One of the best things about tailgating is dessert! Here are some of my favorites – and you may notice there aren’t alot of chocolate chip cookies included. Here’s the reason – they don’t transport well and keep in the hot humid south. I’ve taken many a wonderful batch of cookies to a tailgate and voila – cookie crumbles. So the following recipes are ones that transport well, can be frozen in advance if needed, and of course, are DELISH!


1 c. (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 c. crunchy peanut butter
3 c. powdered sugar, sifter
1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1 2/3 c. chocolate chips, semi-sweet

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue
Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Photo Credit: Cate Bogue

Line a 13×9 inch pan with aluminum foil. In a food processor, combine butter, peanut butter, sugar, and crumbs (I made my own with Graham Crackers) until a ball forms. Press mixture into the pan using a spatula.

Over a double-boiler or in the microwave (with 1-2 TBSP of water), melt the chocolate chips. Stir, then spread over peanut butter mixture. Chill in refridgerator for about an hour. Allow to come to room temperature before cutting into squares. Store in refridgerator. Adapted from Paula Dean. ENJOY!

Quadruple Chocolate Loaf Cake

This is a very yummy chocolate cake. Moist, chocolaty, dense, – and I think it goes without saying, decadent. I think the best parts of this cake were the areas where the syrup reached the cake – OH MY – extra moist and the flavor was so deep and perfect. Thank you Nigella.

1 2/3 c. AP flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. cocoa
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
2 T. vanilla
1/3 c. sour cream
1/2 c. boiling water
1 c. mini chocolate chips

1 tsp. cocoa
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. water

2 oz. dark chocolate, chopped or curled, for garnish

Equipment: Loaf pan – approximately 9.5 x 4.5 x 3 inches, lined with greased foil, overhanging at the top. Preheat oven to 325F and place baking sheet on middle rack.

In processor, add flour, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and sour cream – blitz until smooth. Scrape down batter and process again while pouring boiling water down the funnel. Turn off, remove lid and add chocolate chips, using spatula to combine.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and place on baking sheet in the oven; cook for about 1 hour. The cake will be done when the loaf has risen, split down the middle, and a cake tester comes out fairly clean.

About 10 minutes before the cake should be done, put the syrup ingredients into a small saucepan and boil for 5 minutes (it won’t thicken much).

When the cake is done, place it on a cooling rack (still in the pan) and pierce here and there using a kabob skewer, cake tester, or chop stick. Pour the syrup over the cake, letting it soak in. Allow the cake to come to room temperature, then remove it from the pan and remove the foil. Sprinkle generously with chocolate garnish.

Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting

Here is the recipe for the frosting:

1 1/3 c. powdered sugar
1 c. creamy peanut butter (not natural peanut butter)
6 T unsalted butter, room temperature
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
1/3 c. heavy cream

In a medium bowl, combine sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt. Beat on medium low speed until creamy, making sure to scrape down the sides as needed. Add the cream and beat at high speed until mixture is creamy and light. Spread on cooled brownies.

White Chocolate Blondies

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
12 tbs. unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups white chocolate chips

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350F. Grease a 9 x 13 pan and fit aluminum foil into the pan, lining the bottom and sides – leaving enough overhang to pull bars out of pan after baking; spray foil with nonstick spray.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl, set aside. Whisk the melted and brown sugar in a medium bowl until combined. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Using a spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture just until combined. Don’t overmix. Fold in white chocolate chips, then turn the batter into the pan, smoothing the top with spatula.

Bake until the top is shiny and feels firm to the touch, about 22-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Using the foil, remove bars from the pan, cut into desired size.
Adapted from Baking Illustrated.

Cinnamon Roll Cookies

Great for an early game with brunch.

makes about 24

for the cookie dough:
3/4 cups butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk (reserve the egg white for the center filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

for the filling:
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar

for the icing:
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Start with the dough. Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add egg yolk and vanilla. Add the flour and salt and mix until dough comes together. It may take a minute. Shape into a disc and place in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until you are ready to roll out. In the meantime, get the filling ready. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and water. Set aside. In another small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

Take out the dough and place on a sheet of parchment paper. Place another piece on top and roll out into an approximately 9X12 inch rectangle. Take off the parchment paper on top and brush on the egg white wash. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the dough. Carefully roll the dough length wise into a log. Make sure you press the edges together so they do not come undone. Roll back into the plastic wrap and place in the freezer for about 30 minutes. (Or refrigerate overnight) Cut into 1/2 inch circles. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for about 15-17 minutes, or until just lightly golden on the bottom.
For the icing, mix the ingredients until creamy and smooth. Drizzle over the cookies.

Strawberry and cream cheese bars (adapted from Pip and Ebby)

In a blender or food processor, combine:

2 pounds strawberries, hulled and halved

3/4 cup sugar

Pinch of coarse salt

Puree until smooth. Pour into a 9×13 baking dish and transfer to the freezer. Scrape with a fork every 30 minutes until mixture is thick and slushy for about 2 total hours.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 7 large egg whites on high speed until foamy. With mixer on medium, gradually add 3/4 cup sugar. Increase speed to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 3 minutes.

In another medium bowl, beat the following on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 to 2 minutes:

2/3 cup cold heavy cream cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

With a rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into egg white mixture. Pour over the strawberry mixture and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Freeze until firm, about 4 hours (or, covered, up to 3 days), before cutting into 12 squares.


1 cup butter
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp coarse sea salt
2 cups coarsely chopped Butterfinger Bars (approx 16 “Fun Size” bars)

Preheat oven to 350°
Cream butter and sugars in mixing bowl.
Add the vanilla and eggs and mix until incorporated.
On low add your dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking soda) until just combined.
Stir in your chopped Butterfinger.
Spread in a 9×13 baking dish and bake for 25 minutes until center is JUST set.
Remove from oven and cool completely.

Butterfinger Buttercream:
1/2 cup room temp butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup chopped Butterfinger Bars (approx 4 “Fun Size” bars)
Cream the butter and shortening together until smooth.
Add in you powdered sugar on low speed. Turn speed up to medium and mix until smooth
Stir in your chopped Butterfinger. (I sprinkled mine on top rather than stirring them in!)
Spread on your cooled blondies.


This recipe is very similar to my Mississippi Mud recipe (which I’ve prepared too many times to count, but always with rave reviews). This one is fun – especially if you’re from Atlanta.

2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups small marshmallows
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup Coca-Cola®
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons cocoa
6 tablespoons Coca-Cola
1 box (16 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, sift sugar and flour. Add marsh- mallows. In saucepan, mix butter, oil, cocoa, and Coca-Cola. Bring to a boil and pour over dry ingredients; blend well. Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk just before adding to batter along with eggs and vanilla extract, mixing well. Pour into a well-greased 9- by-13-inch pan and bake 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and frost immediately.
To make frosting, combine butter, cocoa and Coca-Cola in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and pour over confectioners’ sugar, blending well. Add vanilla extract and pecans. Spread over hot cake. When cool, cut into squares and serve.

And another one that’s great in the fall:

These are so simple to make, but the combination of salty and sweet is sooooo good!

19.5-oz. package chocolate fudge brownie mix (preferably Ghiradelli)
1⁄2 cup candy corn candies
1⁄2 cup peanuts

Prepare brownie mix according to package directions using an 8×8 pan. Within 3 minutes of pulling brownies out of the oven, pour candies and peanuts over top of the brownies. Push on them lightly so they sink into the soft brownies. Let cool and cut into squares.