Crock Pot Desserts

I was amazed to find quite a number of warm dessert dishes that can be cooked in a crock pot or other slow cooker. I bet you didn’t know that brownies and cobblers can be prepared in a slow cooker rather than in a conventional oven. Here are a few recipes to get you started.

These recipes are written more like concepts than with the usual ingredients list due to the many variations that are available for each.

Nothing is a better dessert on a cool fall evening than a warm gooey bread pudding – and it will make your house smell absolutely wonderful. Into a buttered slow cooker put eight cups of cubed day-old bread. In a separate bowl, combine four eggs, 1 1/2 cups of milk, 1/2 cup of cream, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of Nutella, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Whisk until smooth, pour over bread cubes, and press cubes until all liquid is absorbed. Cook on low for three hours and serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

The best part about brownies made in a slow cooker is you can cook them without the panic of leaving your oven on – and, of course, how gooey and delicious they get. Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray and pour in your favorite brownie recipe. Cook on low for three hours. Drop crumbled chocolate or other candies across the top of the brownie batter and cook normally. Serve with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream. It’s seriously decadent.

Peach cobbler is an amazing dessert, and this slow cooked cobbler will delight you. In a buttered crock pot, put four cups of sliced peaches mixed with 1/4 cup of sugar. In another bowl, mix one cup of yellow cake mix, 1/2 cup of sugar and one cup of milk until just blended. Pour the mixture over peaches. Cook on low for three hours or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Spoon it into bowls and dust lightly with cinnamon sugar for an added treat.

Apples, pears, and all kinds of berries may be used instead of peaches for this recipe. You might even use several at one time for a great mix of flavors and textures. You might also use a different flavor of cake mix, such as lemon or orange, to create even more tasty treats.

Set this to cook in the morning and have an amazing dessert waiting for you when you get home from a long day at work. Mix together one box of chocolate cake mix, one package of chocolate instant pudding, two cups of sour cream, four eggs, 3/4 cups of oil, one cup of hot water and two teaspoons of vanilla extract. Coat the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray and pour in the batter. Cook on low for five to six hours. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Give these warm desserts a try and let us know how you enjoyed them. See if you don’t agree that the crock pot method is a time-saving twist on these home-made favorites.

–Ann Cathey

Holiday Advance Prep

Save yourself some time and stress by preparing as much in advance as possible. Here are some suggestions from our kitchen to yours for simplifying your holiday cooking.

Cookie Dough
Cookies are a great treat! Most cookies can be mixed up in advance, rolled into logs and frozen. When needed, they may be pulled out and sliced, baked, and served warm to your guests. Any type of cookie that doesn’t require a little something extra like a sugar crystal dusting or toppings is great for this preparation. Frozen cookie dough can also be used as an activity for kids or adults. Get together in the kitchen and make cookies together with family chats and a glass of wine or juice.

Stuffing Suggestions
Stuffing isn’t always cooked inside the bird. It is often baked alongside the bird so there’s plenty for everyone. The dry ingredients for stuffing can be mixed up to 2 days ahead of time and refrigerated until needed. Mix in the wet ingredients just before baking the dish.

For an extra layer of flavor in your stuffing, add pre-cooked and crumbled sausage or bacon. The sausage can be spicy or mild, sage or Italian spiced. Use whatever suits your meal plan and give your stuffing a boost. Diced apple, apricot or pear will also add an extra dimension to stuffing.

Sweet Treats
Unless it’s something that you want to serve hot out of the oven, many desserts can be made up a day or two in advance. Pumpkin or sweet potato pies refrigerate well. Filling for fruit pies and tarts can be mixed up in advance, stored in an airtight container and refrigerated until it’s time to build the pie and bake it. Dry ingredients for gingerbread, brownies, and cakes can be mixed up and stored in airtight containers without refrigeration. Simply add the wet ingredients and bake when you are ready.

Thawing The Bird
Frozen turkey, duck, goose, or whatever flavor of bird you desire for your holiday feast may be purchased weeks in advance and kept frozen until it’s time for the thaw. Remember to reserve space for thawing your turkey or other fowl. These meats should never be thawed at room temperature to avoid bacterial infection. Always thaw your bird at 40F or below, and allow 12 hours to thaw per four pounds of bird. Place the bird in a pan to avoid leaking into your refrigerator.

May your holidays begin and end with love!

–Ann Cathey