I love chocolate, but sometimes it keeps me awake at night. So, I’m always on the lookout for delicious desserts that don’t take a lot of time to make, especially in warmer weather when I don’t want to keep the oven on for a long time. Caramelized pineapple chunks hits the spot perfectly. It’s only got four ingredients and takes only about 15 minutes to make. Perfect!
This is a dessert that’s sweet, fruity, and seems decadent (but isn’t really). The pineapple chunks are cooked with just a bit of butter and some brown sugar to form a rich brown caramel sauce. The rest is basically fruit (and optional nuts). It only takes a few minutes to make, so you don’t have to stand over the stove for half the day. The original recipe called for rum (which I didn’t have), so I left it out. If you do have it, by all means use it. Dark rum would be best.
You can also garnish it in different ways. Top it with some chopped pistachios, or crushed almonds. Or, add some strawberries (one fruit is good, two fruits are even better). It’s both sweet and somehow savory at the same time.
While you can use a fresh pineapple, then you have to worry about using up the rest of it. I got around this problem by going to the market and getting cut up chunks of fresh pineapple. It’s much easier, less cutting, no mess, and no concerns about eating the rest of it before it spoils (which would be a shame!).
If you can’t get the fresh chunks, you can use the canned variety in a pinch. Just make sure to get the kind in juice, not in syrup. If you use the canned version, cook the pineapple in the juice from the can (if you like) instead of orange juice.
One thing, don’t walk away from it. Leave it in the pan too long and the sugar will burn, making a terrible mess (ask me how I know this).
If you want, you can make the whole thing in advance and eat it the next day. It’s better slightly warm or at room temperature, so let it sit out for a while to warm up before you eat it.
Rich caramel sauce, fresh pineapple, and a touch of butter for an easy quick dessert.
1 C fresh pineapple
2 1/4 tsp butter (unsalted)
4 tsp brown sugar
3 tsp orange juice
Cut up the pineapple into small chunks (if you are using fresh, otherwise, just measure the right amount from the can)
Put a small skillet on medium heat and add the butter, sugar, and orange juice. Stir everything together until the sugar gets wet and the butter melts.
Add the pineapple chunks and increase the heat to medium high. Bring the mixture to a boil. cover the pan, and cook for about 5 minutes.
Remove the cover, and use a slotted spoon to turn the chunks over on the other side. Turn the heat down to medium and cook for another five or six minutes, shaking the pan at about the four or five minute mark. The sauce should thicken and darken into a caramel syrup.
Using the slotted spoon, remove the pineapple onto a plate and pour the syrup over them (making sure to turn the pieces over to coat them thoroughly).
Let the mixture cool for five minutes or so.
Caramelized Pineapple Chunks Substitutions and Variations
Top the pineapple with a shot of dark rum or brandy (or try adding the rum to the sauce)
Garnish the fruit with chopped nuts (pistachios or ground almonds)
It’s so hot and sticky in NY you can practically swim in the air. Bleah! Even I don’t want to turn on the stove in this weather. When it feels like 100 degrees outside, dinner is a no cook meal. After dinner, it’s this frozen mango yogurt dessert recipe. It’s super-easy to make. And, you don’t need an ice cream machine or any special equipment either (a blessing in a small kitchen). An ordinary blender (or a stick blender) will do just fine. You also don’t have to add any sugar or honey. The recipe gets its sweetness entirely from the natural sugars in the fruit.
I’ve adapted this from Foodaholic’s frozen lemon ginger mango recipe. She made enough for a family (I didn’t), and I also changed her technique slightly. She freezes the yogurt and the fruit separately and then blends them together. I found it got much too hard that way. And, it’s an extra container to wash. So, I just put it all in the blender and hit the button. She is right that the yogurt must be thick (Greek yogurt works best), and that it will crystallize if you leave it in the freezer too long.
If you can get good fresh mangoes, use them! If you can’t, or if you are lazy and don’t want the fuss and mess of peeling and cutting them, buy the frozen mangoes from Trader Joe’s. Take out what you need and let the fruit defrost slightly before trying to put it in the blender.
It’s the holiday season, so that means it’s also dessert season. Whether you’re having company, or just treating yourself, this poached pear recipe with chocolate sauce and ice cream is going to be a hit. The long name makes it sound kind of complicated, but it’s really easy.
First, you poach the pears by letting them simmer gently in a bit of sugar and water. Let them cool off a bit, then put them on a plate with ice cream and drizzle chocolate syrup over them. It feels like you’re doing something fancy for company, but you don’t have to share!
Pears were on sale this week(three pounds for only three dollars!), and I just couldn’t resist making this recipe. I used Bosc pears but Bartlett or Anjou will work just fine.
The pears were exceptionally sweet, and that plus the sugar, and the ice cream made the original recipe (from The New York Times cookbook), a bit cloying. Sweet is good, but not that sweet, so I reduced the sugar. The full amount of sugar is 1/4 cup. Use that if your pears aren’t that good. If you have sweet, juicy pears, cut the sugar by a teaspoon or two.
Poached pears with chocolate sauce and ice cream. A fancy-looking dessert that's easy to make.
2/3 C water
1/4 C sugar, minus one or two teaspoons
1/3 tsp vanilla extract
One scoop vanilla ice cream
Drizzle chocolate syrup (a teaspoon or two)
Peel the pear, cut it in half, and remove the core with a paring knife.
Add the water and sugar to a small saucepan (less than one quart) and stir the mixture to combine them together.
Turn the flame to medium and bring the sugar/water mixture to a boil.
Once it's boiling, add the pear halves, and reduce the heat to medium-low.
Let them simmer for three minutes. Turn the halves over and then simmer for another two minutes. Test to see if they're soft enough. If they are, a small knife should go through the pieces easily.
Add the vanilla extract, stir it into the mixture and let everything cool for 15-20 minutes.
To serve, add a scoop of ice cream to a plate, then the pear halves, then drizzle chocolate syrup (or hot fudge sauce) on top.
This takes about 15 minutes to cook, but allow time for the pear halves to cool off after you cook them.
Substitutions and Variations for Poached Pears with Chocolate Sauce and Ice Cream
Sprinkle some sliced or slivered almonds on top of the pears
Poach the pears with a pinch of ginger and a slice of lemon
Make your own hot chocolate sauce: combine 1/2 C cocoa, 1 C sugar, 1 C light corn syrup, 1/2 C light cream, 1/4 tsp salt, and 3 tablespoons butter in a saucepan. Cook on medium heat. Stir the mixture constantly until it boils. When it’s boiling merrily, you can cut back to stirring only occasionally. Let it boil for three minutes. Take the pan off the burner and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Serve the sauce warm over the pears. You can store the rest in the refrigerator and serve it with more pears, or over ice cream. Or, be really decadent and serve it over small batch brownies.
It doesn’t get any simpler than this. These one ingredient juice popsicles are refreshing, delicious and the perfect treat on a hot, hot summer’s day!
When I was a kid, my mom used to make us juice pops during the summer. She had some plastic molds with removable tops. You just pour in the juice, put the top on, wait a few hours, and voilà, a healthy, refreshing, frozen snack.
They were a big hit with the neighborhood kids too (who probably had no idea they were eating something good for them).
When I saw juice pops in the store as an adult, I initially got excited. Then I looked at the ingredients: water, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, potassium lord knows what.
Simple, Easy One Ingredient Juice Popsicles
All you really need to make delicious juice pops is juice (and popsicle molds). That’s it. I’m putting this under dessert because it’s sweet, but really you can eat it any time you like.
I’ve used cranberry grape juice to make my juice pops, but any juice will do: grape, orange, pineapple. Sometimes mom would mix the flavors to make orange pineapple, or apple grape. There are far more options now, so you could make them with strawberry orange banana juice if you like.
If you want to get fancy, add a few slices of fruit to your juice popsicles.
juice of your choice (cranberry, apple, orange, pineapple, cran-grape, etc.)
Pour the juice into individual popsicles molds
Fill them about two-thirds of the way (leave room for the juice to expand)
Freeze for about 2-3 hours.
There's no cooking time, obviously, so I've used the freezing time as the total time to make this.
Just pick your favorite juice flavor and start freezing!
Tools and Ingredients for Juice Pops
I have this set, but I don’t recommend it. It’s too hard to get one pop at a time! For better (or worse) they haven’t cracked or broken, so I can’t bring myself to replace them. I recommend you try the molds below instead.
This is the closest thing I can find to the molds mom had when I was a kid. Hers were plain, clear plastic, but these have grooves and pretty colors. Plus, unlike the set I currently have, it’s easy to get one pop at a time. Fill the molds, pop the top on and freeze. The waiting is the hardest part!
If you really want to get fancy, try out this juice pop maker. Freeze the pop maker ahead of time, then add the ingredients, and you’ll get tasty pops in just 7 minutes. It doesn’t even need electricity.
Note that this will only work with sugar-sweetened pops (not sugar-free or artificial sweeteners)
These recipes require a bit more effort than the juice pops, but you can experiment with fresh fruit, yogurt, even balsamic vinegar or alcohol (for a grownup treat).
Strawberry lemonade popsicles Two favorite summer treats (well, maybe three) all in one pop: strawberries, lemonade, and popsicles, layered to look like a parfait. Cool, refreshing, and really pretty too.
The popsicles in this book get their inspiration from lots of different sources: soda fountains (think root beer and cherry cola); coffee and tea (thai iced coffee, and southern sweet tea), as well as fruit, yogurt, and pudding
There’s nothing like a fresh batch of warm, slightly gooey brownies to make a cold day seem more cheerful. The trouble is that most recipes make dozens of brownies, which is way too much! This recipe is for a small batch of brownies, made with cocoa powder. So, you don’t even have to go out and buy baking chocolate or special ingredients.
I made it in my new favorite little baking dish (it’s about 6.5 inches square, instead of 8 or 10, so it’s perfect for baking small batches).
The other great thing about this recipe is that you only need one bowl to make it. Just put everything in the bowl, mix it all up, pour it in the dish, and bake.
I don’t know where the original recipe came from, but I did cut down the sugar a bit and change the sugar it used. As written, it called for all brown sugar. It also said to use an entire cup of sugar. I thought that was a bit much for a small portion, and I also thought that all brown sugar would be too sweet. I used half granulated sugar and half brown sugar, and reduced the total to 2/3 C (1/3 C each kind of sugar).
I still think that’s a bit sweet, so I may reduce it to 1/4C of each the next time. However, since I know I tend to like less sugar than many other people, I’ll leave the larger amount here in the recipe.
A small batch brownie recipe made with cocoa powder. This is easy to make and only requires one bowl.
2 heaping tablespoons good quality cocoa powder, such as Cadbury Bourneville
1/3 C brown sugar
1/3 C granulated sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 C melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour, sifted
Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Put all the ingredients in a medium size bowl and mix thoroughly, about one minute.
Butter and flour the baking dish and pour the chocolate mixture into the dish.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick or skewer inserted in the dish comes out clean.
You can also add 1/4 C chopped nuts if you like.
Tools and Ingredients for Small Batch Brownies with Cocoa Powder
First, you’ll need a small baking pan. Since this is a small-batch recipe, using a large one will likely cause the brownies to get overcooked and burn. It’s not just for brownies though. Use it for a small lasagna, for quiche, or to bake a small coffee cake.
The next important thing is the cocoa. Use a high quality brand, such as Cadbury or Droste if you can.
Cadbury Bournville Cocoa This is what I used to make my brownies. It’s dark, rich, and delicious (makes great hot cocoa too). It is a bit pricey, but it lasts forever so long as you keep it in a cool, dark place, away from anything damp.
For this, or any other recipe that calls for it, make sure to use genuine vanilla. Not “vanilla flavored,” but the real thing. The artificial stuff is made from wood! It’s a large bottle, and since you don’t use much vanilla in most recipes, it should last a long time.
This easy pear crepe dessert recipe is ready in just a few minutes, without a lot of fuss and bother. It’s nearly winter, the temperatures are dropping, and it’s the perfect time for a holiday treat.
The pears were still fresh at the greenmarket, so I pounced.
You’re probably wondering how the words “crepe” and easy go together. After all, crepes are a bit of a pain to make from scratch. It takes a bit of work to get going (even if you’re accustomed to it) and it’s not really practical to make just one.
The secret is that I didn’t use a standard crepe recipe, or even a crepe recipe at all. I used a very thin, whole wheat tortilla instead. That meant I could cook it quickly, and didn’t have to worry about extra crepes lying around.
The rest of the tortillas will be used for another day’s dessert, for wraps, and turkey enchiladas (next week’s recipe). And, since the tortilla is sturdier than a real crepe, it holds together better, and I can fill it with more pear! I haven’t tried it yet, but it might also work well with bananas.
These tongs are great for flipping tortillas, turning steaks, or transferring chicken or fish cutlets from pan to plates. They lock in place when you put them away, so they won’t take up lots of space in your drawer or gadget holder.
This is a classic, simple frying pan that’s just the right size for tortillas, a couple of fried eggs, fajitas, or vegetables. It’s not non-stick, but I found that my non-stick pans started peeling (!) and and didn’t hold up so I got rid of them. This is better. Turn the flame on, heat the pan, add the oil or butter, and then add your food. You can even put it in the oven (just don’t broil it).
Check out these Single Serving and Small Batch Dessert Recipes
I first saw a cinnamon sugar banana recipe similar to this being passed around on Pinterest. My initial thought was that the combination sounded delicious.
When I took a closer look, it had bananas, cinnamon, sugar, and olive oil spray?! Huh? Sorry, but they lost me there. However the rest of it sounded good, so I decided to put my own spin on it.
First thing I did was to ditch the olive oil spray and replace it with butter. I didn’t use a lot, only one teaspoon. Next I thought a bit of brandy would add flavor and punch, and since I had a tiny bit left I added that too.
I usually buy a bottle of inexpensive brandy for this sort of thing, no sense using something expensive if it’s not necessary. On the other hand, if all you have is top shelf liquor, you won’t need much, so you don’t have to feel guilty about it. And, it will likely taste even better.
So, a little butter, some cinnamon, a pinch of nutmeg, the banana, brandy, and just a touch of sugar and I had a delicious, easy dessert for one.