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Know Your Sweets: Candy Hearts

Candy hearts are a centuries-old, endearment embossed sweet that have become synonymous with shoeboxes full of Valentine's Day cards and a chalky, (potentially tooth-shattering) texture. Learn what candy inspired them, what flavors the colors are supposed to mean, and more! More

Know Your Sweets: Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls (aliases: coffee scroll, cinnamon bun, cinnamon snail) combine a belly-warming, spicy center with a stick-to-your-ribs pastry exterior. But the world didn't get to enjoy these sweets until the 17th century. Find out why! More

Know Your Sweets: Candy Canes

It's doubtful that there's a candy connoisseur among us who hasn't enjoyed the sticky-fingered bliss of a minty-fresh candy cane. Ever wonder how they got their shape, or their stripes? Read on for the full history of this holiday treat. More

Know Your Sweets: Cranberry Sauce

The cranberry (alias: bearberry) is one of only three fruits—including blueberries and Concord grapes—that can truly claim roots in North American soil. Why, then, did it take the sweet-tart side dish cranberry sauce almost a century after settlers arrived to find its way to our thanksgiving tables? More

Know Your Sweets: Hard Sauce

This highly moldable, rich, firm mixture of confectioners' sugar, butter, and spirits is the traditional addition to any number of holiday sweets. When paired with a steaming hot pudding or piece of pie, it slowly melts into a deliciously sweet coating. More

Know Your Sweets: Apple Pie

There's nothing more quintessentially American than apple pie, and no wonder: the dessert has been a United States favorite since colonial days. While it might be the perfect patriotic dish, this sweet combination of crisp apples, flaky crust, and rich spices has been enchanting sweet lovers across Europe since the time of Chaucer. More

Know Your Sweets: Baked Alaska

Baked Alaska (aliases: Norwegian omelet, glace au four) is a classic dessert of the Gilded Age best known for magically combining ice (an interior cake made up of sponge cake layered with ice cream) and fire (a torched meringue shell). Find out what New York City restaurant made it a classic, the origin of the name, and more! More

Know Your Sweets: Key Lime Pie

Perhaps the most famous export of the Florida Keys outside of Earnest Hemingway and his six-toed cats, Key Lime Pie is a tangy, creamy delight made with sweetened condensed milk and the small, delicate limes of the region. Are you a fan? Check out the true story behind this beloved American dessert. More

Know Your Sweets: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Perhaps the 20th Century's most notorious, retro-chic dessert creation, Pineapple Upside-Down Cake flips the traditional notion of a baked good on its head, pairing a spongy, yellow cake bottom with a glistening spread of pineapple rings and maraschino cherries on top. Learn about the moment when it became a party favorite, its variations, and more. More

Know Your Sweets: Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding (aliases: Nana's Pudding, Wafer Pudding) is an unassuming, delicious Southern staple featuring layers of rich, custardy vanilla pudding, crunchy vanilla wafers, and slices of banana. Learn all about its history here. More

Know Your Sweets: Funnel Cake

Funnel Cake (aliases: Dribble Cake, Funny Cake) is a carnival classic that has all the trappings of the perfect fairground food: it's fried, it's doughy, and it's a fantastic vehicle for any number of luxurious, extra-sugary toppings. Find out what international desserts it resembles and which town in the US has worked hard to claim funnel cake as its own. More

Know Your Sweets: Lane Cake

Lane Cake (Alias: Prize Cake, Alabama Lane Cake) is the crown jewel of Alabama confections: a four-layer sponge cake filled with a mixture of thick custard, raisins, coconut, and bourbon, topped off with a fluffy frosting. Learn about the invention that made this cake accessible to the masses, plus our favorite special ingredient. More

Know Your Sweets: Shoofly Pie

Shoofly Pie (Aliases: Shoo Fly Pie, Shoo-fly Pie, Shoe Fly Pie) is a gooey molasses-based confection best known as a regional specialty of Pennsylvania and for its association with Amish and Mennonite Country. Want to know about the wet- versus dry-bottom debate or which molasses to use? Read on. More

Pie of the Week: Banana Nutella Cardamom Handpies

While pie's handheld variety hasn't seen the national spotlight quite like other baked goods, here in the South the pocket pie is something of a regional treasure. The name might be up for discussion, but whether you call them hand pies, pocket pies, or fried pies, this Southern staple has all the hallmarks of a perfect picnic treat, and these banana Nutella cardamom pocket pies are no exception. More

Pie of the Week: Cottage Cheese Pie

It's time to breathe new life into the black sheep of the dairy family. The German classic recipe for cottage cheese pie elevates the once lowly ingredient to an almost cheesecake-like status, with a homey, heirloom taste that is pleasing for even the most diehard cottage cheese detractors. More

Know Your Sweets: Angel Food Cake

@sbertie, @hollywithay: I wish that angel food cake and bundt cake pans could live together in harmony, but I don't think there's any way to avoid the cake getting completely mangled in the process with all the nooks and crannies while still allowing the cake to rise properly. :(

Know Your Sweets: Cinnamon Rolls

@darklighter: got it, @darklighter. thanks!

Know Your Sweets: Cinnamon Rolls

@johnnysplendid: Cinnamon Bun is so precious! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbErhqfk7Ak

Know Your Sweets: Cranberry Sauce

@Katie Potato: Hey Katie! I love (love!) that you know about pawpaws: I grew up in Kentucky, have eaten them my whole life, and have worked a good bit with the pawpaw research program at KSU.

However, there's a little bit of debate about their status as native because of their unusual cultivar background, which is why I didn't include them.

Other berries (such as elderberries) are also native, but, for the most part, aren't commercially available.

If you ever need a good recipe for pawpaw custard, let me know!

Know Your Sweets: Rocky Road Ice Cream

@Rosewood: oh my gosh! this is an omission from which i may never personally recover. that clip is so great!

Know Your Sweets: Rocky Road Ice Cream

@ag3208: haha, i've heard that! oh well, bad name or not, still pretty delicious. :)

Know Your Sweets: Baked Alaska

@korenni: Ask and ye shall receive! ;) I've done a good bit of research about them, and here's what I've found:

The credit for the first iteration of the dessert goes to two English women, who defied the odds of their time (reading and writing were not, ahem, “ladylike”) and secured a solid place in international culinary history. Lady Elinor Fettiplace of Appleton in Berkshire (now Oxfordshire) recorded the first baked beaten-egg-white-and-sugar confection in a manuscript book in 1604. The handwritten recipe for “white bisket bread” is comparable to the fluffy confection we know and love today. After her death, the book was passed down to her niece, and published under the title, Elinor Fettiplace’s Receipt Book — Elizabethan Country House Cooking.

In 1630, Lady Rachel Fane of Knole, Kent recorded an almost identical recipe for “pets” using the same preparation and ingredients as Lady Fettiplace’s creations. Although they lived and baked in roughly the same era, there are no records to indicate that the two women knew one another or ever corresponded. Thus is the divine magic of meringue.

Know Your Sweets: Baked Alaska

@quicksand: They both also involve a pretty serious fire/ice interplay. :)

Know Your Sweets: Banana Pudding

@babybokchoy: i think sweetened condensed milk can make any situation better, and chessmen pieces sound great! i'd love to even try walker's shortbreads in a banana pudding sometime.

Know Your Sweets: Banana Pudding

@tinybanquetcommittee: oh wow, that sounds fantastic! pepper is super underrated as a dessert ingredient.

Know Your Sweets: Banana Pudding

Know Your Sweets: Funnel Cake

@girlalive: Don't worry! It's in there, under variations. :)

Know Your Sweets: Funnel Cake

@PSFam: That sounds fantastic!

Pie of the Week: Black Bottom Chai Cream Pie

@Nicholas Byrd: Yogi Chai Rooibos is a really nice go-to, and I would probably doctor it up with a good amount of honey/milk to create chai latte.

Hooray dwarf fruit trees! Just picked some kumquats off one of my trees this morning to make some marmalade. :)

Pie of the Week: Black Bottom Chai Cream Pie

@katz2360: Haha, I'm glad there are at least two of us! :)

Blueberry-Blackberry Pie with Pretzel Crust

@plazmaorb, @gardenstate: It's just blueberry jell-o. They make it and it's available in almost all grocery stores, but for some reason doesn't seem to be on their website. You just use the gelatin powder itself in the pie. :)

Baking Guides: How to Select, Freeze, and Bake with Strawberries

Baking Guides: How to Select, Freeze, and Bake with Strawberries

@candide: I think at the very least, freezing is the best way to retain a pure, fresh-off-the-vine strawberry flavor. It would be interesting to do a side-by-side taste test to try out this idea and see how freezing has an impact on overall flavor.

Pie of the Week: Apple Butter Pie with Oatmeal Pecan Crust

@hyperfocal: especially in the first 8-12 hours, keeping an eye on it and stirring every 1-2 hours is pretty critical to ensure it begins to reduce evenly. overnight, it will be fine, but that same kind of attention should be paid for the last 1-2 hours after the lid comes off when it is almost completely thickened.

traditionally (and for bigger batches) folks did work in shifts to stir all night (http://www.semissourian.com/photos/13/63/50/1363509-L.jpg) but this isn't quite as practical now. :)

Pie of the Week: Carrot Vanilla Bean Mascarpone Pie

@santiago: I totally agree! I'm a huge ginger fan, and will have to try that David Lebovitz recipe--that sounds amazing.

Carrot Vanilla Bean Mascarpone Pie

@WetIII: The carrot puree should be the same as with pumpkin: steam the carrots for 15 minutes until tender (after peeling and dicing) then use a food processor to puree, adding in water a tablespoon at a time as needed to thin the mixture. Also, a lot of farmer's markets and natural food stores actually sell organic carrot puree.

Carrot Vanilla Bean Mascarpone Pie

@Agnes: Just a pinch (1/8 teaspoon)if you want to add it in. It just helps boost the sweetness of the vanilla.(Though, there's plenty of sweetness to go around in the pie!)

Snapshots from the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival

@thesteveroller: thanks for the catch! it seems they both have that designation, and the more strawberry celebrations the better, right? also, strawberry beer is definitely a thing that's available: http://abita.com/brews/our_brews/strawberry. :)

Pie of the Week: Rosewater Lime Transparent Pie

Yes! I grew up very close to Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky. They also make a pretty great shaker lemon pie. :)

Trending in New Orleans: Updated Classic Desserts

Yep! You're right. Will Do. Thanks!

Baking Guides: How to Select, Freeze, and Bake with Strawberries

Have you finally retired your scarf and gloves and are itching to get in the kitchen to start whipping up some summery delights? Nothing screams humid, dawdling evenings quite like a scarlet strawberry baked good. Before you head out to pick a pint of these supple delights, though, brush up on some tips and tricks to ensure your first toe-dip into summer is a refreshing experience. More