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Mini Chocolate Pecan Pies

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*Also check out my CT Style Thanksgiving segment for twists on classic sides and WVOX radio segment for how to prepare the perfect turkey!*

Turkey Day is almost here, and among the long list of things to be thankful for, food is always towards the top. As I’ve shared in the past, it’s our tradition to go to my parents’ house each year, and while they host a truly spectacular feast, it’s my pleasure to contribute some homemade goodies of my own. I’m in charge of my stuffing cupcakes, super yummy cornbread and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies (although these pumpkin chocolate chip blondies rock too!)–with a few creative add-ons each time.

This year? I decided on a fan favorite–chocolate pecan pies, in mini tart shells so everyone gets their own! Not only does it save the trouble of dishing out slices, but the individual portion keeps to itself in the tin so it doesn’t run into all the other desserts. Boom. You’re welcome.

*THAT’S SO JENN TIP ALERT*

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That’s SO Jenn’s Beer Mug Cake

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“Anything worth doing is worth overdoing” pretty much describes our theory on celebrations. Which is exactly why one birthday cake won’t cut it. (Get it? Cut it?)

Growing up, my parents used to get my brother and I the amount of cakes/pies to correspond with the age we turned. It was really cute when we were 5. Not as doable for Hubby at 30, but I digress…

I rang in his big 3-0 with a mini cake at midnight made to look like a glass of beer, followed by the rainbow cookie cake on his actual birthday, then continued with a four-tiered ‘cake’ made of beer cans and this mug for our party in Cape Cod.

My goal was to create something that could travel well so it couldn’t be anything too large, layered or unwieldy, but had to tie in nicely with my beer theme. (That’s SO Jenn’s Tip: Ask your local grocery store for a cake box to transport your creation. Mine sold it to me for only $2.00, and sometimes they’ll give it to you free of charge.)

The cake mold I was wanted was only sold online, which meant extra time for delivery, and was fairly costly. Instead, I decided to get creative with this ‘Over the Hill’ option I found at a local kitchen store. Hubby is obsessed with all things horror and Halloween, so while an actual gravestone cake seemed a little macabre even for him, I knew he’d get a kick out of learning this was the inspiration behind my creation.

A few slices here, and some simple (I mean, frosting in a plastic bag simple) piping there and boom—my vision came to life.

I served this mug next to the beer can cake, a variety of Hubby’s favorite snacks and some specialty treats including Beer Brittle and Pilsner Crackers. As another element of the evening, I brought 3 oz. cups and arranged for each our guests to bring a unique craft brew for a group tasting.

My favorite part of any surprise is always the big reveal, and the look on Hubby’s face made my heart smile as big as the one he showed. Surrounded by great friends, we toasted to the start of a new decade.

Ingredients:

Your preferred cake batter (I used Hubby’s favorite, carrot cake, which gave the color I needed)

Any white frosting (try cream cheese, vanilla or buttercream)

Yellow food coloring

You will also need:

Wilton Over the Hill cake mold

Watch how this dreary cake mold magically turns into a cheerful mug of frosty beer!

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Grease and flour pan, then fill with prepared cake mix.

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Bake at required temperature until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

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Allow to cool on wax paper, words side down. In a straight line, slice off the top arch of the tombstone.

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Using a pairing knife, cut an arch inside the top of the tombstone you just removed. The outer piece will be your handle. The inner piece will be your snack.

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Whip up frosting.

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Portion about a cup’s worth into a bowl, and add a few drops of yellow food coloring.

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You’ll want a pale shade like this.

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Turn the cake upside down so the even line you sliced is now on the bottom. Ice the cake with yellow frosting, leaving some room at the top in an uneven curve to form froth.

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In a separate bowl, add yellow food coloring to about 1/4 cup of frosting, creating a darker shade than what’s on your cake.

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Using a bent icing knife, create thick lines on the cake with your darker yellow frosting.

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Place white frosting into a piping bag (or create your own using a zip top bag), and outline the top of the cake. Pipe a little extra below to show the froth spilling over.

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Fill in the lines with a spoon, keeping a fluffy, imperfect look.

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If you have crumbs showing from your first layer, smooth them out with your lighter yellow frosting.

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With a little extra icing as glue, attach your handle to the left side of the cake.

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Cover the ‘seams’ with extra white and yellow frosting, respectively.

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Cheers! Eat and enjoy getting buzzed off sugar!

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