When Paula Deen announced the Kraft Real Women of Philadelphia cooking contest, I was intrigued, to say the least. I got everyone around me on board – my mom helped me write my script, my sister filmed, and my dad, brother and boyfriend were all too happy to sample my cream cheese-adapted recipes.

The first three weeks went off without a hitch – Jalapeno Hushpuppies for side dish week, Party Bread for appetizer week, and Eggs in a Nest for entrée week. Also – I should clarify… when I say “without a hitch,” I simply mean that I managed to get my video taped, edited, and uploaded by the deadline. “Without a hitch” does not account for the 8-hour emotional rollercoaster each week. (Seriously, I LOVE to be the center of attention, but something about this contest had me in panic attacks. Maybe it was the use of non-organic ingredients? I AM my mother’s daughter…)

Dessert was the last category, and I was ready. After all, I had been honing my hosting/cooking skills for three weeks. I had practiced my recipe the previous weekend. Things were set to go off “without a hitch,” but somewhere between take one and mixing the dry ingredients together things went horribly wrong. I caved. I decided to opt out of dessert week, and finish my recipe off-camera where my eyes, red and puffy with defeat, wouldn’t give me away.

Long story short, adding the cream cheese to the batter turned out to not be such a great idea anyways. The darn thing didn’t even bake through. (Good thing we had stopped taping.) But, I can assure you that this blackberry cobbler recipe (sans cream cheese) is bulletproof.

Gather Up:
4 cups fresh blackberries
1 ½ tablespoon cornstarch
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons softened butter
1 egg slightly beaten
3 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a heavy saucepan mix cornstarch, sugar and water.  Add berries.

Cook on medium heat until mixture is thickened, about 10–15 minutes.

Sauce will be clear and berries will be softened but still intact.

Add 1 tablespoon butter. Combine and pour berries into an 8-inch ovenproof dish.

Prepare batter by mixing flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Add 2 tablespoons butter, egg and milk and stir until batter is just smooth.

Spread batter over the hot berries. (Sugar sprinkles are optional, but we love them!)

Bake 30 – 35 minutes. Test crust with a toothpick for doneness. This bakes into a wonderful cookie-like crunchy crust!

Let cool somewhat. Serve with ice cream!

I should also add that I have a new level of respect for The Next Food Network Star. Chopping, mixing, cooking, talking, and remaining competent all at once is HARD work.

Adapted from SimplyRecipes.