Blueberry Cobbler

IMG_9396Hello Summer Lovers–  The blueberries are back in town!  Cobblers, muffins, pancakes… are all crying out for some sweet blueberries.  So this is the least I could do.  It’s also one of those summer excuses to serve more ice cream!  Win win.


6 cups blueberries
2/3 cup sugar
1 tab. cornstarch
pinch of salt
1  1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tab. lemon juice

1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tab. cornmeal
2  1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup buttermilk*
6 tab. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the blueberries, 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch and pinch of salt.  Toss in the blueberries to coat them well.  The stir in the lemon zest and juice.

Scape all the berries into a 9 or 10″ pie pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  And bake them at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, until the berries are bubbly around the edges of the pan.

The last 10 minutes the berries are cooking, prepare the biscuits.  Stir together the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.  Then add in the buttermilk, melted butter an vanilla.  Mix just until there are no dry pockets of flour.

When the berries come out of the oven, increase the temperature to 425 degrees.

Then drop the biscuit dough by spoonfuls on top of the hot berries.  Pop it into the oven at 425 for 15 to 18 minutes, until the biscuits are golden.

Let it sit 15 minutes or so and serve warm.  Of course, it’s best in a bowl with a huge scoop of ice cream.

*If you are buttermilk-less, just put a splash of cider vinegar in the bottom of your measuring up and fill it up to 1/3 cup.   Let it sit a few minutes until it thickens.

IMG_9382This picture shows just half a recipe. Baked the other half in a separate pan and took it to a friend…


Bananas & Rum Bread Pudding

IMG_6651Hey there–  Here’s a recipe I’ve been dying to send off to you.  I love this cozy, mellow stuff!  I saw it published as a breakfast food!  Really?!  All that sugar and rum.  I would definitely slide it into the dessert category.

So when my young moms came to sit around our coffee table a couple weeks ago, I couldn’t wait to spoon this delectable dish onto their plates. I think they loved it as much as I did.  Warm from the oven, with a piles of whipped cream.  It’s darn good.

1 tab. canola oil
1 tab. butter
4 bananas, cut lengthwise, then sliced
1/2 cup rum
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup half and half
4 eggs
2  12 oz. cans evaporated milk
1 pound loaf of French bread, cut in 1″ cubes  (don’t cut off the crust please)

1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup almonds, or walnuts, or pecans
2 tab. butter
powdered sugar

Plus–Whipping Cream to top it all off (of course) (– or you could settle for ice cream!)

IMG_6635In a large skillet, heat the 1 tab. canola oil and butter.  Add the bananas to the skillet and cook one minute to soften.  Then pour in the rum, brown sugar and salt.  Cook 3 minutes more.  Remove from heat.

In the largest bowl you have, whisk together the sugar, eggs, half and half and evaporated milk, thoroughly until the eggs are completely blended in.  Add the bread cubes and bananas into the bowl and mix it all up.

Pour everything into a 9″x13″ baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray and pop it into the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

While that is cooking make the streusel. Combine the flour, brown sugar, oats and salt.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or two forks still it looks like crumbs.  Stir in the nuts.

After 20 minutes of baking, remove the bread pudding from the oven and sprinkle on the streusel.  Bake 30 minutes more until golden and set.  Let it cool a few minutes, and then dust with powdered sugar, shaking it through a sieve.  It is the yummiest served warm with a happy scoop of whipped cream.

Nutty Maple-y Chocolate Pie

IMG_6362Hi all– Do you ever get a recipe recommendation from a friend who is such a super cook, that you just know it’s going to be luscious even before you take the first bite?  I do.  I can count on my cousin Brenda to always come up with things we just love, love– her apple cake and nutty granola to start the list…   So when she sent me this chocolate pie recipe, I knew what I was going to bake up for Christmas supper with my young mom friends.  They loved it and so did I.  You can count on Brenda!

1  9″ pie crust*
2 squares unsweetened chocolate**
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk***
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp.vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts*** *(or a bit more if you like nuts like I do!)
Whipped cream or ice cream to top it off!

IMG_6352Line your 9″ pie plate with the pie curst.  Then melt the chocolate with the butter in the microwave.  Whisk in the sugars, milk, maple syrup, vanilla, salt and eggs until it’s thoroughly blended.  Then fold in the walnuts.

Pour the chocolate mixture into the crust and pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes until it’s well set.  Cool it for better cutting and serve it up with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.  So rich and delicious!

I know. I know.  Too many asterisks! *** But I wanted to talk a bit more about this recipe—
*You can make your own beautiful, buttery pie crust, but I was in a hurry and used a PIllsbury pie crust– I read it was the best pre-made pie crust at a cooking test kitchen. **If you don’t have unsweetened chocolate squares on hand (like I didn’t), you can substitute 3 tab. of melted butter and 1 tab of Hershey’s unsweetened chocolate powder for each square of chocolate.
***I used half & half to use up a carton sitting in the fridge–even more yummy
****Of course, you can substitute pecans, but I like walnuts here– more crunchy and substantial.

OK, that’s it. No more add ons.  Hope you like it as much as we did!  Thanks Brenda!

Cranberry Cream Tart with Chocolate Crust

IMG_5812Hi friends– Well, I hate to grumble about a photo on my post– but here I go…  This looks like a lumpy mess, but you’ll just have to take it from me, it was delectable!  The crunchy chocolate crust crumbles into your mouth, swathed in sweet creamy filling and enhanced by the sweet/sour cranberries.  I took it to school to share with the teachers and it was a hit!  I hope you give it a try (in spite of the pictures!)


2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
1/3 cup sugar
6 tab. melted butter

Smash the chocolate cookies to fine crumbs by putting them in a gallon zip loc bag and attacking them with a rolling pin– or give them a spin in a food processor.  Mis the Crumbs sugar and melted butter and pat it all into a 9″ pie dish or tart pan.  Bake the crust at 375  for 10 minutes.  Let it cook completely before you add the filling.

8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pint (16 oz.) whipping cream
1 tsp. instant vanilla pudding*

With an electric mixer beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla together.  In a separate bowl, beat the cream and the pudding mix together until stiff peaks form.  then gently fold the cream cheese mixture with the whipped cream and turn it into the cooled crust.

Cranberry Topping:1
1 cup sugar
2 tab. cornstarch
3 cup3 fresh cranberries (about 1 bag)
1 1/3 cup water

Mix together the sugar and cornstarch in a sauce pan until it’s all blended and there are no cornstarch lumps.  Stir in the cranberries and water.  Cook on medium high heat, stirring all the while until it simmers and the cranberries “pop” (!) and the sauce thickens.  (It’s kind of exciting in a cooking sort of way).  It takes about 3 or 4 minutes.

Caramel Pumpkin Cake

Hello friends– I’m sitting here smelling this cake in the oven.  My young moms group is coming in this evening and they (like me) are fond of gooey, whip-creamy desserts.  So I’m trying out this creamy, caramely, spicy, pumpkiny, nutty cake and I have high hopes!   Here it is:

1 yellow cake mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup water
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 jar caramel ice cream topping
1 pint whipping cream
2 tsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. instant vanilla pudding mix
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup sugar

With an electric mixer, beat up the cake mix, eggs, oil, water, pumpkin and spice.  Pour it into a large springform pan or a 9″x13″ baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Let me tell you the batter is the most beautiful color!!  Pop it into the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until it comes out firm to the touch.  When it’s cooling poke holes in the top with the handle of a wooden spoon and pour over the caramel sauce into those holes (save a couple teaspoons of sauce to garnish the top of the cake).

Beat the whipping cream with the powdered sugar and pudding mix (for stabilizer).  Mix the pecans and sugar together in a nonstick pan over medium hear stirring until the sugar melts and the pecans are coated with a brown glaze.  Spread them on a sheet of foil to cool.

When the cake is completely cooled pile on the whipped cream and top it with the pecans and little bit of caramel topping you reserved.  Viola!  It’s beautiful– to your eyes and your mouth.

P.S.– Well, the cake came out just fine.  When Christy asked if it would be on the blog, everyone started suggesting names for it– “Super Pumpkin Cake” or “Really Scrumptious Pumpkin Cake.”  I think I’ll stick with the original.  But we ate our cake and shared our stories and asked God for his help.  I love those dear girls.

Pumpkin Pecan Dessert

Hello all– This warm and comfy dessert has been around for a long time.  But for us, out it comes every October for Laurel’s birthday.  She loves this stuff!  So when we met up in San Francisco this weekend, we made a pan full for a little birthday celebration.  And it was just as delicious as always–  sweet spiced pumpkin, topped with buttery, nutty, crunchy “cake” and, of course, all those toasted pecans and whipped cream.  Happy Birthday Laurel!

15 oz. canned pumpkin
12 oz. can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
3 eggs
1 yellow cake mix
2 sticks of butter, melted
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (or walnuts)
1 pint whipping cream
2 tab. powdered sugar
1 tsp. instant vanilla pudding powder

Combine the pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, spice and salt.  Mix them thoroughly and pour it all into a 9″x13″ pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle on the cake mix dry from the package.  Top that with the pecans.  Carefully drizzle the butter over it all.

Bake it up at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes until it is beautifully browned on top.
While it’s baking whip together the cream, powdered sugar and pudding mix with an electric mixer and store it in the fridge until you need it.

Cut up the those lovely pumpkiny squares and serve them warm or cooled.  It just tastes like fall.

Apple Almond Cake

Hello everyone–  Baked this old favorite for a brunch with friends a couple weeks ago.  But really it would be just right for dessert with a scoop of ice cream or a big pile of whipped cream on top.  It’s sweet and a bit sticky, something cozy to match with a mug of tea.

1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup almonds, chopped
2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Spray a 7×11″ or a large round glass baking dish with cooking spray.  Melt the butter and pour it evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Sprinkle on the brown sugar.  Then spread the nuts on top and arrange the apples to cover it all.

Then mix up the cake– Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Mix in the milk, oil, egg and vanilla.  Then pour the batter over the apples in the pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until the cake is firm to the touch and browned.  When you take it out of the out of the oven invert it onto a serving dish.  If some of the brown sugar/nuts stick in the pan scrape them out and apply them to the cake.

It’s yummy eaten warm– apply and sweet.  I’ve probably make 25 of these things over the years.  It always comes out just fine.  Hope you like it!

Berry Ice Cream Dessert

Hi friends–  When it’s too hot to turn on the oven, this dessert is a good one.  It has a nice little crunch from the cookies and almonds and a trace of almond flavoring playing against the fruit.  I just finished a leftover slice from last night after I took this picture.  Delish!

1/3 cup toasted almonds
3 tab. melted butter
1 cup vanilla wafer crumbs*
1 tsp. almond extract or amaretto
1 1/3 quart carton of vanilla ice cream
1 cup berry jam**
Fresh berries

Take the ice cream out of the freezer and remove the lid so it will soften while you get the other ingredients ready.  If you have strawberries, cut them and combine with other berries you have.  Stir a tsp. of sugar into the berries.  Set them aside.  Mix together the almonds, butter, crumbs and amaretto.  Then in a spring form pan or a 9″ pie dish, pat in 1/2 of the crumbs in for a little crust.  Next spoon half of the ice cream over the crust.  Spread on 1/2 cup of the jam and 1/2 of the remaining crumbs.  Then put on a second layer of ice cream topped with more jam and crumb mixture.  Put the layered ice cream into the freezer.  Add the berries on top just before you serve it up.

*A box of vanilla wafers cost $3.99! so I used Maria cookies (55 cents for a package)
** I only had a bit strawberry jam so I mixed it with boysenberry to make 1 full cup.

German Chocolate Poke Cake

Hello all–  Here’s a easy chocolate cake that is moist as can be, with crunchy almonds and coconut on top.  Oh, and why do we call it “poke cake?”  After it bakes you poke holes in the hot cake so the chocolate pudding will ooze down into the cake.  Just pretty all around delicious.

1 chocolate cake mix
canola oil
3 eggs
1 large (5 oz.) box cook and serve chocolate pudding mix*
2 1/2 cup s milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut

Make the chocolate cake according to the directions on the box.  Bake it in a 9×13″ pan sprayed with cooking spray– or in 2 9″ cake pans to make 2 separate cakes**.  While the cake is baking cook the pudding mix in a pan on the stove top using just 2 1/2 cups of milk.  Let that cool while the cake finishes baking.

When the cake comes out of the oven, poke holes down into the cake about an inch apart with a handle of a wooden spoon.  Then spoon the pudding all over the cake allowing the pudding to dibble down into the holes and saturate the cake.

For the topping put the sugar and almonds into a nonstick pan and turn the heat up to high, stirring the whole time.  When the sugar starts to melt turn the heat down to medium and keep stirring.  When the almonds start to turn brown, add in the coconut and stir for about a minute more.  Spoon the mixture out onto a piece of tin foil and let it cool before you sprinkle it all over the pudding topped cake.  That’s it!

*I use the cooked type of pudding instead of instant because the flavor is so much smoother and richer.
**Use 2 round cake pans or springform pans so you have one cake to eat and one to give to give away.  (share the calories!)

Blueberry Cobbler

Hi there– Summer blueberries are just waiting in those little plastic boxes at our Sprouts store.  So this week I picked up a few cartons and baked a sweet and juicy cobbler for dinner when our folks came by.  With vanilla bean ice cream, it’s a great end to a summer meal.

1 1/2 cups flour
3 tab. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. butter
1/2 cup sour cream
6 cups blueberries
3 tab. flour
1 cup sugar

Mix 1 1/2 cup flour, 3 tab. sugar, the baking powder and salt.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or food processor.  Set aside.  Then combine 1 cup sugar, 3 tab. flour and blueberries in a bowl.  Pour the berries into a 9″ square baking dish and break the dough into chunks and sprinkle it over the berries.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes until the cobbler on top is browned.  Serve it up warm with ice cream.  Oh yummm.

Plum Cake

Hi all–  Love this plum cake.  It tastes like an August day, when all the stone fruits come ripe. Cut a slice and plop a big spoonful of whipped cream on top.  Perfect.  It’s a version of the old upside-down cake, fast and fresh.  I hope you like it…

1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large red ripe plums
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped in half
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Put the butter in a glass can pan and melt it in the microwave (about 20 seconds).  Then sprinkle on the brown sugar.  Top with the cut hazelnuts and then cut the plum into nice thin slices and arrange them in a pattern in the pan over the nuts.

Mix up the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Then pour in the milk, canola oil, egg and vanilla.  Stir just enough to combine in thoroughly.  And spoon it into the pan over the plums.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes until it is firm to the touch on top.

While the cake is still hot, cover it with a plate and then invert it upside- down so the cake falls onto the plate.  If there is leftover butter-brown sugar in the cake pan, scrape it out and spread it onto the warm cake.  Serve it up hot or cool.

You can use any nuts or stone fruit (peaches, apricots, nectarines).  I just had these pretty plums and hazelnuts on hand.  And really, don’t for get the part about the whipped cream on top.  So delicious and summery…