Archive for dessert

Pudding Bars

chocolate pudding meringue shortcake bars

The other day I started craving the custard and pudding pizza from Pizza Inn. Actually, I’m still sort of craving it, because what I eventually made wasn’t the same. It was GREAT, but different.

So for those of you who are not craving custard and pudding pizza from Pizza Inn, this should satisfy cookie and chocolate cravings.

I did use some custard when I made this, but since the pudding is custard based, and there wasn’t much actual custard to begin with, you can’t taste it, and I think it’s totally unnessessary.

Pudding Bars

Double batch of short bread crust dough
1/2 batch of dark chocolate pudding (make a whole batch and eat some!)
1 batch of meringue pie topping

Preheat oven to 425.

Give a 9×13 baking dish a quick spritz with baking spray and spread the shortbread dough out. Place the dish in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Cook the crust for 13-15 minutes or until golden. Let cool.

Spread the cooled pudding out on top of the crust, and freeze for 15 more minutes.

Then spread the meringue topping out on the pudding.

Bake at 325 for 15 minutes, or until meringue is golden on top.

Be careful if you’re using glass. Pyrex should transfer from the freezer to the oven without cracking, but some cheaper brands or other glassware might crack with the temperature change.

chocolate pudding meringue shortcake bars

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Shortbread Crust

Shortbread and I have a long history. There was the fiasco in college when I made shortbread cookies that only I could eat. Though I do recall Marie and Charlotte (or was it Anelle?) taking bites out of each cookie. They thought they were gross, but wanted to torment me, I suppose.

Since then I’ve tried and tried again, and I’ve never really made great melt-in-your-mouth shortbread. I made some at Christmas that tasted fine, but still, just tough. I was worried that I’d have the same problem with a shortbread crust, but that seemed to work out just fine. I’m tempted to try this crust recipe as cookies.

This recipe calls for a food processor, but you might be able to just use a pastry blender or two forks, or even your hands. But your hands will warm up the butter, so you might want to freeze it and extra time when you get the butter halfway incorporated?

Shortbread Crust

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 – 1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, diced
1 tsp vanilla

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in your food processor and pulse to mix. Then add the butter chunks a bit at a time and pulse until it starts to come together. Add the vanilla and pulse until you have a dough.

Spread in a pie plate and prick the bottom with a fork. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Cook in preheated 425 degree oven for 13-15 minutes or until golden.

A double recipe of this will work for a 9×13 pan of cookie bars.

Be careful if you’re using glass. Pyrex should transfer from the freezer to the oven without cracking, but some cheaper brands or other glassware might crack with the temperature change.

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Meringue Pie Topping

If you have a recipe that calls for egg yolks, you may be wondering what to do with the whites. You could make a nice fluffy angel food cake, you could make meringue cookies, or you could just make meringue.

Meringue Pie Topping

3 egg whites
6 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla

Beat the egg whites until they are frothy. Add the sugar a little at a time and keep beating until it forms stiff peaks. Then add the vanilla.

Spread on top of the pie and bake at 325 for 15 minutes or until it is browning on top.

I actually turned off my oven just as the first little peak turned golden- I was hoping that it would make the meringue more crunchy, but, alas, it did not.

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Dark Chocolate Pudding

Do you prefer dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Me, I prefer dark. The darker the better, really. Though there is a limit- I don’t really love anything above about 83%. I had a 90something percent bar one day, and though I loved tasting all the subtleties, I didn’t really love the bitter.

So when I set out to make my chocolate pudding bars, I knew I wanted dark chocolate pudding. I found a recipe that seemed to be just what I needed, though I did add more chocolate chips than it called for. I’m evil like that. Check out the original recipe here. I didn’t strain the milk part like it said, that just seemed like too much trouble.

Dark Chocolate Pudding

3 large egg yolks, beaten lightly
3 cups non-fat milk
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 Tbsp. unsweetened dark cocoa (such as Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa)
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 oz. dark chocolate chips (such as Ghirardelli 60% cacao dark chocolate chips)- I used more like 4-5 ounces.

Separate the eggs and put the yolks in a bowl together. Save the whites separately if you want to make some yummy meringue.

In a pot, heat the milk on medium-high until it is 180 degrees. I have a thermometer, but the original recipe says that when bubbles start to form around the edges it should be about right. Remove from heat. Add sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt. Boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens.

Take about a cup of the hot mixture and whisk it into the eggs. This will temper the eggs and keep them from having a temper tantrum (aka- cooking)

Pour the egg mixture into the pot with the rest of the pudding and bring back to a boil on medium heat.

When it is thick like pudding, remove from heat and stir in the chocolate chips and the vanilla.

The original recipe suggests serving immediately, or placing in a glass bowl and covering with plastic wrap actually touching the pudding. This should keep that nasty school-cafeteria skin from forming. I’ve never had pudding last long enough to cover, I eat it. But if you do decide to wait, make sure you refrigerate it!

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Pop on over for a popover

Actually, don’t pop over for a popover- we ate them all.

I’d never seen a popover before this weekend, but they looked so awesome that I couldn’t resist making a batch.

I made them as a finish to our little fourth of july cookout at Charlotte’s house. She was nice enough to grab her camera and get a couple of pictures.

If you’ve never had a popover, they taste like little french toasts. They are sort of dense and airy at the same time.

I’d also like to point out that they have a grand total of 5 ingredients, and that includes the butter for the pan. They are insanely easy.

Popovers
3 eggs
1 c milk
1 c All Purpose Flour
1/4 csugar
2-3 Tbsp Butter

Heat the oven to 375.

Divide the butter into a 12 cup muffin pan (they make popover pan, but my guess is that if you own one, you don’t need this recipe). Place the pan in the oven for 3-5 minutes.

While the pan is heating, beat the eggs, milk, and sugar together, and then add the flour and whisk.

Remove the pan from the over (the butter will be golden brown) and fill the muffin tin evenly with the batter.

Bake for 5 minutes, and then lower the temperature to 350 and bake for 25 more.

They will start to deflate just a bit when you pull them out, but that’s okay, they’ll still look awesome.

I topped them with homemade whipped cream, raspberry sauce, and blueberries.

I bet they’d look good with savory toppings, too… maybe some chicken salad?

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Blueberry Custard Cupcakes

First off, I want to mention the amount of pressure I suddenly feel about this blog! I found out that a fried actually COOKED something from here, and had plans to cook something else! Whoa. I am so very super glad about that, so super glad that I’m using terms like, “super glad.” But… the pressure! I hope both types of BBQ turned out well!!!!

Speaking of BBQ, for the past week or two I’ve been churning out some summery recipes. Last weekend we went to my sister’s house for belated father’s day. I knew I wanted to make cupcakes, and I knew that my dad loves custard and loves blueberries. Luckily, that was easy enough to work with!!!

Blueberry Custard Cupcakes

Blueberry custard cupcakes

In addition to everything below, you’ll need some extra blueberries.

Vanilla cupcakes
Vanilla cupcake

1 recipe yellow cupcakes

Replace the sour cream with vanilla yogurt, and increase the vanilla to 1-2 tablespoons.

Blueberry Sauce

11 ounces blueberries, mashed up
1/2 cup sugar

Heat on low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until syrupy. Then strain through mesh strainer to catch skins.

Custard filling
Custard
1/4 c sugar
1 c milk
1 ts flour
3 egg yolks, beaten
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Blend sugar, flour, and salt in a pot. Stir in the milk. Bring to boiling; stir and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add a small amount of the hot mixture to egg yolks, stirring constantly (this helps keep the eggs from cooking). Blend into mixture in saucepan. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool immediately by pouring custard into a chilled bowl and setting it in refrigerator or pan of cold water. Add the vanilla. Let chill in the fridge.

Blueberry Swiss Meringue Icing
1 batch swiss meringue icing
half the blueberry sauce

Mix the half of the blueberry sauce in with half of the icing. Keep the other half in a separate bowl.

Putting it all together

After the cupcakes have cooled somewhat, use a small spoon (I used a melon baller) and scoop out a chunk of the inside of the cupcake. Drizzle a bit of blueberry sauce down in there. Fill the rest of the way with custard. The plop a few whole blueberries on top of that.

Fill an icing bag with one side regular frosting, the other side blueberry frosting. Pipe the frosting on. Top with a blueberry and a bit more blueberry sauce drizzle.

I also made some with no blueberries for the blueberry haters.
Blueberry custard cupcakes
Blueberry custard cupcakes

Eat!

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Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins

The following recipe was one of my very first baking successes. Charlotte had made these several times for me, and they were so good that I decided I needed to try them for myself after I no longer lived with her. First I’m going to give you the original recipe. Below that I will give you some of the changes I made last night to make them slightly more healthful. The first way is a bit easier and is more likely to use ingredients you have on hand. The second way makes you feel slightly better about eating a kajillion of them as soon as they have come out of the oven.

Chocolate Chip Pupmkin Muffins

Ingredients:

DRY:
1 2/3 Cup Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 tbs. pumpkin pie spice (or a mix of mostly cinnamon with a dash of nutmeg and/or allspice, or even just cinnamon)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

WET:
2 eggs
1 Cup pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling, just straight-up pumpkin- look in the baking section, just make sure to pick up the correct can)
1/2 stick butter melted
1 Cup Choc. Chips (or a bit more! I like dark chocolate chips of course, and I use Ghirardelli)

Mix the wet ingredients together and mix all dry ingredients together in two separate bowls. If you heated the butter in the microwave make sure that the wet ingredients have cooled before you add the eggs or chocolate chips.

Combine wet and dry.

Spoon into a buttered muffin pan

350 degrees for 20-25 minutes for regular sized muffins. This makes aproximately 6 regular muffins, or 12 mini muffins. If you make mini muffins start keeping an eye on them after about 12 minutes. I usually make mini ones.

Variations: Here are some of the variations that Charlotte included in her original email.

-use half flour and half rolled oats- makes them more filling and hearty
-use walnuts
-use MnMs, it’s very colorful and silly

Rhiannon’s slighty-more-healthful chocolate chip pumpkin muffins:

Replace the 1 2/3 c. all purpose flour with:
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. all purpose flour
1/3 c. mixture of wheat germ and ground flax seed

add 1/2 c. crushed walnuts to the mix

Use 1/2 c. egg beaters (or other brand liquid egg substitute) in place of the eggs. I used the type with added omega 3.

You could probably try adding applesauce instead of butter, but I decided to just leave the butter in. Though I did use Smart Balance’s 50/50 butter/olive oil spread blend.

Chocolate chip pumpkin muffins

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