If you have read this blog for any length of time, you know my husband notoriously loves pudding. After years of ridiculing him for his Snack Pack tendencies, I decided to take a look in the mirror. Turns out, even though I’m not a member of the packaged chocolate pudding fan club, I definitely have earned my stripes in the rice pudding gang. So apparently we’re a pudding family- who knew!? This malted chocolate trifle is a grown-up, homemade ode to my husband’s love of both chocolate pudding and malted chocolate candies. Those, combined with a gooey pan of homemade brownies make for a seriously delicious treat that can be dressed up for Easter or simply served to the chocolate lovers in your life. Let me tell you how to make it!
How to Make a Trifle
To make this malted chocolate trifle, we start with the brownies. Butter, cocoa powder, and sugar are melted together before eggs and vanilla are added to the mix. Just a smidge of flour stirred in and a quick bake leaves these brownies rich and fudgy. While the brownies are baking, we can get a head start on the pudding. This is a super quick chocolate pudding made on the stovetop. Sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate malt powder (like Ovaltine!) and cornstarch are stirred together with milk. The mixture gets heated on the stove and cooked until slightly thickened and bubbly. A little butter and vanilla come next before the pudding is cooled and set at least to room temperature.
Once the brownies and pudding have cooled slightly, we can make the espresso whipped cream. Heavy cream, powdered sugar, and Kahlua are whipped together with softened cream cheese which will help create a stable, fluffy mixture. Then, all three elements are layered together in a trifle dish with the candy of your choosing: malted robin egg candies for Easter or plain malt chocolate balls for any other time. Both make for a deliciously textured and flavored treat that everyone will love.
If you’re looking for a great last minute Easter dessert, I hope you’ll consider this malted chocolate trifle. Happy Easter to you all and Happy Baking!
If you like this malted chocolate trifle, you should check out:
This malted chocolate trifle includes layers of homemade brownies, a quick malted milk chocolate pudding, and espresso whipped cream!
For the brownies:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1–1/4 cup sugar
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup all-purpose flour
For the pudding:
2/3 cup sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups reduced fat milk
¼ cup heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the coffee whipped cream:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1–1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
¾ cup powdered sugar
¼ cup coffee liquor, like Kahlua
Malt chocolate balls, eggs, candies, or other assorted chocolates of your choosing, chopped
To make the brownies:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farhenheit. In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt, stirring together on medium low heat until completely melted. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, whisking vigorously after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and fold in the all-purpose flour. Spread the batter into a 9” square baking pan, baking for about 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out with moist clumps only. Allow to cool to room temperature completely.
To make the pudding:
In the meantime, begin making the pudding by combining the sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and cornstarch in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Slowly stir in the milk and cream and heat, stirring regularly, until the mixture barely begins to bubble. Begin stirring continuously until thickened to a mayonnaise consistency, about 1-2 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour into a heat-safe bowl and place a single sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the pudding. This will help ot prevent the pudding from forming a skin. Allow to cool at least to room temperature.
To make the whipped cream:
In the meantime, prepare the whipped cream. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese just barely until smooth. Slowly stir in the whipping cream and then increase the speed, whipping until frothed and bubbly. Add the sugar and continue whipping on medium high speed until soft peaks form. Add the coffee liquor and continue whipping just until thickened to a cloud-like consistency. Refrigerated covered until ready to prepare your trifle.
To assemble the trifle:
Cut the cooled brownie pieces intil spoon-sized pieces. You can also opt for smaller pieces! Begin layering in your ingredients. Crumble the brownies and a few malt chocolate balls into the bottom of an 8-cup (or larger) trifle dish. Spoon the pudding on top, shaking the trifle dish gently to allow it to seep down into the dish. Finish with dollops of the coffee whipped cream and more candy pieces. If desired, you can layer the elements differently. Allow to rest in the fridge covered until you’re ready to enjoy.
Happy New Year, friends! It’s been a *hot* minute since we last chatted, and I’m dying to know: how was your holiday? Were you able to rest? Celebrate? Love someone in big ways? Our Christmas was pretty routine, with the exception of my book release, and I gotta tell you- mundane felt good. We did a lot less of the Christmassy stuff this year, opting instead for movies, bowls of popcorn, and lots of pajamas. I’m not sure that my kids will remember a childhood filled with trips to visit Santa, gingerbread houses, and extra decorations, but they’ll definitely remember Mom plopping down next to them in her bathrobe. This year, that kind of quiet was just what we needed.
In the past, I’ve drummed up a whole bunch of expectations for myself this time of year: personal goals, marriage goals, work goals, and more than a few body-centric lists of ways I could do better. My personality is the kind that thrives wherever bullet points and checkmarks are concerned, and I’ve rarely met a benchmark I didn’t mind running towards. But this year, I’m at a loss. To be honest, I feel like I have very little direction and even fewer goals I want to pursue, so even though my inner drive is telling me to GO, my brain keeps responding with a, “but… where?”
For some reason, this troubles me. Not because I’m discontent with my own life or what I’ve achieved or the things I have to offer as a woman, mother, or writer, but because, in a lot of ways, I’ve trained myself to be ever on the move. Itfeels good to check off those lists. Ilike claiming those achievements as my own. Why can’t I do and have it all?
-“Being quiet, willing to learn, ready to question and wonder and think in new ways- this is how we grow. “
For me, the stillness of not knowing is uncharted territory. And while it’s not the kind that feels comfy cozy, I do think it could be precisely what I need. We don’t have to have the maps or lists or plans figured out to move forward, and there’s lots to learn in the waiting, too. Being quiet, willing to learn, ready to question and wonder and think in new ways- this is how we grow. It’s not a stagnant or backtracking thing, and taking a step in a new direction doesn’t mean that ground has been lost. And certainly a lack of resolutions doesn’t mean a lack of resolve. So that’s me right now. Nothing terribly exciting, and certainly not the kind of commentary you’d expect to find on a blog post about Nutella coffee, but it’s where I am and I thought I’d let you know. 🙂
So without further ado, here’s the first recipe of 2022- Nutella Coffee! This one is an offering from my book, and I love it for its ease and comfort. Here, strong coffee is made even more rich with the addition of chocolate hazelnut spread. A dollop (or two! or three!) of whipped cream rounds this out as the best little afternoon pick-me-up or dessert.
Also, not miss the top 10 recipes of 2021! Collectively, these recipes were viewed hundreds of thousands of times, and I gotta say- you all pick well! Out of these, my favorites are the cookies and cream rolls, the bourbon bundt cake, and the banana Nutella muffins, but I’ll let you decide! Give them a peep and let me know what you think! Happy Wednesday, Happy New Year, and Happy Baking, y’all!
In a large measuring liquid cup or oversized mug, use a milk frother or small whisk to stir the Nutella into the coffee until all the chocolate has melted and combined smoothly. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy!
It’s been a while since we made fun of my husband. He’s an easy target, not because he’s an unfortunate human but because he’s such a good sport, and I have a particularly terrific time poking fun at his eating habits. If you’ve been around this block a time or two, you know he loves pudding (or, “puddin,” as he would say) but really prefers the store-bought variety. I’m talking Snack Packs. Pudding Packs. The ones that clearly have no real ingredients because they don’t even require refrigeration. He’s easy to please yet impossible to impress, but this chocolate pudding pie is one of the first wins I’ve recorded in a while. He loves it, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
Old fashioned cream pies are terrific because they generally require no baking and come together easily on the stove. This chocolate pudding pie is no exception to that rule, and, save for the baking of the pie crust, requires no oven time at all! The chocolate flavor is defined but not overly rich thanks to the mild contribution of cocoa powder here. In addition, no chopped chocolate is needed for this treat which means you get to spend less time at the cutting board and more time eating dessert. WIN.
To make this pie, we start with the crust. Now, you could use a store-bought or frozen variety, but I would really like for you to try my favorite homemade crust. You can find the recipe down below or read all about it here. Form the dough in whatever standard pie dish you own and then bake until it is golden. Don’t scrimp here- we want a crust that is flaky through and through!
Next, to prepare the filling, we starting by combining milk, sugar, flour, and cocoa powder on the stovetop. I like to add the milk really slowly to ensure all of the clumps of cocoa powder dissolve completely. After all, no one wants a clumpy pie! Heat and cook until it thickens slightly and they gradually stir some of that milk mixture into the beaten eggs. Keep whisking all throughout this phase to avoid stirring scrambled eggs into your pie. Re-heat the filling again, bringing it to a thick bubble, and then finish the mixture off with a little vanilla and butter. That’s it! So simple!
This chocolate pudding pie is the perfect dessert to transition us from summer into fall. Give it a try in the coming weeks and let me know what you think! Oh, and be sure to try out some of my hubby’s other faves below! Happy Monday and Happy Baking!
If you like this chocolate pudding pie you should try:
This old fashioned chocolate pudding pie is a custard pie made on the stovetop with rich chocolate flavor throughout!
For the crust:
1–3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespons chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
5 tablespoons (approximately) ice water
1 large egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water
For the pie:
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
1 large egg plus 1 yolk, whisked together in a bowl
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the topping:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
To prepare the crust:
Whiz the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor to combine (Note: you can also do this by hand with a pastry cutter!) Pulse in the shortening and butter, just until evenly dispersed in pea-sized clumps. Begin adding ice water 2 tablespoons at a time until moist clumps begin to form. Remove dough from food processor, form it into a flat round disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour prior to use.
When you’re ready to bake the pie, roll the dough out on a well-floured surface into a 1/8-1/4” circle about an inch larger than your pie plate on all sides. Roll the dough loosely back onto the rolling pin and lift it into the pie dish. Gently fit the dough into the pie plate and trim off any excess dough leaving a 1” border around the edge of the dish. Fold the lip of the dough under so that it extends just over the edge of the pie plate and crimp the edges as you prefer. Prick a few holes in the bottom of the dough with a fork and place the whole pan into the freezer to chill briefly, about 15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
When the oven is preheated, remove the pie plate from the freezer and line the insides of it with a piece of parchment paper. Use either pie weights or dry beans/rice to weigh down the dough and bake for about 20 minutes. After this initial bake, remove the pie weights, brush the entire crust with a thin layer of egg wash (the egg whisked with water), and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. Set aside to cool while you prepare your filling.
To prepare the filling:
In a heavy-bottomed pan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, flour, and salt. Slowly add in the milk, stirring all the while, and set the pan over medium-low heat. Keep stirring regularly until the mixture comes to a bubble. Continue stirring and cooking an additional 1-2 minutes, removing from heat only once the mixture has thickened to a mayonnaise consistency. Carefully scoop up a cup of the hot mixture in a measuring cup of ladle and slowly add it to the eggs, whisking them all the while to ensure they don’t scramble under the heat of the pudding. Once the entire cup has been added, pour the egg mixture back with the remaining pudding in the pan, stir, and place back on low heat. Bring to a bubble again and cook for an additional minute and a half to thicken and then remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla and butter and pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust. If you find the pudding has clumps, you can use a fine-mesh strainer to strain out any while you pour it into the crust. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the filling and refrigerate until cooled and firm.
Once cooled, prepare your topping by beating the whipping cream in a large bowl on medium speed until thickened to soft peaks. Slowly add in the sugar and continue whipping until thickened to a cloud-like consistency. Serve immediately!
My favorite things about quarantining? Pajamas all day. Naked babies in the backyard. Cocktails at 4, coffee at noon, and drawn-out breakfasts that turn into lunch and dinner. I’ve loved the limited options, an excuse to stay in, and those few weeks where my husband was home to play with the kids more; we’ve had extra time for snuggling, playing, reading, and doing absolutely nothing. We’ve baked cookies and sandwich loaves and batches of banana bread cake for absolutely no reason at all. I know I’ve complained some about the isolated minutes of these days, but don’t let me fool you- sometimes I kinda like it.
One thing that has absolutely tickled me is the number of you who have taken up baking during this time. It is AWESOME. Being able to navigate the kitchen, to serve people we love yummy things we’ve made with our own two hands, is such a huge and wonderful thing. It’s not silly or a waste of time or limited to just a few crafty homemaker types- everyone has a place in the kitchen, and it makes me happy to no end to see so many of you find your space. For that reason, I’ve found myself making simple homemade treats and special twists on familiar classics to share on this site, because I know that’s better for everyone right now. Case in point: this banana bread cake.
Banana Bread Cake
Banana bread has got to be one of the most basic baked goods ever. Combine that with the fact that I almost always have 2 or 3 bananas dying on my counter, and you have yourself a winning combination for a shoo-on recipe. This banana bread cake is just that, a cakey bread, and it’s topped with a peanut butter whipped cream that is, and I kid you not, to DIE FOR. So good. Why have we not been doing this all along?
To make it, we need a single bowl, some grungy bananas, and a few other staple ingredients: flour, sugar, eggs, and so on. They all get mixed together and poured into a round cake pan. I used a 9″ springform pan, but you could opt for an 8″ round pan, a square pan, or even a big loaf pan! I’ve baked this in several different pieces of bakeware. Keep in mind that your bake time will differ depending on your pan size, so just bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. The top will have risen a bit and will no longer look wet.
Once the banana bread cake has cooled, we top it with the peanut butter whip! If you’re not planning to eat this cake all at once, I highly recommend just serving individual slices with the cream as you go. It’s best to keep the whipped cream stored covered in the fridge as opposed to on top of the cake. If you’re hoping to serve this as a dessert instead of a breakfast or brunch option, I’d recommend also throwing in a drizzle of salted caramel, some candied peanuts, or maybe even some caramelized bananas- something to up the sweet a bit and elevate this from a breakfast food to a dessert.
Keep baking, y’all! You’re doing awesome, and I love following along. Maybe consider making this banana bread cake? Give it a try and let me know what you think! Happy baking, friends!
If you like this banana bread cake you should try:
This banana bread cake is served with a fluffy peanut butter whipped cream and can be made for dessert or breakfast!
Total Time:1 hour 15 minutes
For the cake:
¾ cup mashed ripe bananas (from about 2 large bananas)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1–1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1–1/2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup whole milk
For the whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (see notes)
Crumbled peanut butter cookies (like Nutter Butters), peanut granola, or chopped honey roasted peanuts
To prepare the cake:
Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Lightly grease a 9” springform pan and line the bottom of it with a sheet of parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine the mashed bananas and vinegar. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until pale, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and extract and beat on low just to combine. Add in half of the flour as well as the baking soda and salt and stir on low until almost combined. Add half of the milk and stir to combine. Repeat this process to incorporate the remaining flour and milk. Do not overmix. Fold in the banana mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 1 hour. Allow to cool completely prior to topping with whipped cream.
To prepare the whipped cream:
Come all of the ingredients in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and whip on medium speed until fluffy, medium peaks form in the bowl. If you plan to serve and eat all of the cake at once, go ahead and top the cake with the whipped cream and garnish as desired, otherwise, I recommend just cutting slices and serving with whipped cream as you eat it. Cake is best eaten within 2 days.
You can add extra peanut butter for a more intense flavor- this is totally optional!
Hold the phone, it’s banana pudding. Caramelized banana pudding, to be precise. The recipe is as delicious and comforting as it sounds, and it’s being served up with a few Friday favorites to put your mind on weekend mode. If you need some mindless reading and a seriously killer Southern dessert recipe, you’re in the right spot!
Okay, you know I’m all for Southern food, even the classic cult favorites that feel a little odd or out of place in my kitchen. But a peanut butter & mayonnaise sandwich? We may have taken it too far. I love the polarizing food debates (Coke or Pepsi? Dressing or Stuffing? Is Spam really a food?) , but IMO this one just needs no debate. Decide for yourself with a look at this article from Food52.
Shoes for Your Sister and Grandma
I traveled to Orlando last weekend for my sister’s high school graduation. In a comical turn of events, we discovered that my Mimi was wearing shoes to the grad party almost identical to my sister’s. Could it be that there is a sandal that knows no generational borders? In case you’re interested, I found some similar cute ones here and a loftier, more-refined option here. Oh, and by the way, it turns out my Pops has the same New Balance sneakers as my husband… this was less funny and altogether terrifying to me.
I’ve been seeing various forms of kolaches (the classic Czech pastry) popping up all over the internet. Turns out I’m not the only one. The humans at Bon Appetit spent a couple of days driving nearly 300 miles to try 20 varieties of this European treat, and I’m more than thrilled to pick up a few recipe ideas here. Anyone want to see some kolaches on this site?
I’m in no rush to get this baby out, but I am more than eager to get my hands on some non-maternity wear. At some point in time during this pregnancy, my favorite stores started selling clothes that might as well have been made for my body type. Like all of the wide-leg, loose-fitting pants we’re seeing everywhere? I’m here for it. Check out my favorites from Madewell here… I especially have my eye on that little tie-waist striped number.
Food & Wine broke down the ins and outs of the store-bought summertime favorite popsicles. Their recipe uses whole fruit and can be adapted to include different herbs and unique produce. This recipe may be the one dessert that Moms and kids will rally behind this summer.
A few months ago, I told you about my slow tiptoe into better-for-you skincare products. In an effort to nail down something that was accessible and reasonably priced, I decided to try out a few new products from Supergoop! A few of my girlfriends have been ranting about them for months, so I figured they couldn’t be terrible. Most intriguing? A dry shampoo with SPF that you can sprinkle in your hairline before a day in the sun, a mineral face powder with SPF that bronzes as it protects, and vitamin-containing serum chock-full of sun guard. Give a peek and let me know if you’ve had luck with any of their other products!
Caramelized Banana Pudding
My friends at Kitchn asked me to work on the ultimate Southern banana pudding recipe for their site. As a fairly new transplant to the South, I hardly felt qualified to be the judge of this kind of thing, but I was happy to take a stab at it anyways. Along the way, I learned more about banana pudding than I thought I needed to know and was excited to make an attempt at a recipe I’ve wanted to formulate for some time: caramelized banana pudding.
There’s an excellent BBQ restaurant close to our home that serves caramelized banana pudding. Unlike my husband, I’m not really a pudding kind of gal, but THIS banana pudding is really worth every calorie. After trying their rendition of caramelized banana pudding, I decided to attempt a homemade version, and the outcome of that attempt is what I’m so excited to share with you today.
Making the Pudding
The pudding itself is pretty classic in nature. This is an egg and flour thickened pudding that is cooked over the stove until thick and creamy. Layered in between are vanilla wafer cookie crumbs and bananas that have been cooked barely in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. There’s literally no wrong way to make this caramelized banana pudding. With ingredients so decadent, it’s bound to be a homerun.
I like to serve this dessert in individual mason or weck jars, but you can also layer it in a 2-quart baking dish. Either way, the recipe will yield about 8 servings. You can expect a cool and creamy treat with bits of crunch throughout and loads of warm flavors that you normally don’t get in a classic banana pudding. This is definitely the highbrow treat your summer Southern dinners have been looking for, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. Happy Friday to you all and happy baking!
If you like this caramelized banana pudding you should check out:
This caramelized banana pudding is a take on the classic southern recipe. It features a custard-based pudding, whipped cream, and cinnamon-spiced caramelized banana!
Total Time:25 minutes
For the pudding:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 3/4 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
48 vanilla wafers (about 6 ounces), coarsely crumbled (2 2/3 cups), plus more for garnish
For the caramelized bananas:
½ cup (113 gm) unsalted butter
½ cup (100 gm) brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
5 bananas sliced into ¼” slices
To prepare the pudding:
Whisk the sugar, flour, and salt together in a medium saucepan. Gradually whisk in the milk until combined, then place the pan over medium heat. Heat the milk mixture, stirring regularly, until thickened to a creamy salad dressing consistency and gently bubbling, 8 to 12 minutes. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes more. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. While whisking the yolks vigorously, slowly drizzle in the milk mixture. Once combined, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place back over medium heat. It will be pale yellow, and just barely thicker than heavy cream consistency. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and butter until melted and combined. At this point, the mixture will be back to that creamy salad dressing consistency (think: runny ranch) and just a bit more saturated yellow in color.
Sprinkle half of the crumbled vanilla wafers into a 1 1/2- or 2-quart baking dish, or the bottom of 8 (6-ounce) jars. Place half of the banana mixture over the crumbled wafers. Dollop half of the warm pudding over the bananas, or fill each jar to its halfway mark with half of the pudding.
Repeat layering. Repeat the layering process once more with the remaining wafers, bananas, and pudding. Cover the baking dish or each jar with a sheet of plastic wrap (press it directly onto the pudding if you don’t want a skin to form). Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. Top with whipped cream or meringue, and more crumbled cookies, if desired.
To prepare the caramelized bananas:
Combine the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a frying pan over medium heat to melt and combine. Once melted, add the sliced bananas in a single layer in the pan and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook on each side for 1 minute and then remove the pan from heat. Allow to cool slightly before layering in with the pudding.
This is a post about banoffee pie. If you’ve never heard of it or aren’t quite sure what it’s all about, you’re in luck, because today we’re going to get down to the nitty gritty of this fabulous sweet and salty dessert. But today’s post is also about patience. It’s about waiting, and moving graciously throughout transition. So if you’re into gooey pies or love real talk on life lessons, stick around because we’re going to chat through it all this morning.
You ever get the sense that you’re in a period of change? For some time, I have sensed that that’s where I was. Over Christmas, I mistook this feeling for simply being burnt out. Between a move, a full work calendar, and the first trimester of a sicky pregnancy, I was just kinda… blah. So I waded (and waited) through it, trimmed back on my to-do list, and took time to just enjoy the season with my kiddos. When January arrived, I knew it was time to get back to work. I jumped back into the grind, expecting things to flow as smoothly as they previously had been, and for some reason it just didn’t.
Does this ever happen to you? Do you ever find yourself feeling kinda stuck or lost, maybe even a little unsure of what your next step should be? Almost like you’re at some sort of fork in the path that you’re on, but there’s no arrow or roadmap to tell you what turn comes next? Well, that was me. Unsettled, uncertain, and at a loss as to what to do next.
How do we wait gracefully for the next chapter of our story? Do we just idle through life and wait for the change in wind to blow us in the right direction? Do we stifle any feeling of discontentment, and play through the pain or hustle harder until some giant neon sign with whistles and bells dumptrucks us into a new phase of life?
My small grouper leader has been talking about what it looks like to be peacefully at rest in our circumstances even when they’re undesirable or even just a little bit off. Being at rest doesn’t really mean that you just stop working all together and wait for a handout. It also doesn’t mean dwelling on the yuck and talking about it endlessly until a change comes. What I’m believing and what is beginning to really settle on in my spirit is that waiting gracefully means being at peace regardless of your circumstances. It means moving forward, working diligently in the time being, with your eyes peeled for opening doors ahead. It means being okay with not having it all figured out and content to continue being effective right where you are.
“And sure enough, even waiting will end… if you can just wait long enough.” -William Faulkner
I’m not sure if any of you all are in/have been in this boat that I’m paddling, but my gut tells me I’m not alone. There’s lots of us, men and women alike, who desire and even feel a change coming on, but the unknown and potentially prolonged period of waiting is straight up terrifying. My word for you today is that it’s okay to transition, and there is nothing to fear about stepping into the unknown when the time is right. Work hard, find joy exactly where you are for the time being, and trust your instincts. You’ll know when the time is right and you’ll have no regrets if you blossomed where you were planted for the time being.
Is that enough real talk? Are you ready for pie?
Banoffee pie is a traditional English favorite. In a true banoffee pie, a digestive cookie crust is filled with layers of bananas and thick, gooey toffee filling. Whipped cream and shaved chocolate are loaded on just before serving for a sticky, sweet, and altogether irresistible tasting pie. This version, fairly spot on with exception of the crust, hits the mark on every aspect of that traditional banoffee pie flavor profile, and it is nothing short of fabulous.
I’m sharing today’s recipe in partnership with my BFFs at Kerrygold. Quality butter makes a huge difference in taste in this pie, and you’ll notice the rich, buttery goodness in almost every element of it. In the crust, warmed butter brings together the salted graham cracker and brown sugar mixture. In the filling, butter balances out the sugary sweet toffee and lends a rich chew to every bite. Butter helps this chilled, gooey treat hold its shape in the fridge and lends it so much flavor. This is a dessert worth investing in quality ingredients, and you can trust Kerrygold to bring it every time.
Making the Pie
A few tidbits on this banoffee pie. First, it’s entirely no bake. The crust is a pat and chill situation and the filling is prepped on the stovetop. Second, this pie is messy. It’s not a perfectly sliced, prim and proper treat; it’s a lick the plate, sop up every bit of filling type of thing. Here’s what you can expect: the crust is a fairly standard graham cracker crust, except we use brown sugar for extra flavor and a little extra salt to balance out the filling. Truly, it’s a salty crust and that is in no way disappointing.
The bananas, which you can layer underneath the filling or on top of it depending on your preference, will 100% weep and make this a seriously gooey drippy pie. If you hide your bananas under the toffee, the whole filling will become a bit puddly upon cutting, and if you layer them on top, you can maintain a little more structure depending on how close to the time of serving that you assemble the pie. Read in the notes section of the recipe for more on that.
Finishing Off the Pie
Finally, the whipped topping here is entirely optional, but whipped cream is almost always a great idea to me. It’s only barely sweetened and lends a creamy vanilla flavor to the whole shebang. If you want to land chocolate shavings like you see photographed, you can use the tutorial I followed here.
This banoffee pie is one of my favorite things I’ve made recently. It’s maybe not much from an aesthetic standpoint, but what it lacks in structure and clean lines it makes up for in some serious level-up flavor. I really hope you’ll give it a try in the coming weeks. Many thanks to Kerrygold for sponsoring this post. Y’all, give it a try when you take a stab at this pie. Their butter is seriously divine. Happy baking to you all and thanks for reading along!
This banoffee pie is a salted graham cracker crust filled with a banana and toffee filling. A sweet and salty, gooey treat of a pie!
Yield:1- 9" Pie
For the crust:
1/3 cup (70 gm) brown sugar, packed
2 cups (200 gm) graham cracker crumbs
¾ teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (100 gm) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
½ cup (110 gm) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup (100 gm) brown sugar, packed
1–14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
For the pie:
4 medium-sized bananas
1 cup (240 gm) heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate shavings, if desired
To prepare the crust:
Whisk together the brown sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Add the melted butter and stir until well combined. Press the crumbs into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9-10” tart pan with a removable bottom. Place in the fridge to chill while you prepare the filling.
To prepare the filling:
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the butter and brown sugar and stir regularly until melted. Add the sweetened condensed milk and stir to combine. Stir the contents of the pan regularly until the mixture comes to a boil and then cook, stirring all the while, for an additional 3 minutes. The mixture will barely thicken and may even darken a hair. Remove the mixture from the heat.
To assemble the pie:
Slice the banana into ¼” coins and layer then around the bottom of the pie crust (see notes). Pour the warm toffee directly on top of the bananas and place in the fridge or freezer to chill completely. Just before serving the pie, use the whisk attachment in the bowl of a stand mixer to bring the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract into a whipped cream. Spread dollops on top of the pie and serve! If you don’t plan to serve the pie immediately, see notes for alternative options.
As an alternative, you can pour the filling directly on top of the pie crust and then layer the bananas on top just before serving. The bananas WILL WEEP inside this pie, releasing their juices and flavor. While this definitely enhances the flavor, it also makes for a messy pie. If you’re wanting slightly neater presentation, I’d recommend adding the bananas on top of the toffee just before serving, but keep in mind that these bananas will still weep, so serve quickly! You can barely spritz the bananas with a mixture of lemon juice and water prior to topping the pie if you don’t plan to cover them with whipped cream entirely. This will stall the browning process.
The crust recipe will yield a thick crust! If you don’t want your crust quite that thick, save 1/3 cup of the crumbs and use to sprinkle on top of the whipped cream.
I love to prepare new foods. People always ask me if I have favorite recipes that I reach for time and time again, but the truth is that I’m usually so excited to try something new that I often forget to save time (and stomach space) for the flavors and recipes that I loved in the past. Particularly as it pertains to baking, I regularly find myself so inspired by the treats I see sprinkled all over magazine pages and the internet that it’s all I can do to stay on track enough to revisit older cakes, pies, and cookies that I’ve made before.
Still, there are times that you just want a recipe that feels like home. Those comfort food recipes, the ones that taste like you’re eating them off of your Nana’s plates or in the company of your Mom and Dad, are often the ones that nourish you all the way down to your soul. For me, those comfort recipes include strawberry shortcake, my Mom’s baked spaghetti, and even soft-serve ice cream cones. I love peanut butter and honey sandwiches, McDonald’s French fries, and even that runny ranch dressing that you can’t buy in a bottle but always seems to find its way on your plate at diner restaurants. Those flavors, completely unsophisticated and no-frills, are the ones that taste like home to me, and no amount of shiny new recipes and 5-star meals will ever replace those. I have a feeling you might have similar stories, no?
So I made this banana cream pie cake for my husband. Always the pie and cookie lover, never the cake guy, I wanted to create a simple and summery recipe that would give nod to the banana pudding he grew up eating in his Nana’s kitchen. He tells the story that, as a kid, his nana would scoop bowls of pudding for all of the grandkids before supper. The goal was to sneak into the kitchen early to stake a generously poured bowl with the most vanilla wafers. I never met his Nana, but I like any lady who left my special guy with a full belly and loads of memories.
To be fair, this is not banana pudding. This banana cream pie cake, a white sheet cake topped with sliced bananas, pastry cream, and a fluffy layer of fresh whip, is really a modernized shout out to the pies and puddings we all know and love. I wanted a simple dessert that gave love to the flavors of yesteryear, and I think we accomplished that here.
To make banana cream pie cake, we start with the sheet cake. This simple, fluffy white cake can be made in a basic 9″x13″ pan. In a pinch, reach for a box cake mix here, because, seriously, who even cares? Once the cake is cooled, layer with a few sliced bananas and whip up the pastry cream. Eggs, milk, and a fair share of sugar get cooked on the stove top until thick and smooth. The mixture gets spread all over the cake and left to chill in the fridge.
Once cooled, top the banana cream pie cake with a thick layer of whipped cream. From there, you can keep the cake in the fridge until ready to serve slices to everyone on the block. Yes, this cake will feed a crowd! I like to top each square with extra banana slices and maybe even a sprinkle of nuts or vanilla wafers, but you can do as you please. Just make sure you have loads of friends to share it with.
No matter what feels like home to you, I’d encourage you to make it sometime soon. I think we learn a lot about the people around us when we share the things that cut us deep, and let’s be honest- food is always a big deal at home. So share it with the people you love. Happy baking and happy weekend!
If you like this banana cream pie cake you should try:
This banana cream pie cake is a white sheet cake topped with fresh bananas, vanilla pastry cream, and whipped cream! All the flavors of your favorite banana pudding and cream pies in a simple sheet cake that serves a crowd!
For the cake:
4 large (140 gm) egg whites, 2 yolks reserved for pastry cream
4 tablespoons (55 gm) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup (100 gm) vegetable oil
1–1/3 cup (265 gm) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1–3/4 cup (245 gm) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup (150 gm) milk
For the pastry cream (adapted from King Arthur Flour):
1–1/2 cups (340 gm) whole milk
¼ cup (50 gm) sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 large (30 gm) egg yolks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
3 bananas, sliced into 1/8” thick rounds
1–1/2 cups (340 gm) heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
To prepare the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9×13” metal baking pan with baking spray.
In the clean bowl of a stand mixer, using the whisk attachment, whip the four egg whites on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Scoop out of the bowl and set aside while you prepare the rest of the cake.
Using the paddle attachment in the bowl of the same stand mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the oil and sugar and cream until light and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine. In a separate smaller bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add half of these dry ingredients into the butter mixture and stir on low to combine. Add the milk, stirring to combine, followed by the remaining dry ingredients. Stir on low until well incorporated.
Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the egg whites until well incorporated, being careful to not overmix. Spread the cake batter into the prepared pan and bake until toothpick insereted comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Take care to not overbake as the cake will be dry if so.
When done, remove from oven to cool all the way while you prep your pastry cream.
To prepare the pastry cream:
In a medium saucepan, combine 1-1/4 cups of milk, the sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly to bring to a simmer and dissolve the sugar. In the meantime, in a separate bowl, stir together the remaining ¼ cup milk with the cornstarch, flour, and egg yolks. Whisk to combine and set aside while waiting for the milk and sugar mixture to simmer. Once the milk and sugar mixture is barely bubbling, remove from heat and slowly pour it in a small and steady stream into the cornstarch mixture, whisking vigorously. Continue streaming in while whisking until all the hot milk has been incorporated and then return the whole lot of it back into the saucepan. Whisk constantly over medium heat until barely bubbling and the mixture has thickened to a mayonnaise consistency. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla until smooth. Immediately move to assemble the cake.
To assemble the cake:
Space out a single layer of thin banana slices on the cooled cake. Pour the hot pastry cream on top of the bananas and use a spatula to spread it all over the top evenly. Try to keep it on top of the cake instead of falling off the sides. Place a single sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream and place in the fridge to cool, about 30 minutes.
Once cool, pour the heavy whipping cream into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whip on medium speed until slightly thickened and frothy. Add the sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Carefully remove the plastic wrap from the top of the pastry cream and spread the whipped cream over the top of the entire cake. Serve immediately with additional slices of banana or a crumble of graham crackers.
White cakes dry out easily. Be sure to bake only until a toothpick inserted barely comes out clean. If you fear you’ve overbooked it, you can use a toothpick to poke holes over the cake and brush a little milk over top. No one will know! 🙂
The plastic wrap on top of the pastry cream prevents the cream from forming a “skin”. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer my dessert skinless. 🙂
These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of wonderful, but can I just say that I am exhausted? After a few weeks of living out of a suitcase, nothing brings me more joy than to write to you all today from the comfort of my desk at home. The world is beautiful with a million and one delicious and exciting things to offer, but like Dorothy said, there’s no place like home.
Sometimes I laugh at how attached to this home I’ve become. It wasn’t long ago that the thought of a lifetime spent in the deep Southern confines of Selma, Alabama was terrifying to me. Even to this day, my friends from my pre-Selma days don’t understand how I’ve eased into this life so comfortably. I imagine that the simplicity and slow pace of a small town probably appears lackluster to some outsiders looking in, but I’ve learned that this kind of life can shine pretty vibrantly if you’re willing to settle in and polish it.
Are you in a similar phase of life? Have you found yourself in a chapter of your story that you never really imagined for yourself? Are you searching for purpose in a season that you maybe haven’t quite figured out?
I want to encourage you by saying that there’s so much hope. There’s silver in the rough edges of our lives if we’re willing to hunt it out, and there’s purpose and joy even in the stories that we wouldn’t have written for ourselves. I have been on the receiving end of so much love and connection and fun- rich relationships and moments that I would have missed out on if I had remained closed to them. My decision to lean into the unknown and choose joy in the life that we had was one of the most valuable choices I have made, and I hope you’re in a place to make it too. Be at home wherever you find yourself.
There’s a lot to love about these rhubarb shortcakes. The cakes, tender and layered, make a perfect vehicle for toppings. The rhubarb, roasted until syrupy and sweet, provides a fragrance and tang that not other fruit can. And the mascarpone whipped cream is straight up manna from heaven- creamy, sweet perfection.
To make these rhubarb shortcakes, we start with the cakes! This recipe was adapted from my jam-filled scones, so expect as much when you make them. Butter is cut into the dry ingredients until there are pea-sized clumps throughout. The heavy whipping cream gets poured in to bring the dough together. We pat out the mixture onto a floured surface and use our biscuit folding technique to achieve tall, flaky layers. Bake the cakes in the oven while you prep the rhubarb.
Trim the ends and any rough spots off of your rhubarb stalks and cut them into 2-3″ pieces. Toss them with sugar and fresh split vanilla beans or vanilla bean paste. Roast in a preheated oven until the juices run thick and the rhubarb is tender to a fork.
Finally, for the mascarpone cream, beat the mascarpone and sugar together until smooth. Slowly drizzle in the whipping cream until it is incorporated smoothly and beat on medium-high speed until it is cloud-like and fluffy. Store in the fridge while you assemble your rhubarb shortcakes.
To serve, split the warm cakes in two and top with several rhubarb pieces. Allow the cake to soak of some of the excess juices- SO GOOD. Top with a giant dollop (or two) of the mascarpone whipped cream and replace the lid of the cake.
These rhubarb shortcakes are simple and no frills, but entirely impressive to eat. The flavors combine really nicely and make for a delightful summertime treat. Give them a try and I think you’ll agree. If you love them as much as I do, I hope you’ll tell me about it in the comments section below. Happy Thursday and Happy Baking!
If you like these rhubarb shortcakes you should check out:
These rhubarb shortcakes are sweet, tangy, and entirely delicious! A tender scone is topped with roasted vanilla bean rhubarb and a mascarpone whipped cream. Perfect for summer desserts!
For the shortcakes:
2–1/2 cups (325 gm) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (50 gm) sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1–1/2 tablespoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup (113 gm) unsalted butter, cold
1 cup (240 gm) heavy whipping cream, plus more for brushing
For the roasted rhubarb:
1–1/2 pounds rhubarb, ends trimmed and stalks cut into equal-sized 2-3” chunks
1–1/2 cups (300 gm) light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or extract
For the mascarpone cream:
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature but still cool
¼ cup (30 gm) powdered sugar
1 cup (240 gm) heavy whipping cream
To prepare the shortcakes:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Use a pastry cutter or the backs of two forks to cut in the butter until it takes on a sandy consistency with pea-sized clumps throughout. Add the heavy cream and fold until a dough comes together.
Pat the dough out into a 1” thick rectangle and then fold in thirds like you’d fold a letter to put into an envelope. Pat the dough out to 1” thickness again and use a knife to cut the dough into 8 equal sized pieces. If desired, you can use a 2-1/2” round biscuit cutter, but this is unnecessary. Place the shortcakes on a baking sheet snuggled up to one another, and use a pastry brush to apply a thin layer of heavy cream on their tops. Sprinkle with sugar, decrease the oven’s heat to 400 degrees and bake the shortcakes until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Allow to cool prior to serving.
To prepare the roasted rhubarb:
Preheat the oven to 375 (or lower oven temp after baking shortcakes).
Toss the rhubarb pieces, brown sugar, and vanilla bean paste together in a 9”x13” baking dish. Roast the rhubarb, tossing occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until the rhubarb is tender and the sugar has all dissolved. Allow to cool slightly prior to serving.
To prepare the mascarpone cream:
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the mascarpone and powdered sugar until smooth, about 1 minute. Drizzle in a bit of the cream and beat briefly to combine. Repeat this process a few times until the cheese has been thinned out to a loose, smooth consistency. Add the remaining cream and beat on medium-high speed until the cream has fluffed up to a whipped cream consistency and medium-stiff peaks have formed.
To serve the shortcakes:
Split each warm shortcake in half and top each bottom half with a few stalks of roasted rhubarb. Top the rhubarb with a generous dollop of cream and replace the top to the shortcake. Serve immediately!
This recipe makes large servings. Feel free to make smaller scones. If so, the recipe will serve 10-12
There’s a reason I drink wine. It’s the same reason I go for walks and listen to the same comforting records over and over again. It’s the reason I lose myself in perfecting cinnamon bread recipes and hide little slices of blood orange cheesecake in the back of the fridge.
Kids. The reason is kids.
Let me be clear: Mothering is the honor of my life. It’s full of surprises and joy and tears burning in the corners of your eyes because you didn’t know a tiny person could make you laugh so hard. It’s rich and life-giving, and I wouldn’t trade these days for all of the long legs, designer handbags, and front row tickets to Hamilton that the world has to offer.
Mothering: The Hard Stuff
But there’s also endless laundry. There’s sassy toddlers who spend a week’s worth of dinners in time out. There’s blueberries smashed in the seat cushions and about one million questions that start with “Why?” and end with absolutely nothing of importance. This work that we do, Mothers- this beautiful, repetitive, insanity-inducing joy of our lives- is quite often a literal and proverbial poop show, and you’ll never guess who gets the backstage pass to the whole thing.
Yup. It’s the same person who shoves peas into chubby cheeks and clips microscopic toenails. And it’s the person who loses their last French fry to a quick-handed toddler. It’s the gal who sorts through the trash to find the various remotes, sippy cups, and shoes that someone “hid” in the garbage can. A mother’s list of responsibilities is only outmatched by the number of tears they wipe and tantrums they tame, and we somehow trick ourselves into signing up for it again and again and again.
Brett and I recently started talking about the potential of growing our family in the distant future. Sometimes the thought of taking on one more human makes me absolutely choke on my own spit. If I have to listen to one more person whining at the dinner table, I will face-plant in my plate of spaghetti. But still, there are intangibles to mothering that make it irresistible.
Mothering: The Good Stuff
Like sometimes I watch my two children from afar as if the whole thing is happening in slow-motion, black and white. I see little faces wrinkled with smiles, heads thrown back with laughter. They move wildly, chasing each other around the kingdom of our backyard like they could run anywhere in the world. Suddenly, they turn. We lock eyes, and no sooner than a whispered “Mama” unfurls in the wind, they’re running towards me- arms open and voices shrieking into a knock-you-over kind of embrace. The exchange we make for all of the broken dishes and dirty socks is suddenly worth it, because there is nothing quite as remarkable as the sound of little voices whispering your name. There is nothing like the chance to be loved back.
Blood Orange Cheesecake
So yes, motherhood is hard. I don’t know if it gets easier, but while we wait to find out, let’s indulge in simple luxuries. Like this blood orange cheesecake.
This recipe was adapted from a blog favorite, my Meyer lemon cheesecake. You guys go crazy for that thang, so I knew I had to create more cheesy, citrusy goodness. The result is this head-turning, creamsicle-colored blood orange beauty that is sure to beat the pants off of any other dessert in your fridge.
Making the Cheesecake
First, to make it, we start with the crust. Crushed graham crackers, brown sugar, and cinnamon are mixed together to soak up a pool of melted butter. Next, press the mixture into a 9″ springform pan and bake it in the oven while you get started on the filling.
In the meantime, cream cheese and sugar come together until light and fluffy. Afterwards, add a few eggs, some heavy cream, and the blood orange juice and zest. Take care to not overwork your batter, and be sure to incorporate all of the little bits of cheese and zest. No one wants a clumpy cheesecake. Lastly, bake the whole thing in the oven until jiggly but set around the outer edges.
I like to take a few precautions with my cheesecake. First, I always prepare a water bath. This will ensure that my cheesecake bakes evenly and avoids any major cracks in its top. Secondly, I triple layer the aluminum foil around my pan to ensure that no water leaks into my pan. Even supposed “leak-free” pans have sprung a leak, and I promise, nothing is more demoralizing and wasting all of your precious blood oranges on a soggy cheesecake. And thirdly, I let my cheesecakes cool in phases to prevent any major structural damage. This includes a brief stint in a hot, but turned off, oven, a rest on the counter, and a long chill in the fridge.
This blood orange cheesecake is sweet and tart, a brilliant ode to that stunning winter fruit, so pick up a bag of blood oranges at your market and give this recipe a try!
If you like this blood orange cheesecake, you should try:
This blood orange cheesecake is a sweet and tart, creamy dessert with a cinnamon-spiced graham cracker crust. Learn how to make a successful cheesecake here!
For the crust:
10 sheets (150 gm) honey graham crackers, crumbled finely
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (75 gm) brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of Salt
6 tablespoons (85 gm) unsalted butter, melted
For the cheesecake:
1–1/2 pounds/ 3 blocks (680 gm) of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup (155 gm) sugar
3 large eggs (170 gm), room temperature
¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup (80 gm) of blood orange juice (about the juice of 3–4 blood oranges)
2 teaspoons grated blood orange zest, avoiding the pith
For the topping:
1 cup (240 gm) heavy whipping cream
¼ cup (50 gm) sugar
To prepare the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9″ springform pan by wrapping it in sheets of aluminum foil. I use 3 layers of extra wide foil wrapped to the top lip of the pan. Spray the inside walls and bottom of the pan with cooking spray.
Stir together the dry ingredients until combined. Add the melted butter and stir just until combined. Gently pat out your mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until set.
To prepare the cheesecake
Keep the oven preheated and get some water boiling in a kettle or saucepan for your water bath.
Beat cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer at medium speed (I use 4 on my Kitchen Aid Mixer) for 2 minutes to remove all clumps. Do not overbeat, but scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. If many clumps remain, ensure that your cream cheese has softened to room temp.
Add the sugar and beat on medium for an additional 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat to combine an additional 1 minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl and then add the heavy cream, vanilla, blood orange juice, and zest. Beat just to combine.
Pour the cheesecake batter on top of the prebaked crust. Gently rap the pan on the counter to help any air bubbles escape.
Place your springform pan into a slightly larger baking dish/pan and fill the larger pan with the boiling water you prepared for the water bath until the water reaches about halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
Carefully place both pans in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour. After an hour of baking, the edges and top of the cheesecake should be set but still slightly jiggle in the center. Turn the oven off and allow the cheesecake to bake for an additional 30 minutes in the oven. Prop the door of the oven open slightly with a wooden spoon and continue to cool the cheesecake for another 30 minutes in the cooling oven.
Discard the water bath, remove the foil and then place the cheesecake in the fridge to chill for several hours or overnight. The cheesecake can be stored in the fridge for several days.
To prepare the topping:
In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream in it becomes frothy and thick. Add the sugar and beat to medium stiff peaks. Spread over top of the cooled cheesecake and serve!
I wrap my springform pan with three layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. This is to protect your crust from any water leakage of your springform pan. Many pans will claim to be waterproof but your crust will get soggy and inedible if water leakage happens. Don’t take any chances!
I use a 11″ round cake pan for my water bath but you can use any oven-safe dish that you have. Once of my readers used a roasting pan and that works just fine!
The cooling process seems lengthy and unnecessary, but it helps to prevent drastic temperature changes that can cause structural issues with your cake.
A few weeks ago, Brett and I traveled to Chicago to celebrate my 29-ish (ok, 30th) birthday. The weekend was packed with SO MUCH FUN AND DELICIOUSNESS that I knew I just had to tell you guys all about it. Oh, and we’re going to talk about chocolate budino too, so happy birthday to everyone apparently.
Have you been to Chicago? It’s literally the best. The town is clean and beautiful with amazing restaurants, architecture, and shopping to boot. If cool food, professional sports, and really nice locals are your thing, Chicago is where it’s at.
Where We Stayed
We stayed downtown at the Loews Hotel and spent pretty much every waking moment eating and navigating the city. Although the shopping and tourist attractions were all pretty stellar, the hands-down highlight was the architecture tour along the river. Taking in the city from a boat on a sunny day was a treat I won’t soon forget.
And Friends Came, Too!
Another day was spent with my dearest friend, Trisha, and her husband who drove from Indianapolis to surprise me for my b-day! This girl has a brand new baby boy at home and still made the trek to hug my neck and celebrate- isn’t that golden? We had a few meals, shopped, and experienced the view from the 96th floor of the John Hancock building during our time together. Let’s raise a glass to the besties that love us well.
In the evenings, we hung out with my brother, Blake, who lives in downtown Chicago. While together, we visited some of my very favorite restaurants in the city and spared no calorie to make sure that we enjoyed the full culinary experience. My brother is a super adventurous eater and really appreciates good food, so it was next-level amazing to have him join our dining squad.
On our last day in Chicago, we had brunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Little Goat Diner, and went to see the Broadway musical Hamilton. If theatre or American history or hip-hop or ridiculous musical talent is your thing, THIS SHOW IS FOR YOU. I laughed, I cried, I danced in my seat- this show literally blew my mind and I’m dying to go again. If you have the opportunity to see this show, DOOOO IT.
Be sure to check out my list of Chicago faves below. In a city with a thousand wonderful things to do, I hope you’ll make time for at least one or two of these on your next trip.
While in Chicago, we ate dinner at Monteverde, a 2017 James Beard Award winning chef’s restaurant. We ordered things like pesto gnocchi and pumpkin ravioli, but the winner for me was the butterscotch budino. If you’re not familiar, budino is basically a rich Italian take on pudding, sometimes smooth and creamy like a custard, other times light and eggy like a souffle. Always wanting to appease my pudding-loving husband, I started tinkering with a chocolate budino recipe a few months ago, and I am thrilled to share the outcome with you today.
This chocolate budino is not your average Snack Pack. There’s no artificial chocolate powder flavor here; this thing doesn’t taste like a Yoo-Hoo. This version of chocolate budino tastes like CHOCOLATE- rich and buttery with the perfect amount of sweetness, but otherwise decidedly chocolate in flavor. Making chocolate budino is quite similar to making a homemade pudding, and once you know the base recipe there are three different topping variations that you can try. Seriously, I see this coming to an intimate dinner party near you.
Making the Budino
To make the chocolate budino, we start at the stove. Gently heat some whole milk and cream while you mix together the dry ingredients- cocoa powder, cornstarch, and sugar. A few egg yolks are whisked into the dry ingredients before the steaming dairy is added to the mix. We add the hot liquids in a slow and careful stream, whisking vigorously the whole time to ensure that we don’t scramble our egg yolks in the process. Once the milk and cream have been added, we pour the whole lot of it back into the saucepan on the stove and cook, continuing to whisk, until the mixture has thickened slightly to the consistency of a thick and creamy salad dressing.
Next, we lower the heat and add the remaining ingredients of chocolate, salt, vanilla, and butter, stirring to combine. Immediately divvy the pudding into small heat-safe containers and rest a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of each one to make sure that the pudding doesn’t form a skin (yuck).
Serving the Budino
This chocolate budino can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge just until the time of serving. I like to let mine warm up on the counter for a few minutes prior to serving so that you can realllllly taste the chocolate. While they sit out, you can begin assembling the toppings for these treats! Fresh whipped cream is a must, but from there you have some choices to make. I’ve included instructions for a berry topping, a chocolate crumble (adapted from this cake!), and hazelnut praline. All options are terrific, so pick how you want your chocolate budino and get to work! You won’t be disappointed.
Thanks for always letting me jabber on about desserts and traveling. If you have any must-see spots in Chicago, PLEASE, tell me about them! And if there’s another city you think I need to eat my way through, please inform me so that I can begin negotiations with Brett. Ha! Enjoy these chocolate budinos and cheers to you!
Where We Ate in Chicago:
Fun/ Casual Bites:
Little Goat Diner
My favorite dish (This Little Piggy Went To China) is from here! Girl and the Goat
Global food served in a family-style setting. Au Cheval
The best burger and garlic fries in Chicago. Fat Rice
A mix of Asian, African, and Indian cuisine served in the COOLEST atmosphere. Pequod’s
Perfect Chicago deep-dish pizza. We called ahead and ordered carry-out to avoid a wait! The Purple Pig
Highly acclaimed Chicago favorite serving New American cuisine in a shared-plate atmosphere. Duck Duck Goat
Stephanie Izzard’s take on Chinese food. It’s RIDICULOUS GOOD. Rooh
A seasonal Indian menu in a chic setting.
Italian cuisine with house-made pasta and loads of global influence. Avec
Rustic Mediterranean small plates and home of the best Chorizo-stuffed dates. Bavette’s
A classic steakhouse with French flair. Nico Osteria
A daily-changed menu serving housemade pasta and Italian seafood. RL Restaurant
American food served in a unique club atmosphere. RPM Italian
Modern Italian cuisine in a sassy atmosphere. Gilt Bar
Contemporary American cuisine and small plates in a dark dining setting.
Consistently ranked among the best restaurants in the WORLD, Alinea is a fine dining experience that is equally parts meal and show. Expect modern American cuisine, impeccable service, and a bunch of surprises throughout the evening.
Sweet Mandy B’s
Buy as many cookies as you can fit in your carry-on. Floriole
A fantastic bakery with some of the flakiest, most buttery pasties I’ve ever had.
Millenium Park to check out The Bean!
Shopping on Michigan Ave.
River architecture tour Hamilton– the best broadway show I’ve ever seen. Shopping on Armitage Took in the view from the top of the John Hancock Building
Places I’m Dying to Try Next Time in Chicago:
Three Arts Club Cafe
Bohemian House Velvet Taco Big Star Tacos Publican Quality Meats Milk Room
Chocolate budino, a rich pudding-like dessert, can be prepared in three ways- with a chocolate crumble, with a berry topping, or with a hazelnut praline!
For the budino:
1–1/4 cup (300 mL) whole milk
1/3 cup (80 mL) heavy cream
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup (30 gm) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (50 gm) sugar
2 large egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the whipped cream:
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
For the chocolate crumble topping:
¼ cup (55 gm) unsalted butter, room temperature
2–1/2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons (60 gm) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 tablespoon water
For the berry topping:
1 cup mixed berries (I prefer blackberries and raspberries)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
For the hazelnut praline:
¼ cup (40 gm) chopped hazelnuts
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons butter, melted
To prepare the budino:
Combine one cup of the whole milk and the heavy cream in a 6-quart saucepan on the stove. Turn the heat to medium-low while you assemble the rest of the ingredients.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, cocoa powder and sugar. Add the egg yolks and the remaining milk, whisking to combine.
Once the milk and cream on the stovetop are warmed and barely steaming, carefully remove one cup of the mixture and add it to the cornstarch mixture, whisking quickly all the while. Once combined, add the cornstarch and milk mixture back to the saucepan on the stove, whisking together constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. You’ll want the mixture to become a viscous consistency, similar to the texture of a creamy salad dressing.
Turn the heat to low and add in the salt, chocolate, butter, and vanilla. Whisk quickly to combine and melt the chocolate and then remove from the heat immediately. Pour into four heat-safe containers and place a small sheet of plastic wrap on top so that a skin does not form on the top of the pudding.
To prepare the whipped cream:
Place the cold cream in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat at medium speed until slightly thickened and frothy, then add the sugar. Increase the speed to high and beat just until medium stiff peaks form. Keep in the fridge until you plan to serve the budino.
To prepare the chocolate crumble topping:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Beat the butter and sugar on medium low speed until creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and beat on low until large crumbs begin to form. Chill the crumbs in the freezer for about 5 minutes to set the crumbs.
Spread the crumbs out onto a quarter sheet pan and bake in the oven, tossing occasionally for about 15-20 minutes, or until crumbs are baked and set. All to cool completely.
To prepare the berry topping:
Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and place over medium heat. Mash larger berries to release juices and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened and is bubbling. Remove from heat and cool completely.
To prepare the hazelnut praline:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all three ingredients and spread out on a small sheet pan.
Bake for about 5 minutes, then stir and bake for an additional 4-5 minutes. The nuts should be fragrant and crunchy with melted sugar. Allow to cool completely.
If desired, add 1/4 cup Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread) to the pudding.
As an alternative to the hazelnut praline, consider making cookies to top the pudding! Check out my recipe for butter pecan cookies. Substitute hazelnuts for pecans and crumble baked and cooled cookies over top of the pudding.
Switch out these toppings for some of your favorites. Salted caramel, pretzels, shortbread cookies, toffee sauce and bananas, and any other number of items would taste delicious here! Change according to your preferences.