Tag Archives: vanilla

Blackberry Cobbler

In the world of easy (yet impressive) desserts, the cobbler may just take the…umm..cake??.  You know what I mean.  It’s so delicious, so easy and insanely comforting.  

On these chilly winter nights, it’s so simple to whisk together a few on hand ingredients, fresh OR even frozen fruit and pop into the oven.  Besides baking time, this MAY take you all of 10 minutes to prepare..c’mon, you know you can handle that!  Finally, if you’re like myself, you’ll pour yourself a big old glass of spiked sweet tea along with this cobbler ala-mode-style and sit on your porch taking in the southern cool night..

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 4 cups blackberries 
  • 2 cups sugar, divided 1:1
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • Pinch of salt  

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and place the stick of butter into a 9×13 rectangular baking dish.  While the oven is STILL preheating, transfer the dish to the oven, swirling it around once it starts to melt (watching so as not to burn).

In a large bowl, combine the lemon zest and 1 cup of the sugar with the fruit. Toss to coat and set aside.  *If using frozen fruit, allow to defrost, drain and pat dry any excess water.

Next, remember to watch your baking dish and the melting butter, whisk together the flour, remaining cup of sugar, baking powder, vanilla/almond extract, milk and a pinch of salt in a separate large bowl. 

Remove the preheated buttered baking dish from the oven and pour in your batter.  Top, fairly evenly, with the sugared blackberries overtop of the batter.  *The batter will rise and bake around the fruit.

Place back in the oven and cook for 50-60 minutes until a beautiful, slightly crunchy golden brown color is achieved. I prefer to bake mine a little on the longer side as I love the crunchy bits on the edges.
Once time is up, remove from oven and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, enjoy!! 

Baked Peaches a La Mode

My father-in-law came in to town to help us with a major home project….Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!   As most of y’all know we live on a lake (amazing), but as our lil boys get older and have outgrown playing on the gated back porch, it poses a safety concern.  So we are finally adding the fence that we have wanted since we moved in, and considering we have a good size sloped yard, it’s not an easy project.

Anywaayy, besides the amazing help he has been, another great, like-minded fact about him, he REALLY loves peaches.  So after a long day of hard work, I figured a homemade dessert was the best way I could show my appreciation.  

This literally took just minutes to make, was fresh, and every plate was basically licked clean!  If you have 20 minutes to spare, I highly advise serving this summertime dessert at your next gathering!

*If you live in Texas and are close to an HEB or Central Market grocery store, I highly advise the below flavored of ice cream with this!  I used a scoop of each and a drizzle of honey alongside the baked peaches.  Ridiculous!

The Starting Lineup

  • Peaches, halved and pitts removed (I used 4 peaches for 8 servings)
  • Butter, sliced (about 2 Tbsp)
  • 2-3 Tbsps Brown sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Honey (optional)

Sooo stinkin’ easy!!  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Slice the peaches in half and remove the pit.  Place each peach halve, skin side down, onto a baking sheet or oven safe pan.

Next add a small piece of butter to the middle of each piece.  

In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt.  Sprinkle an even amount over each peach halve.

Place into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes.  Remove and immediately serve (you want it warm!!) with a scoop of ice cream and possibly a drizzle of honey!  Enjoy!!!  *Feel free to also scoop up any of that caramelized pan drippings and spoon overtop as well!

Dulce de Leche Pecan Bars 

Naughty is the word that sums these up!   It’s like a sweet & crunchy candy bar amped up times a million.  Best of all it’s easy, I’d hardly even call it baking!   

Why your family thinks you slaved away in the kitchen for this treat, you’ll know the easy truth and can relish in theirs “oohs & aahs”. 😉👌

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1 stick butter, unsalted, cold & cubed 
  • 1 can dulce de leche 
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream 
  • 1/3 cup of confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 tsps pure vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips    

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8×8″ square pan with foil (allowing foil to overhang the pan) and lightly spray with non-stick.

In a food processor combing the flour, cold butter, confectioners sugar, salt and 2 tsps of the vanilla extract.  Pulse for about one minute until it’s combined and looks almost ‘clumpy’….<-for lack of better word. 😉 

  
Pour the crumb mixture straight into your foil lined pan and press with your fingertips to even out and bring it about 1-2″ up the sides.   Place this into your preheated oven for about 25 minutes.

While that crust is par baking, will mix up the good stuff!!

In a medium size bowl, combine the can of dulce de leche with the heavy cream, egg yolks and the remaining 2 tsp vanilla extract and 1 Tbsp flour.  Whisk till creamy. 

  
When the crust has finished, let sit for a few minutes and then pour the creamy mixture straight in.  Shake the pan gently to level it out. 

  

 

Finally, top with the chocolate chips and the chopped pecan pieces.  Return this to the oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes. 

 Once finished, and just slightly jiggly, cool completely on a baking rack.  I even like to pop this is the fridge for a good hour or two to firm up.

Remove the goodies by lifting up the foil, cut into bars and enjoy!!! 

  

   

Caramelized Pecan & Banana Pudding

I’ve yet to meet a soul who doesn’t enjoy this.  My kids would take a bath in it if they could…quite frankly, after they’re done enjoying a bowl it literally looks like they did.

Cool vanilla pudding, warm pecans, brown sugar and bananas topped with vanilla wafers.  Indulge a little!  This is a great treat at anytime of day loved by kids and adults alike.

Though I will admit that this could be easier.  You can NEVER beat the taste and texture of homemade pudding, BUT (yes there’s a but) I will completely understand if you just buy a box of Jell-O.  It would be much easier for any cook and with the warm topping, I promise you it will be just as delicious.

Please, please promise me though that you’ll at least attempt the homemade ‘Nilla Wafers!  They’re stupid easy…however, if you buy a box, I won’t fault you either ;). Enjoy!! xo

The Starting Lineup 

Pudding

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt  

Pecan Banana Topping

  • 3 ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 4 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt 

Vanilla Wafers

Let’s start this pudding!  Get together an ice bath (larger bowl with a few cups of ice and a slightly smaller bowl fit snugly inside, over the ice). Set aside.

In a small bowl, separate your egg yolks from the whites.  Beat the yolks until their light colored and smooth.

With a small pot on your stove top whisk together your flour, sugar and salt.  In same pot over medium heat whisk in your milk and vanilla.  Whisk these 5 ingredients together till combined.  Keep cooking on the stove top, whisking occasionally until you see it just start to boil.

  

Now verrrrryyyy slowly and fluidly, (*tempering) take the hot liquid and pour into your bowl of beaten egg yolks while whisking.  Again, do this VERY slow at first or the hot liquid will literally ‘scramble’ your eggs and it’s over for ya.  This is the trickiest part for sure but absolutely doable.  *I could NOT get a picture of me doing all of this while attempting to temper the eggs.  Any photographers out there??

Once you have your liquid and egg yolks combined into a smooth, custard like cream, pour back into your pot on the stovetop.  While whisking often, cook this cream over med-low heat for roughly 5-7 minutes.  It will thicken as it cooks.  *If it seems a bit loose, make a slurry of cornstarch and milk and whisk right in.

Now back to that ice bath you made earlier.  Place a fine mesh sieve over your top bowl and pour your pudding through it while gently pressing it through with a rubber spatula.  That ice from under your top bowl will begin the cooling process of your pudding.

Once all of the pudding is pressed through the sieve, take a sheet of Saran Wrap and cover the entire bowl.  Make sure the Saran Wrap is actually touching the top of the pudding.  This will help it not form that unsightly “skin”.

Place your bowl of homemade pudding into your fridge and allow to cool completely.  Prepare your cookies once your pudding has thickened.  While the cookies are cooling on a wire rack, you can begin your topping and it will all come together nicely.

Topping

This part is the easy part.  I promise.  This also would be crazy delicious over ice cream, waffles or a slice of creamy cheesecake!

In a saucepan on the stovetop, place in you chopped pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and butter.

Over medium heat stir together till the brown sugar and butter melts together forming a glaze, about 3 minutes.

Once those ingredients are incorporated, gently fold in your sliced bananas.  Cook for another 3 minutes and it’s done!  It’s ready to spoon onto any dessert and enjoy!

In a small dish or bowl, spoon in 1/2 cup of pudding.  Layer a bit of your caramelized pecans & bananas over top. Repeat with another layer of pudding and your warm topping.  Garnish with a few of your vanilla wafers and serve!

Vanilla Wafer Cookies

I’m making a pretty fun dessert tonight AND my boys (young & old) wanted cookies.  The yummy recipe that I am preparing calls for ‘Nilla Wafers and I figured if I could make an awesome chocolate chip, then why not try a wafer?!   Easier than I thought and this will be a staple in our home from here on out!

The Starting Lineup

  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 Tbsp (1\2 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

    I left out the 1Tbsp of milk picture..too much work, I assume that you’re reading directions..

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line 1-2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In medium size bowl, sift together the flour, salt & baking soda.  In a small dish, mix together the milk & vanilla.

 In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat your softened butter & sugar on medium till light and creamy (about 5 minutes).

On low, slowly add in your dry mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs, followed by your milk & vanilla combo.

Once combined and almost forming a dough ball, remove from mixer and shape into a 1″ x 12″ dowel.  This dough is not sticky and easily molds into shape.  No need for excess flour here!

pretty, isnt it?…

With a very sharp knife, cut into 1/4-1/2″ slices, softly roll and gently flatten with your finger tips.  Lay appx 1″ way from each other on your parchment covered baking sheet.

Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes, until tops are no longer soft.  Let cool on your baking sheet for 5 minutes and then continue to cool on a wire rack.  Done!!  Easy right??! 👍

 

Strawberry Vanilla Bean Cake

This very well may be THE cake of all cakes.  Ridiculous in taste and beyond gorgeous.  Seriously, you’re hand scraping a vanilla bean.  That should say it all…  

The Starting Lineup
CAKE

  • 3 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 3 cups of granulated sugar
  • 9 egg whites, room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups of buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped out
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract 

STRAWBERRIES

  • 2 pints of strawberries, hulled & quartered
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

CLASSIC CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

REAL WHIPPED CREAM

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar Vanilla Bean Cake ingredients ^

With this recipe we’re going to start with some of your filling first.  With your strawberries, rinse, hull and roughly quarter them.  Place the cut strawberries into a large bowl. 

Top the fruit with 1/4 cup of sugar and 1 tsp pure vanilla extract.  Mix well, cover with Saran Wrap and let macerate for at least 20 minutes.  *Macerate: soften food by soaking in liquid.  If making your cake the same day, as opposed to the night before, place these in the fridge until ready to assemble.

 Now let’s begin your frosting.   I’m a busy wife, mom and food blogger, so for time purposes I am attaching my link to my Classic Cream Cheese Frosting. Classic Cream Cheese Frosting | Railroad Wife  Check it out 😉 Ok I’m not really that busy, I just like ‘links’..
Onto the delicious cake…Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Prep 3 cake pans with either butter & flour or non-stick spray.  I HIGHLY recommend using a cut piece of parchment paper (also coated in spray, flour, etc) in each pan.  This method NEVER fails in achieving your cake coming out perfectly and not sticking.  The next time I make a cake, I promise you that I will take a picture of this step.  Shame on me :/

In your stand mixer, beat together the softened butter and sugar for 5 minutes on med-high.  It should be nice and fluffy. 

    

Next add in all of those egg whites.  This keeps the cake that light colored hue, yolks will turn its shade.  Turn your stand mixer down till medium while your egg whites are gradually mixed in the butter/sugar mix.

Next, grab two (extra, separate) bowls.  In bowl #1, sift together your flour, salt and baking powder. 

 In bowl #2, mix together the buttermilk and the pure vanilla extract with the scraped out contents of your vanilla bean. (This smells so darn fabulous!  I was rubbing my scented hands on my wrists and neck like perfume.  I’m weird). 

 Can you see those beautiful flecks of REAL vanilla in the buttermilk?? Ahhhh..

Ok, now alternating the two bowls, pour them into your butter, sugar & egg white mix slowly.  Mix till just incorporated.  Don’t over mix please.  Bad things happen to those who do.

Divide the batter evenly between all three pans.  Slightly shake the filled pans to even out the batter. 

Bake these cakes at 350 degrees till a toothpick comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Let cakes cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes.  Invert the cakes onto the wire rack to finish cooling. *please cool completely before applying the frosting and fruit!  These cakes can even be made the night before, wrapped well and frosted the next day.

After the cakes are absolutely, positively cooled, prepare your real deal whipped cream!

In your stand mixer add in your 2 cups of heavy cream along with the 1/2 cup of powdered sugar.  With the beater attachment, beat on high until light, fluffy and sweet! 

    
Final-freakin-lutely!!  It’s cake assembly time, the last step before the cake devouring time.  My personal favorite step.
Now, this cake makes three tiers, HOWEVER, I only use two and my boys and I munch on the third one ourselves.  “Quality time”, I call it.

On a pretty platter, place one cake layer down.  Coat the cake with a nice thick layer of your cream cheese frosting.  If it hangs over the edge, all the better!  Next, spoon copious amounts of your whipped cream over the frosting.  Finally, add a hefty helping of your (drained) macerated strawberries.

You’re then going to softly place your second tier of cake onto that.  Repeat the same process. (I actually prefer to apply my Classic Cream Cheese Frosting to the second tier BEFORE placing it on top and adding the cream & strawberries).  Any extra strawberries ‘stuff’ into the sides of cake and on top.

You’re now done and ready to take in the praises!  Please enjoy!  You can always jog it off tomorrow 😉 

  

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