Nearly everyone knows that crock-pots—or slow cookers—provide a convenient method for cooking one-pot meals. Not many, however, realize that the same no-fuss appliance that makes great stews and meat with vegetable dishes is equally capable of cooking delectable desserts. Almost anything that can be made on a stovetop or in an oven can be cooked in a crock-pot. To make it easier, here are a few recipes with which to get started.
Buy 4 packages of cinnamon crumb cake mix with a separate cinnamon topping. Open 4 (21-oz) cans of apple pie filling and cut the apples into smaller chunks. Place the filling in a large bowl and stir in the prepared cinnamon topping from 2 of the cinnamon crumb cake mixes. Place the mixture in a 4 to 5-quart crock-pot. In a separate bowl, combine the 4 packages of cinnamon crumb cake mix with 1 of the cinnamon toppings and 1-cup of melted butter. Sprinkle this crumbly mixture over the filling. Over the top, sprinkle the last package of cinnamon topping and 1 ⅓-cup walnuts. Cover and cook for 2-3 hours on a low setting. Serve in bowls, warm topped with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
***Replace apple filling with a different pie filling for a different type of fruit crisp.
Baked Cranberry Apples
Peel the top halves of 5 medium Granny Smith apples and remove the core and seeds. In a small bowl, combine ½-cup fresh or frozen chopped cranberries, ⅓-cup packed brown sugar, ½-tsp. ground cinnamon, ¼-tsp. ground nutmeg, and 4-tbsp chopped walnuts. Spoon the mixture into the center of each apple. Place them in a 4 to 5-quart or larger slow cooker and cover. Using a low setting, cook for 4 to 5 hours, or until the apples are done. Then, serve warm and topped with a bit of whipped or sour cream.
Cover the interior of a 4 to 5-quart crock-pot with cooking spray and add 8-cups of 1-inch cubed day-old French or Italian bread and ½-cup raisins. In a medium bowl, whisk 2-cups milk, 4 eggs, 1-cup sugar, ¼-cup melted butter, 1-tsp. ground cinnamon, ½-tsp. vanilla, ¼-tsp. ground nutmeg, and ⅛-tsp. salt and pour over the bread and raisins. Toss to coat and make sure the mixture is distributed evenly. Cover and cook 2 ½ to 3-hours on a low setting. The pudding is done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm and embellish with whipped cream.