Sweeter in the South

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True Southern Strawberry Shortcake


4 quarts fresh strawberries
1 stick real butter
2 lbs. powdered sugar
3 1/2 pints heavy whipping cream
4 single pie crusts
(use two boxes of Pillsbury rolled crust)


Bring one stick of butter to room temperature. Bake pie crust on a cookie sheet, following the instructions on the box, with holes pierced by fork. Slice all berries, except for six to eight that can be used for decoration on top. Beat the sugar and butter together, then mash enough of the berries to come to the desired consistency. Begin with the cooled crust and spread with powdered sugar mixture. Cover the mixture completely with the berries, repeating four times. Ice with whipping cream sweetened with powdered sugar to taste. Add strawberries for decoration on top.


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Grandma's Coca-Cola Cake

2 cups cake flour
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 stick real butter
1/2 cup Crisco cooking oil
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups small marshmallows
8 oz. Coca-Cola (not diet)

Sift sugar and cake flour together and leave in large bowl. Mix butter, oil, cocoa, and Coke in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Pour over the dry ingredients. Add marshmallows, eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, and baking soda. Mix well and pour into a lightly greased 13x9x2 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately
45 minutes.

Coca-Cola Frosting
1 stick butter
3 Tbsp. cocoa
1 tsp. vanilla
6 tsp. Coca-Cola
1 box powdered sugar
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Boil butter, cocoa, and Coca-Cola in a sauce pan. Remove from heat and add other ingredients. Mix well and pour over warm cake.

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Mr. Bob's Pound Cake

3 sticks Oleo or unsalted butter,
at room temperature
1 box confectioner’s sugar (1 pound)
1 box all-purpose flour (use sugar box to measure); approximately 2 1/3 cups
6 eggs, at room temperature
Dash of salt
1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract

Cream Oleo and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in one egg at a time until well combined. Add flour gradually until combined. Add milk, vanilla, and lemon extract. Grease and flour a traditional pound cake pan or Bundt pan. Pour your batter in. Bake at 325 degrees for one hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake for 10 to 15 minutes in the pan and then turn onto a wired rack to cool completely.

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Mamaw's Banana Pudding

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
Dash of salt
5 egg yolks
3 cups whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla
60 to 70 vanilla wafers
7 to 9 barely ripe bananas

5 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar


On top of a large double boiler, mix sugar, flour, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, whisk five egg yolks until blended. Whisk in whole milk. Add this to sugar mixture on top of double boiler. Mix well. Put over the boiling water and cook until thickened, stirring constantly. The pudding is thick enough when it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and mix well. Cover mixing bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and put in refrigerator. Whisk every 10 minutes until pudding is barely warm. Slice bananas and dip or sprinkle with one tablespoon lemon juice mixed with 3/4 cup water. Pat off excess moisture. Put a layer of vanilla wafers in bottom of 3-quart baking dish. Cover with a layer of banana slices, then spoon enough pudding over the top to cover bananas. Whisk pudding to keep it pourable. Repeat layer of vanilla wafers and bananas and pudding twice.
Beat five egg whites on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/3 cup of sugar. Beat until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat). Spread over top of pudding, being careful to seal all the way to the edge. Use back of spoon to touch meringue and pull straight up to form little peaks all over top of pudding. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes until meringue is lightly browned.
Cool in refrigerator slightly and serve warm or chill for several hours to serve cold.

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Bill's Favorite Chess Pie

1 stick butter
2 cups sugar or 2 cups Stevia/
sugar baking mix
5 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. cornmeal
2 Tbsp. cornstarch (or flour)
1/4 cup evaporated milk (half and half or buttermilk can be substituted)
1 Tbsp. white vinegar
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add vanilla, cornmeal, cornstarch, evaporated milk, and white vinegar. Do not overbeat. Pour into a 9-inch unbaked pie shell. Bake at 425 degrees on bottom shelf of oven for 10 minutes. Reduce temperature to 300 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes until custard is set but slightly jiggly and knife inserted in the middle is clean. Cool and serve with whipped cream.

Alternate baking: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put crust in pan and refrigerate until ready to use (this keeps pie from over-browning). Bake five minutes, and then reduce to 325 degrees. Bake until top is set. Turn off oven, open the door to drop heat to 200 degrees, and let pies sit in oven to cool.

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Chocolate Pie Delight

2 squares (2 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares)
2 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 cups milk (heated until almost scalded)
3 eggs, separated
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
9-inch pie crust

Melt chocolate and butter over hot water in a double boiler. Mix flour, sugar, and salt and stir into chocolate mixture until well incorporated. Add about a 1/4 cup of milk and mix until smooth. Continue to add the remainder of the milk until all is combined and mixture is smooth. Continue to cook until thick, approximately 15 minutes. While the mixture thickens, beat egg yolks in a bowl. Temper eggs by adding a little of the chocolate mixture and whisk continuously. Add to the chocolate mixture. Continue to cook an additional two minutes.  Stir constantly and remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour into a baked 9-inch pie crust, cover with plastic wrap to avoid a skin forming, and allow the pie to set. Top with meringue or whipped cream.

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Cornbread Dressing & Egg Bread

Apple filling:
6 lbs. apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/2-inch wedges (use a blend of Gala, Golden Delicious, and Granny Smith)

1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar

1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. cloves

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces

1 cup sugar

1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar

5 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup apple butter (use products with 100% apples and no sugar)
1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature

Caramel Apple Cider Sauce:
6 cups unfiltered apple cider
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 cups firmly packed
light brown sugar
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter,
at room temperature, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract


For the caramel apple cider sauce: Bring apple cider and lemon juice to a boil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat and boil until reduced by half, 10 to 13 minutes. Whisk in sugar, butter, and salt and cook, stirring, until sauce thickens slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. You should have about two cups. Off heat, whisk in vanilla. Pour into a heatproof container and let cool to warm room temperature (it will thicken more as it cools) and stir.

For the apple mixture: Combine apples, sugar, and lemon juice in a large sauté pan. Sauté over medium heat until apples give off juice and sugar dissolves. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a folding motion, for about 20 minutes, or until fruit softens and juices begin to caramelize. Cool before assembling cake.

For the cake: Position racks in upper and lower third of oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat six 8-x2-inch round pans with nonstick spray, line bottoms with parchment rounds, then spray parchment; set aside.
Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, cloves, and salt in a large bowl to aerate and combine; set aside. In bowl of standing mixer, beat butter with flat paddle until creamy. Add sugar and brown sugar and beat until lightened and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Whisk together the apple butter and buttermilk and add this wet mixture alternately with the flour mixture, beating just until combined. Divide batter evenly in pans and smooth tops with offset spatula. Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool pans on racks for five minutes. Unmold, peel off parchment, and place cakes directly on racks to cool completely. Trim layers to be level, if necessary. Layers are ready to fill and assemble. Alternatively, place layers on cardboard and double wrap in plastic wrap; store at room temperature if assembling within24 hours.

“Instead of using exact measurements, my mom was a ‘until it looks right’ kind of Southern cook. This recipe, courtesy of Bakepedia,
is the closest I could find to my mom’s.”

For the filling and assembly: Fill and assemble within two hours of serving. Have caramel sauce ready to use.
Place one cake layer on display plate. Top with about 2/3 cup of the apples and any juice, going all the way to the edges. Drizzle with a little caramel (warmed if necessary). Top with second cake layer, apples, and caramel, and continue until you have placed last cake layer on top and cover with a mound of remaining apples. Stop at this point if you are holding cake for a few hours. Drizzle with caramel apple cider sauce right before serving.



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