May 28, 2018

creamy charleston key lime pie

Last summer, Sam and I visited Charleston for the first time. And we were immediately smitten. The food, the people, the history, the charm! Our very first night in the Charleston, we hopped in an Uber and asked our driver to take us to a restaurant we had heard rave reviews about. BUT our driver insisted that we try one of his favorite spots instead. So we always lean on the locals, and we let him drop us off at some spot he loved down at the end of a long cobblestone-paved alley. Now I may not have come home with the name of that place, but I did most certainly come home with memories of the best key lime pie I'd ever eaten. And that was all there was to it. I wanted to create my own recipe for a chilled, creamy key lime pie - similar to the one I enjoyed in Charleston that first night! 

My Charleston Key Lime Pie is rich and tart like key lime pie should be. Sweet flaked coconut is stirred into the homemade buttery graham crust that sends this pie over the moon! It's easy. It's chilled. And it hits the spot on these muggy summer nights! 

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Makes one 9” pie

1 cup graham cracker crumbs
⅓ cup sweetened coconut flakes
⅓ cup sugar
¼ cup salted butter, melted
2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon lime zest
¾-1 cup freshly squeezed key lime juice
1 teaspoon coconut extract
⅓ cup powdered sugar
1 drop green + 2 drops yellow food coloring, optional

1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon coconut extract
Fresh lime slices and mint for garnish

In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, coconut flakes, and sugar; stir in melted butter and mix until combined. Press into the bottom and sides of an 8 ½-9” pie dish. Chill in the freezer.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the condensed milk, lime zest, lime juice, and coconut extract. With mixer on low, stir in the food coloring. Stir in ⅓ cup powdered sugar. Pour filling into chilled crust and return to the freezer for 2 hours or until set.

When ready to serve, remove pie from freezer, cut and plate slices while it's still firm-ish, and allow slices to stand at room temperature for several minutes while you make the whipped cream. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla; whisk together on medium high until thick and creamy.

Dollop each slice of pie with whipped cream and garnish with a slice of lime.

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May 27, 2018

brownie fruit pizza + homemade cream cheese frosting

It's Memorial Day - the unofficial kick off to summer! We're laking and pooling and gathering on porches and patios from coast to coast! And this Brownie Fruit Pizza is a dreamy bite of sweet for your get together! The brownie is sweet and cakey, the homemade frosting will knock your socks off, and the fruit serves as the perfect tart bite! And y'all, it's just so pretty. Sure to become a favorite! Here's to grassy little bodies playing in the sprinkler, grilled hot dogs on paper plates, pink shoulders, and freckled noses! Happy summer to you and your people!

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with cream cheese frosting

1 family-sized brownie mix
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs + 1 egg white
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 pound powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Several drops of red food coloring or gel
3-4 tablespoons milk 
Fresh raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries
Mint for garnish

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 15" aluminum pizza pan with baking spray. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix together the brownie mix, oil, water, vanilla, and eggs. Pour batter onto prepared pan and spread evenly around the pan, leaving a 1-inch border. Bake for 20 minutes; remove and allow to cool entirely.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese for a minute until smooth. Add in half of the powdered sugar, the vanilla, and the almond. Mix on low until combined. Add in the remaining powdered sugar and a tablespoon of milk at a time until the frosting is smooth and spreadable. Stir in the food coloring to get a pretty pink shade!

Spread the cooled brownie with the frosting, leaving a 1-inch border. Cover the top with berries and mint leaves. Refrigerate before serving. Slice into narrow wedges or cut the circle into smaller squares and serve. 

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