Bourbon & Butterscotch Eclair Cake

Bourbon & Butterscotch Eclair Cake

I assume you are asking yourself—how is an Éclair Cake southern?

The cake itself is not southern, but its source is. For many of us southerners, especially older generations, beloved recipes were sourced from community cookbooks. A community cookbook is just that, a collection of local recipes submitted by locals and compiled by a local a organization (the Junior League is a popular source) or a church. Each recipe contains the name of the submitter and a blurb about the recipe. Readers will usually multiple variations for one type of recipe. You may find three different recipes for pimento cheese. And almost always the finished book is spiral bound.

In my childhood home there was one community cookbook that my mom sourced everything from: Dogwood Delights. You will notice that this book was put together by Atlanta’s Telephone Pioneers of America. My mom worked in Atlanta for BellSouth when I was a child. I remember going to the big city of Atlanta and eating at the Varsity on special days I was allowed to go to work with her.

Every time we made red velvet cake for Christmas, the book came out of the cupboard. Luckily, my grandmother was kind enough to give me her copy as a source of inspiration. So when I make red velvet cake there is only one place to go.

Often times when I am looking for a source of inspiration in a bake or covered dish I want to bring to my next family gathering I pull out my old, dusty copy.

For me, and for so many, community cookbooks are a conservation of history. A memento of time, experience, and culture of a community. Generations of experience are contained in-between two covers which makes for a great resource to young and old cooks alike.

Although community cookbooks provided a wealth of information to homemakers and small town cooks (because they were popular long before the internet), so many of the submissions lack direction. If you are experienced baker or cook like me, it is no problem to fill in the gaps but not every person in the kitchen has that experience. For those who do not know to cream together your butter and eggs when making the batter for a cake, the gaps can be tricky.

My intention is to not only preserve the recipes so many southerners rely on, but to update them into a modern form. By update I do not mean changing the dish into something totally different, I mean raising it into its adult self.

Let this first recipe be the example. I found this recipe by thumbing through and liked it. As I mentioned before, there were about 10 different versions of the cake listed.

A picture of the original recipe
As you can see, this recipe calls for a bunch of premade items. Instant pudding, frozen whipped cream, etc. An update is simple, make everything you can from scratch…within reason. I will not be making homemade graham crackers.

I made a homemade bourbon butterscotch pudding out of homemade caramel, a homemade ganache for the top, and a homemade whipped cream. The southern in me felt the need to splash in bourbon instead of rum for the butterscotch.

Ta-dah! This community cookbook submission is brought into the 21st century.

Go out and find your own community cookbook. A good place to start is an old bookstore or my favorite—a yard sale.

A fork full of finished cake


Spicy Kitchen Sink Cookies

Spicy Kitchen Sink Cookies

The concept of a kitchen sink cookie is simple: you put everything in but the kitchen sink. It is one of those recipes that works with almost anything and everything you have in your baking pantry. This means it is a great recipe to keep in your pocket when a baking emergency comes up, i.e an impromptu party or impromptu house guests.

For my version of kitchen sink cookies I use a combination that I find is well balanced, salty, sweet, and spicy. For salt I throw in pretzels and kettle cooked chips, kettle cooked so they retain their crunchiness. The sweet comes from butterscotch and chocolate chips. Finally, the spicy from some chipotle roasted peanuts.

If you do not have spicy peanuts you can throw red pepper into the cookie mix, roast your own peanuts in a spice mixture, or simply use plain peanuts.


The cookie base for the recipe is heavy in brown sugar and butter, which results a gooier more buttery cookie. In my book, the ultimate cookie is one that is cooked on the outside and still gooey on the center. The trick to a perfect texture is twofold, chilling the butter before baking and under baking the cookie. I take the cookies out of the oven when the edges just start to brown then I let them cool on the cookie sheet.

Chilling your cookie dough before baking it prevents the butter from spreading too much during baking. If the butter spreads too much the finished cookies will be thin and not thick and tender.

This recipe would also be delicious as a chocolate chip cookie using only chocolate chips as the add-in. And of course, I recommend a large glass of ice cold milk to accompany your fresh out of the oven warm cookies.

This cookie may be the strangest, most delicious, and well balanced cookie I have ever eaten.

For more tips on cookie making, see this post.



Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake

Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake

Just as fast as they went last year, the holidays are upon us again. Although my waistline hates it, my heart gets excited to bake and cook as much as humanly possible over then next few months.

Which means this week, I have been testing recipes so I can bring the perfect dessert to our Thanksgiving feast. When coming up with recipes I like to take classics and add a slight twist, so a macadamia nut pie, instead of pecan, was on my list to try out. I will post the recipe soon.

This past weekend we had some friends over for a laid back night (but also so I could test out my pie recipe on them). Filet, truffle mashed potatoes, rosemary focaccia, and a few stout beers later, we were almost – almost – too full to eat pie. We still ate it though. And I am happy to report that the pie only needs one or two tweaks.

The next morning, waking up full and happy, I realized I had a bit of my stout beer left over. I do not like to waste food, so it was the perfect opportunity to throw a second dessert contestant into the mix. For some reason I could not get the idea of a stout bundt cake out of my head, so I began baking.

An upclose picture of the salted caramle glaze

I used a Dutch process cocoa powder, which is darker than the normal stuff, because I had it leftover from a previous recipe that I tested. Also, the use of cake flour would be perfect to lighten the dense texture of a chocolate bundt cake.

The only issue was deciding on what to top the cake with. Flavor contenders included espresso, caramel, and more chocolate. My husband does not love chocolate cake, so I landed on caramel to ensure that he would like this cake. The last touch, a little salt in the caramel to cut through the very decedent flavors.

This recipe turned out better than I could have imagined, and I didn’t have to change a single thing in the recipe. This may be one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever baked, and I will definitely proudly take it to our festivities on Thursday.

Confession: As soon as the cake was cooled and I snapped a few pictures, I ate a slice for lunch. That is the reason there are so few pictures in this post.

…I ate a second slice after dinner that night.

A slice of chocolate cake with salted caramel on top

Banana Bread Donuts + Chocolate & Peanut Butter

Banana Bread Donuts + Chocolate & Peanut Butter

When I think of food and my father, a few very select items come to mind. Peanut butter and chocolate may be at the top of that list.

Growing up, and even now, my dad keeps a secret treat hidden in the pantry. He takes a jar of peanut butter and some chocolate chips and stirs the chips into the jar. When he wants a sweet treat he digs out a spoonful at a time to eat. My love for chocolate was definitely passed down from my dad.

When my father-in-law comes to mind, I immediately see donuts. Not only does he love sweets more than your average bear but because he lives close to a donut shop, he grabs a dozen anytime the hot sign is on. I know how easy it is to gobble down freshly glazed, warm donuts. They practically dissolve in your mouth.

So when I was contemplating a good bake for Father’s Day, it was easy to find inspiration.

These donuts take classic banana bread, remove the nuts, and are baked into donuts. For the glaze, a dark chocolate ganache and peanut butter drizzle paired perfectly with the banana. On top, I added crushed salted peanuts to cut through the decedent chocolate topping.

This recipe is extremely moldable. You can easily change it around to suit your father. Put chocolate inside the donuts, and the same goes for nuts of your choice. You can do just a peanut butter glaze, and so much more — the options are limitless.

Banana Bread Donuts


  • 1 Stick of Butter, softened
  • 4 Extremely Ripe Bananas
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Butter and flour your donut cake pan. Set aside.
  • In your stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in eggs and the remaining ingredients. Mixture should be fully mixed but still have a few lumps due to the banana.
  • Spoon into donut pan. Each donut should be about 2/3 full. This recipe makes 13 donuts total. Bake each pan full in batches for 15 minutes each.
  • Let donuts cool before dunki ng the tops of each donut into your ganache and drizzling with peanut butter. You can top the donuts with crushed peanuts as well.

Chocolate Ganache


  • 2 Cups of Dark Chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Cup of Heavy Cream


  1. In a small saucepan heat the heavy cream over medium.
  2. Once at a simmer, remove cream from heat and pour directly over chocolate.
  3. Let sit for several minutes, then stir vigorously until chocolate mixture is melted and smooth.

Peanut Butter Drizzle


  • 1/2 Cup of Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of Heavy Cream


  1. In a small saucepan, stir together cream and peanut butter.
  2. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. When peanut-butter mixture is warm enough to drizzle it is ready.

Irish Cream Fudge coated in Pistachios and Dark Chocolate

Irish Cream Fudge coated in Pistachios and Dark Chocolate

St. Patricks Day came and went here in Savannah, and, along with it, the Irish Cream Fudge I created just for the occasion. Like any good tailgate, everyone who watches the parade with my family brings a plate of food to snack on while drinking their green beer. Occasionally my family doesn’t exactly love the food I bring because it tends to stray outside the realm of a normal potluck dish. In fact I have heard the words “Don’t make something weird”, so for this year’s celebration I wanted to stick with a traditional southern dish.

Fudge was a southern treat my family grew up making for every special occasion, but normally it would be flavored with chocolate or peanut butter. If you have never had fudge, it is a creamy candy that is cooked to the soft stage of candy making and flavored with butter and something else. Fudge truly tastes like a southern dish — extremely sweet and sinful. I have never tasted another flavor of fudge besides chocolate or peanut butter (or seen anyone I know make a different flavor), so in making this Irish Cream Fudge for St. Patricks day I was not confident on how it would turn out. But to say the least, I did not hear the word “weird”.

The finished result was true to the southern originals: super rich. For this recipe I cut back the sugar to compensate for the sweetness of the Irish Cream. When cooking the candy the alcohol of the Irish Cream cooks off, so instead of finishing the batch with vanilla I replaced it with more Irish Cream so there was a bite of alcohol. The addition of a bitter chocolate and salty pistachios would help balance the decadent candy while adding texture to the buttery mouthfeel. The small tray goes a very long way because most people can only eat one small piece at a time.

Irish Cream Fudge


  • 4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 1 Small Container of Marshmallow Fluff, 7 ounces
  • 1 1/4 Cup Of White Chocolate Chips
  • 5 Tablespoons of Irish Cream
  • A Dash of Salt
  • 1 Bag of Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil
  • 1 Cup of Shelled Pistachios, roughly chopped


  1. Prepare an 8×8 baking dish by lining it in parchment paper and buttering the paper. Set aside.
  2. In a double boiler, combine the dark chocolate and coconut oil. Heat, stirring constantly, until temperature reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat and continue stirring until the temperature drops to 82 degrees.
  3. Pour into the bottom of your 8×8 dish, and set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan, heat butter, sugar, salt, 4 tablespoons of Irish Cream, and heavy cream over medium heat.
  5. Once at a boil, stir sugar to combine. Continue to cook until temperature reaches 235 degrees Fahrenheit (soft ball stage).
  6. Remove from heat and quickly stir in your marshmallow cream, white chocolate, and remaining 1 tablespoons of Irish cream, making sure it all completely combines.
  7. Pour into your baking dish and spread to even it out. Immediately sprinkle with pistachios and press in.
  8. Let set in the fridge for an hour, or on the counter for one to two hours.
  9. Remove firm fudge from the dish and cut into 1 inch squares.

Cheesecake Topped with Candied Blood Oranges and Dark Chocolate

Cheesecake Topped with Candied Blood Oranges and Dark Chocolate

Hi. My name is Lindy, and I am a blood orange addict. As anyone with an addictive personality can tell you, when you want something, you find a way to have it, but it was not until I began baking that I became infatuated with blood oranges. As anyone else who is fascinated with a flavor, I am always trying to come up with new ways to use them in the kitchen.

As many bakers know, blood oranges are suitable for baking due to their extra tart flavor. Due to this, however, if you’re using them in a baked sweet, you really need to find a way to cut through that tartness. Obviously I love to bake, and I know that most of my recipes have been baked goods, but I’ve included this recipe because it shows a different technique to deal with blood oranges in a sweet dish and still get that beautiful tart flavor.


Candied Blood Orange


  • 2 Blood Oranges
  • 2 Cups of Sugar
  • 2 Cups of Water


  1. Thinly slice blood oranges with a mandoline or sharp knife, leaving on the rind.
  2. Fill a small saucepan with water and blood orange slices. Heat on medium until boiling. Let the slices boil for two to three minutes. Drain the liquid.
  3. In the same saucepan add in the two cups of sugar and two cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Allow the slices to simmer in the syrup mixture for at least 45 minutes, or until the white part of the rind is translucent.
  4. Once cooked remove slices and let cool on a cookie rack.

Cheesecake Batter


  • 1 Sleeve of Chocolate Graham Crackers
  • 5 Tablespoons of Butter, melted
  • 32 Ounces of Cream Cheese
  • 1 1/3 Cups of Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Cup of Cream
  • 1/4 Cup of All Purpose Flour


For the crust:

  1. With a food processor, crush graham crackers until they are a fine consistency. Grease and line a tin spring form cheesecake pan.
  2. Fill the bottom with your graham cracker crumbs, then pour over melted butter. Mix the butter and crumbs, with you hands, fully incorporated.
  3. Push down, making sure then entire bottom of the pan is evenly covered.

For the Cheesecake:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven heats, combine your cream cheese and sugar into a stand mixer. Mix on medium until the sugar is fully incorporated into the cream cheese.
  2. Add in your vanilla, salt, baking…..
  3. Add in your eggs, one at a time, being sure each egg is combined fully.
  4. Mix in your flour.
  5. Once smooth, pour mixture over crumb crust.
  6. Fill a large baking sheet with water, then gently place the cheesecake on the sheet. Very gently place the baking sheet into the oven.
  7. Let cook for at least one hour, or until the jiggle in the middle is slight.
  8. Once cooked, turn off the oven, and let the cheesecake cool in the oven leaving the oven door open, as this will prevent cracking on the top.

For the Cheesecake Topping:

  • 1 Bar of Dark Chocolate (the kind for baking, not eating)


*It is your choice on how you want to use the chocolate. You can dip your candied oranges in the chocolate to coat,  you can drizzle the chocolate over the oranges once they are on top of the cheesecake, or create a drip cake effect. The options are endless.

  1. Create a double boiler by heating water over medium in a small saucepan on your stove, then topping the saucepan with a metal bowl. Do not let the bowl touch the water.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add your broken up chocolate into the metal bowl
  3. Stir constantly until about halfway melted. Then remove the bowl from the water.
  4. Keep stirring until all of the chocolate has melted, and fully combined.
  5. Use the chocolate to decorate how you would like. Dipping the oranges…etc.
  6. Top the cheesecake how you would like, see pictures for reference.