It’s getting to be that time of the year: the leaves are turning colors, there’s a sudden chill in the air, and it’s still pretty dark out when the alarm clock goes off. That means our thoughts turn to warm, nourishing meals that can cook all day while we’re at work. Slow cookers are fantastic in fall and winter, but they are under-utilized when it comes to desserts. I know what you’re thinking – “can you really make desserts in the crock pot?” I’m here to tell you three words: yes, you can.
Pumpkin Pie Pudding:
Let’s begin with a seasonal treat done in a new way. Pumpkin pie pudding can be a weekly treat or a special dessert for your Thanksgiving feast. With a quick 10 minute prep time, this is perfect for busy moms.
What you need:
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup biscuit/baking mix
2 large eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Your favorite whipped topping
Directions: Coat your slow cooker with cooking spray. Then combine the first eight ingredients in a large bowl. Transfer ingredients to slow cooker. Cover with the lid and cook on your lowest setting, for around 6 hours. (The thermometer should read 160°). When you come home, serve up in bowls with your favorite whipped topping.
Apple Betty With Almond Cream:
A “betty” is a variation on a cobbler. Since we are in peak apple season, create this delectable dessert using the freshest apples from your local orchard.
What You Need:
3 pounds tart apples, peeled and sliced
10 slices cinnamon-raisin bread, cubed
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon salt
For Almond cream: 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon grated on peel, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Directions: Take the apples and put them an ungreased large slow cooker. Combine the bread, brown sugar, butter, extract, cinnamon, cardamom and salt in a large bowl. Then spoon over apples. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours. If you’re short on time, just make sure the apples are tender. To make the almond cream, beat the cream in a small bowl until it starts to thicken. Then add lemon peel, sugar and the extract an beat until the cream forms soft peaks. Serve on the apples. This makes about 8 servings, perfect for a family dinner.
Time-Saver Tip: If you really don’t have time to peel and slice apples, the pre-sliced apple packs from your grocery star will be just as delicious and save you half the time!
It’s a throwback to summer evenings beside the campfire. S’more cake is sure to please the whole family.
What You Need:
Nonstick cooking spray
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 8 ounce carton sour cream
1 cup water
1 2-layer size chocolate cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup tiny marshmallows
1 7 ounce jar marshmallow creme
3/4 cup milk chocolate pieces
6 graham cracker squares, broken into 1 inch pieces
Directions: In 6-quart oval slow cooker, coat well with cooking spray. In a bowl, whisk eggs, sour cream, and water. Slowly add cake mix, flour, and sugar and stir until just combined. Do not over-stir. Add in your marshmallows and spoon into the slow cooker. Cover and then cook on low for 3-4 hours. The cake should be just slightly wet in the center. Drop spoonfuls of marshmallow crème over the hot cake and sprinkle the graham cracker and milk chocolate over the top. Unplug or remove the crock from the cooker and let it stand while covered, for about 15 minutes for the cake to cool and set.
Family Fun Tip: To get your kids involved in the fun, have them break up the graham crackers into pieces and break the chocolate into pieces. Just make sure they don’t sneak too many bites! (Better have an extra chocolate bar, just in case!)