Baking Bites is a site for those who love cooking and baking, whether your preference is to whip up simple chocolate chip cookies, decorate fanciful cupcakes to slow-rising artisan breads. It is a resource for home bakers to learn about common baking techniques, how to use different ingredients and for hundreds of fantastically delicious recipes.
You can never make fruit cobbler too often during the spring and summer, when wonderful fruits of all shapes and sizes are in season. I’ll make cobblers with any kind of fruit that I have in my kitchen. The problem with fruit cobblers during the summer is that you have to turn your oven on and leave it on for a while while the fruits and topping cook – and there are definitely days when you don’t want to heat up your kitchen any more than absolutely necessary. On those days, I opt for a stove top cobbler, rather than an oven-baked one. This Blueberry & Nectarine Skillet Cobbler with Coconut Streusel is prepared entirely in a skillet and will be ready to serve in just a few minutes – no oven necessary.
The cobbler starts with the streusel topping. This topping is put together much like any other streusel topping, where flour, oatmeal, shredded coconut and sugar are combined with melted butter. After the topping is mixed up, it is transferred to a skillet and cooked until golden brown. The clusters of this type of streusel won’t be quite as large as they can be with baked streusels, but a smaller cluster size does not mean there is any less flavor there. The topping is set aside, then the fruit mixture – blueberries and nectarines, in this case – are cooked in the same skillet until their juices have thickened and the fruit is tender. After the fruit is cooked, you can portion it into serving dishes and divide the topping over the top.
The oatmeal and coconut in the topping are downright addictive, and you’ll find yourself sneaking handfuls of the topping while you wait for the fruit to cook. The combination of blueberries and nectarines is always a favorite of mine, however other stone fruits, such as peaches or apricots, would also work in this recipe. If you are using a stone fruit with a fuzzy skin, be sure to peel it before using. Nectarines have such a thin skin that they do not need to be peeled before going into the filling.
If you aren’t planning to serve this dish right away, store the filling in the refrigerator and store the topping in a ziploc bag or tupperware container after it has completely cooled. The topping can also be stored, once it has cooled completely, in an airtight container for a couple of days. You can combine the filling and topping just before serving, and both keep for 2-3 days after preparation. Leftover topping can be added to ice cream, yogurt and other dishes, as well.
Blueberry & Nectarine Skillet Cobbler with Coconut Streusel
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (or butter, melted)
3 large nectarines
3 cups blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, coconut, brown sugar and salt. Pour in melted coconut oil and stir with a fork until mixture resembles wet sand.
Preheat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add streusel mixture to skillet and cook, stirring regularly, until golden brown – about 5-8 minutes. Mixture will brown rapidly towards the end of the cooking time, so stir more frequently and remove from heat immediately to prevent it from burning if it turns dark brown. Transfer mixture to a tray to cool.
Slice nectarines into 8-10 wedges. It is not necessary to peel them.
In a large bowl, combine blueberries, nectarines, sugar, cornstarch, salt and vanilla, then fold with a spatula to combine.
Using the same skillet you used for the streusel, cook berry mixture over medium heat, stirring regularly, until the berries release their juices and mixture begins to thicken, 7-10 minutes.
Divide berries into individual serving bowls and generously top with streusel. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Waffles are always a treat for breakfast. I used to save them for lazy weekend mornings, since they seemed to take more time to put together than a batch of pancakes, but that all changed once I discovered that it was possible to make waffle batter in the blender. Using the blender, smooth waffle batter will come together in just seconds, so you can enjoy fresh waffles any time you’re in the mood. These Vanilla Buttermilk Blender Waffles are one of my favorites, a classic recipe that makes waffles with a crisp exterior and a soft, custardy interior.
The waffle batter is assembled in the blender, so you can measure out all your ingredients and add them directly to the blender pitcher. Once everything is inside, just blend to combine. I usually opt for low speed blending, then pause to scrape down the sides of the pitcher once or twice with a spatula, then finish off the batter with a few seconds at high speed to eliminate any lumps. Once it is ready, you can pour directly from the pitcher onto your preheated waffle iron!
The batter itself is very straightforward, with buttermilk, flour and eggs making up the base of it. There is a generous spoonful of baking powder to give the finished waffles a nice lift once they’re cooking, along with a big splash of vanilla extract. If you happen to have vanilla bean paste, I recommend using it in this recipe to bring in those beautiful little flecks of vanilla to go along with the floral vanilla aroma. The contrast of the creamy vanilla and tangy buttermilk is just right – and gets even more delicious once you add maple syrup to the finished waffles on your plate!
The yield for this recipe will vary based on the size of your waffle iron. It will make at least four waffles in any average-sized waffle maker. I like to use a Belgian-style waffle iron that produces waffles with deep pockets (for catching melting butter and syrup), but a flatter-style waffle maker can also be used. The waffles should be served shortly after cooking to best enjoy their crisp exterior and custardy, moist interiors. Serve them with softened butter and plenty of maple syrup!
Vanilla Buttermilk Blender Waffles
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
Combine all ingredients in the blender pitcher and blend at low speed until batter is thick. Scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula if necessary to ensure that no flour sticks to the walls of the blender, then blend for a few more seconds at high speed until batter is smooth.
Preheat waffle iron.
Pour batter onto waffle iron and cook (until crisp and golden) as directed by the manufacturer (usually about 3-4 minutes).
Neapolitan ice cream is a combination of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice creams that are all in the same container. You can scoop it so that you get just one single flavor, or so that you get some of each element in every scoop. Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry are flavors that you can’t go wrong with in any dessert and you will also find all three of them here in my No Bake Neapolitan Cheesecake, a rich no-bake dessert that is packed with plenty of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry in each bite!
This No Bake Neapolitan Cheesecake was inspired by the Neapolitan Joe-Joe’s that I picked up the other day at Trader Joe’s. These Oreo-style cookies have a strawberry creme filling sandwiched between vanilla and chocolate wafer cookies, capturing the three flavors that make up the Neapolitan trio. I used the cookies to make the crust of the cheesecake – a no-bake crumb crust – so that I could bring in their Neapolitan flavor, too. The Neapolitan cookies are going to give you the best flavor for this cheesecake, since they already have a great strawberry element to them. If you can only find regular Oreos/Oreo-type cookies, you can use those or add in a couple of tablespoons of freeze dried strawberries to the crust mixture to help recreate that flavor.
A no-bake cookie crust is very easy to make. You will need to start with whole Oreo or Oreo-type cookies – filling and all – and pulverize them into crumbs to make the crust. You can do this with a rolling pin, but I prefer to throw them in the food processor and whizz until they have all broken down. Once the cookies have been reduced to crumbs, add in the melted butter and transfer the mixture to a springform pan. Press it evenly over the bottom of the pan and about 1 1/2-inches up the sides, then chill for at least 20 minutes to help it set before you pour in the filling.
The filling is made with cream cheese, white chocolate and heavy cream. Since this is a no-bake recipe, these three elements are used to create a dense, yet mousse-like filling that sets up in the refrigerator! The cream cheese is combined with melted white chocolate to create the base of the cheesecake. Be sure to use real white chocolate (made only with cocoa butter and not other fats!) and make sure that your cream cheese is at room temperature so that it blends smoothly with the white chocolate. Next, the heavy cream is beaten to stiff peaks and folded into the cream cheese base, along with vanilla extract.
This base mixture is then divided into three parts. One is left plain – the vanilla cheesecake – while chocolate and freeze dried strawberries are added to other portions of the batter. Freeze dried strawberries work very well in this recipe because they bring in a great berry flavor without changing the texture of the cheesecake. The three batters are then spooned into the chilled crust and swirled together, left to set up in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
No Bake Neapolitan Cheesecake with No Bake Crust
No Bake Crust
2 1/2 cups Neapolitan Joe-Joe’s cookie crumbs (or Oreo cookies)
6 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
24 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (7 oz) chopped white chocolate/white chocolate chips, melted and cooled
2 tsp vanilla extract
10-oz heavy cream, cold
1/4 cup powdered, freeze dried strawberries
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tbsp hot water
Make the crust: In a medium bowl, stir together Neapolitan Joe-Joe’s/Oreo cookie crumbs with melted butter until completely combined. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan and press the mixture into an even layer over the bottom and 1 1/2-inches up the sides of the pan. Chill for 20-30 minutes while preparing the cheesecake batter.
Make the filling: In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until softened. Pour in melted white chocolate and beat until completely incorporated. Stir in vanilla extract.
In a medium bowl, beat heavy cream to stiff peaks, then fold into cream cheese mixture in two or three batches.
In a small bowl, combine powdered freeze dried strawberries with 1/3 of the cheesecake batter and stir until berries have been completely incorporated.
In another small bowl, combine cocoa powder and hot water, stirring to combine. Add in 1/3 of the cheesecake batter and stir until chocolate is completely incorporated.
Drop spoonfuls of the vanilla, strawberry and chocolate batters into the prepared crust. Run a butter knife through the batter to help swirl the elements together. Once all the batter has been added, tap the pan gently on the counter to remove any air bubbles, then smooth the top of the cheesecake with a spatula.
Chill cheesecake for at least 3-4 hours, or overnight, before serving.
Peanut butter and jelly has been one of my go-to sandwiches for a long, long time. It’s the perfect combination of sweet and salty – and I always have the ingredients to make one on hand. I also like desserts that combine these two staples, like coffee cake and bar cookies, and that means that I instantly picked up a package of Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Blondies when I spotted them on my last shopping trip to Trader Joe’s.
The Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Blondies are a dessert found in the frozen section of the store. They’re a triple-layered dessert, with a peanut butter blondie base, a strawberry filling and a topping of more peanut butter and crunchy peanut butter bits. The dessert comes pre-sliced and, although the slices are not large, they are fairly heavy and each piece is packed with plenty of flavor. It is frozen and needs to be defrosted at room temperature or in the refrigerator before serving (although in hot weather, you could probably also eat them cold).
The dessert packs lots of peanut butter flavor. The base is cakier than I would expect for a blondie, but it delivers lots of peanut butter flavor and is sturdy enough to support the top layers of the dessert. The top layer is actually described on the package as being a “crispy peanut butter confection” because it includes a crunchy element that reminds me a bit of the inside of a butterfinger bar. It adds a great textural element to the bar, while amping up the overall peanut butter flavor. The jelly layer is bright, fruity and has a strong strawberry flavor. I appreciated that the jelly is thick enough to hold its shape and not bleed into the other layers at all.
Even though they’re pretty decadent as they are, I still wished that these bars were just a little bit bigger to make them feel even more indulgent. That being said, their smaller size means that they’re easy to share or that you can treat yourself to an extra piece if you’re a big peanut butter and jelly fan. They’re a creative twist on a classic blondie and couldn’t be any easier to enjoy. I still love the more traditionally chewy blondie texture, but these are tasty and you can tell after one bite that they’re going to be a crowd pleaser!
Pecan pie is a dessert that is a staple of many fall dinner parties and celebrations, but fall isn’t the only time of year that I bake desserts using pecans. This Pecan Chocolate Cobbler is a wonderful way to enjoy pecans any time of the year! While most cobblers feature fresh fruit, this one has a filling that is made with chocolate and toasted pecans, giving it a rich flavor with plenty of crunch and just the right amount of sweetness from the cobbler topping.
This cobbler is assembled a bit like a pudding cake, in that the dish is assembled in layers and hot water is poured over the top of the entire dessert before it goes into the oven. After all, pecans don’t give off any liquid while they bake – unlike the fresh fruits usually found in a cobbler – so, you have to add in some additional liquid to create a saucy filling around the nuts!
The filling itself is made up of a generous amount of toasted pecans and chocolate chips. The chocolate chips will melt into the sauce, giving the dessert its deep chocolate flavor, but the pecans will keep their lovely, toasted texture throughout the bake. I like to use toasted pecans for this recipe and I generally start with large pecan halves, giving them just a coarse chop for variety before adding them to the pan. I find that larger pieces of pecans work a bit better in the finished dessert, although if you only have pre-chopped pecans, the dish will still work.
The topping is a simple cake batter that is lightly flavored with vanilla extract. In the fall and winter, sometimes I’ll add cinnamon and nutmeg to the batter to give the cobbler some extra warmth, but the vanilla works beautifully with the pecans and chocolate, allowing them to really be the stars of the dish.
After baking, allow the cobbler to cool to room temperature to give the filling a chance to thicken up before you serve it. If desired, the cobbler can be reheated in the microwave. I serve mine warm, with small with scoops of vanilla or butter pecan ice cream!
Pecan Chocolate Cobbler
1/2 cup butter, cut into 8-10 pieces
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups very coarsely chopped toasted pecans
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups hot water
Preheat oven to 350F.
Place butter in a 9×13-inch baking pan and place in the oven for 5-6 minutes, until butter is completely melted.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in milk and vanilla, then stir until batter comes together. Set aside.
Remove the pan with the melted butter from the oven. Evenly sprinkle pecans and chocolate chips over the base of the butter-filled pan. Spoon batter evenly over the pecans and chocolate, then sprinkle the batter evenly with brown sugar and pour hot water over the whole dish.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until cobbler topping is golden brown.
Allow cobbler to cool to room temperature before serving to give the sauce a chance to thicken up.
I always enjoy desserts that incorporate – or are inspired by – Mexican chocolate. a coarsely ground chocolate that is made with coarse sugar (in fact, the chocolate sometimes still has chunks of sugar in it when it is in tablet form) and spices, like cinnamon and cayenne pepper. The exact recipes vary from maker to maker, but they are all delicious and deliver lots of rich bittersweet chocolate and warm spices. This Mexican Chocolate Brownie Pie is inspired by the flavors in Mexican chocolate, a sweet, spicy dessert that is perfect for chocolate-lovers.
The batter starts with a generous amount of unsweetened cocoa powder, which gives the dessert a wonderful bittersweet chocolate flavor. It includes cinnamon and cayenne pepper, along with vanilla and almond extracts, for just the right amount of spice to evoke Mexican chocolate. I usually fold in a generous amount of dark chocolate chunks, leaving a few reserved to sprinkle on top for visual appeal. If I happen to have a tablet of Mexican chocolate in my kitchen, I will chop up some and add a handful of that to the batter, as well. Either way, everything comes together very easily and can be ready to go into the oven in less time than it takes to preheat!
The pie has a rich chocolate base that is reminiscent of classic brownies, but is a bit more tender and not quite as dense as your typical brownie recipe is. After each bite you’ll taste the heat of the cinnamon and cayenne – both of which will leave you wanting a second bite! While it could be baked into squares, baking it in a pie dish elevates the dish slightly and turns it into a dessert that is an excellent choice for entertaining. The brownies can be served at room temperature or slightly warm, topped with vanilla ice cream.
Mexican Chocolate Brownie Pie
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
5 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2/3 cup dark chocolate chunks, divided
or 1/3 cup coarsely chopped Mexican chocolate and 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks
Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate and dust with cocoa powder. In a small bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt and baking soda.
In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and almond extract until smooth. Add in flour mixture and whisk until the batter comes together, then stir in 1/2 cup chocolate chunks (and the Mexican chocolate, if using).
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with remaining dark chocolate chunks.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the pie is firm around the outer edge and just set in the center.
Allow pie to cool to room temperature before slicing. Heat each slice for a few seconds in the microwave to warm it before serving.
Neapolitan ice cream is a flavor that is actually composed of three flavors in one package: chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Unlike some multi-flavored ice creams, neapolitan ice cream is always layered, rather than swirled together. This layering makes it a perfect choice both for those who like all three flavors and for a group of people who simply want to eat one flavor apiece. I have always enjoyed the combination of vanilla, chocolate and strawberry – particularly when the three meet in an ice cream sandwich – and so the Trader Joe’s Neapolitan Joe-Joe’s immediately appealed to me, even though they’re a room-temperature treat instead of a frozen one.
The Joe-Joe’s have chocolate wafer and vanilla wafer cookies sandwiching a strawberry cream. The cookies are the same that you’ll find on some of the other Joe-Joe varieties and the cream filling is made with freeze dried strawberries. Using real strawberries makes a huge difference in these cookies, as you can smell, taste and see the fresh berries – not just see a pink color to the filling.
The cookies really capture the vanilla, chocolate and strawberry combination that you want to find in a Neapolitan dessert. And like the classic ice cream flavor, the strawberries are really the star of the show. The vanilla and chocolate simply accent the fresh berry flavor, making the cookies feel perfect for summertime snacking. I enjoyed them with a glass of cold milk, but I am tempted to toss a few in the freezer and see how well they satisfy my cravings for real neapolitan ice cream sandwiches on hotter days!
Fresh pineapples are one of my favorite fruits to have around. Not only are they good looking just sitting there, but the fruit itself is absolutely delicious and the fronds can be used to garnish various desserts and cocktails, too! I buy whole pineapples on a regular basis and use them to make pineapple upside down cakes, smoothies and fruit salads. They also make excellent sorbets. This Buttermilk Pineapple Sorbet uses just four ingredients, yet produces a wonderfully refreshing dessert that is perfect for hot summer days.
You will first need to prepare your pineapple by cutting off the outer skin and removing the core at the center, but the sorbet base takes just minutes to prepare from start to finish. Once you’ve put in the work, you’ll be rewarded by an absolutely fantastic sorbet. The pineapple is blended with sugar and buttermilk in the food processor until it is very smooth and all the sugar has been dissolved. The high speed of the food processor helps the sugar to dissolve, even without adding heat! In fact, you don’t want to add heat to the fresh pineapple because it will change the flavor of the fruit a bit and the sorbet just won’t be the same.
You’ll taste a lot of the pineapple, but its bright fruity flavor is balanced by a wonderful butteriness from the buttermilk. The pineapple has some natural acidity that is almost neutralized by the tang of the buttermilk, which makes the sorbet feel especially creamy. I added in a bit of vanilla extract, which compliments the buttermilk well and simply helps make the sorbet a bit more complex.
The sorbet can be made in an ice cream maker, but it can also be made without one. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can pour the sorbet base into a shallow baking dish (8×8 or 9×9 pan, preferably pyrex) and place it in the freezer. After 1-2 hours, give the partially frozen sorbet a good stir with a fork to break up the larger ice crystals. Repeat the stirring process once more, after another 30-45 minutes, then allow the sorbet to freeze completely overnight. The resulting sorbet will still be nice and creamy, only a bit less so than sorbet churned in a regular ice cream maker, and it will still be absolutely delicious.
And, just in case you’re wondering, this can be made with canned pineapple that is packed in juice or with frozen pineapple chunks (defrosted). But I highly recommend sticking to fresh pineapple for the best results with this one!
Buttermilk Pineapple Sorbet
16-oz fresh pineapple
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and whizz until mixture is smooth and all of the sugar has been dissolved, 60-90 seconds. Pour mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.
It’s no secret that I’m a fan of tropical fruit flavors. They’re both sweet and refreshing, so they’re always welcome at my dessert table – particularly in the spring and summer, when the provide something of a “dessert vacation” on a hot day! This Passion Fruit Coconut Bundt Cake has two of my favorite flavors in it, and it is just bursting with tropical tastiness.
The cake is a dense, moist cake that is rich with sweetened shredded coconut and it uses lots of passion fruit juice as the primary liquid in the cake, infusing each bite with its bright, sweet-tart flavor. While passion fruit is technically a berry, it has a lot in common with citrus because of its high acitidy. In this recipe, it both flavors the cake and helps to tenderize it. The batter comes together easily and is made with both butter and oil to ensure that the cake is nice and moist.
Passion fruits can be found in the tropical food section of most well-stocked grocery stores, and it isn’t that difficult to juice them yourself at home (although there are quite a few seeds that you will need to remove). If you don’t have the fresh fruit, you can also buy frozen purees that are 100% juice (or very, very close to 100%) and use those. You won’t get as good results with a juice that has a bunch of sweetener added to it, so make sure to check the label! Passion fruits are a little bit more expensive than some other fruits, but their unique floral flavor is amazing and well-worth it!
I actually skipped the frosting for this cake and served it with a side of coconut whipped cream, just to make it even more tropical. If you prefer, you can make a simple glaze of passion fruit juice (or coconut milk) and confectioners’ sugar, then drizzle it over the top. The cake will keep well for several days after baking when stored in an airtight container.
Passion Fruit Coconut Bundt Cake
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup butter, room temperature
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup passion fruit juice
1 1/2 cups shredded, sweetened coconut
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a 10-inch bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract and vegetable oil. Mix in one third of the dry ingredients, followed by half of the passion fruit juice. Mix in an additional third of the dry ingredients, followed by remaining passion fruit juice. Mix in remaining flour and shredded coconut, mixing until the batter is uniform an no streaks of dry ingredients remain visible. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until cake is set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with only a few moist crumbs attached. Cool cake in pan for about 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, when cooled.
Homemade whipped cream is easy to make and it is always a nice way to finish off a dessert. Canned whipped creams tend to not have the pillowy volume of freshly whipped cream, but can work when you need something that is quick and easy! In the refrigerated section of my local grocery store, I noticed a new dairy-free whipped topping option, Non-Dairy Coconut Reddi Whip. This whipping topping is made entirely with coconut milk and contains no heavy cream at all. In fact, coconut milk is the first ingredient on the product’s label. As a coconut-lover who has made coconut milk whipped cream from scratch, I couldn’t resist picking up a can and giving it a taste test.
I took the product home and gave it a good shake, then piped some right onto a spoon. I have to admit that I was immediately impressed by the whipped cream. It was velvety and rich, with a great coconut flavor – a lot more coconut flavor than I expected it to have, in fact. It was delicious and, after licking my spoon clean, I used it top top off coffee, pound cake, ice cream and more over the next few days. This was a winner from the start if you love coconut – or if you are simply looking for a dairy-free option.
The only drawback to this product is that I found it more difficult to get going than regular canned whipped cream. I found that the best way to get it going was to shake vigorously with the tip of the nozzle pointing directly down, then keep it directed down to pipe.