Behind The Butter

My Ode To Dessert

Because I’ve been so keen on fixing up my recipe section lately and posted my Top Five favorite meals of all time last week, I thought this afternoon I’d post my Top Five desserts.

It’s obviously no secret that I love dessert. I mean, I went to pastry school and once, worked as a pastry chef at a yacht club for goodness sake. A question I get asked a ton on this blog is how I eat dessert (and feature such rich desserts!) but still manage to stay thin.

Well, I think I’ve addressed that in the past but to me, it’s all about moderation…..especially with desserts. I think it’s more satisfying to have a cookie made with real butter and sugar than seven cookies baked with Splenda and margarine. The same goes for ice cream. Personally, I’d rather have a small amount of the real thing then eat my weight in fat free frozen yogurt. Ya know?

The desserts that I feature on this blog ARE rich and they are meant to be eaten in moderation. They are the desserts that I learned to make in culinary school and are mainly the classic ones that people have been enjoying for years and years. You know…the pie your grandma made and stuff.

It’s my hope that by showing you step by step how to make these desserts it takes some of the fear out of them. I mean, if I can make a lattice top pie so can you! Seriously. Homemade pie crust, freshly baked cookies, creamy pudding….they represent comfort in our society and shouldn’t be so scary. However, I do understand that it does take a lot of self control and there’s nothing wrong with light desserts, too. Sometimes a perfectly ripe pear makes the absolute best dessert.

Other times you just need a cookie. Amen.

So here are my Top Five favorite desserts that I’ve featured so far on the blog. All of these desserts have been made in my closet sized kitchen with no dishwasher, no air conditioning and no rolling pin (note to self: buy rolling pin and apron).

5. Blueberry Crisp

I’m going to tell you a secret. I’m a self-proclaimed chocoholic but sometimes, there’s just nothing I love more than a good fruity dessert. Cobblers and crumbles are some of my favorite desserts to order out (Oh, how I miss the peach cobblers here and the blackberry crisp here). I love, love, love a good cobbler…especially when you use fruit that’s in season. Plus, they are incredibly easy to make and usually have a really short ingredient list. Score.

4. Lattice Topped Peach Pie

It’s all about the flaky crust, people!!! If you’ve never attempted to make homemade pie crust…….please do. Like, now. You only need a few ingredients and you can freeze it for months. I promise you’ll never buy Pillsbury again once you have discovered how simple it is to make your own.

3. Homemade Marshmallows

This is one of the most old school recipes that I have on this blog and also one of the most vital for taking your s’more creation to the next level. This recipe comes straight from an old French chef at my school and it’s worth the cost of buying a cheap food scale for. A few years ago, I made a terribly embarrassing video of me making these marshmallows but you probably shouldn’t watch it. No, really.

2. BethT’s Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

I loved this recipe so much that I made the photo part of my new blog header. Yep, it’s that intense. I’ve found the secret to keeping these cookies chewy is pulling them out of the oven two minutes before you think they’re done. So, only bake for ten minutes. I did that last time and thought I had entered chocolate chip cookie heaven.

1. Brown Sugar Italian Buttercream

Ummm can frosting count as a favorite dessert? Good because it’s mine. When I was little, I was always that annoying kid who, at birthday parties, would stick my index finger right into the side of the cake and swipe the frosting. Apparently some things never change.

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  • Rachel @ Fit Fun and Fabulous
    August 30, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    I baked some cookies from scratch this past weekend using all fresh, real, wholesome ingredients. And I still went totally overboard. I have trouble moderating myself which is why I tend to cook with a lot of substitutions (applesauce instead of oils, etc.)

    But man, they were nice and tasty! I guess moderation for me will have to be not making them very often. Or, you know, figuring out why I eat my feelings. That might also help things.

  • CathyK
    August 30, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    i agree with #5: you can’t beat an amazing crisp – apple, please.
    love your top five lists.
    i have no prob with seeing decadent or rich desserts on your blog – pure ingredients in moderation beat fake stuff any day.
    you’re always an enjoyable read – thanks!

  • Erika @ Food, Fitness, & Fun
    August 30, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Mmmm, your top 5 look so good! I agree with you – I would rather eat one decadant, rich cookie, than 5 low-fat, mediocre ones.

  • Rachel (Two Healthy Plates)
    August 30, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    What a great top 5! And 2 out of 5 even include fruit! =)

  • Allyson
    August 30, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    I’m new-ish to reading your blog and I love all of your desserts! Making your own dessert is so much better for you than eating a processed cookie/cake/or ice cream. I used to love Costco cake frosting…then I looked at the ingredient list and about died. Soooo disgusting. Desserts made from REAL ingredients are so much more satisfying! Good Job 🙂

  • Brooke - One Healthy Cookie
    August 30, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    The less sugar I eat everyday, the less I crave sugar. I have A LOT more self control with sweets now, and feel satisfied with 1-2 of them, rather than eating 5 (like I used to!).

  • Little Bookworm
    August 30, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Your top five desserts look great. 🙂 I especially agree with number 5 and number 2!

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is
    August 30, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    I just watched your video last week for homemade marshmallows! Love it, and they are SO good.

  • eatmovelove
    August 30, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    I’m all over #2. Done.

  • Kayla @ Let's Live Wholesome
    August 30, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Awesome! The last crisp I made was heavily inspired by your blueberry version, and it was sososo good. Girl, you know what up.

  • Heather (Heather's Dish)
    August 30, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    girl, this post made me drool more than i thought was possible. i’m all about fruit crisps and pies, but tiramisu is by FAR my favorite!

  • The Blue-Eyed Bakers
    August 30, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Divine. All of them. We want one of each please!

  • Marie
    August 30, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I just made the peach pie today, not latticed though. SO GOOD.

  • Lauren
    August 30, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    Your desserts remind me why life is worth living! 😉

  • BethT
    August 30, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Just to clarify….the cookies are not totally mine, as I give full credit to Cook’s Illustrated for the original recipe…but I’m glad I could introduce you to them 🙂

    • jenna
      August 30, 2010 at 4:35 pm

      …it just flows… “betht’s perfect chocolate chip cookies”…

  • Charles
    August 30, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    +1 to Marie!

    The peach pie I made yesterday came out fantastic, lattice and all!

  • Kristen @ That Hoosier Girl
    August 30, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    OMG…killing me with that buttercream! Just when I think I’ve managed to push thoughts of it out of my head…back it comes.

    I never thought it was possible to crave cupcakes, cookies, pies, and crumbles all at the same time, but here I sit…drooling. 🙂

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin
    August 30, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I really want to make that blueberry crisp now!

  • Stacey
    August 30, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    Those all look like they should be the top 5. But maybe a cupcake also? 🙂

  • Jessica @ The Process of Healing
    August 30, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    Ode to desserts… love it! And I agree, i’d much rather have a little bit of the real thing than a lot of something fake.

  • Trish
    August 30, 2010 at 5:00 pm

    I used to eat frosting right out of the tub when I was growing up. I have serious issues with sugar – as in I seriously can’t stop eating it.

  • Maria @ Kale and Cupcakes
    August 30, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    I propose becoming your personal taste tester for all things dessert. Seriously. I want to lick the computer.

  • Erin
    August 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    There are no words so I’ll just say… WOW.

  • Katie
    August 30, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Awesome post!! I always love to hear what everyone’s top favorite desserts are. Fruit crisps with vanilla ice cream are the BEST!!!

  • Krystina
    August 30, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Confession: I’m vegan but those cookies both look and sound so delicious that I think I’ve had dreams about them. Damn my sweet tooth.

  • Michelle (The Runner's Plate)
    August 30, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Thoroughly enjoyed the post! I am a dessert fanatic and love baking as well. I would much rather have a small portion of a rich dessert over something made with artificial sugar or other fake ingredients.

  • Tori @
    August 30, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Dessert is my reason to live. Isn’t it everyone’s?

  • Tori @
    August 30, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Desert is my reason to live. Isn’t it everyone’s? 🙂
    guess i messed up that last comment. oops!

  • Tina
    August 30, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Icing should most definitely count as a favorite dessert! I think #1 and #2 should be blended together and make a heavenly dessert baby. And give me a food baby in the process.

  • sirenjess
    August 30, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Amen sister. I’ve got to make those cookies. My nephews birthday is Wednesday and he wants me to make him a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Is it horrible that I want to swap out the chocolate frosting for your Italian brown sugar buttercream?

  • Stacey
    August 30, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    Oh my…did you have to do this post right after I’ve already picked (and eaten!) my dessert for tonight?! 😉
    I’m so going to try the Blueberry Crisp next week! But first, I’ve got a date with apple pie

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write
    August 30, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    I’ve really been into baking lately, so this post came at a great time. I may try your chocolate chip cookie recipe there. Last night, I made oatmeal-raisin. Out of this world.

  • Nora@LifeLifeEatRight
    August 30, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    Oh man, I don’t know where I would be without dessert. I once made a top 5 favorite foods list…that took me FAR too long to conceive. My top three all time favorite foods were ice cream, frosting and funfetti cake. Things have changed in my top 5 since then but ice cream remains number one in my heart.

  • Caitlin
    August 30, 2010 at 6:02 pm

    Me too! Oh nobody will notice if this pink buttercream rose is missing, right? Frosting is my favorite sweet and that one looks divine!

  • Candice
    August 30, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    I totally agree about the chocolate and fruit thing. While I’d definitely classify myself as a chocolate girl all the way, I would go for a nice peach cobbler any day! Love this list:)

  • Kati
    August 30, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    All of it. Yum. I love your blog :> I think you could write about pretty much anything and I’d read it!

  • emily hall
    August 30, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    i love blueberry crisp! and yours looks amazing!

  • Ashleigh
    August 30, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Yumm!! Thanks so much for sharing your favorite desserts! That crisp looks heavenly! Speaking of baking & aprons – I just got this ADORABLE apron from Seven Hopes United. You should check them out 🙂 They are so cute & it’s for a good cause. This is the one that I have

  • Sana
    August 30, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Yes!!! NEVER skimp on dessert. Life is too short 🙂

  • Amanda
    August 30, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    This post made me want to run into my kitchen and bake a batch of cookies asap! 🙂

  • Tami@nutmegnotebook
    August 30, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    I am drooling over all the goodies. I love to bake much more than cooking. I enjoy seeing the pleasure and delight it brings to the people who bite into a little piece of heaven.

  • Emilyeatsclean
    August 30, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    One word for ya……DROOL!!! 😀

  • Gree
    August 30, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    I too will confess I prefer the frosting to the cake…I just love frosting, but good frosting. People don’t appreciate how hard it is to make a good buttercream, the first time I succeeded I was so proud! And homemade marshmallows are one of my favorites too, I like to make them around the holidays.

  • Nancy @ The Wife of a Dairyman
    August 30, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Reading your post, I now have a craving for chocolate chip cookies with a big glass of ice cold milk.

  • courtney
    August 30, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    LOVE frosting. Love desserts. Must make all of these STAT. Possibly all at once… 🙂

  • Lorin
    August 30, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    Oh man the best peach cobbler I have ever had was a homemade when I went camping. It cooked in a dutch oven over some hot coals for a few hours and when you’re camping nothing tastes better!!

  • Lola
    August 30, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    I think im still that annoying girl that steels the frosting on every cake that I found on my way!

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)
    August 31, 2010 at 3:31 am

    I’m a huge fan of blueberry crisp! Between that and apple crisp, those are my favorite desserts ever. To make *and* to enjoy.

    I love your thoughts on eating desserts. As a dietetics major, people are usually shocked to hear that I love to bake. They’re even more surprised that I love to eat what I bake. 😉 But you’re so right. Moderation is the key, and sometimes there is no substitution for the real deal. 😀

  • Lauren at KeepItSweet
    August 31, 2010 at 3:54 am

    I really should try that blueberry crisp recipe before the summer ends!

  • amanda
    August 31, 2010 at 4:13 am

    haha I think I gained like 5 pounds from just looking at those desserts alone. Anyway, I agree with you the key is moderation. I am currently working on that very premise in my life right now. That marshmellow loooooks so delicious!

    August 31, 2010 at 4:34 am

    i never thought i was a chocoholic myself… it wasent until i started blogging and posting the photos of what i ate that i realized how much chocolate i ate. no problem with it tho, just means our cells are a little sweeter for it, no?
    but i agree, a wonderfully made crisp or cobbler is definitely second best <3

  • Sarah @ Sarah's Shaping Up
    August 31, 2010 at 5:12 am

    I’m still waiting to make those cookies! They look incredible. And the frosting? I better stay away from that… 🙂 It all looks delicious!

  • katie @runthislife
    August 31, 2010 at 5:36 am

    Every time you start talking about your homemade marshmellows I TOTALLY want to make my own. Maybe I’ll finally try it! And, OH- those cookies!!

  • Jillian
    August 31, 2010 at 5:41 am

    I’m not even a huge fan of dessert, but I am very compelled to try some of these!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman
    August 31, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Honestly, I’d rather eat dessert than dinner. If I could eat a stick of celery and each one of those desserts, I’d be happy. All of them look so good. But right now I’m craving those s’mores.

  • Kelly
    August 31, 2010 at 6:02 am

    Jenna, I’m with you. I try to eat healthy most of the time, but when I want a dessert it has to be worth it. I’d much rather have real ingredients. Every dessert recipe of yours that I have tried has been amazing. You are my kind of gal.

  • Cori
    August 31, 2010 at 6:09 am

    You know, I read your posts throughout my week because you sound so much like me sometimes! I went to culinary school as well and love love love baking. I work as the chef at Whole Foods now and constantly bring sweets in for everyone because I can’t keep up with them myself. This week alone I made peanut butter bars, chocolate crinkle puffs (amazing), a banana cream pie, lemon pound cake, banana bread, and black and white cookies.

    I totally agree with your thinking on having a little of the real thing instead of a lot of the fake. Working where I work made that more true for me as time went on. I eat all different kinds of food and love to include things like sweets, occasional fried chicken, potato salad and pastas etc. that are made with real ingredients.

    I get the same question of how I stay thin and eat this stuff all the time. Running/working out a lot doesn’t hurt, kind of a necessity when I have to taste food all day long!

    Anyways, I love your blog and your outlook on food and health!

  • Jess
    August 31, 2010 at 6:31 am

    You are just so cute! I love reading you blog love your optimistic outlook on this wonderful life 🙂

    I can’t wait for Fall either!

  • R @ Learning As I Chop
    August 31, 2010 at 6:37 am

    Agreed on all fronts. Especially fruity desserts like crumbles

  • Andrea
    August 31, 2010 at 6:41 am

    Three cheers for desserts. I’m on board with the comfort food thing…you need it for your soul (check out my blog post today as I mirror that sentiment). 🙂 i need to try those chocolate chip cookies ASAP!

  • Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle
    August 31, 2010 at 6:59 am

    My grandmother was a pasty chef so I have veins in my body specifically devoted to fueling my body via sugar…I haven’t made a pie in many years but your post on easy pie crust may just bring me out of my hibernation! It really isn’t hard at all. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • Amber K
    August 31, 2010 at 8:27 am

    I think your way of doing it is very healthy. I just wish I could be satisifed by one cookie or one sliver of pie. I am such a volume eater, even when it comes to desserts, and even if I have eaten a full meal beforehand. Just a taste is never enough for me!

    So I do try and make clean, real desserts, but ones that also give me that volume I like. Which is why I love making banana soft serve and thick smoothies that you slowly savor with a spoon.

  • Brooke (Baking with Basil)
    August 31, 2010 at 9:42 am

    I second frosting as a favorite dessert. It would defintely be in my Top5 as well! Oh and the fruit crisps. There is something about that buttery, sugary, slightly crunchy crust that draws me in every time! I have some peaches that need used up, I might make some tonight!

  • sarah k. @ the pajama chef
    September 1, 2010 at 6:12 am

    i’m with you! these all look delicious. i feel like if you work out and eat a balanced diet, indulging in some desserts is a-okay, esp if you share! 🙂

  • Afton
    September 1, 2010 at 9:15 am

    I love desserts and I recently found that my passion is baking. It is one of the things that I am really good at so when I saw your recipe for the chocolate cupcakes and brown sugar buttercream icing I just had to try them. I took it a step further and filled them with a ganache filling and they were utterly sinful and AMAZING! My husband loved them as well. I have made a mental note of the other desserts that you have listed for future use when I want to indulge. So thank you for sharing!

  • Sage
    September 3, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Hey Jenna!
    I can’t get to your blog as often as I would like, and I am finding it difficult to read your posts sequentially. Any way to make this easier?

    Best wishes!!!