As a newly minted southerner myself, I’m always fascinated by southern culture! The first year we lived in Texas, I was surprised to find out things really are different in the south. It’s true: the pace is a little slower, the people are a LOT friendlier, and the landscape is a little more colorful than I’ve seen anywhere else.
So I was super excited to tackle some classic southern recipes in celebration for Bravo’s new reality series, Southern Charm! (Check out the trailer here!) It’s about a group of twenty-somethings in Charleston, and I love that it’s showing all the traditions of southern culture, and the behind-the-scenes drama too!
I’ve already set my DVR for the premiere on Monday — it’s basically everything I look for in a reality show! Southern aristrocrats, backstabbing drama… I. Cannot. Wait!
For this post, I picked two of the ultimate classic southern recipes: Strawberry Shortcake and Sweet Tea! (Incidentally, these are two of Chad’s favorite things on this planet, so I had a very happy husband when he got home!) One of my favorite things about southern culture is the way that it can be so traditional and so modern at the same time, so I thought these were the perfect dishes to try! They’re both recipes that his parents and grandparents have made, but they’re perfectly at home in our modern kitchen. Kind of like this show — a little old, a little new, and the perfect guilty pleasure.
(And yes, I totally ate shortcake for breakfast after making this!)
So mark your calendars for the premiere on March 3rd, and in the meantime, get in the mood by whipping up these southern recipes!
Pinch baking soda
2 cups boiling water
6 tea bags
3/4 cup white sugar
6 cups water
1 lemon, sliced
Sprinkle a pinch of baking soda into a large metal bowl or glass pitcher (must be heat-proof). Carefully our in boiling water, and add sugar and tea bags. Stir, and allow to steep for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in cool water, stir again, and then refrigerate. Serve over ice with sliced lemons.
16 ounces fresh strawberries, stems removed and sliced
1/2 cup white sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp white sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup milk
2 cups whipped heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Toss the strawberries with 1/2 cup of white sugar, setting aside a few for garnishing. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, 2 tbsp white sugar and salt. Cut in the shortening until combined, and then add the beaten egg and milk. Stir until just combined.
Spread the batter onto a greased 8-inch cake pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden, and then allow the cake to cool for about ten minutes on a wire rack.
Slice the partially cooled cake in half, making two layers. Place half of the strawberries on one layer and top with the other layer. Top with the whipped cream and reserved strawberries, and serve.
And remember to tune in on Monday, March 3rd at 10/9c for the Season Premiere of Southern Charm only on Bravo!
FTC Disclosure: I partnered with Bed Bath & Beyond to throw this fabulous cookie party and received compensation and product for writing this post!
Sometimes, I swear, I am the luckiest girl ever.
Take, for instance, a few weeks ago, when I got the most wonderful offer to partner with Bed Bath & Beyond to throw a holiday cookie party! A bunch of my friends have young kids or have just recently had babies, so I thought it was the perfect opportunity to have them over for a fun, low key holiday celebration!
And man, I’m pretty sure this is going to be a new holiday tradition! I love making Christmas cookies — it doesn’t feel like the holiday season without them! — and this was WAY more fun than just baking them by myself! I made peanut butter bars ahead of time (so we could have something to nibble on during the party!) and we baked sugar cookies, white chocolate and cranberry cookies, and of course, lots and lots of sugary icing to decorate with! It was such a blast, and I was so grateful for this awesome opportunity!
And even better — Bed Bath & Beyond gave me the chance to upgrade some of my kitchen tools! I went with some workhorses that have seen better days — my cookie pans, Silipat, measuring cups and spoons, ingredient bowls, and lots more! And I couldn’t resist picking out some of their beautiful holiday decorations — I couldn’t decide between traditional red and green rectangle placemats and their beautiful holiday wreath ones — so I got both!
I wanted the party to be extra special for my guests, so I decided to do little gift bags that people could use to take home our baked cookies! I included the recipes we used in each one, in the hope that they’ll become holiday traditions all around! And I added a special cookie cutter and pretty colored spatulas from Bed Bath & Beyond — to inspire all my guests to do some delicious holiday cookie-baking at home!
So, I don’t want to sound all melodramatic or anything, but here is the deal.
These are the BEST. HOLIDAY. COOKIE. EVER.
Seriously, I kid you not. When it comes to baking, I love the classics. There’s nothing better than those recipes that you make year after year, party after party, because they’re just so delicious that you can’t imagine the holidays without them. Which is exactly these: the perfect, gooey sugar cookie, topped with some melty, chocolatey M&Ms.
And even cuter: these custom holiday MY M&M’s designs! You can create your own custom designs on MyMMs.com — in keeping with the classic theme of these cookies, I went with the quintessential holiday picks, red, green and white, with little snowmen and Happy Holidays messages! But I’ll be repeating this recipe with little blue and white ones when the new baby comes along (you can order those too)!
MY M&M’s Holiday Cookies
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cups personalized MY M&M’s
In a large bowl, mix the sugar, eggs, shortening, and vanilla. Add flour, salt, and baking soda to the creamed mixture and blend until smooth.
Drop dough by teaspoonful onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment or silipat. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 9 minutes. When the cookies are out of the oven, but before they’ve cooled, gently press three M&Ms into the top of each cookie. Serve!