One of my enduring memories of childhood is sitting with my brother in our living room, watching old Donald Duck cartoons and eating Jello pudding pops. Only the chocolate ones, because the vanilla ones weren’t nearly as good. And when Jello stopped making them (sad!), I moved on to my next favorite frozen pudding-based treat, which involved freezing chocolate (never vanilla) pudding cups solid, then letting them thaw slightly on the counter for that signature slightly-chewy mouthfeel that you can only get from frozen pudding. It was always iffy, though, whether you’d end up with icy crystals or overly-thawed pudding, so that method was never fully satisfactory.
Well, I may not be able to get Jello-brand pudding pops anymore, but I’ve at last found the perfect replacement– homemade pudding pops. I got the recipe for the butterscotch pops from Smitten Kitchen (I swear, I should just rename this blog “Stuff from Smitten Kitchen”), and I’m going to start making these on a regular basis.
I admit to loving the idea of portable desserts in mason jars– it’s hopelessly hipster-ish, but they’re just so darned cute! Even better if they have distinct layers so they have extra flair from the outside. So when Deb at Smitten Kitchen posted a new “extra-luxe” recipe for butterscotch pudding the same week I had plans to bring dessert over to a friend’s house, it was as if the fates had spoken and decreed that I must make this pudding.
I assembled my mason jars and got to work– I ended up doubling the pudding recipe, which supposedly made six “petite” servings, and ended up with eight more generous servings, though the caramel sauce that accompanied it was enough for all eight without being doubled. The finished puddings were quite tasty– the sweet-saltiness of the caramel was a nice accent to the relatively mild butterscotch pudding (I used the recommended smaller amount of sugar you’ll see in Deb’s notes), and the texture was perfect.
I love rice krispie treats. Just love them. There’s something about the nice firm chew when you first bite into them that makes them addictively delicious. But I rarely make them, mostly because I get distracted by other, more exotic recipes. Also because my husband isn’t a huge fan and I’d end up eating the entire pan myself. (that was certainly the case with the leftover rice krispie treat towers from the birthday castle cake).
But when I found myself with a leftover bag of mini marshmallows and half a box of rice krispies that would never get eaten as breakfast, I knew that I’d be finding an excuse to make these delicious snacks soon. A gathering of friends provided the perfect occasion, and a newly-doctored jar of salted caramel sauce provided the inspiration for a delicious variation. I stirred a healthy dollop of caramel sauce into the melted marshmallow/butter mixture before mixing in the cereal, drizzled extra caramel on top of the finished treats, and topped it all off with a sprinkling of salt.
Every year we throw an ice cream party, where guests bring their favorite flavors of ice cream along with toppings to create an ice cream buffet. Unfortunately, once the wreckage is cleared away we find ourselves with an excess of high-calorie, high-sugar treats in the form of sauces, crumbled cookies, and candy– what to do with them?
I managed to use up a lot of the leftovers, but one bottle of storebought “caramel flavored syrup” remained stubbornly in our refrigerator. I usually make my own caramel sauce (deeply caramelized, and hit with a generous pinch of salt), but I thought I’d try my hand at doctoring up the storebought stuff, just to see what would happen.
It never fails– I buy a bunch of bananas that are nice and green, figuring I’ll have plenty of time to eat them at my favorite stage (yellow with green tips) before they get overripe, but then life interferes and I’m stuck with a bunch of soft brown bananas with rapidly forming bruises that even my preschooler won’t touch. What to do? I’ve already made a batch of banana muffins and I don’t have any occasion to make a real banana cake. Then it hit me: ice cream.
Not the “freeze pieces of banana and then whirl them in the food processor” faux-ice cream that’s making the rounds on Pinterest (though I’ve made it and it’s not bad)– real ice cream. With caramelized banana puree, a swirl of salted caramel sauce, toasted walnuts, and chunks of banana bread to give me something to dig for. Sound good? I thought so.