Has it been a hot, hot summer, or what!? I cannot wait for that first crisp, cool day of autumn, but I’m trying my darndest to remember that at some point in the coming winter months, I’ll be wishing for these hot days again (really?).
The past few weeks I’ve found a few little treats that have helped to make the Florida humidity seem almost enjoyable. I thought I’d pass them on, in case you might need a little help getting through the last few weeks of heat yourself.
1. Decaf Luzianne Sweet Tea
I don’t know why it took me so long to realize I could make my sweet tea decaffeinated!? Hellllooo, can we say “all day refreshment without the added insomnia of caffeine?” Yes, please!
2. Whole Fruit frozen coconut bars
Publix has had these on sale quite a bit lately and I’ve taken full advantage of these little wonders. They remind me of the coconut ice cream we’d get from the little ice cream carts in Mexico. They’re quite creamy and so flavorful! These guys are just about the perfect way to cool down, in my opinion.
3. Chocolate Chess Pie
Last, but certainly not least, chocolate chess pie. Oh boy! This has been the summer of pies for me…which isn’t really saying much. I rarely make pies (in fact, this summer was the first time I made an entire pie from scratch) since I really don’t enjoy them most of the time, and they seem to be my Achilles heel. To be honest, I can’t think of a single thing that I dislike making, more than a pie, except for this one, because the crust and filling are so easy! There probably isn’t a time in my entire clumsy life that I have looked more like a klutz, than when I attempted to make a lattice top peach pie. And that’s saying something!
My pies are ugly, with a capital U. They may taste just dandy, but they’re not winning any beauty pageants, that’s for sure. Case in point:
This poor pie is homely on the outside, but on the inside, she’s full of enough buttery, chocolate love to make you feel shallow for ever have judging her in the first place. What makes her great for a summer cool down is that she’s best served cold, straight from the fridge. You can dress her up with some vanilla ice cream, or a dollop of fresh whipped cream if you like, but I prefer her in all her natural glory.
Chocolate Chess Pie
Adapted from Southern Pies by Nancy McDermott
1 sleeve chocolate graham crackers
1 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
7 Tbsp butter
1oz square unsweetened chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten a bit
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350. Put the graham crackers into a large Ziploc bag and crush them until they’re very fine crumbs. In a bowl, mix the crumbs, melted butter and sugar until it’s combined. Put this mixture into a 9” pie pan and press to form a nice crust. (It’s okay if it’s not perfect…she’s not pretty, remember?) Bake the crust for 9 minutes and then transfer to the fridge for about an hour.*
- Turn the oven temperature down to 325. In a saucepan, on medium low heat, melt the butter and chocolate together, stirring until it is combined and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar to combine. Then stir in the eggs, vanilla and salt.
- Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for about 40-45 minutes. The filling should be ever so slightly puffy, and just set. Once you remove it from the oven, put it back in the fridge until it is nice and cold, all the way through. If you can’t wait that long, at least wait about 20-30 minutes, otherwise it will be too gooey. I find that this pie is even better served straight from the fridge the day after I make it.
*(If you’re using a glass dish, I would recommend taking it out of the fridge to warm up a bit before putting it into the oven to make sure that it doesn’t explode…or maybe I’m just paranoid)