Serve up comfort with these 7 shoe racks from Alabama cooks

The smell of a homemade shoe rack is one of the most delicious and comforting aromas that grace our homes. So what exactly is a shoe rack and how is it different from a cake? We asked our friends at the Alabama Cooperative Extension System to clarify this for us.

“The defining difference between cobbler and pie really comes down to the crust, or lack thereof,” says Elaine Softley, ACES Regional Outreach Agent II, Human Nutrition, Diet and Health for Northwest Alabama. “A pie, whether sweet or savory, always has a bottom crust, whereas a cobbler does not. A cobbler is a baked fruit dessert with no bottom crust and the top crust is a sort of biscuit crust rather than a traditional pie or pie crust. While almost all fruitcakes need some type of pie pan, you can bake a cobbler in any type of baking dish, using almost any type of fruit.

While some cooks like to prepare their cobblers in a cast iron skillet, others use a baking sheet in the oven. Softley says that either will do.

“I’ve made shoe racks in a cast iron skillet, in a glass pie pan, and in an aluminum pie pan,” she says. “Everything turned out delicious and easy to prepare.”

The following recipes call for a variety of fruits and even an unusual filling – bacon.

cherry cobbler

Vicky Byrd from Andalusia has been making her grandmother’s Cherry Cobbler for over 30 years. The use of pitted and stemmed cherries, mixed with lemon juice, gives the cobbler an extra touch that sets it apart from other fruit desserts. She makes it for family gatherings “and everyone enjoys it,” she says. This recipe is also just as tasty if you want to use peaches instead of cherries, she notes. And maybe even a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top, we might add.

Lemon juice adds zing to Vicky Byrd’s Cherry Cobbler recipe, which has been a favorite in her family for decades. (Brooke Echols/Alabama Living)


  • 6-8 cups cherries, pitted and stemmed
  • 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1¼ cup yellow cake mix
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 6 tablespoons of butter


Seed and stem cherries. In a large bowl, add the cherries, lemon juice, cornstarch, white sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Mix lightly. Pour into a 2-quart baking dish. To coat, mix together the yellow cake mix, brown sugar, salt, and baking powder. Stir to combine. Use a pastry knife to cut the butter into coarse crumbs. Add the topping to the cherry mixture. Place in the oven at 425 degrees for 25-35 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and the juices are bubbly.


easy peach shoe rack


  • 1 29-ounce can sliced ​​peaches with syrup
  • 1 package butter pecan cake mix
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted


Heat oven to 325 degrees. Layer ingredients, in order listed, in ungreased 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake 55-60 minutes. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm or cold with ice cream, if desired.

Nancy Sites Sizemore

Red, White and Blue Berry Cobbler


  • 1 stick (½ cup) salted butter
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup of whole milk
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1½ cups sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, peeled and halved
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup of fresh raspberries
  • Vanilla ice cream


In a large bowl, add ½ cup of sugar and lemon zest to the fruit. Stir gently to coat the fruit. Let the fruit rest for 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is preheating, melt the butter in a 9 x 13-inch saucepan or 15-inch cast-iron skillet for a rustic look. Whisk together the flour, 1 cup of sugar, milk, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Pour the mixture over the melted butter. Don’t stir. Pour the fruit and juice over the butter-dough mixture without stirring. Bake until the cobbler crust has turned a light golden brown and the cobbler is set. This takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Cooking time may vary depending on the amount of juice the fruit produces. Remove from oven. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

kathy phillips

Seedless Blackberry Cobbler


  • 1 quart blackberries, washed and stemmed
  • 1½ cups of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons self-raising flour
  • ½ stick of margarine
  • 1 small tin of layered flaky cookies
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar combined with ½ teaspoon of cinnamon


Bring the blackberries and ¼ cup of water to a boil. Remove from the heat and strain through a strainer, preserving as much juice as possible. Discard the seeds. Mix 1½ cups of sugar and 2 tablespoons of flour together; add to juice. Boil over low heat until thick. Take it off the heat. Melt the margarine in a saucepan. Separate the cookies, layer by layer. Stretch each layer until very thin. Cut into small strips. Place a layer of cookie strips in the melted margarine. Pour a small amount of berries and juice over this first layer. Add biscuit strips and juiced berries alternately, ending with biscuit strips on top. Sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake at 350 degrees until the cookies on top are golden brown. Serve neat or slightly warm with whipped topping or ice cream.

Diana Jenkins

A freshly baked strawberry shortcake is always a treat. (fake images)

strawberry cobbler


  • 1 stick margarine, melted
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
  • 1 pint strawberries, sliced ​​and dusted with sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a saucepan with cooking spray. Place the strawberries on a plate. Melt the margarine in the microwave; set aside. Mix the sugar and flour together. Add the milk and mix well. Add melted margarine and vanilla flavoring; mix well. Pour the batter over the fruit in the prepared casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Cook’s Note: This recipe was found in an AREA magazine in the late 70’s or early 80’s. It was my father-in-law’s favorite.

Rebecca McCarter

Apple and Bacon Cobbler


  • 4-5 slices bacon, reserve the bacon grease
  • 1 bar of butter
  • 5 apples
  • 3 cups lemon-lime soda
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 2 cups of Bisquick
  • 1 cup of milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place bacon in a pie or lasagna pan, bake for 30 minutes. Core, peel and slice the apples, placing them in a large bowl with the 3 cups of the lemon-lime soda. This will prevent the apple slices from browning. In a large skillet, add the butter, apple juice, cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg. Drain liquid from apple slices; add to pan and bring to a boil. Boil over medium heat for 10 minutes. Remove bacon from pan, slice and add to apples. Pour the apple-bacon mixture back onto the baking sheet and mix with the bacon grease. In a bowl, mix Bisquick and milk; Pour over the top of the apple-bacon mixture and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

kirk vantrease

The Buttered Home’s Crock-Pot Blueberry Cobbler is an easy and satisfying dessert that can be made with fresh or frozen blueberries. (The Buttered Home)

Crock-Pot Cranberry Cobbler


  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh blueberries, thawed
  • 1 cup of milk
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 and ¼ cups sugar, divided


In a large bowl, whisk together the self-rising flour, 1 cup of the sugar and milk. There will be some lumps. Add the melted butter and mix well. Pour into a well-oiled Crock-Pot liner pot. Cover the berries with 2 tablespoons of sugar and let them settle.

Sprinkle cranberries over the top of the crockpot mix in the Crockpot liner. Distribute them evenly so you don’t have to stir them. Sprinkle ¼ cup of sugar on top. Cover and bake in the Crock-Pot on low for 2 hours or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Brooke Burks, Buttered Home

This story originally appeared in Alabama Living magazine.

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