Tag: Dessert

Chocolate Éclair Cake

Chocolate Éclair Cake

No-bake chocolate éclair cake is the perfect make-ahead dessert for birthdays, holidays, or family dinners.

Peach Galette, or Lazy Pie

Peach Galette, or Lazy Pie

Peach galette is flaky, buttery pie dough wrapped around a sweet, perfectly soft, cinnamon kissed peach filling.

How to Soften Butter in the Microwave

How to Soften Butter in the Microwave

First of all, let’s take care of the elephant in the room. You “shouldn’t” soften butter in the microwave. It’s true. However, if you’re a spontaneous baker like me, you almost never leave butter out on the counter to soften. It’s just the way it is for me. So, if you get a hankerin’ for chocolate chip cookies, you need softened butter, and you need it fast. Chocolate chip cookies wait for no man. So, how is it done? First let’s talk about how it’s not done.

Do Not Soften Butter Directly From The Freezer

Prepare for a cautionary tale. I have broken four, count them, FOUR sets of mixer attachments by trying to bake with “softened” butter from the freezer that I had microwaved. IT IS NOT WORTH IT. I broke two last week making the same batch of cookies. That’s right. Read that again. I’m mostly writing this section for myself.

So why did my mixer attachments break? When you try to soften frozen butter in the microwave, it never heats evenly. This is true of fridge cold butter too, but the base temperature is more forgiving. What you end up with when you try to soften frozen butter in the microwave is butter that is melting on the outside, but still frozen at the core. When your mixer attachments hit that frozen core, they snap. Trust me. Don’t do it. If you need to bake and only have butter in the freezer, you’re going to have to wait a while. That’s why I always try to keep a couple boxes of butter in the fridge. I saw that I Am Baker has a whole wine fridge full of butter in her kitchen. A butter fridge. #goals

Ok, So How Do I Soften Butter in the Microwave

You need cookies, and you need them now. You head to the fridge, and thank goodness you have butter in there, but it’s too cold to cream in your mixer. Here’s what you do. Put the sticks of butter (still in their wrappers, as long as there’s no metal in the wrapper) on a plate. This works best if you do one or two sticks at a time.

Next, microwave the butter for ten seconds. Turn them one quarter turn in the same direction. Microwave for another 10 seconds, and repeat until the butter is still cool to the touch, but noticeably softened. If you see melted spots, you’ve gone too far. If there’s just a tiny but of melted butter, it’s probably fine, but if the melty spots are big, put the stick of butter back in the fridge for a few minutes to get to the appropriate temperature.

The softness you’re going for is soft enough that you can make an indent with your finger, but not so soft that your finger just sails through the butter and hits the plate on the other side. It should be cool, but not cold, to the touch in the middle. When this is achieved, you’re ready to bake! Bring on the cookies!

how to soften butter in the microwave

That, friends, is how you soften butter in the microwave. This will probably take a little trial and error because different microwaves operate at slightly different power levels. If your microwave cooks really hot and fast, you might try reducing the power.

Now, go forth and bake cookies! (but really seriously don’t use butter from the freezer)

how to soften butter in the microwave
I Re-Created Churro Bread With Mouth Science

I Re-Created Churro Bread With Mouth Science

Inspired by the churro bread at Kneader’s, this quick bread has a luscious texture, and tons of cinnamon sugar flavor.

5 Ingredient Banana Bundt Cake

5 Ingredient Banana Bundt Cake

Banana Bundt Cake is the easiest cake you’ll ever make. It’s like a softer, 5 ingredient, souped-up version of banana bread. Your family will love it!

How to Make Southern Banana Pudding Two Ways.

How to Make Southern Banana Pudding Two Ways.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that I receive a small commission for items bought through some of the links in this post, at no cost to you. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting The At-Home Test Cook.

Jump to Recipe

I had never had Southern Banana Pudding until I was a junior in college – in Utah, I know, I know. It’s shameful, but true. One of my roommates made it, and it was perspective shifting. Hot pudding with bananas in it can be good!?!?!

It does sound weird, but tastes oh so good,

In my post about my trip to Savannah, I mentioned that we had a cold banana pudding at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room. That version was cold, creamy, and perfect for our steamy day in the low country. So, naturally, this led me to this question: which is better in a head-to-head taste test, baked or chilled banana pudding? Obviously, I had testing to do

This vanilla pudding uses egg yolks, so it is cooked slowly in a bowl set above a pot of boiling water. The steam heats the bowl and cooks the pudding.

I did quite a bit of trial and error in this pudding recipe. I made three batches that just wouldn’t thicken! It was muy frustrating. Finally, I took a look at my equipment. I was using a glass bowl set over a pot with boiling water to cook my pudding. I thought the glass would insulate the pudding so that it wouldn’t curdle.

Well, it insulated too effectively, and the pudding never got hot enough to thicken. I switched to a metal bowl, and poof! It thickened right up. Use a metal bowl, and save yourselves a couple hours of frustration.

Also, when the custard is done, you will be able to dip a spoon into it, turn it over, run your finger along the back of the spoon, and it will leave a trail, like this:

The hardest part of this recipe is the pudding. Once that is done, it’s just assembling and topping.

For the Chilled Banana Pudding:

  1. Make ye olde pudding.

  2. in a 7’’x11’’ pan (I used Pyrex so you can see the vanilla wafer cookies poking out), layer the cookies, then custard, bananas, cookies, custard, etc. until you can’t fit anymore. I did 3 layers.

  3. Slap that baby in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap. I made my plastic wrap touch the top of the pudding so it didn’t form a skin. It did take off some of the tops of the cookies when I pulled the wrap off, but it gets covered with whipped cream, so who cares?
  4. Chill overnight, or for as long as you can stand it.
  5. When ready to serve, take off the plastic wrap, whip up the whipped cream and swoosh it on top.

For the Baked Banana Pudding:

  1. Assembly is the same as the chilled pudding, except there is a meringue topping instead of whipped cream
  2. To make the meringue, whip 6 egg whites and sugar with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. This means that when you take the beater out of the mixer, you get something like this:

3. Glorp the meringue on top of the pudding, and make swooshes with the back of a spoon.

4. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly and dig in!

The Taste Test Results

So, which version is better, you ask? Well, of our very scientific test group of 4 people, 3 preferred the baked banana pudding, but just barely. As it bakes, it takes on some caramel-y notes that really make it special. That being said, the chilled was delicious, and a little easier to put together.

If I was going to serve this banana pudding at a summer barbeque, I would bring the chilled version. On the other hand, if I was going to make this for a special dessert after, say, a holiday dinner, I would bake it. Choose your own adventure!

I hope you enjoy this special banana pudding, no matter which way you make it. Share this post with your treat-loving friends and spread The At-Home Test Cook love!

Smooches!

Chilled Southern Banana Pudding

Gracious Cooking
Creamy and sweet, this cold banana pudding hits the spot on hot summer days.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Chilling Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 50 mins
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • 7"x11" Pyrex Baking Dish
  • Medium Saucepot
  • Medium Metal Mixing Bowl

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract A vanilla bean would be awesome, if you have one.
  • 4-5 bananas sliced
  • 72 vanilla wafer cookies approximately
  • 1 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream for whipped cream topping

Instructions
 

For the Pudding

  • In a large metal bowl set above a pot with a few inches of boiling water in it (don't let the bowl touch the water), combine the milk, 2 cups of cream, sugar, and egg yolks. 
  • Whisk to combine.
  • Put the cornstarch in a small bowl.
  • Scoop out a few tablespoons of the milk mixture, and whisk it into the cornstarch.
  • Add the cornstarch slurry to the rest of the milk mixture, and whisk together.
  • Cook, whisking constantly, until the pudding thickens, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Take bowl off the heat, and stir in vanilla extract.

Assembly

  • Add a layer of vanilla wafer cookies to the bottom of your 7"x11" glass baking dish, one cookie thick.
  • Add enough pudding to just spread over the cookies.
  • Place a layer of bananas on top of the pudding, then another layer of cookies, then custard, then bananas. Cookies, pudding, bananas, cookies, pudding, bananas. 
  • Repeat until you have 3 layers, ending with cookies.
  • Pour your remaining pudding over your last layer of cookies.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Whipped Cream

  • Make the whipped cream just before serving.
  • With an electric mixer, whip the cream on high speed with a little sugar, if desired, until stiff peaks form.
  • Dollop the whipped cream on top of the pudding.
  • Serve and enjoy!
Keyword Cold, Dessert, Pudding, Southern Food

Baked Southern Banana Pudding

Gracious Cooking
This warm treat is good any time of the year, but especially for a celebration or holiday.
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • 7"x11" Pyrex Baking Dish
  • Medium Saucepot
  • Medium Metal Mixing Bowl
  • Whisk

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or a vanilla bean
  • 72 vanilla wafer cookies approximately
  • 6 egg whites for the meringue
  • 1/4 cup sugar for the meringue

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the Pudding

  • In a large metal bowl set above a pot with a few inches of boiling water in it (don't let the bowl touch the water), combine the milk, 2 cups of cream, sugar, and egg yolks. 
  • Whisk to combine.
  • Put the cornstarch in a small bowl.
  • Scoop out a few tablespoons of the milk mixture, and mix it into the cornstarch.
  • Add the cornstarch slurry to the rest of the milk mixture.
  • Cook, whisking constantly, until the pudding thickens, about 15-20 minutes.
  • Take bowl off the heat, and stir in vanilla extract.

For the Meringue

  • Whip egg whites with an electric mixer on medium high to high until stiff peaks form, adding the sugar after about 20 seconds of whipping.

Assembly

  • Add a layer of vanilla wafer cookies to the bottom of your 7"x11" glass baking dish, one cookie thick.
  • Add enough pudding to just spread over the cookies.
  • Place a layer of bananas on top of the custard, then another layer of cookies, then pudding, then bananas. Cookies, pudding, bananas, cookies, pudding, bananas.
  • Add as many layers of cookies, pudding, and bananas as your pan will allow, ending with cookies.
  • Pour your remaining pudding over your last layer of cookies.
  • Carefully spread the meringue over the top of the pudding, making little swooshes with the back of a spoon.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until the meringue is lightly browned.
  • Let cool for about 15 minutes.
  • Serve, and enjoy!
Keyword Baked, Banana, Dessert, Hot, Pudding, Southern, Warm
Sunshine Lemon Cardamom Sheet Cake

Sunshine Lemon Cardamom Sheet Cake

A soft, brightly lemony sheet cake that comes together quickly and feeds a crowd.

Sprinkletastic Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Sprinkletastic Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

What’s better than chocolate chip banana bread? Chocolate chip banana bread with a crunchy sprinkle topping!


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