vanilla

Vanilla Pudding

by Nancy on May 31, 2011

in Desserts,Snacks

Here we have three different flavors of pudding: chocolate with chocolate chips, butterscotch with toffee bits and vanilla with toasted coconut. So you would think that I would use three different recipes, right? I actually use the same basic recipe for all three! Only slight changes to the recipe change the flavor and other slight variations change this into pie filling, like a nice coconut cream or banana cream, or into frozen pudding pops. I’m just going to talk about pudding here, I’ll post about cream pies and pudding pops in the summer.

This pudding has only three basic ingredients: milk, cornstarch and sugar. Starch thickens the milk and sugar adds sweetness. You can vary the milk substituting whole, lowfat or nonfat milk, soy milk or almond milk. You can vary the sugar: white sugar makes vanilla pudding and brown sugar makes butterscotch pudding. You could even vary the starch using something like arrowroot starch. I haven’t tried this but if someone in your family is allergy to corn you might want to. You would have to play with the ratio of starch to milk to get a nice consistency.

Once you have your basic pudding, you can flavor it or add other ingredients. I always add salt and vanilla both tastes are “expected” and you don’t hardly notice them – unless they aren’t there. You might also want to add some extract: wild cherry with vanilla or butter rum with butterscotch, or food coloring. Finally, you might want to stir in a special ingredient at the end: sliced bananas for banana cream or coconut for coconut cream. And I always add a topping! It tastes better if it look appealing.

Basic Vanilla Pudding

  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 5 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. In heavy bottomed 1 1/2 quart saucepan, mix cornstarch, sugar and salt thoroughly.
  2. Add 1/2 cup milk and stir to make a paste.
  3. Add remainder of milk and stir.
  4. Place on medium high heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly especially as the mixture nears the boiling point. Use a spatula so that you scrape the bottom as you stir. The mixture will thicken on the bottom of the pan first and will be lumpy if not stirred well.
  5. Remove from heat when first bubbles from boiling appear.
  6. Stir in vanilla and pour into custard cups or dessert bowls.

I’m putting the variations for chocolate and butterscotch puddings in their own posts so they index. Here are the links:

Chocolate Pudding

Butterscotch Pudding

{ 0 comments }

Chocolate Pudding

by Nancy on May 31, 2011

in Desserts,Snacks

Chocolate Pudding is a simple variation of basic Vanilla Pudding. I just add 1/3 cup cocoa and increase the sugar from 2/3 cup to 1 cup to counteract the bitterness of the cocoa.

Chocolate Pudding

  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 5 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. In heavy bottomed 1 1/2 quart saucepan, mix cornstarch, cocoa, sugar and salt thoroughly.
  2. Add 1/2 cup milk and stir to make a paste.
  3. Add remainder of milk and stir.
  4. Place on medium high heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly especially as the mixture nears the boiling point. Use a spatula so that you scrape the bottom as you stir. The mixture will thicken on the bottom of the pan first and will be lumpy if not stirred well.
  5. Remove from heat when first bubbles from boiling appear.
  6. Stir in vanilla and pour into custard cups or dessert bowls.

{ 0 comments }

Butterscotch Pudding

by Nancy on May 31, 2011

in Desserts,Snacks

Butterscotch Pudding differs from my basic Vanilla Pudding by just substituting brown sugar for white sugar.

Butterscotch Pudding

  • 6 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 5 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  1. In heavy bottomed 1 1/2 quart saucepan, mix cornstarch, sugar and salt thoroughly.
  2. Add 1/2 cup milk and stir to make a paste.
  3. Add remainder of milk and stir.
  4. Place on medium high heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly especially as the mixture nears the boiling point. Use a spatula so that you scrape the bottom as you stir. The mixture will thicken on the bottom of the pan first and will be lumpy if not stirred well.
  5. Remove from heat when first bubbles from boiling appear.
  6. Stir in vanilla and pour into custard cups or dessert bowls.

{ 0 comments }

Cocoa

by Nancy on March 29, 2011

in Drinks,Vegetarian

A warm cup of cocoa is a perfect with that morning cinnamon roll, before you go to bed at night or when you come in from the cold. You can dress it up by adding instant coffee, flavored syrups or flavored alcohol. You can top it with marshmallows, whipped cream or sprinkles. The possibilities are endless.

If you let a cup of cocoa sit, the cocoa will settle to the bottom of the cup. Cocoa does not dissolve in water or milk. It forms a suspension, and not a very good one. To solve this problem, serve your cocoa with a spoon for stirring, or better yet, a peppermint stick!

You can make this either on the stove top or in the microwave.

Cocoa

  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 4 cups milk
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla
  1. Mix cocoa, sugar and salt until mixture is evenly colored.
  2. Stir in water to make a paste.
  3. On stove top, bring to a boil and boil 1 minute. In microwave, microwave 1 1/2 minutes making sure mixture comes to a boil. The paste will turn into a chocolate syrup.
  4. Add milk. Heat to drinking temperature.
  5. Add vanilla, a topping or variation from below if you like, pour in cups and serve.

Single Serve Cocoa

  • 1 tbsp. cocoa
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1/16 tsp. or just a dash salt
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/8 tsp. vanilla
  1. Mix cocoa, sugar and salt until mixture is evenly colored.
  2. Stir in water to make a paste.
  3. Microwave 30 seconds, just until the mixture boils so it forms a syrup.
  4. Add milk. Microwave 1 1/2 minutes or to drinking temperature.
  5. Add vanilla, a topping or variation from below if you like, and serve.

Cocoa Toppings and Variations

Top with marshmallows.

Top with whipped cream.

Add crushed peppermint candy or candy sprinkles. These will stay on top better if you put them on top of whipped cream!

Place a peppermint stick or candy cane in the cup to serve as a stirrer.

Add a teaspoon (or as desired) of instant coffee for mocha flavored cocoa.

Add hazelnut, mint or other flavored syrup for coffee.

Peppermint Pattie – add a shot (2 tablespoons) of Peppermint Schnapps to each cup.

{ 0 comments }

Fudge

by Nancy on December 14, 2010

in Candy

The neighbors on our block exchange homemade goodies at Christmas time each year. I don’t remember how this got started exactly but I think it was when there were a lot of preschool kids in the neighborhood and neighbors brought treats for them. All of the children have grown up and most have moved away but us “old people” continue the tradition. It gives us cooks an excuse to make those holiday foods like cookies and candies that we fondly remember from our own childhoods but no longer have enough people in the house to eat a whole batch. It also makes us take a few minutes to visit with our neighbors, something we often don’t do without an excuse to knock on our neighbor’s door.

We get the usual assortment of cookies and candies and all are delicious. These recipes are each cook’s best of the best. But we also get less traditional foods too. Our Chinese neighbor brings us hot egg rolls! Our Japanese neighbor brings us homemade jam. Who’d guess but her sister owns a commercial orchard in Northern California and they spend a week together in the summer when the fruit is ripe making jam. I either make dinner rolls to go with the jam or fudge. This year it’s fudge.

This is good fudge. It’s not perfect fudge like you buy commercially with an absolutely satin smooth texture. It is ever so slightly rough in texture. I have made that perfectly satin smooth fudge but that type of fudge is finicky and will sometimes crystalize and become rock hard. This recipe doesn’t fail like that so I accept the slight texture in exchange for consistent results, it’s a compromise I’m willing to live with.

Fudge

  • 1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 cups (5 ounces) mini marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup nuts (optional)

Makes 2 1/2 pounds.

  1. Mix chocolate chips and marshmallows in a 2 1/2 quart or larger glass or ceramic bowl. You want a bowl that will hold heat. Place bowl in microwave, set timer for 2 minutes but do not start microwave yet.
  2. Melt butter in 2 quart saucepan.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.
  4. Add sugar carefully and slowly to center of pan without getting sugar crystals on side of pan. Follow precautions under Making Sugar Syrup for Candy to prevent sugar from crystalizing.
  5. Cook over medium heat to a rolling boil stirring constantly.
  6. Turn heat down but maintain rolling boil. Insert candy thermometer and cook to 234 degrees. This will take about 6 minutes (see 7 below). If you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can cook the syrup for 6 minutes.
  7. After 3 minutes have elapsed when cooking syrup, start microwave and microwave chocolate and marshmallows for 2 minutes. Remove from microwave.
  8. Add vanilla and nuts (optional) to chocolate and marshmallows.
  9. Pour hot syrup over chocolate chips and marshmallows. Stir with wooden spoon until blended. If mixture starts to harden around edges, return to microwave for 1 minute.
  10. Pour in buttered 8″ pan and let stand 24 hours. Cut at room temperature.

{ 0 comments }