Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Save Your Oven Space For Your Main Meal - Try Crockpot Dessert Recipes

By Susanne Myers

Does shuffling around your dishes in and out of the oven get complicated during a big holiday meal? We like to have several desserts, so that usually means something's got to come out of the oven so the desserts can start going in. Why not put your crockpot to work for you this year? Transform your old favorite dessert recipes into crockpot dessert recipes and free up your oven for what it was meant for... the turkey and Green Bean Casserole!

Turning your family's favorite desserts into crockpot dessert recipes isn't difficult. I have chosen three of our favorite recipes to make in our crockpot this year. Let's see how these crockpot dessert recipes differ from their original recipes.

Apple Crisp: This dessert is one where the timing is most important. You want to serve this dessert hot with a little scoop of ice cream or whipped topping. The melting topping is what makes this dessert wonderful! Use your basic recipe, but add a touch more butter, then cook it on low for a couple hours or until the apples get soft, but not all mushy. Figure out your timing so that you turn off the heat just before serving.

You can add a crunchy topping just before serving if you wish. Just mix the ingredients together in a small saucepan and heat until butter is incorporated. Sprinkle on your mixture either just before serving or after you scoop the apples into dessert bowls.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies: Regular brownies are good, but this chocolate brownie dessert with peanut butter swirled in is a special treat. Very moist and yummy! This dessert is made with brownie mix, but it's spooned into dessert bowls, not cut into squares. Serve while the dessert is still hot so you can add some ice cream or whipped topping and it gets all nice and melty!

You can garnish this dessert a bit more with a sprinkle of Reese's Pieces or even some mini peanut butter cups. A few chocolate sprinkles is nice, too. Once again, you throw this all together to cook a few hours before you want to serve dessert and you don't have to worry about shuffling pans in and out of the oven. And, your dessert will be ready to serve, still nice and warm.

Pecan Cheesecake: Cooking a cheesecake in this way is especially fun. A slowcooker really is, after all, just a mini oven. The trick here is to use a regular springform pan, but be sure it actually fits. You'll need a 5 or 6 quart crock pot with room for a 7" springform pan. I make my graham cracker crust with some finely chopped pecans mixed in, pat the crust into shape in the pan, then pour in my whipped up cheesecake ingredients and it's ready to go.

You'll need to put a small rack in the bottom to hold the springform pan off the bottom. If you don't have a rack that fits, just pull a good length of aluminum foil off the roll and form a donut shape out of it to support the pan. Put that on the bottom and put your pan in. Just be sure the pan is at least an inch off the bottom. Use enough foil to get a good support. You want to cook your cheesecake on high for several hours, then shut off the heat and let it sit in there for another hour or until it's cool enough to handle. Then you'll let it cool completely on a rack on the counter before you remove the pan from the cheesecake. Because you serve cheesecake either room temperature or cold, you can actually get this prepared ahead of time. Remember to refrigerate any leftovers... like you're going to have any!

Rather than struggle another year shuffling food around all around the kitchen, leave your dinner cooking in peace and quiet, tucked safely away in the oven where it belongs. Because a holiday dinner is not complete without desserts, this simple plan to create new crockpot dessert recipes out of favorite old standards will help with all that last minute chaos. Why sacrifice any sweet treat because you lack room in the oven? Get out your crockpot and start re-creating your own favorite dessert recipes. Enjoy!

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