Dessert Recipes

Banana Pudding


4 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

4 large eggs, separated

2 cups half-and-half

1 T VAIN vanilla extract

Approximately 45 vanilla wafers

1 pinch cream of tartar


Toss the banana slices and lemon juice in a small bowl and set aside.

Combine 1/2 cup of the sugar, the flour and salt in a 3-quart thick bottomed sauce pot. Add the egg yolks and whisk to combine. Add the half-and-half and whisk to combine. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 172 to 180 degrees F, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. The mixture will begin to thicken and bubble around the edges. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract.

Place a layer of the vanilla wafers in a 1.5 qt glass mixing bowl or similar pyrex dish.  Cover withal of the pudding and half of the bananas.  Repeat the procedure with another layer of wafers and the remaining pudding and bananas. Finish with a layer of vanilla wafers.

Cool completely before refrigerating. Refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form. Spoon the meringue over the cold pudding, being sure to cover the edges.  Brown meringue under the broiler or with a blowtorch and serve.

VAIN Products Used: 

Banana Pudding

Bourbon-Vanilla Creme Brûlée


1 large egg (at room temperature)

5 egg yolks

1/2 Cup sugar

3 Cups sugar

1 Tablespoon Vain Vanilla extracted in Bourbon


Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F.  In a mixer with a paddle attachment mix sugar, eggs, and egg yolks until thoroughly combined.  Heat heavy cream over medium until hot but not boiling, approx 200 degrees F. With mixer on low, slowly add hot cream to egg and sugar mixture until all has been incorporated.  Add VAIN vanilla.  Place 6 six ounce ramekins in a deep baking dish.  Evenly distribute the custard among the ramekins.  Add enough boiling water to the deep baking dish to come halfway up the ramekins.  Bake 35-40 minutes until custard is just set. Allow to cool then refrigerate till well chilled.  Sprinkle tops of each custard with approximately 1 Tablespoon of sugar.  Using a torch, or under the broiler, quickly melt and brown the sugar.

VAIN Products Used: 

Bourbon-Vanilla Creme Brûlée

Bread Pudding with Fresh Raspberries


4 cups cubed challah, thick crust portions removed

1 cup whole milk 

1 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Vain Mexican Vanilla extracted in KY Bourbon

pinch nutmeg

1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen (if using frozen, thaw first)

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting to serve


Note: I tripled this recipe and baked it in a 9x13 pan.

Preheat oven to 275° F.

Spread bread cubes into a single layer on a baking sheet and slide into the oven to dry out, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Once dry, remove from oven and set aside. (If bread is sufficiently stale, you may omit this step; alternatively, you can use fresh bread and omit this step as well, which will yield a much more pudding-like consistency -- the cube shape of the pieces will disappear entirely. Do what you like.)

While the bread is drying, whisk the milk, cream, sugars, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg together until smooth.

Increase oven temperature to 350° F and grease an 8-inch round pan or another small, oven-safe dish.

Dump dried bread cubes into a large bowl with the egg mixture and mix to coat. Allow this to sit for 20 minutes so the bread can soak up as much of it as possible. Fold in the raspberries, and then pour into the prepared pan.

Bake bread pudding for 30 minutes, until golden brown and puffed up. The pudding should look "set". After removing it from the oven, allow to cool slightly. Top with a dusting of confectioners' sugar to serve. The flavors deepen if you serve it the next day. It can be served at room temp or even chilled. 

VAIN Products Used: 

Bread Pudding with Fresh Raspberries

Brown Butter Fruit Cobbler


½ cup unsalted butter

1 Tbsp VAIN Vanilla extract

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup granulated sugar, divided

2 eggs

½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour

3-4 cups fresh berries or sliced stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, etc) or a mix of all

2 Tbsp raw or Demerara sugar (optional)


Serves 4-6


Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a pan over medium heat melt butter, swirling pan occasionally, until bubbling subsides and it turns golden brown, emits a nutty aroma and toasted bits appear, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape brown butter into a mixing bowl and allow to cool approximately 10 minutes. Add sugar to browned butter and beat until smooth. Add eggs and VAIN vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. Add flour and salt, beat until smooth. Place fruit into greased 8-inch square baking dish or 9-inch iron skillet. Sprinkle fruit with remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Spoon brown butter batter on top and sprinkle with raw or Demerara sugar (optional).


Bake 40 to 50 minutes until fruit juices have thickened and bubbled and cobbler is puffed and golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

VAIN Products Used: 

Brown Butter Fruit Cobbler

Icebox Chocolate Cheesecake


70 Nabisco Famous Chocolate Wafers (from 2 packages)

Three 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

1 cup chocolate syrup, such as Hershey's

1 tsp. Vain Mexican Vanilla extracted in Cane Rum


Put 20 of the chocolate cookies (reserving 50 whole cookies) into a zippered plastic bag and, using a rolling pin, crush them to fine crumbs. Line an 8-inch round cake pan with enough plastic wrap to extend by 4 inches all around.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese at high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the chocolate syrup, Vain vanilla extract and 1/4 cup of water and beat the chocolate cream for 2 minutes. 

Arrange 9 cookies in an overlapping ring on the bottom of the prepared cake pan and place 1 cookie in the center. Spoon one-fourth of the chocolate cream (about 1 1/4 cups) over the cookies, being careful not to disturb them. Repeat with the remaining cookies and chocolate cream, ending with a layer of 10 cookies on top. Fold the plastic wrap over the top of the cake. Lightly tap the pan once or twice on a work surface. Refrigerate the cake for at least 8 hours and preferably overnight.

Peel back the plastic wrap and invert the cake onto a serving plate. Carefully peel off the plastic wrap. Press the cookie crumbs onto the side of the cake to coat evenly. Cut into wedges and serve.

The plastic-wrapped cake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Icebox Chocolate Cheesecake

Judy's Chocolate Orange Cheesecake


5 ounces or 1 Cup Graham Crackers (can use crumbs)

8 Tbsp, divided Butter

1 Cup + 5 Tbs Sugar

1 Cup Hazelnuts, chopped

4 ounces good quality bittersweet chocolate

1/4 Cup heavy cream

1 Tbsp + 1 tsp VAIN Uganda Vanilla extracted in Orange Spirits

3 packages cream cheese

3 eggs

grated peel of orange

16 ounces sour cream


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread chopped hazelnuts on half sheet pan and toast for 10-15 minutes, until brown. Stir every 3-5 minutes.

Bring cream cheese and sour cream to room temperature. Cut the cheese horizontally into 5 or 6 slices.

2. After removing hazelnuts from oven, increase temperature to 375 degrees. Reduce graham crackers to crumbs, I use a food processor, but a ziploc and a rolling pin work, too!

Combine the crumbs with 7 Tbsp melted butter, 2 Tbsp sugar and the toasted hazelnuts. Pat down to form a crust in a 9-inch springform pan, preferably non-stick. Bake 7 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.

Heat heavy cream in microwave for 30 seconds.

3. Break 4 oz. of chocolate into small pieces and heat with 1 Tbsp butter in a double-boiler over barely simmering water. When the chocolate is fully melted and the mixture is smooth, add hot cream. Pour the mixture into the springform pan almost to the edges of the crust. This will produce a very firm chocolate layer.

Melted chocolate seizes when liquid is added to it. If a softer chocolate layer is preferred, melt 6 oz. of chocolate and when smooth, add 1 and 1/2 Tbsp. yogurt or sour cream.

4. Add the cream cheese to a food processor by dropping the slices in while motor is running. Alternate the cheese with 1 cup of sugar, 3 eggs, and 1 tsp. VAIN extract. Stop the motor periodically and run a spatula through the mixture. Mix the grated orange peel and 1 Tbsp VAIN extract into the cheese mixture with a spatula.

Pour the liquid cheese mixture into the springform pan. Bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees F. Remove the cake and let it cool slightly while making the sour cream topping.

5. Heat the oven to 500 degrees F. Let ethe cake cool so that the top surface is fairly solid. Combine 16 oz. of sour cream, 3 Tbsp of sugar and 1/2 tsp. of VAIN vanilla extract in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Bake at 500 degrees for 5 minutes.

Remove the cake and let it cool to room temperature on a rack. Place uncovered cheesecake in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before eating. Enjoy!

Judy's Chocolate Orange Cheesecake