Golden Flake Potato Chip Crust Brownie-Peanut Butter Pie

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It’s National Pie Day, AND it’s National Potato Chip Day. Honestly, people, what a time to be alive in this world. Snack foods and desserts are truly two of my most favorite things, so I was pretty excited when Golden Flake asked me to come up with something that combines my love of both to celebrate this day.

This pie has a layer of brownie and another layer of whipped peanut butter, then topped with rich chocolate ganache and finished with a sprinkling of potato chips. But the real star of the show is the crust, which is made out of classic Golden Flake Thin & Crispy potato chips! If you live in the South, you know these chips are a staple at every picnic, cookout, football game, and family reunion you’ve ever been to. They are perfect on their own, but I hope you enjoy this new spin on an old favorite!

Click here to learn more about this potato chip company that I, along with the entire Southern United States, are fiercely loyal to. Did you know that you can also schedule a tour of their factory? They have them both here in Birmingham and in Ocala, FL!

Ok, let’s celebrate this glorious day:

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Golden Flake Potato Chip Crust Brownie-Peanut Butter Pie

Crust
4-5 oz  Golden Flake Thin & Crispy Potato Chips (note: if you are not using a scale, this is about 8 cups)
¾ cup flour
8 tbs (1 stick) melted unsalted butter

-Place potato chips in food processor and pulse until it’s coarsely crumbled.
-Add flour and butter into food processor and pulse until it comes together. If the consistency is off, simply add more chips if too wet or more butter if too dry.
-Press into the bottom and up the sides of a deep dish pie plate. I even use the bottom of a glass to make sure my pie crusts are properly set! 

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Brownie Filling
2 large eggs
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
¾ cup AP flour
3 tbs cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

-Preheat oven to 350F.
-Beat eggs with an electric mixer, then add oil and sugar, and beat for 7-8 minutes more, until pale yellow in color.
-While the egg mixture is beating, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl, whisking thoroughly to distribute ingredients.
-When the egg mixture is done beating, turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in slowly; do not over-mix!
-Add in vanilla extract.
-Pour batter into the Golden Flake pie crust and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick can be inserted into the middle and come out clean.
-When the pie is done baking, remove from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool completely. 

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Peanut Butter Filling
6 tbs melted butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
½ cup heavy cream

-Combine the melted butter, peanut butter, and vanilla in an electric mixer and beat until combined.
-Add in powdered sugar a half cup at a time.
-Slowly add in heavy cream until it has reached a spreadable consistency.
-Spoon the peanut butter over the cooled brownie layer and spread evenly across the pie.

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Chocolate Ganache
5 oz semisweet chocolate chips (note: if you are not using a scale, this is just under 1 cup)
3 tbs heavy whipping cream

-In a small microwave-safe bowl, combine both ingredients.
-Heat for 45 seconds, then stir until smooth.
-If it’s not quite smooth after 45 seconds, heat in 5-10 second intervals, stirring between each, until melted and smooth.
-Let it cool slightly as to not melt the peanut butter, then spread over peanut butter layer.
-Garnish with crushed Golden Flake Thin & Crispy Potato Chips.

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How impressed will your friends be? Happy Pie Day, and Happy Potato Chip Day! Thanks again to my friends at Golden Flake for helping me celebrate! 

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Note: Golden Flake Snack Foods supplied products and compensation for this post, however all thoughts, reviews, and recipes are my own!  

Kid-Friendly Sugar Cookie Recipe + Decorating

Last Halloween, Evie and I had the most fun afternoon making these sugar cookies together. They are so easy, and come together really quickly too (they only take 7 minutes to bake!), making them the perfect parent-kid holiday tradition. We made them again at Christmas, and of course we had to do them again for Evie’s Valentine’s Day party for her little preschool friends.

I love this recipe so much that Evie and I were invited to share our experience at our local Whole Foods here in Birmingham last Christmas. We had the best morning meeting new friends, sipping cocoa, and going crazy with frosting and sprinkles. If you were there that morning, you took home a copy of the recipe, but here it is for those who weren’t there with us!  Thank you Whole Foods Birmingham for providing our ingredients, because we all know that the better the ingredients, the better the cookies will taste!

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Kid-Friendly Sugar Cookies
Yield: About 3-4 dozen, depending on the size of your cookie cutters
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup butter
2 cups sugar (I used the 365 Organic cane sugar, which gives it a slightly different texture, but regular white granulated sugar works great!)
2 eggs
3 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

-Preheat oven to 375. ­
-In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and baking soda, whisking to thoroughly combine. ­- -Cream butter and sugar using a stand mixer.
-Add in eggs and vanilla extract, mixing till combined.
-Add sour cream and mix until combined. ­
-Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until it all comes together in a thick dough.
-Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead slightly until all of the crumbly bits are incorporated and the dough is smooth. ­
-Roll dough onto floured surface to about ¼” thick.
-Cut out using floured cookie cutters and transfer to a parchment­-lined baking sheet. ­
-Bake for only 7 minutes for a 3” cookie (more or less depending on size of cookies). If the cookie starts to brown on the edges, then they’ve baked too long!
-Let cool slightly. ­Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before frosting and decorating.

Kid-Friendly Participation: Let the kiddo whisk together the dry ingredients, help them roll out the dough, and they love to dip the cutters in a pile of flour and press them into the dough.

Easy Buttercream
1 stick unsalted sweet cream butter
1 pound of confectioner’s sugar
8-­10 tablespoons milk or heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract or ½ pod of scraped vanilla bean ­

-Cream together butter and 1 cup of powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. ­
-Add 1 cup of powdered sugar at a time, alternating with milk, until desired consistency. ­(Add more sugar for a thick buttercream, add more milk for a thinner buttercream.)
-Add vanilla and mix till incorporated.

Kid-Friendly Participation: Measure out the milk for them and let them add it in the mixer, alternating with you adding the sugar. 

Once your cookies are baked and cooled, it’s time to load on the frosting and sprinkles. Since we made these for our friends instead of just our family, I felt like I needed to handle the frosting, because, well, Evie would lick some off the spatula before putting it on the cookies. So I frosted, and she sprinkled. WFcookies4

Look how sweet her sprinkles turned out!

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When Evie decided that she had had enough and was ready to move onto the next thing in her life (she’s a preschooler after all), I decided to make a batch of royal icing and do some cookie decorating myself. This is very cathartic for me personally, and not something I often get the chance to do, so don’t feel like this is something anyone will actually be expecting you to do! Here’s my easy royal icing recipe in case you want to try your hand at it:

Easy Royal Icing
Yield: About 1.5 cups, depending on liquidity of eggs and how thick or thin you make it
1 egg white
1 pound of confectioner’s sugar
Lemon juice

Put the egg white in a large bowl. Add in sugar 1 cup at a time until you reach your desired consistency. You’ll want a somewhat thick consistency for what I did below. If it gets too thick, just add in a tiny amount of lemon juice to thin it back out. Keep experimenting till it’s just right!

Separate equally into 3 bowls, and add food coloring. Fill piping bags fitted with a small round tip. Pipe the outline of the cookie and flood the outline with icing. If you have gaps or if it’s not smooth, use a toothpick to smooth it out. If you want your colors to be separate (like the xox cookie or the arrows), wait until the icing has tried before piping your designs. To make the hearts within the heart below, flood the cookie, then pipe small dots while the icing is still wet. Run a toothpick from top to bottom of the dot and it will make the heart design!WFcookies2WFcookies3

Happy Valentine’s Day! And thanks again Whole Foods for letting Evie and me invade your cafe to share the fun!

Santa at The Summit

Santa photos are definitely meant to be treasured. When Evie had her first Santa photo a couple years ago, all I really wanted was for our town to have a “pretty Santa.” I’m not trying to be a snob, I promise. But after wrestling your kid into a fancy outfit and shoes, fixing their hair, and standing in line with them for who-knows-how-long, why settle for a mediocre photo?

Enter: Santa at The Summit.

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We were pretty excited to be asked to be part of this launch. I’ve been shopping at The Summit since it opened when I was in the 8th grade, and we all know that their reputation for being Birmingham’s premier shopping center really can’t be touched.

It’s located down near Saks Fifth Avenue, and has its own dedicated store front. Here’s all of the problems the Summit’s North Pole solves:

  1. Waiting in line. You can make a free 15 minute appointment by clicking right here. SCORE.
  2. Having a bored kid. Oh my goodness, there is whole kid-friendly wonderland for keeping them entertained while they’re waiting their turn. Teddy bears, a mini kitchen, and kid-sized tables and chairs abound, all of which can be purchased at Pottery Barn Kids, should your kid latch onto something they suddenly can’t live without 😉
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  3. Weary parents. Sur La Table has a fancy Jura espresso machine set up in the middle of the North Pole, so you can re-energize while your kid plays. There is also hot cocoa for the kids!6U1A4575.jpg6U1A4447.jpg
  4. Ugly setting. Maybe it’s because of my career as a prop stylist, but I really value the scene around Santa as much as I value Santa himself. The Summit North Pole is expertly designed in neutral whites and metallics and therefor offers a no-clash-guarentee with your kiddo’s outfit. And yes, a full range of photo packages and photo gifts are available! And all of this gorgeous decor, mamas? West Elm!
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  5. Bonus features: one-stop Summit gift card purchases are right there, and the cool people at Swoozie’s donated wrapping paper to offer complimentary gift-wrapping with a suggested donation.

All photos are by the awesome Jennifer Hagler Photography, aren’t they wonderful?  Thank you so much Jennifer!! And thanks also to Jeannie Leighton for making this fun morning happen, you are something else, girl.

Merry Christmas!

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Sugar Cookie Class at Whole Foods Birmingham!

Last month Evie and I made some Halloween sugar cookies together, and I really think it was one of my most favorite things I have ever done with her. I know I’m a professional baker, but being able to throw perfection out the window and just focus on making memories with my daughter was so great. So I’m really excited to announce that we’ll be leading a Mommy + Me Christmas sugar cookie class at Whole Foods Birmingham on December 5th! (We have already been practicing together, she made a lot of the ones in the photo below!)

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In this class, you and your kiddo will learn how to make these delicious thick, soft sugar cookies that are perfect for decorating. I’ll also run you through an easy buttercream recipe, and then of course we’ll go all out with sprinkles! I love decorating cookies like this because they’re perfect for both mommies and little hands alike. You might not be learning how to make picture-perfect royal icing cookies in this class, but you’ll definitely be learning how to use this simple recipe to make precious memories with your little ones.

The cost of the class is just a $5 per person donation that will go to Lifeline Children’s Services’ UnAdopted program. UnAdopted works in 7 countries on 3 continents with older orphans who are at risk for aging out of the system. They teach life skills to help these vulnerable children learn how to survive as adults outside the gates of the orphanage where they have been raised.

To sign up for this fun event, just click here to reserve your spot via Eventbrite! You’ll also get a fun little take-away gift and a copy of the cookie recipe.

See you December 5th at 10am! (BYOApron ;))

{Waffle Wednesday} Trader Joe’s Ginger Snap Waffles

It seems like I’m constantly looking at food and ingredients and thinking, “I bet I could stick that in my waffle iron and make a waffle version of that.” Our family loves carbs and breakfast food like it’s our job, after all. So I’ve decided to channel those thoughts into a series called Waffle Wednesday, and I can’t think of a better way to kick it off than with a recipe using some of the most popular items from Trader Joe’s! Here in Birmingham, we are all counting down the days till our town gets its first island-themed grocery store; when AL.com broke the story exactly a year ago, I thought it was going to break the internet around here…it was shared over 200,000 times, and the opening event on Facebook has 4,000 RSVPs already!

The new location will be located in the old Banana Republic at The Summit Birmingham and currently slated to open October 13. Go ahead and follow The Summit on Instagram to stay up to date on the latest, and also because I have it on good authority that there might be some ways you can get your hands on Trader Joe’s famous Cookie Butter before opening 😉

Without further ado friends, let’s kick of Waffle Wednesday! (And comment below if there is you have any ideas of your own that you’d like to see in waffle form!)

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Trader Joe’s Gingersnap Waffles
3/4 cup Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Pancake and Waffle Mix
1/2 cup water (the box calls for 1/4 cup, but since you’ll be adding extra ingredients, you’ll need a little more)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
A handful of Trader Joe’s Ginger Snap Cookies (I used about 8; the more you add the more flavor you’ll have!)
Extras: Trader Joe’s Maple Syrup, Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter (I used the Cocoa Swirl flavor…oh my!), and a few more cookies for crumbling

-Add the Ginger Snaps into your food processor, and whiz them till they are finely ground.
-Whisk egg, water, and melted butter till combined, then add Waffle Mix and ground Ginger Snaps
-Spray waffle iron with non-stick spray and scoop about 1/2 cup onto the center.
-Press till golden brown, and serve warm, topped with Cookie Butter, Maple Syrup, and extra Ginger Snaps. Also delicious served with Trader Joe’s Cold Brew Coffee!

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Paper-Source + west elm Craft Night at the Summit!

The next Birmingham Craft Night has officially been announced, and it’s going to be a good one, crafters. I’ve been talking with west elm Birmingham about what a collaboration with another fun Summit store would look like, and Paper-Source was such an obvious choice. The wonderful people at Paper-Source have generously donated rolls and rolls of crepe paper, and we once again have our local west elm to thank for opening their store to us to make this happen.

I love these crepe paper flowers, off the top of my head I can think of 100 ways to use them. They made great gift toppers like you see below, but how about incorporating them into your next sit-down party and using them as place cards or a centerpiece? Or stringing together a dozen or so for a festive garland? At this craft night, you’ll learn the basics for constructing these flowers, and I’ll also teach you some fun techniques using scissor work and watercolors to give each one its own personality.

crepepaperflowersAnd did I mention? Thanks to our generous partners, west elm at The Summit and Paper-Source, this event is free. F-R-E-E! Spots are limited, so hurry over to our page at Eventbrite and save your seat, and we’ll see you at The Summit Birmingham on August 27th!

(8/14 Update: even after opening 10 more spots, I’m so sorry, we are sold out! But be on the lookout for more Craft Nights to come!)

Golden Flake Photo Shoot

Earlier this month I collaborated with Golden Flake on a shoot for their social media campaigns. Golden Flake is a famous brand of potato chips and snacks, made right here in beloved Birmingham, and there isn’t a kid in town who didn’t go to a factory field trip in elementary school. Local photographers Noah and Rachel Ray captured the youthful, modern vibe of the shoot just perfectly. I had a blast working with them and hope to be able to again! I also loved working with Golden Flake’s social media gal MaryJane Carney, who sent us off with the BEST parting gifts ever: huge tote bags stuffed full of chips. As far as I’m concerned, GF Dill Pickle and Buffalo Ranch chips might as well be currency.

Here are just a few of my favorite photos from the day! Follow Golden Flake on Instagram and across social media for more (or just because why wouldn’t you follow the South’s best potato chip?) Huge praise-hand emojis to our four models, they were professional and fun and brought our little urban picnic to life. Also have to give some praise-hand emojis to our local West Elm, who let me raid their store for the perfect props. That polka dot picnic blanket and those enamel plates, though.

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