Wednesday, December 7, 2016

In the Kitchen with Allie, April and Nina: Desserts

Today, part two of a collaboration between three girlfriends who are also bloggers: April from A. Liz Adventures, Allie from Key Ingredients, and Nina from Peace, Love, and Good Food.

This is a three-part series all centered around holiday cuisine! Today we will share a dessert with you. Tomorrow, the final day, is all about cocktails!

It was 2005, I was a year out of college, and I was looking to satisfy my sweet tooth and treat my Supper Club girlies to an out-of-this-world dessert. But nothing too difficult. I printed off this recipe from Southern Living, and it's so delicious that it still maintains a spot in my recipe binder to this day.

If you had pecan pie for Thanksgiving but would like to serve it again for Christmas with a TWIST, why not add caramel to it?

Caramel Pecan Pie
From: Southern Living, Nov 2005

1 refrigerated pie crust
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

Fit pie crust into a 9" pie plate (I have this simple one) and crimp edges. Poke holes with a fork in the bottom of crust. Bake at 400 degrees 6-8 minutes.

Combine caramels, butter, and 1/4 cup water in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 5-7 minutes or until caramels and butter are melted. Remove from heat.

Stir together sugar, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Stir into caramel mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in pecans and pour this mixture into crust. 

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce to 350 degrees and bake 20 minutes more. You may want to use a crust shield to keep the edges from browning too much. Remove, place on a wire rack, and cool.

Key Ingredients

Today we're talking desserts and that makes my sweet tooth very happy indeed. This festive Gingerbread Trifle could not be a more perfect ending to your holiday meal. It's beautifully presented with layers of gingerbread, creamy pumpkin filling and whipped cream. Due to the versatility of trifles and the fact that they are easy to assemble, I find myself making them year around and switching up the flavors and ingredients based on the season. Nothing makes me happier than finding simple yet elegant recipes to serve to friends and loved ones. If you don't currently own a trifle dish I highly recommend adding one to your kitchen so you can wow your guest with this impressive dessert and others like it.


  Gingerbread Trifle Ingredients: 
2 (14oz.) packages gingerbread cake mix 
– 1 (5oz.) box sugar-free, vanilla pudding 
– 2 (15oz.) cans pumpkin 
– 1/2 cup brown sugar 
– 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
– 1 container lite whipped topping 
– 1/2 cup gingersnap cookies, crushed 
– 3/4 cup Heath Toffee Bits 

– Bake gingerbread cake according to the package directions. Allow to cool completely. (I ended up only using about 3/4 of the two cake boxes. Portion may vary depending on the dish size). 
– Meanwhile, prepare the pudding and set aside to cool. 
– Add pumpkin, sugar and cinnamon into the pudding. 
– In a decorative trifle bowl, crumble in about a 1/4 to 1/2 of the gingerbread cake, filling to the bottom. 
– Pour half the pudding mixture on top of the gingerbread, sprinkle with 1/2 cup toffee bits, then add a layer of whipped topping (half of the container). 
– Repeat layers crumbling in more (if not all)of the gingerbread, add pudding mixture and top with the rest of the whipped cream. 
– On top of the trifle add crushed gingersnap cookies and the rest of the toffee bits (1/4 cup). 
– Refrigerate overnight or 8 hours.


Cookies are a Christmas MUST! A fresh batch of cookies on the counter always reminds me of Christmas time. With all of the parties, unexpected guests and HELLO, the visit from the big guy in red, it's so fun to have a plate of treats on the counter! We have a cookie exchange coming up and I'm totally bringing these! Dark chocolate has my heart and the olive oil and sea salt add an unexpected twist. If you are local to Charlotte, pop into Pour Olive for the best olive oil in Charlotte! (and tell them that I sent you!)

Olive Oil + Sea Salt Brownie Cookies

recipe from Butterlust

1/2 cup good olive oil

1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
1 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. hot water
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1.5 cups 60% cocoa dark chocolate chips (Ghiradelli is my favorite)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking silpat or baking sheet with parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the olive and sugar and mix on medium until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure to mix well between each one. Add the cocoa powder, flour and salt and mix until a dough forms. 

In a small bowl, dissolve the baking soda into the hot water. Add the dissolved baking soda and water mixture as well as the vanilla to the batter, and beat until just combined. Gently stir in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate the batter for at least 30 minutes or overnight. 

Using a tablespoon, scoop out heaping tablespoons of dough onto your cookie sheets. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are set. 11 minutes was the perfect amount of time in my oven. 

Let cool for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

We will see you back here tomorrow for the final day ... COCKTAILS!

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