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[Photograph: Jim Bathie]

There's a reason why the South is associated with big flavors—its rich cultural history combined with the foods native to the area has created a cuisine that is dynamic and diverse. And especially when it comes to dessert, there's no place sweeter than down South. But it's not all peach pie and chess bars. Southern Living: Classic Southern Desserts has compiled generations' worth of recipes and presents their favorites by type.

Dozens of so-very-Southern desserts, like Hummingbird Cake, Grasshopper Pie, and Classic Cola Cake are accompanied by warm, enticing photos along with tips from the Southern Living test kitchen. The recipes themselves, even for multi-layer cakes, are refreshingly simple, using sensible shortcuts that add to the recipe rather than detract from it. This makes the step from craving to creating far easier. Since the recipes were selected from reader submitted favorites, there's a bit of personal or cultural history in each one, which makes the book feel like a treasured collection.

With October upon us, we've chosen autumn-spiced recipes with Southern flair that would be equally welcome on a weeknight or on the holiday table. We're starting off simple, with a browned butter-pecan shortbread that uses the warmth of browned butter and toasted nuts to make a crumbly cookie-bread. Next, we'll ramp things up with caramel pecan pumpkin bread pudding. Could a dessert possibly sound more satisfying?


Win A Copy!

Thanks to the generous folks over at Oxmoor House, we are giving away five (5) copies of Southern Living: Classic Southern desserts this week.

All you have to do is tell us about your favorite Southern dessert in the comments section below.

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