These little gems are a must have for the holidays! They’re so much easier to make with a KitchenAid Mixer, but you can definitely use a good ole hand mixer as well.
Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies
The original recipe is from Miss Paula Deen herself. The butter queen. That’s the beginning to a beautiful cookie if you ask me.

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies
1 (8-oz.) brick cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (18-oz.) box moist chocolate cake mix (Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge)
Powdered sugar for dusting
In an electric mixer or a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Beat in the egg, then the vanilla. Slowly beat in the cake mix (it will explode everywhere if you don’t go slow). Cover and refrigerate 2 hours (or overnight) to firm up so that you can easily roll the dough into balls.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Using a tablespoon scoop or spoon, evenly scoop and roll the dough into balls. Then, roll the balls into the powdered sugar until liberally coated all over. Place onto ungreased cookie sheets, 2” apart. Bake 15 minutes then remove from the oven and allow to cool on the cookie sheet. The cookies will still be very gooey and soft. Cool completely, then sprinkle with more powdered sugar if desired.

We found this little lovely in Bon Appetit magazine a few years back when we were planning Thanksgiving. She’s never disappointed us.
I just made the recipe again for a fantastic Friendsgiving our good buddies put on. The best thing about bringing this dessert is that it’s perfect at room temperature! I definitely forgot to take pics of the cooked pie, but you get the idea of the deliciousness from the before picture:

Bourbon and Brown Butter Pecan Pie

I’ve made a few [minor] changes to the recipe, but one thing stays the same: bourbon + sugar = Fall Food Fantasy!
bourbon brown sugar pecan pie
The great and best thing about this recipe is that you can throw everything into a Kitchenaid mixer or a biggo bowl and just whip away! It comes together beautifully and the cooking technique is perfect. Easy peazy.

Bourbon and Brown Butter Pecan Pie
Crust
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
½ teaspoon Morton salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1/2” cubes
Assembly
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup honey
½ cup pure cane syrup (such as Steen’s) or dark corn syrup
2 tbs. bourbon
2 tbs. vanilla extract
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
2 cups pecans, chopped
Crust
Sift 1½ cups flour and salt in a medium bowl. Using your fingertips, work in butter until mixture is crumbly. Mix in 2 tbsp. cold water and knead until dough just comes together.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until about ¼” thick. Fold in half, then in half again (so that it’s folded into quarters); roll out to a 12” round. Transfer to a 9” pie dish. Press the crust into the pie dish so that all the sides are covered with dough (wouldn’t want to waste a good thing, right?) Prick the bottom of the dish all over with a fork to allow for even cooking. Throw into the freezer while you make the filling.
Assembly
Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat oven to 425°. Cook butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until it foams, then browns, 5–8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl or mixing bowl of a standing mixer. While still warm but not hot, whisk in brown sugar, honey, cane syrup, bourbon, vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well to combine. Gently mix in the pecans. Scrape filling into pie crust.
Bake pie 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375° and continue to bake until crust is golden brown and filling jiggles only slightly in the center, about 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool. Chill until firm, at least 4 hours. Remove from fridge at least 1 hour before serving.
Do Ahead: Pie can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

I love this recipe! It’s sweet [but not too much], boozy, and super quick + simple!
Irish Whiskey Cake
To really bring the cake over-the-top, you make a syrup that then soaks into the baked cake. The result is a moist, delicious center. You can see where the syrup soaked into the cake in the dark area. #nomnom
Irish Whiskey Cake
I threw on some powdered sugar to make it look purty. Plus, a little extra sugar ain’t gonna hurt no body.
[insert drool emoji here]
Irish Whiskey Cake

Sugar + Booze = Perfect Dessert


Irish Whiskey Cake
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding and pie-filling mix
¾ cup Irish whiskey or bourbon, divided
 (1/2 cup and 1/4 cup)
½ cup vegetable oil
4 jumbo eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup white, granulated sugar
¼ cup butter
¼ cup water
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Powdered sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-inch Bundt pan with Pam Baking Spray, or butter and flour the sides to prevent sticking.
In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, ½ cup Irish whiskey, and oil. Beat at medium speed of an electric mixer. Slowly add eggs, one at a time, until completely combined. Pour batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. When cake has about 10 minutes left to cook, prepare syrup.
Combine sugar, butter, water, and lemon juice in a small heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil slowly, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ¼ cup Irish whiskey or bourbon.

Once the cake has cooked, poke about 10-15 holes in the bottom using a chopstick or skewer, making sure to poke to the top of the cake. Drizzle in the syrup, ensuring that you get a good amount of moisture into all the cracks and holes in the cake. This will make the cake very moist and delicious! Cover the cake with a towel or foil and allow to sit and cool for about 30 minutes. Turn over onto a cake serving plate. If the cake doesn’t come out immediately, just let it sit and gravity will take care of it. Don’t force the cake out of the pan – it will crumble to pieces.

Once the cake is completely cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar for garnish.

Cake may be served when completely cool, or store in an airtight container overnight. Cake may be wrapped securely in foil and stored in the refrigerator for several weeks or in a freezer for up to six months.

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Especially when you throw some booze in there for good measure…

Some of the ingredients in this recipe might seem a little fancy and funky, but they’re super easy to find!

Chocolate Fudge with Boozy Sugar
Chocolate Fudge with Boozy Sugar
The demerara sugar was worth its weight in gold. The crunchy, sugary topping on this fudge adds a ton of flavor. I got a pretty good size bag for $9 off Amazon Prime.
Chocolate Fudge with Boozy Sugar
You actually prepare the sugar the night before by mixing it with the vanilla bean and booze, then drying it out in the oven. It’s super easy, so don’t be daunted!
The vanilla bean is a beautiful but expensive addition. The original recipe called for two vanilla beans (they’re about $10 each at my grocery store), so I widdled it down to just one for the sugar and used vanilla extract in the fudge. I wouldn’t use the extract in the sugar, but give it a go if you’re wanting to save the money. Let me know your thoughts!
Sea Salt Flakes
The recipe also calls for sea salt flakes; something you may not have just laying around on the daily. Well, I’d suggest investing in this, too! I use this kind of salt on rolls, as a nice topping on potatoes, and obviously in this recipe. It’s beautiful and pretty inexpensive. I wouldn’t recommend substituting any other salt because the flakiness of the salt makes it so that you don’t use too much. If you used Kosher or table salt, you’d end up way over-salting your fudge! No bueno, mi amigo.
This is the one I have:
 Chocolate Fudge with Boozy Sugar

Chocolate Fudge with Boozy Sugar
Boozy Sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 cup demerara sugar
2 tbs. bourbon or whiskey
Fudge
Pam for Baking Spray
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
10 tbs. (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 tbs. bourbon or whiskey
1 tbs. light corn syrup
¼ tsp. Morton table salt
1 tbs. vanilla extract
Sea salt flakes
Bourbon Sugar
Preheat oven to 150° or as low as yours will go. Scrape vanilla seeds into a small bowl; stir in demerara sugar and bourbon. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and let dry out in oven overnight, leaving door slightly ajar. Mixture should feel like demerara sugar again in the morning.
Do Ahead: Store bourbon sugar airtight at room temperature up to 2 months.
Fudge
Line an 8×8” baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang on 2 sides; lightly coat with nonstick spray. Heat chocolates in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not let bowl touch water), stirring occasionally, until almost completely melted. Set aside.
Combine condensed milk, butter, bourbon, corn syrup, and table salt in a small saucepan; add vanilla. Heat over medium until barely hot (same as the chocolate).

Gently stir one quarter of milk mixture into chocolate with a rubber spatula. Add another quarter of milk mixture, folding to incorporate gently.

(At this point, you’re thinking, “It looks horrible,” and, “I did something wrong.” Don’t worry – the fudge will come back together to form the delicious bars of heaven you desire. Just keep stirring and folding).

Continue with remaining milk mixture in 2 additions, stirring vigorously until fudge is very shiny and almost elastic, about 5 minutes. Scrape into prepared pan and smooth top. (There may be some liquid that forms on the outer part of the mixture; this is perfectly okay and will set as it chills in the fridge).

Sprinkle with bourbon sugar and sea salt. Let cool, then cover and chill at least 4 hours.

Turn out fudge onto a cutting board and slice however you wish.
Do Ahead: Fudge can be made 1 week ahead. Wrap tightly and chill.
Adapted from Bon Appétit

I’m not a huge sweets person and neither was my dad, but when I made him this cake, he just about jumped for joy. I’m pretty sure he ate the whole thing within three days. I don’t think he’d had that much chocolate in three years, but it really made my heart sing.
Chocolate Cake

It’s been a tried-and-true recipe ever since. For my husband’s 30th birthday, I decided to bust it out again. The chocolate is unsweetened, so you don’t get that, oh-sweet-lord-too-much-sugar type of feeling. The batter actually calls for you to make a simple syrup (equal parts sugar + water), and then you add in the dry ingredients. It’s so simple and delish! The frosting is to die for, too!

For the unsweetened chocolate, I just used this stuff:

Chocolate Cake
The steps may seem daunting, but they’re really not. The majority of the process involves sitting and letting the chocolate, butter, and sugar melt together into a deliciousness that can’t be beat. Anyone can do that – unless of course you end up eating the batter before you bake it!

THE Chocolate Cake

Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 3 pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Frosting

1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1 ½ cups sugar
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 stick (4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 8-by-1 ½-inch round cake pans (or using Pam for Baking spray). Line the bottoms with wax paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

Put the 4 oz. of chocolate and butter in a large, heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves; then pour into the bowl with the chocolate and butter. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until melted and slightly cooled (about 5 minutes). Then, stir in the vanilla.

Beat the eggs into the chocolate mixture at medium speed until combined. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat at medium speed until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans for about 25 minutes, then invert onto a plate or cake stand to cool completely.

While the cakes cool, make the frosting:

In a medium saucepan, bring the cream and sugar to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces slightly, 6-8 minutes. Put the chocolate, butter, vanilla, and salt in a large bowl. Slowly pour in the cream and sugar mixture. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are melted (about 5 minutes).

Set the bowl in a larger bowl of ice water (more ice than water; be careful not to let the water spill into the frosting). Using a hand-held electric mixer, beat the frosting on medium speed, scraping the sides occasionally with a rubber spatula, until thick and glossy, about 10 minutes. Use at once.

Place one of the cake rounds on a cake platter and cover with 1/3 of frosting. Place second cake on top and continue frosting from the top of the cake and down around the sides. Garnish with chocolate shavings if desired.

Adapted from Food & Wine