Sinful Southern Style Sweets
Did somebody say sweets???
The Wrong End of the Chow Line
For as long as I can remember, we have had family reunions with food tables stretched for what seemed like an eternity simply loaded with mouth-watering home cooked meals. But my favorite part has always been the dessert table, which I have argued from the beginning, was at the wrong end of the line!
I have tried and tried, to no avail, to convince everyone that we should start with the sweet table and work our way back to the other foods. It just seems like the right thing to do because by the time you get done at the food table, you have no room left for the different desserts that flood the path of your sight every time you walk by.
Since I have always fought for justice on the dessert tables, I figured I would make a hub specifically for desserts! After all, it's my hub and the grown-ups can't tell me I can't do it, right? But beware that this is a dangerous hub! It frequently causes munchies and outright hunger so you better grab a snickers and a coke before you start reading!
Southern Pecan Pie
Ooooohhh, the sweet smell of a pecan pie baking in the oven seems to linger for the entire day! While the pecans may have a season, the delicacies that can be produced from these magnificent treats from nature are ongoing. Therefore, make sure you get lots of them during their season and get them shelled and frozen for the remainder of the year!
I prefer buying mine straight from the orchard (or the person who has the orchard) so that I know they are fresh. Many of the ones you buy already shelled in stores are old, tough and have a really strong taste that totally changes the flavor of the recipes.
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup white corn syrup
- 3 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
- 3 large eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 unbaked pie shell
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop pecans fairly small. Some people use pecan halves but when they are chopped small, you get more pecan taste in each bite! Set the pecans aside and slightly beat the eggs. Add sugar, vanilla and corn syrup to the eggs and stir. Melt butter, pour into the mix and stir. Add pecans, mix well and pour into the unbaked pie shell. You don't prebake the shell because it will burn before the pie is done on this one. Bake the pie for 10 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees bake another 35 minutes. Pie is done when all the pie sets except a small circle in the center. It will shake slightly. Remove from oven and cool slightly before refrigerating. Pie will completely set after refrigeration.
TIP: In order to keep the outter edge of the pie shell from burning or getting too brown before the pie is done, you can tear thin strips of tin foil and put it around the outter adge of the crust, avoiding covering any of the pie filling. You can also lay a piece of wax paper over the top of the pie once you remove it from the oven to avoid the pecans getting too hard.
Sweet Potato Pies
Now, we're talkin'! You may notice that my recipe is a bit different from many others because I don't use sinnamon or nutmeg in mine. One reason for this is that I am just not a big nutmeg fan and another is that it doesn't take away from the flavor of the sweet potato. Trust me, it's delicious!
- 1 1/2 cups of baked, mashed sweet potatoes
- 1 stick butter or margarine, creamed
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 can Eagle Brand Milk (or other brand of sweetened, condensed milk)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 unbaked pie shells
Bake, peel and mash potatoes and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slightly beat eggs and add sugar, condensed milk, vanilla and stir. Cream butter and add to mixture then add potatoes and mix well. Pour into unbaked pie shells and bake for 30 minutes. Pie will turn golden brown on top when done. Ovens vary so if they aren't golden brown, bake longer, checking it often for brownness. Cool slightly before refrigerating. You can either refrigerate them or serve them warm. If you don't plan to refrigerate, you can store at room temperature with tin foil covering.
Who could ever imagine that anything made with sour buttermilk could come out sweet? I was hesitant to even try this candy with a name like this but I gathered the courage and dove in. Once I made the first batch, I was hooked!
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine (1 stick)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons white corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- finely chopped nuts of your choice to taste
Mix and heat over medium heat in a large, heavy pot until it comes to a boil and thickens (about 238 degrees or hard boil). Cool until lukewarm and then beat until thick (similar to fudge). Pour out onto buttered plate. Cut into squares. This candy will turn a rich brown right before your very eyes!
This has got to be one of the most favorite candy in the south. Once you try this little temptation, you will understand why! While it takes time and work to create them, it is well worth the effort you put into it.
- 1 box light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup evaporated milk
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon butter or margarine
- 2 cups finely chopped pecans
Mis sugar, salt, milk and butter in a 2 quart saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Add pecans and cook over medium heat to 234 degrees, stirring cinstantly. Remove and let cool 5 minutes. Stir rapidly until mixture begins to coat pecans and thickens. This may take a while as mixture will be very hot when you first start. Make sure that you sit comfortably with a towel protecting your lap from the hot pot and settle in with it. Once it begins to thicken, it will thicken very rapidly so be ready to drop from teaspoon onto the buttered aluminum foil.
Pecan Crisp Cookies
These and the southern pralines were my Daddy's favorite! Every year at Christmas I had to make sure I made an extra batch of both for him to have his very own to take home from the gathering! Sometimes, he'd hint during the year that he couldn't wait until Christmas to get more of my pecan cookies and candy just because he knew I would make him some. Never understood why he wouldn't just ask me to. Guess he didn't want me to go to any trouble but, hey, it was Daddy! Why would that be too much trouble for someone who has done so much for others, right?
After he passed away in December 1998, I just couldn't make myself do these 2 recipes anymore. That is until my sister told me last year (2007) how much she missed my candy. So in December 2007, I resumed my making of these recipes and I am so glad that I did! Along with the wonderful taste comes the flooding memories of all the times Daddy boasted about how good they were. Now, they are both my comfort food!
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup butter or margarine
- 2 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 2 1/2 cups self rising flour
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly cream shortening, sugar and butter together. Add well beaten eggs and mix. Add flour and pecans and mix well. I prefer to wash my hands and knead all this together because it is easier to handle this way. Once mixed, drop from teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like them. I prefer the less time so they are soft and chewy!
Lemon Cream Pie
This is the only kind of lemon pie I will eat. It is more like a lemon cheescake mixture, only not as thick. I love the creaminess and how easy it is to adjust the tartness to whatever you prefer. Not to mention how fast and easy it is to make for unexpected company. It takes about 5 minutes to whip these up!
- 2 Graham cracker pie crusts
- 3 cans Eagle Brand milk (or other brand sweetened condensed milk)
- bottled lemon juice
Pour sweetened condensed milk into a bowl. Add about 1 cup of lemon juice. You can add more lemon juice to reach desired tartness. Once you have the tartness you like, simply pour into pie crusts and refrigerate. You just can't get any easier than that!
Easy Peanut Brittle
This recipe is as simple as they come. You simply have to move quickly at the end to avoid the candy setting too fast on the pan.
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup white corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 cups raw peanuts
Butter a large cookie sheet and keep it closeby. Mix all ingredients except soda in large iron skillet until boiling, stirring constantly. Continue to cook until raw peanuts begin to pop like popcorn. Mixture will smell slightly scorched. Take off heat and stir in soda. This is where you will need to be very close to the cookie sheet because when you add the soda to the mix, it will foam. Stir well and pour ontil buttered pan. Let cool and just break into the prefered size pieces and enjoy!
TIP: To store the peanut brittle (if you have any left!) you won't want to use an air tight container because it can build up moisture and the candy will become sticky. Just wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
Homemade Reese's Cups
This is one of my favorite recipes because I have always lived Reese's Peanut Butter cups! Making these at home only creates one slight problem. It is very hard to keep everyone from eating the candy balls up before I can get them dipped into the chocolate!
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (or 1 package graham crackers ground)
- 1 lb. confectioners sugar
- 2 sticks margarine
- 1 lb. jar peanut butter
- chocolate almond bark
Mix all ingredients except almond bark until well blended. Mixture will be very thick! Roll into small balls and put on cookie sheets lined with wax paper. Insert toothpick into each candy ball Melt almond bark in double boiler. Remove candy from freezer and dip each ball inot the chocolate. Spin around on toothpick until no more chocolate is streaming from the candy then place back on wax paper to cool. After all the candy is dipped and cool, remove all toothpicks and store candy in air tight container.
TIP: If you do not want to use the toothpicks to dip the candy, you can use a bakers rack to place the candy on and pour the almond bark over the candy and let cool. Flip candy over and coat the bottom side if needed. I had to start doing this since I make about 5 batches at the time for gatherings. This saves time. I put wax paper under the rack to catch the chocolate so that I can put it back in the boiler to remelt and use. If the chocolate begins to get too thick to dip, you can add just a touch of shortening to thin it down a bit. Those directions are on the almond bark package.
Molasses Tea Cakes
If you are really looking for some down home cookies, you can't beat a good molasses tea cake! The important thing is to be sure to purchase some really good molasses. Some labels claim to be pure cane molasses but aren't. That's when you find a good contact "outside" the marketing area. Guess you can look in the yellow pages for the black market molasses dealers!
But seriously, there are many people who actually grow the sugar cane and make their own molasses in the south so it is fairly easy to come by in our area. Hope you can find a good source in your area!
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cups self rising flour
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup molasses
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream shortening; add sugar and egg. Mix milk and molasses in seperate bowl. Add flour and liquid mix alternately to the first misture. Once well blended, drop by teaspoonfuls on ungreased (non-stick) cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Not Just Recipes
Since I started these hubs, I have come to realize that most of these recipes are not just recipes to me. Many of the have a story behind them and in some way, have become just as much an important part of my heritage as the blood in my veins. I love being able to publish them in a hub because I don't have to stick with a "cook book" format.
These hubs not only allow me to share the goodness of the south with others but also the stories behind the recipes. The southern traditional cooking isn't just about the food that is produced but about the fellowship behind the food. Many of these recipes have been in many families for generations and usually carry a certain memory for those who have passed them along. it has been wonderful going back in time as I have shared these recipes with you and I look forward to sharing many more in the future!