Happy Birthday: A Dessert Retrospective

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Had a lot of tasty things made for me for my birthday over the years. This banoffee pie made by a friend of mine last year is definitely in the top five! 

Today’s my birthday! I’m 27, y’all!

I may be a for real grown-up and have been for a few years now, but birthdays still stir up in me a slightly crazed, child-like glee for all things sweet and frosted.

Doesn’t matter when your birthday is. To that little-kid version of myself: every person’s birthday is the best so long as there is some form of the following to help celebrate it: cookies, cakes, pies, brownies, cupcakes, pudding, candy…

So it should come as no surprise, that the best way to celebrate the birthday of the Ron Swanson of Desserts (yours truly), is to take a look back at the most successful, crowd-pleasing-est desserts that I’ve made for myself and others.

I’ve been cooking/baking/obsessing over food long enough that I ought to have racked up a few tried and true recipes by now, right?

And so, in honor of 5-year-old me, that sugar maniac that still pops up every year to gorge herself silly on sweets on her birthday, here’s 5 of the very best desserts I’ve ever made:

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1.) Banana Pudding Pie: I lucked out one day and found this recipe on Pinterest. It’s by far, one of the most requested pies I make. Magically, it’s also one of the easiest to put together. Like almost zero effort. The recipe is from a blog called This Gal Cooks. Originally, this recipe calls for a caramel sauce topping, but as you can see I never got around to adding that and people still loved it. Another change to the original recipe: I used a store-bought pie crust. You don’t have to, but both times I made this pie, I was on a time-crunch and having a ready-made graham cracker crust on hand saved me a ton of time.

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2.) Dark Chocolate Chip Fudge Brownies with Cheesecake Layer and Cinnamon Sugar Topping: This recipe is a modified version of this Ghirardelli cupcake recipe I found on the back of a box of Ghirardelli brownie mix. (The closest version that I could find online was this one, by Pink Peony.) A few differences that I remember: The online version does not mention vanilla extract, but I used that in my cheesecake layer. Also I didn’t use the Double Chocolate brownie mix. Instead, I used Ghirardelli’s Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix. Another important note: I added the cinnamon sugar topping. That topping was not a part of the original cupcake recipe, but it sure was delicious.

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3.) Maple Bacon Cookies: These are the best cookies I make. Hands down. Nothing tops these. People have called them Breakfast in a Cookie. And that’s basically what they are. There is a recipe out there, floating around on the Internet that has you making them from scratch. And that recipe was the inspiration for these cookies. However, the first time I tried it ended up being a complete failure. And so, I chose to make these with a cookie mix and they came out much better. I no longer have the original recipe. This is how I make them now: I follow the package directions for Krusteaz Snickerdoodle cookie mix. Once the snickerdoodle cookies are made, I frost them with a mixture of powdered sugar, maple extract and maple syrup. I then top the frosting with cooked pieces of bacon. And that’s it.

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4.) Key Lime Pie Magic Bars: It’s a shame that I don’t have better photos of these bars. It’s possible that they’re so tasty that I never get a chance to photograph them properly. (The bars are the ones next to the sandwiches in the photo.) I tried to track down the original recipe for these online, but it looks like the original blog or blog post may not be around anymore. This is the closest version listed online, and they do give credit to the original blogger, Modern Comfort Food. I’ve made these so many times, that I know I’ve made many changes to the recipe. Here’s what I do: I make my own graham cracker crust, by mixing graham cracker crumbs and melted butter and patting the mixture in the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish. Then I make a mixture of condensed milk, coconut flakes, and lime juice and pour a third of it as the first layer, then I add nuts (usually pecans), then I add the white chocolate chips and then I add one last layer of the condensed milk/coconut flake/lime juice mixture and then it’s off to bake in the oven.

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5.) Peach Wontons: These were the subject of one of the first blog posts I ever wrote and so they’ll always have a special place in my heart. Plus, they have the added benefits of being tasty, fried, and bursting with bright peachy flavor. They’re basically tiny funnel cakes with peaches inside. For a summery treat, you really can’t go wrong with these wontons, from the blog “She Wears Many Hats.”  You can get my tips on how to make these from my blog post about it,  here.

So there you have it. Those are 5 of the best desserts I’ve ever baked/fried/slapped together. I hope you enjoy these as much as I have.

What are some of your favorite recipes? Comment below with your thoughts.

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