Category Archives: So Sinfully Southern

08/02/17

Individuality + Chocolate Eclair Cake Mini Dessert

As Southern women, we love to entertain, to play hostess, to welcome, to assist, to help, to comfort, to make someone feel loved or feel special.

Well, there is no better way to make someone feel loved or cared for than making them something.

Especially if that something is a sweet something.
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The old saying – “the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach”, isn’t just true of men. It’s true of just about any one.

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Summer is almost over.

In fact, kids here in the Atlanta area return to school this week.

So, for these last few days of hot & sunny, firefly twinkling, long summer days & nights, invite some friends over for a cookout. Nothing more fun than time out on the patio this time of year. Light the citronella candles and break out the Adirondack chairs!

Have a little fun and make little, individual desserts, and serve them extra festively in the ultimate container of Southern hospitality — the Mason Jar.7

One of Mom’s old standby recipes is a super simple and super delicious Chocolate Eclair Cake. Traditionally made in a 9×13 rectangular pan, it is always nice to change it up and make something so simple a little more special. And, I just love individual desserts.

Perhaps the most beautiful thing about it (besides the extra decadent chocolate fudge layer that I could eat totally on its own by the spoonful) is that it is a no bake recipe. Perfect for hot summer days- no oven at a high temperature and then they can just set up for hours in the fridge until ready to serve them. 2

Gotta love that!

So, prep these precious little desserts the evening prior to the party, topped them off with their lids, and store them in the fridge until party time.

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No muss and no fuss. And, I assure you, these jars will call come back wiped clean. 6

So, here we go…

Mom’s Chocolate Fudge Eclair Cake

Yield: 8 Half-pint, Wide-mouthed Ball jars

{recipe slightly adapted from Chocolate Eclair Cake on Just us Four blog}

What you will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups Graham cracker crumbs
  • Two 3 oz. boxes instant vanilla pudding (we use French Vanilla flavor)
  • 3 and 1/4 cups whole milk, divided
  • 1 8 oz. container cool whip (thawed)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons, divided
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

So, let’s get started…

1. For the crust, toss graham cracker crumbs and 2 tablespoons sugar until combined. Then, melt 3 tablespoons butter and drizzle into cracker and sugar mixture while gently tossing with a spoon, just until cracker crumbs are moistened and start to ball-up.

Crust perfection achieved!

2. Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of crust into bottom of each ball jar. Using the back of a teaspoon, pack the crust until nice, smooth, and you have reached your desired thickness.

3. In a separate bowl, mix 3 cups of cold milk with the 2 pudding packets, stirring constantly with a whisk until thickened.

*Tip: If you need to place in the refrigerator in order to get the pudding to desired consistency, you can do so. Shouldn’t take long at all.

Once properly thickened, fold in the 8 oz. Cool Whip.

4. Top graham cracker layer with a nice layer of pudding mixture. I filled mine up almost to the rim of the jar, leaving room for the chocolate fudge topping.

*Tip: If you choose to do 2 layers, feel free to do so. Simply, repeat graham cracker, and pudding layer once more until your dessert is almost full still leaving room for that all-important chocolate topping.

Refrigerate the desserts while you prepare the topping.

5. In a heavy saucepan, bring 1/4 cup whole milk to a soft boil stirring frequently with a whisk. Whisk in the cocoa powder and granulated sugar and allow to simmer for 2-3 minutes or until sugar is mostly melted and the sauce isn’t grainy. Turn heat to low and add in vanilla and 2 tablespoons of butter. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

6. Top jars with a healthy layer of chocolate fudge. To do so, you may need to put the fudge into a container with a pour spout… that certainly helped me! And it keeps the jars nice and clean.

7. Seal all the jars and return to the fridge until ready to serve. If planning on serving soon, the fudge layer must have a minimum of 1 hour in the fridge to properly set up.

So delicious!5

So cute. So sweet. And the perfect way to give someone a little extra dose of special.

xoxo…

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04/14/14

Weekend Visits + Sweet Hospitality

Ever so often, I spend the weekend with my best friend and her husband in their hometown of Athens, GA. It feels a little like coming home for me too as it was my home for 4.5 years as well. The years I most commonly and affectionately refer to as “the best years of my life.”

True then, and true now.

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Athens is a neat little eclectic town– home of UGA and the Georgia Bulldawgs, birthplace of lots of great music and bands like REM, unbelievable shopping, and a fantastic destination for foodies like myself. Kacina always likes to treat me to a new restaurant in town at least once during each of my visits. We have discovered a lot of great places together that way. But, there is always those select few things that we “have to do” that she knows makes my heart go pitter-pat a little faster.

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(This is a pic from one of my visits last fall. It was a blustery Saturday afternoon and Kac decided to treat me to the new burger ‘n fry joint in town. We got a whole bunch of baby burger sliders and split them. After all… what are friends for?!?)

So, along for the trip is a little bit of ‘Happy’ for my dear friend, Kacina.

One thing that is central to Southern women is the art of gracious hospitality. Hospitality is defined as “the friendly reception and treatment of both guests and strangers.” But, I have to say, I have always felt that being truly hospitable isn’t just about hosting people in your home.

It’s treating those around you, in whatever space you are in (your home, your office, your cubicle, your aisle in the grocery store, your church pew), warmly, generously, and genuinely. It is the spilling over of your heart.

Isn’t that just lovely? I love the imagery.

i just knew that I wanted to bring Kacina a little happy to thank for her opening up her home to me the same way she has opened up her heart to me throughout our almost 9 years of friendship. {Whoa! Time flies, doesn’t it?}

Never sure quite what to give?

I just always give items that I love, enjoy, or savor. If I love it, chances are they will as well. And I know Kacina will love this—

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A few months ago, I got on a craft kick and handstenciled and stamped personalized recipe cards for some friends of mine.

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I think recipe cards are the perfect personal touch. And I love the old-fashioned craft paper look of these with the simple red and white striped ribbon embellishment.

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It’s always nice to give someone something homemade or handmade. Let them know you were thinking about them as you made it.

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I also brought her a book I know she will enjoy, One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. The Lord is using this simple little book & message to do amazing things in and through my small group. I know her heart will be blessed. And in the end, it blesses me to bless her walk with the Lord and strengthen her faith.

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Thus, true hospitality.

It’s thoughtful, personal, kind, and simply Southern.

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Just like the 2 of us!

Such fond memories we make when we are together. We sit around, catch up, watch shows from previous weeks on their DVR, or play board games or cards.

Yep! We kick it old school that way, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It was a fun-filled weekend. Hope yours was fantastic as well…

Blessings on your week ahead!

xoxo

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