Homemade Vanilla pudding

May is a fickle month, weather-wise, at least in this region of the country. Last Friday it was warm. I actually felt hot running around doing a few errands in the afternoon. But the cooler temps are back, and I have my sweatshirt on over my turtleneck. Yes, I’m still wearing turtlenecks. It’s my uniform from September through May, so I’m in the home stretch, getting ready to switch over to clothes that at least suggest warmer weather is in sight. But it will be a little while yet before I break out the tank tops.

Tonight it seemed just right to  mix up a little warmth for an after dinner treat. One of my favorite comfort foods, plain vanilla pudding has just the right everything: the right amount of sweet creamy buttery warmth that makes it irresistible on a chilly evening. This makes a small amount, so if you are making this for more a couple of people, you’ll probably want to double the recipe.

Vanilla Pudding

Vanilla goodness


1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 cups half and half

2 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


1. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan.

2. Whisk in about a third of the half and half, stirring until smooth. Stir in remaining half and half until well combined.

3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened (about 5 minutes, but the time will vary).

4. Reduce heat to low and continue to heat, stirring gently, until the mixture reaches a simmer.

5. Cook one minute more over low heat, then remove from heat.

6. Fold in butter and vanilla extract. Spoon pudding into serving dishes.

I like this served warm, but if you prefer it chilled, just make early enough in the day to chill in the fridge before serving. I always have a bit left over, and it keeps well for a day or two in the fridge. Just reheat briefly in the microwave if you like it served warm.

This is a thinner pudding than the instant variety, but it is simple to make, silky smooth, and has no artificial ingredients!


Best Fudgy Brownies

These are the BEST fudgy brownies!

Ok, I know this is going to be hard to believe for brownie lovers, like me, who are ever in search of the perfect brownie recipe. But I think I finally have my favorite for a basic fudgy brownie. No cream cheese here, no peanut butter, no additional exotic flavors…just good old-fashioned chocolate nuttiness. And the best part…no expensive or hard-to-find chocolate required. And since this recipe is made from scratch and standard pantry/fridge items, you don’t have to remember to pick up a mix to have these decadent chewy morsels any night of the week. The process is simple too: all you need is a bowl and whisk.

You won’t BELIEVE how basic this recipe is:

  1.  2 eggs
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted (I use salted or unsalted, whatever I have on hand)
  4. 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  5. 1/3 cup Hershey’s Cocoa powder
  6. 1/4 tsp salt
  7. 1 or 2 tsp vanilla extract (use ONLY real vanilla extract, makes a big difference)
  8. 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


  1. Butter or spray with baking spray an 8” x 8” baking pan, or you can also use an 8” pie dish for these if you want to serve the brownies in pie shaped wedges.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees ( I like my brownies a little under-baked, so my trick is to bake these in a slightly cooler oven, 325 degrees).
  3. Beat eggs; blend in sugar and melted butter. Stir in flour, cocoa powder and salt. Add vanilla extract and chopped nuts.
  4. Pour into a prepared pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until ALMOST set. Brownies will not test done in center. Cool for a few minutes, or as long as you can stand to wait; cut into squares or wedges. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream. Serves 6 to 8, depending on how generously brownies are cut.

 Recipe can be doubled if preparing for a larger group.

Enjoy! And let me know what you think.