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We make towering cakes, slather them with frosting and poke long wax sticks in the top.

We sing “Happy Birthday” off pitch.

They blow out the candles…

…making sure not to leave one burning so the aunts and uncles won’t tease them about having a girlfriend.

We slice the cake, revealing mammoth layers of soft chocolate and lip smacking frosting.

Everyone leaves and it’s time to clean up the mess. But why is it so hard for us to throw out the candles? Is it because they were only lit long enough to sing one rendition of “Happy Birthday” before the smoke drifted through the kitchen?

Or does it make us sad to see our babies getting older and we’re overcome with nostalgia? Are we afraid we’ll lose the memories of each party, each balloon, each cake, each smile, each celebration?

Or are we afraid they will forget?

Sweet and burning wishes,

Staci

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I gave Jason a choice for his belated birthday dessert—Key lime cheesecake with Patrón sauce or Key lime pie. He chose Key lime pie, but specified he wanted one with pretzel crust.

Key lime pie with pretzel crust

Heck if I’ve ever written down my recipe so it always takes me a while to figure out how to make it again. And then I worry that it’s not as good as last time.

Key lime pie

When it was done, I put the pie in the refrigerator and texted Jason that it would be ready to eat when he and Camden got back to our house that night. The next morning I noticed that there were only two pieces gone. Worried that the pie didn’t turn out, I questioned Jason like a cop busting up an underage party. The interrogation was unwarranted though, as he assured me they liked the pie but it was too sweet to eat huge slices at midnight.

Key lime pie

Crisis averted. So that I have the recipe for his next February birthday, here’s the recipe for our favorite Key lime pie—best savored one slice at a time.

For a lighter dessert perfect for Easter Sunday, make summer breeze lime pie from Midwest Living.

Key lime pie 

Crust

1-1/2 cups pretzel crumbs (approximately 4 cups pretzels)

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup butter, melted

Filling

2 cans (14 ounces each) sweetened condensed milk

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup Key lime juice

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon Key lime or lime zest

Whipped cream for topping, if desired

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine pretzel crumbs, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor. Add butter and pulse until combined. (Or mix crust ingredients in a bowl.)
  3. Lightly spray 9-inch pie plate. Drop the crust mix into the pan and firmly pat down evenly with the bottom of a measuring cup or the palm of your hand.
  4. Bake crust 7 minutes. Remove from oven. Turn oven down to 325 degrees.
  5. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, pour in the sweetened condensed milk, egg yolks, Key lime juice, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium-high until mixed well.
  6. Stir in lime zest.
  7. Pour filling into crust.
  8. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes or just until set.
  9. Cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.
  10. Keep leftovers in refrigerator up to 4 days.

Sweet and sour birthday wishes,

Staci

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