Hello! Thank you for visiting my blog! Here you will get to know me—the “sweet girl” behind the dessert tables. The girl who loves to create. The proud mama who loves her boys to no bounds and the wife that thanks her lucky stars every day to have her husband, her best friend & business partner, by her side. Whether you visiting our blog or the first time or have stopped by before, please know that I’m incredibly grateful that you are here and look forward to getting to know you. So sit back, grab a large cup of coffee (or cake pop) and enjoy!

Nutella Heart Shape Pies and White Chocolate Hot Cocoa with Shay Cochrane Photography

Hello friends! First post of 2015, here we go! I don’t believe in having resolutions (I feel like I’m setting myself up for failure with those), but I do believe in keeping goals that will always ground me (my faith, family, health, friends, and business). Never easy sometimes, but I’ve learned to appreciate the times with my family so much more than I did in the past. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, (haha…and wiser) but this past year I’ve really challenged myself to carve out more, intentional time for my family, my husband, which as silly as it does sound, feeds my soul and in turn, I find that my work is better, more focused and everything just flows. Wow, didn’t think I was going to take it there to start out 2015, but I guess it is natural for all of us to take this time, especially January, to reflect.

One of our final shoots to wrap up 2014 was in partnership with Southern Weddings, a publication and blog I hold near and dear to my heart. They were working on a Holiday Dessert Round Up, and they wanted me to share some of my favorite recipes. I thought this would be hard for me–I mean, I love to bake, but to come up with two recipes I thought readers would connect with, was not as hard as I thought.

Thankfully Shay Cochrane from Shay Cochrane Photography, is an amazing commercial photographer, that I’ve had the pleasure working with on more than one occasion and has an uncanny ability to take my vision, props and work her usual magic. Shay, if you are reading this–thank you–you are an artist!

So on that note, recipes below. Feel free to tweek to your liking. Southern Weddings also has this posted on their blog as well, along with a printer-friendly version of our recipes.

Happy 2015 friends! I hope it’s a great one!

Southern Newlywed Series: Dessert Feature


Heart Shape Strawberry-Nutella Filled “Mini-Pies”

These pies are delicious and once you get a good feel for the recipe, there are endless variations to it, which is really fun (hellloooo–Valentine’s ideas!). The prep time may seem a bit long, but this is one recipe that never “feels” long since the steps are fairly easy. This particular recipe has been tweeked a bit between me and my mom. The two of us love to work on this one, together! We don’t get to spend as much time as we like, together so this time is especially sacred between us.

Serves: 12. Prep time: 40 minutes. Cook time: 23-25 minutes


1 pie crust dough (feel free to use store bought or if you have time, from scratch. There are some really, easy pie crust recipes out there!).

2 cups of strawberries, cut very small

2 tablespoons of sugar

1 teaspoon of strawberry jam

1 ½ teaspoons of Nutella

Flour (for the dough)

2 egg whites, lightly beaten, with a splash of water.

Heart cookie cutter, recommend 2 ½ to 3 inch size

Candy coated wafers, for dipping. Optional. *See RECIPE NOTES

Sprinkles, optional. *See RECIPE NOTES


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take a large, baking sheet and cover with parchment paper, with a very light coat of non-stick cooking spray.
  2. While oven is pre heating, start rolling out your dough (with flour) until it is nice and smooth (approximately ¼ thick). When your dough is ready, begin to use your cookie cutter—in this case, you should be able to get out at least 18-20 hearts. I always take scraps, and recombine them to squeeze out a few more if I can.
  3. Now in a bowl, take your strawberries (diced very small), sugar, strawberry jam and Nutella, and combine all together. The jam is great in this case because it cuts the tartness of the strawberries for a more balanced flavor.
  4. Once you have all your ingredients combined, take teaspoon and put a dollop of filling in the center of half of your hearts (the other half will be reserved for the top of the heart!). The first time I went through this part I was very worried about putting too much filling, or too little, or that they wouldn’t look totally perfect. Do not worry! The beauty of this recipe, and pies, is that they don’t have to look perfect—just think if it as (cough, cough), more “rustic looking!”
  5. When you’ve put your filling on top of your hearts, lightly beat your egg wash and with your finger or a small brush and slightly brush the heart border which will act like a glue for the heart topper.
  6. Then take the reserved, half of hearts and place on top, carefully. Use a fork to pinch the edges together and make them look all pretty.
  7. After placing all your hearts on your baking sheet, I will brush all of them lightly with the egg wash—this gives them that golden, crusty “I should work for Better Crocker” look to them.
  8. Before placing in oven, I quickly take my fork and puncture them right in the middle, to act as a vent when they start baking.
  9. These will then back anywhere from 23 to 25 minutes, until they look nice and golden. I usually will set my timer to check them out at the 20th mark and then adjust my time from there, depending on how they look.


  1. Don’t have strawberries? Don’t worry! Just eliminate the strawberries and substitute with one of your favorite jams that you may have on hand in your pantry.
  2. Pie on a stick? At “Step 4,” after you have put the filling on half of hearts, gently place a lollipop stick at the bottom of the heart—be careful when pushing the stick so it doesn’t come through. Anything on a stick always creates that “oohhh…ahhh” factor!
  3. There is nothing I love more than chocolate and strawberries. After your mini pies have cooled, I take one (1) bag of white, candy coated wafers, melt as directed and half dip my pies, then add sprinkles. I recommend, Merckens white candy melts. For sprinkles you can use holiday inspired (as shown), Valentine’s Day mix, or your own special mix.

White Chocolate Hot Cocoa


Serves: 12 cups. Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 2 hours

Can you think of anything better than pies and white chocolate hot cocoa? Nope. I couldn’t either. During the holidays, when it’s late at night, my family isn’t much into drinking coffee so we started making this recipe and it’s always a great hit.  This also gives me a great reason to take out my crock pot/slow cooker which receives no love from me, for most of the year.


  1. 16 ounces of white chocolate (if you can, try to go with a premium brand)
  2. 4 cups of whole milk
  3. 4 cups of heavy cream
  4. 2 tablespoon of pure vanilla
  5. ¼ teaspoon of nutmeg
  6. 2-3 cinnamon sticks
  7. Garnish ideas: whip cream, crushed peppermints, white chocolate chips, nutmeg, caramel sauce and Pirouettes (Pepperidge Farm is my favorite). *See RECIPE NOTES


  1. Place your white chocolate in the slow cooker along with all the other ingredients. I keep my slow cooker at the “hot setting” and once the chocolate starts to melt, I drop down the “warm setting.”
  2. Cover and simmer for at least two hours, stirring every 20-25 minutes, or so. There will be skin that will form at the top of your hot cocoa, just take a whisk, stir and it will go away.
  3. This can stay warm for up to several hours.
  4. I’ve been asked this before, but you can substitute the whole milk with a low fat version if you wanted to lighten it up a bit.


  1. When serving, I will take my garnishes and put them in small bowls and guests can help themselves. I love this part!
  2. If you would like to spike your hot chocolate, I recommend going with a nuttier flavor like a good Amaretto, Bailey’s or Brandy. They have very fancy vodka’s now, but with this recipe I find that the nuttier base goes lovely with the hot chocolate.

Leave a Reply