my needed ingredients, so I picked up the bottle and just went with my gut. And my gut was very very right.

The bourbon taste is most noticeably when the pie is eaten after the first chilling noted in the directions. I saved the pie for a visit to my in-laws and noticed that the bourbon wasn’t as strong a day after [not-] baking. Because of this I would recommend that if you need to prepare the pie in advance that you split the whipped cream recipe in half and only add the bourbon to the whipped cream topping you can make and assemble just before serving.

I hope you’ll make this, and soon. When you do, come back here and let me know how ridiculously over-the-top delicious it was. I’ll be waiting!

xo,

@

no-bake bourbon biscoff pie | sweet betweens

No-Bake Bourbon Biscoff Pie

from Bakingdom‘s No-Bake Biscoff Cream Pie

yield : one 9″ pie

Ingredients

Crust

20 chocolate Oreos [approx 2 1/2 cups crumbs]

7 TBSP unsalted butter

Filling

6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 cup Biscoff spread [I used nearly the entire jar of Biscoff Crunchy spread]

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 cups bourbon whipped cream

Bourbon Whipped Cream [Filling and Topping]

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 TBSP Pritchard’s Sweet Lucy Sipping Cream bourbon

Decoration

4-5 Oreos, chilled and sliced into 5-6 pieces each

small piece of semi-sweet chocolate, grated

Directions

* I find chilling a metal or glass bowl and the beaters of a hand-held electric mixer in the freezer before making the whipped cream speeds up the process.

Crust

Pulse Oreos [about 5 at a time fit in my Vitamix blender] until you get uniform crumbs. Melt butter and mix with Oreo crumbs until evenly distributed.

Press crumbs firmly and evenly into a 9″ pie plate. Refrigerate.

Filling

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add Biscoff spread and mix on low until combined thoroughly. Add confectioners’ sugar [all at once – no need to divide] and continue to mix on low until combined. Don’t worry if mixture looks curdled!

Set Biscoff mix aside.

Bourbon Whipped Cream

Add all ingredients into a large bowl. [Large! The volume of this mixture will quickly double once the whipping process begins.] Whip on high with an electric hand-held mixer until light and airy, where stiff peaks form on the end of the beater blades when removed from mixture.

Assembly

Divide whipped cream in half [estimate, as it’s not crucial to be exact]. Fold half into the Biscoff mix until well combined.

Pour and spread the Biscoff mix into the chilled pie pan, on top of the crust. Top with whipped cream.

Decorate with shaved chocolate and extra Oreo crumbs [optional]. Return to refrigerator to chill for at least 3 hours.

Serve and enjoy!

no bake bourbon biscoff pie | sweet betweens

My pal Kate [of Kate Schmate] and I have known each other for over 10 years. Eep! We became friends during the second year of Big Horizons, a service-learning based pre-orientation program for incoming freshman at Vanderbilt University. It was my second year involved with the program and I was student directing while she was a small group leader/counselor.

Big Horizons @ Saddle Up!Big Horizons 2001-2002 Leaders . Saddle Up! Project Day

Our friendship continued while we were both still at Vanderbilt. She even had a small hand in the romance brewing between my then crush [now husband] and I, when she took this photo of J for an interview she wrote on him for the [now defunct] literary magazine Versus.

JP01The Husband . Swoon! [amiright?!]

In those ten years, we’ve both graduated from Vanderbilt University, married our college sweethearts and returned to Nashville to make a life for ourselves and our families. Oh, and though she may be ahead in the human baby department, we both have Boston Terriers! [Theirs, Lucy. Ours, Ramble] Speaking of said human baby, Kate + JD’s sweet little, Maggie, turned the big 0-1 recently and they turned to me to help them out in the smash-cake department for this fun monkey-themed party. Because Maggie’s still so young and hadn’t yet eaten any processed sugar, ever, Kate’s only request was that we use alternate sugars.

MSMiss Maggie, delicately eating her own Honey-Banana Cake!

Moving with the monkey/banana theme, I suggested a delicious banana cake recipe [from my pal Lesley] as the base, subbing the cane sugar for [local] honey. One of my favorite and key steps to make a delicious cake with a strong banana flavor is roasting the bananas prior to adding to the cake batter, making sure to include all the juices that accumulate within the banana peels into said batter. Give this cake recipe a go, and let me know how it turns out for you. You won’t miss the traditional cane sugar. I promise!

xo,

@

PS – See some cute pictures of Maggie, and the cake set up, in Kate’s recap of her sweet daughter’s 1st Birthday, here.

honey-banana cake | sweet betweens 02

banana cake, topped with [optional] freeze-dried banana slices [like these]

Honey-Banana Cake

adapted from Lesley EatsBanana Bread

Yield : 1 large or 2-3 small loaves [I doubled the recipe and made 1 8″ round cake and 20 cupcakes]

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

heavy 3/4 cup honey

3 large eggs, room temperature

1 tsp salt

3 large ripe bananas

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup + 3 TBSP unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Directions

1. To Roast Bananas: Preheat oven to 450 F. Place bananas on lined baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes on each side. Remove from oven and let cool.

2. Adjust oven temperature to 350 F. Prepare loaf pan[s] by buttering and and dusting with flour. Set aside. Measure out salt, baking soda, flour and spices into a large bowl. Whisk to incorporate then set aside.

3. In bowl of electric stand mixer, cream butter and honey until uniform liquid [about 5-6 minutes]. Add eggs one at a time, allowing them to incorporate into honey mixture before adding the next one.

4. Add cooled bananas to honey mixture. [Make sure to peel bananas over stand mixer bowl so the sweet liquid from the roasted banana is also included in the mixture]. Mix on medium until mashed/broken to desired consistency. [I like to have some bite-sized chunks of banana in the final product.] Finally, add vanilla extract until just combined.

5. Add flour mixture to honey mixture in three additions, mixing on medium/low until just incorporated.

6. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, smooth top and place in oven. Bake for up to one hour, checking for done-ness with a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf at 45 minutes. [The top of the loaf should spring back slightly to touch and the inserted toothpick should come out clean.]

7. Let loaf cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing and letting come to room temperature on wire rack, about 30 minutes.

honey-banana cupcake trio | sweet betweens

I topped the extra banana cupcakes with chocolate chips, banana + honey and blueberries

Honey-Cinnamon-Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

1 1/2 packages cream cheese, softened and cut into 1/4ths

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature and cut in 1 TBSP pieces

1/4 cup honey

1 vanilla bean

1 tsp vanilla extract

1-2 dashes of ground cinnamon

Directions

1. Add cream cheese and butter to the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Using the whipping attachment, mix on medium/high for 5-6 minutes until combined, light and fluffy.

2. Add honey, vanilla bean caviar and cinnamon and whip for another 2-3 minutes on medium/high until combined.

3. Spread frosting on cooled loaf with offset spatula or pipe with frosting bag.

peanut butter [chocolate chip] whoopie pies | sweet betweens

My mom is lucky to have met a wonderful woman by the name of Lisa Q. Her daughter went to school with my sister, Sophie, until she recently graduated [congratulations, Jessica!]. Long story short, Lisa and her daughter Jessica will often come over and hang out with Sophie while my mom gets a rare break to have a dinner out on the town with my dad.

I saw Lisa + Jessica in December and Lisa was schlepping a giant bag overflowing with yarn with her. I casually asked her what was hidden in her bag of fun and she whipped out a sweet and comfy knitted black infinity scarf. That she crocheted. By making up her own pattern. Um, yeah. Color these clumsy fingers green with envy!

Lisa generously offered to knit me a scarf in my favorite color [yellow!] and I, in exchange, offered to bake up some peanut butter whoopie pies – her favorite flavor!

LQ infinity scarf

the scarf! [please excuse the silly photo – all my straight-on ones made me look wackadoo]

This recipe makes quite a bunch of whoopie pies, but luckily they hold up to freezing fairly well [either frosted or unfrosted]. Wrap assembled whoopie pies, or dome halves, in saran wrap and then in a large ziploc bag or freezer-friendly airtight storage container.

What’s your favorite dessert flavor?

xo,

@

PS – Lisa’s considering opening up an Etsy shop to sell her scarves. Let me know if you’d like one, and I can get you connected with her!

peanut butter [chocolate chip] whoopie pies 01

Peanut Butter [Chocolate Chip] Whoopie Pies

prep time : 20 minutes [+ room temp. butter/eggs] bake time : 42 minutes yield : 39 whoopie pies

Ingredients

1 stick [8 TBSP] unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1″ slices

2 cups granulated cane sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

4 TBSP all natural creamy peanut butter

4 1/2 cups AP flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

2 cups buttermilk, room temperature

optional : 3/4-1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with Silpat or other silicone sheet.

2. Measure the following into a medium bowl : all-purpose flour, baking bowder, baking soda and salt. Whisk to ensure ingredients are well distributed.

3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, cream butter until lighter in color and fluffy [about 3-5 minutes]. Add granulated cane sugar and mix on medium/high until light and fluffy, another 3-5 minutes.

4. Add eggs to butter mixture, one at a time, then vanilla extract, mixing on medium/high until airy and incorporated.

5. To the butter mixture, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, 1 cup of buttermilk, 1/3 of the flour mixture, 1 cup of buttermilk and the last 1/3 of the flour mixture. Mix on medium until *just* incorporated, no more than necessary.

* Optional chocolate chips – if you want your entire batch to have chocolate chips, add 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups just after buttermilk is combined. Combine with electric mixer until *just* mixed. If you want to make only half the batch with chocolate chips, scoop out about 18 whoopie pies [36 ends], add 3/4 – 1 cup of chips to the batter. Stir with electric mixer until *just* combined. Continue scooping out remaining whoopie pie batter.

6. Using 3/4 ounce scoop , place whoopie pie batter on prepared cookie sheets at 2″ apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. [whoopie pies are done when slightly golden around the edges and tops are no longer wet, but have some slight give when touched]

Vanilla Bean and/or Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

2 packages cream cheese, softened

6 TBSP all natural creamy peanut butter

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 vanilla bean pods, caviar scraped

3 tsp vanilla extract

optional : 1/2 – 1 cup natural cocoa powder

Directions

1. Cream butter, cream cheese and peanut butter in bowl of an electric stand mixer on medium/high for 5-7 minutes, until well incorporated and light and fluffy in texture. Add vanilla extract, vanilla bean caviar and 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar. Mix on low until sugar is incorporated.

2. Add remaining 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar. Mix on low until sugar is incorporated, then return to medium/high until frosting mixture is light and fluffy.

* Optional cocoa powder – if you’d like to make the entire batch chocolate, add 1 cup cocoa powder to mixture. Mix on low until cocoa powder is incorporated, then return to medium/high until mixture is light and fluffy. If you’d like the make half of the batch chocolate, remove half of the vanilla bean frosting add 1/2 cup cocoa powder to remaining frosting mixture. Mix on low until cocoa powder is incorporated, then return to medium/high until mixture is light and fluffy.

3. Spread frosting on 1/2 of the whoopie pies with a piping bag or offset spatula. Sandwich whoopies, and serve!

Optional :  1 cup chopped, roasted + salted peanuts. frost + sandwich the whoopie pies, then roll the sides in the chopped peanuts.

This year I was lucky enough to snag a spot in The [2nd annual] Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, hosted by Lindsay of Love & Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen. I couldn’t wait to come up with a recipe to share with other bloggers around the country  just as much as I was looking forward to the daily anticipation of “is today one of the days my postman’s going to deliver a box full of goodies?”.

salted mexican chocolate chip | sweet betweens

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