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Dessert Recipes from Preppy Kitchen

Pecan Pie Bars

Makes 15 bars


For the Shortbread:
2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
2⁄3 cups powdered sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Topping:
2⁄3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1⁄3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄2 cups dark corn syrup
4 eggs large
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups pecans, roughly chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper or foil.Whisk the flour, powdered sugar and salt in a large bowl, then drizzle in the melted butter and stir together with a fork.
  2. Use your clean hands to crumble together and mix, then dump into your prepared baking dish and press down into a level layer. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes or until just turning a light golden color at the edge.
  3. While the shortbread base bakes, combine the eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and corn syrup in a large bowl then whisk together until smooth. Sift in the 1⁄3 cup flour and mix until combined, then add the roughly chopped pecans and mix once more.
  4. When the crust comes out of the oven, pour the pecan pie topping over it and smooth out any piles of pecans then bake at 350° for about 30 minutes or until the center is just set.
  5. Allow to cool and then chill slightly before cutting to ensure nice clean pieces.

Snowflake Cake
Makes 1 Cake


For the Buttercream:
3 teaspoon vanilla
1 lb confectioner’s sugar
1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
3 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
blue food coloring
red food coloring

For the Cake:
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
3 egg whites
3 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon peppermint extract

For the Snowflakes:
⅔ cup candy melt
parchment paper

For the Italian Buttercream: 
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cup sugar
pinch of kosher salt
16 oz unsalted butter cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon cream tartar 


For the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter and paper three 6-inch cake pans. I use cake strips on my pans for more even baking.
  3. Sift and mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Beat the wet ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  5. Add wet to dry ingredients and mix until combined
  6. Divide the mixture evenly into the cake pans.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes until the centers are springy to the touch.
  8. Let cool completely.

For the Buttercream:

  1. Whip the butter for about 5 minutes using a paddle attachment (stand-up mixer).
  2. Beat in the confectioner’s sugar slowly
  3. Add the cream and vanilla. Beat until you have an even, fluffy consistency.
  4. Transfer a white batch to a piping bag. Add red food coloring to another batch and transfer to a piping bag. Snip off the tips of both and add to a larger piping bag. Pipe a spiral between each layer. 
  5. Pipe and smooth a crumb coat with excess. 

For the Italian Buttercream:

  1. Beat the egg whites, salt and cream of tartar, slowly add in 1/3 cup of sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form. In a medium saucepan add the remaining sugar and 1/3 cup water then place on medium-low heat. Stir until sugar melts and becomes clear.Maintain at medium-high heat until temperature reads 235-240F. 
  2. Drizzle the sugar into the mixer immediately. Run mixer until meringue is cool/tepid. Add room temperature butter into running mixer one tablespoon piece at a time. 
  3. Add the salt and vanilla if using. Beat until butter is combined and mixture has reached a silky consistency.
  4. Create a gradient by adding different amounts of blue food coloring to remaining buttercream batches. Transfer each color to its own piping bag. Pipe the ombre color and smooth with an offset spatula.

For the Snowflakes:

  1. Melt candy melts in the microwave.
  2. Transfer to the piping bag and snip off the tip.
  3. Pipe snowflakes onto a piece of parchment paper. This can be done freehand or over a snowflake stencil.

For the Assembly:

  1. Pipe the red and white buttercream between each cake layer.
  2. Pipe white, then blue buttercream, lightest to darkest starting from the bottom.
  3. Smooth with an offset spatula.
  4. Add snowflakes.

Recipes Courtesy of John Kanell of Preppy Kitchen

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