Posts Tagged ‘Nealey Dozier’

Chocolate Chip-Pecan Kentucky Pie for the Final Four

Many college kids don’t exactly follow a healthy meal plan, and I was no exception. Since the majority of restaurants in my Alabama university town accepted our campus dining card, I would often order a lavish takeout dinner. Excess was the rule. One of my all-time favorite splurges was a rather large slice of warm Kentucky Pie from a local deli. That sublime chocolate chip cookie/pecan pie hybrid, a riff on Louisville’s famous Derby Pie, was the stuff that dreams (and the dreaded ‘freshman 15′) were made of.

This Saturday, whether you’re cheering on the Kentucky Wildcats or a fan of gooey chocolate chip desserts (because surely you are at least one of these things?), consider making this riff on crowd-pleasing Kentucky Pie for your fellow March Madness revelers. Serve slabs of this soft cookie-pie warm, straight out of the oven, with whipped cream or ice cream if you so please. (I do.) And if you want to do it like a real Southerner, offer a nip of bourbon on the side.

(Want even more recipes inspired by famous college town foods? Check out Cooking Channel’s Bracket Battle of the Best College Eats.)

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31 Days of Cookies: Christmas “Circus” Cookies

This year, we’re celebrating the season with a month of nonstop cookies. For the 16th day of cookies, we’re feasting on nostalgia with these frosted cookies, named for the colorful retro circus treats they resemble.

Click here for the Christmas “Circus” Cookies recipe.

More cookies:
All-Star Cookie Swap
Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies

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31 Days of Cookies: Irish Cream and Coffee Cookies

This year, we’re celebrating the season with a month of nonstop cookies. For the 10th day of cookies, Nealey Dozier shares her cookie-fied take on Irish creme and coffee:

These days there are thousands (millions?) of Christmas cookie recipes available to enthusiastic holiday bakers everywhere. In my attempt to mix up the cookie swap this year, I wanted to create a cookie that’s as warm and comforting as it is creative. Taking a nod from seasonal cocktails — is there any better way to face the winter chill than with a hot mug in hand? — I began dreaming of drinks I could craft into cookie form. Hot cocoa splashed with peppermint schnapps? Cider spiked with aged whiskey? A classic hot toddy? I finally decided on a classic after-dinner drink: Irish creme and coffee. Whiskey, chocolate and heavy cream pair perfectly with coffee and translate well into a with-a-jolt dessert.

I started by revving up my best sugar cookie recipe with a double dose of java, using coffee extract (for bitter yet sultry undertones) and finely ground espresso beans (which add contrasting crunch and those lovely specks). Then, I piped a cloud of Irish Creme-buttercream to resemble a mountain of whipped cream. The cherry on top? A single chocolate covered espresso bean.

Irish Cream and Coffee Cookies

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Leftover White Turkey Chili

In our humble opinion, Thanksgiving is superior to any other day of the year. In an effort to make this year’s feast the best of all time (sorry, Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe), we’re bringing you the recipes, how-tos and decorating ideas to help you become a Turkey Day pro.

My very first batch of white turkey chili involved tossing a bunch of ingredients into a pot and praying for the best. Much to my surprise, my family was scraping the bottom of the pot within an hour (and not because I didn’t make enough!). Now, leftover-turkey chili is as much a part of our Thanksgiving tradition as the holiday meal itself.

One of the things I love most about this recipe is that it never turns out exactly the same. If I’m feeling particularly lazy, I’ll swap canned chiles for fresh, and sometimes — if I want to get adventurous — I’ll toss in a few “exotic” peppers from the nearby Mexican market. This plan can backfire, however, if you don’t know what you’re doing (I didn’t), so make sure you sample the peppers before it’s too late. (Thankfully, a few cups of cooked white rice salvaged the pot and silenced the alarms, not to mention it tasted amazing.)

Play around with ingredient quantities and flavors to make it your own. Hominy and even white potatoes make tasty additions to this soup. I prefer my turkey chili to be thick and creamier than most. Some recipes call for adding cornmeal or pureeing some of the beans with an immersion blender, but I find that a basic roux with some milk (or heavy cream) does the trick.

The best thing about this dish, and chili in general, is that it just keeps getting better as the days go by. I suggest making it early in the morning, then turning off the range and letting it be. Now sit back, relax and savor your new day-after-Thanksgiving tradition.

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Sweet Potato Casserole Pie with Marshmallow Praline Topping

In our humble opinion, Thanksgiving is superior to any other day of the year. In an effort to make this year’s feast the best of all time (sorry, Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe), we’re bringing you the recipes, how-tos and decorating ideas to help you become a Turkey Day pro.

Southerners love to over-sugar their sweet potatoes, making most recipes resemble a dessert rather than a side dish. And although I was raised on a saccharine sweet potato casserole piled high with toasted marshmallows (and still swear by the beloved tradition), it seems jet-puffed sweet potatoes are falling out of favor for recipes with a more “refined” profile. So why not embrace sweet potato casserole’s sugary roots and consider serving it alongside your dessert spread? After all, the only thing missing from the candied casserole is a flaky buttered crust. This delicious twist on the classic is the perfect way to get your holiday sweet potato fix and put all of those marshmallow haters to shame.

This pie stems from numerous experiments based off my heirloom family recipe — just a few tweaks here and a few changes there — to create the ultimate sweet potato casserole-as-pie. I always roast my sweet potatoes (as opposed to boiling) to intensify their flavors and allow natural caramel undertones to shine through. Instead of my usual heavy cream, however, I added sweetened condensed milk and doubled the number of eggs, resulting in a velvety-smooth texture more suitable for a pie. And while lots of sweet potato pie recipes call for a bevy of overwhelming spices, I find they mask the true character of the simple Southern dish. A splash of spiced rum and some vanilla bean paste are just enough to add complexity without concealing the subtle sweet potato flavor.

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Cheesy Parmesan Spoon Bread

One of the things I love most about Southern food is that it draws flavor inspiration from cultures all around the world, yet still maintains a unique identity of its own. It truly is a melting pot of tastes—hot, sticky, spicy and sweet—all boxed up in one.

Take spoon bread for example, a quintessential down-home dish. Its name may not turn any heads (or open any mouths), but one bite is enough to convert even the biggest of skeptics. Spoon bread, in fact, has a pretty distinguished pedigree if you ask me. It’s part French soufflé, part English Yorkshire pudding, but once you add the cornmeal, it’s all Southern.

If you still can’t wrap your head around this old-fashioned recipe, just imagine a rich, custardy version of cornbread worthy of scooping up with a spoon. Or better yet, picture the lightest, fluffiest grits casserole you’ve ever had. I mean, what’s not to like?

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Christmas “Circus” Cookies

Gear up for holiday baking with Cooking Channel. Your favorite chefs & Food People have opened their kitchens to share their best cookie recipes. From mini Red Velvet Whoopie Pies to Chuck’s Maple-Pecan Shortbread, we’ll keep you baking all season. Visit our All-Star Cookie Swap, then head over to for great takes on holiday baking from Food Network chefs.

I have a dark confession to make: I loathe holiday cookies. (I know, the horror!) Don’t get me wrong; I appreciate a family bake-a-thon as much as the next gal and I truly believe that homemade presents are the ultimate gift of love. But other than that, I just don’t get the obsession. Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Despite my aversion to candy-covered gingerbread men and peppermint-laden pinwheels, I’m no grumpy scrooge. I knew I would eventually have to slay my inner Christmas-cookie monster, so this year, I’m turning over a new leaf.

I set out to create a fun holiday-worthy recipe that’s delicious enough to be enjoyed all year-round: no dried fruits or spices here. When I started brainstorming, all I could think about were those little pink- and white-frosted animal cookies I used to devour as a child. And that’s when the light bulb went off; I could try to recreate the famous Mother’s Circus Animal Cookies in cute little holiday shapes!

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Bourbon Banana Puddings

Banana pudding sits high in the royal court of Southern desserts, and it doesn’t get much better than the classic recipe on the back of the Nilla wafer box. But sometimes it can’t hurt to experiment, and it’s not often difficult to find a line of folks ready and willing to try my latest spin. Two of my greatest hits are MoonPie Banana Pudding and Banana Pudding Ice Cream Pie. Seriously, how bad can those be?

Not being able to leave well enough alone, I decided to give the recipe another go. This time I added brown sugar and bourbon to my vanilla pudding base, giving it a hint of butterscotch and a bit more grown-up appeal. And to further the recipe’s cocktail-lovin’ flare, I substituted in sweet and spicy gingersnaps for the usual plain wafers—my nod to the old Southern standby “Jack & Ginger.”

While most recipes for banana pudding call for a big trifle dish, I thought these would be best piled into my favorite cocktail glasses; the individual servings are perfect for your next adults-only dinner party, no I.D. required. Now the only thing left is to figure out how to get these down with a straw.

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Grilled Banana Bread Ice Cream Sandwiches

Grilled Banana Bread Ice Cream Sandwiches Recipe

I inherited my banana bread recipe from my future mother-in-law; it’s the only recipe my fiancé claims is worth making. I’ve made a few changes of my own to the recipe over the past few years, and now it’s the only recipe I claim is worth making. My secrets? I roast the bananas to bring out their natural sweetness (no need to let them rot on your counter). Both butter and a splash of oil keep the bread moist for days, and vanilla bean paste adds a certain something extra you can’t quite put your finger on.

Banana bread — especially this banana bread — is delicious all year round, but how ’bout a little summertime makeover? Think grilled banana bread ice cream sandwiches, a fun twist on an old classic! The best part? These are so simple you almost don’t need a recipe. I threw the bread on the grill to add a nice toasty flavor and to help it stand up in the freezer. When it came to choosing ice cream flavors, I got a little crazy. Vanilla made for a classic ice cream sandwich, but my favorite pairing was rich and creamy coconut gelato — such an amazing flavor combination. If you get really adventurous, try using your own homemade ice cream. (I went with banana. Oh my word.) Then the possibilities are truly endless!

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Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake Recipe Texas Sheet Cake

There may be plenty of beauty queens in Texas, unfortunately this sheet cake isn’t one. But hey, it’s supposed to be about the inner beauty, right? Whether that’s the case or not, this classic recipe would still take home plenty of “Miss Congeniality” awards; it never fails to win over a crowd.

Texas sheet cake is an old Southern standby—some version of it is guaranteed to grace the table at almost any potluck, church picnic, or 4th of July celebration below the Mason Dixon. You can find a recipe for it in almost any community cookbook known to man. In the case of my old grade school’s tiny cookbook, I found three. (It often falls under many different names, but Texas sheet cake seems to be the most popular. I guess because it’s as big as Texas!)

Texas Sheet Cake Recipe

This is my take on the cherished recipe I grew up with. The boy next door (who just so happened to be my childhood crush) loved it so much that my mother would often bake up an entire pan just for him. As I begrudgingly carried it over to his house, I always wondered what a girl needed to do to get one of her own.

As I’ve become a more experienced chef and baker, willing to attempt the most complicated of cakes, I still know with confidence this Texas sheet cake will withstand the test of time. Perhaps one day I, too, will have a daughter whose heart I can make go aflutter as she drops one off at a young heartthrob’s door. (And it’s funny now, how it all just started making sense.)

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