Saturday, August 16, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream Pumpkin Ice Cream

Can I just take a moment to share how uber excited I am that the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks is set for an early release!? Ermahgerd... Pumpkin!

I thought I would jump start the pumpkin season, while it's still warm out, with a spin on pumpkin ice cream. Not that I am opposed to ice cream in the dead of winter but it does taste a little better when it's 90 out. 

This ice cream is a fantastic mix of pumpkin base with chunks of dark chocolate chip cookies... Delicious!

I will take suggestions for a shorter name... :)

For the Ice Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (I used homemade)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
1 cup half and half

3-4  dark chocolate chip cookies, chopped

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the heavy cream, pumpkin puree, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, and pinch of salt. Mix on medium speed until starting to steam but not bubble, remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, milk, and half and half until combined. 
Pour 1/4 cup of the warm cream/pumpkin mixture into the egg and milk mixture while whisking to temper. Pour the egg and milk mixture into the pumpkin mixture and mix, on medium-low speed, until thickened and it coats the back of a spoon.
Pour mixture into a heat proof container and cool completely in the refrigerator, preferably overnight. 

Churn ice cream according to manufacturers instructions on your ice cream maker. When finished, mix in chopped cookie pieces, reserving 1/4 cup.
Place in an airtight container, sprinkle with remaining cookies, and place in the freezer to freeze completely.

Scoop and serve!

I love the combination of the spicy pumpkin base and dark chocolate, crunchy cookies. Enjoy this taste of Fall on a cone!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Cheddar Fish Crackers

I don't know about y'all, but full blown panic mode usually starts to kick in once I know school season is around the corner. My son has officially 5 days until he starts half day Preschool while my other son will stay in day care. That may not sound like a lot to you, but when I have to figure out half days of transportation and lunches that he will eat and won't cause him to protest food all day... It gives me anxiety.

That's why these little babies make the perfect snack for him. They are toddler hand sized, made with homemade ingredients, and top the charts in the cheese-y and flake-y categories.

The most difficult aspect of this recipe is cutting them all out. This dough should yield about 3-4 cups of crackers. Also, don't hesitate to change up the different cheeses. Mine probably aren't as orange as you all may be familiar with because I mixed my cheddar cheese with Monterey Jack.. So good.

Plus, making your own fishy cookie cutter is easy!

I simply sliced a 1/4 inch round off of a soda can, cut off the extra length, and shaped it into a one inch fish, taping the ends where the tail is at. My body is a little longer so you could technically call them whales but who's judging, right?

Here's how to make the dough...

For the "Fish" dough:
1 cup all purpose flour
3 Tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1 Tablespoon vegetable shortening
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
3/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of ground black pepper
2-3 Tablespoons cold water

Alright, in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the first 6 ingredients (everything but the water). You will want to beat the mixture until it resembles a fine sand.

With the mixer on low, slowly drizzle in the water, starting with 2 Tablespoons. You are looking for the mixture to start to come together and form a dough ball. Form the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and store in your refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. After dough has cooled, roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4" thickness. Cut out fish shapes and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, cool slightly, and enjoy!

These crackers puff up a fair amount in the oven creating the perfect crunchy outside and soft center. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Nutella Stuffed Donut Muffins

All time best mash-ups:

Peanut Butter and Chocolate
Donuts and Croissants
Ice Cream and Hot Fudge

and of course...

Donuts and Muffins

Double the breakfast. Double the fun (and deliciousness).

Any excuse to eat two breakfast items in one right? Especially when it's stuffed with Nutella. Thick, gooey, chocolate-y Nutella.

Are you sold yet?

For the Muffins:
(9 regular sized muffins)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

9 teaspoons Nutella (1 teaspoon per muffin)

Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3 Tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line 9 muffin tins with paper liners, set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together the wet ingredients (milk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla).
Add the wet ingredients into the dry flour mixture and stir until combined.

Place a spoonful of batter into the bottom of a muffin tin and dollop a teaspoon of Nutella into the center.

Top with enough batter to evenly cover the Nutella. Bake in preheated oven for 13-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Allow muffins to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before coating.

In a small bowl, melt the 3 Tablespoons of butter. In a second small bowl combine the cinnamon and sugar for the topping.
Dunk the tops of the cooled muffins into the butter then the cinnamon sugar mixture. Continue this until all of the muffins have been dunked and coated. Serve immediately.

I love the oozing chocolate center and crunchy cinnamon-sugar coating... YUM!

*recipe adapted from Damn Delicious

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Peanut Butter Lovers Ice Cream

Happy National Ice Cream Day! Honestly, every day is a good day for ice cream... To celebrate, how about whipping up a batch of this peanut butter dream ice cream? It definitely isn't for the faint of heart. Creamy peanut butter base, with a caramel-y peanut butter ribbon, mini peanut butter cups, and pretzels (for that salty sweet mojo!)

Here's how to make it...

For the Ice Cream:
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup whole milk
3/4 cup peanut butter, creamy
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt

For the Peanut Butter Caramel:
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 heavy cream
1/4 creamy peanut butter

1 cup chopped peanut butter cups
1/2 cup chopped pretzels

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients for the ice cream. Blend for 1-2 minutes or until thickened and ingredients are completely combined... Hint: You don't need to cook this ice cream base because there are no eggs! Place the base into the refrigerator to cool for 3-4 hours.

Meanwhile, make caramel. Place all of the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and cook until sugar and peanut butter become smooth and creamy. Remove, place into a heat proof container and allow it to cool in the fridge with the ice cream base.

Once the base is cooled, churn in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturers instructions. During the last 5 minutes of mixing, add in the chopped peanut butter cups and pretzels. Remove ice cream and place half of the mixture into an airtight container. Swirl half of the peanut butter caramel over the top and cover with the remaining base and then the remaining caramel. Swirl with a chopstick or spoon. Allow the ice cream to set up in the freezer for 4-5 hours or overnight (the best).

Allow the ice cream to warm slightly before scooping and enjoy! I absolutely love the intense peanut butter flavor!

*recipe adapted from Life Made Simple

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Fruit Salsa with Homemade Cinnamon Chips

I'm sure you have seen this delicious recipe floating all over the internet's and from what I'm told, its a top rated recipe on

I first tried it when my coworker brought it to a dessert pot luck... So good. I had dreams about it as a topping on ice cream or over yogurt with granola.

Whipping up a batch at home is easy and with in no time, this healthy "dessert" can be on your table. And honestly, who wants to bake or heat up the house with an oven when its 100 degrees out? Not. Me.


For the Salsa:
2 green apples, diced
2 kiwis, diced
1 carton (8-ounces) strawberries, diced
1 (8-ounce) container raspberries, cut in half
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
2 Tablespoons fruit preserves (I used strawberry!)

For the Chips:
10 large tortillas, cut into 8 wedges
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter, melted

Start by making the salsa: dice all of your fruit to roughly the same size and place into a medium bowl. Toss the fruit with the sugars and fruit preserves. Cover mixture with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerate to macerate for 1-2 hours.

Meanwhile, make your chips. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar, set aside.
Place tortilla triangles on a lightly greased cookie sheet and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle desired amount of cinnamon/sugar mixture over the top.
Bake in preheated oven for 9-10 minutes until golden. Remove from cookie sheet on to a cooling rack and allow the chips to cool completely, 10-15 minutes.

Serve chips and salsa, dip, and enjoy! I love how crunchy the apples remain and how soft the rest of the fruit is. The sugars and fruit preserves make a perfect juicy addition. I could literally eat the salsa by the spoonfuls and the chips by themselves. Please make this today!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Not Your Classic Banana Pudding

I sincerely apologize that I've been out of the blogging world for so long.

I think I've been in a funk. Work has been crazy, home life has been crazy, and there have been so many bumps in the road.

So, I want to apologize to all of those who entered in my giveaway... I will announce the winner next week after I get some things in order.

For now however, can I make it up to you with some "out of this world" banana pudding?

It's more than just a box of Nillas and vanilla pudding... Here's how you make it!

You Will Need:
1 box of Nilla Wafers
1 box (3.5 ounce) french vanilla pudding
2 cups cold milk
1 (8-ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tub of Cool Whip
4 bananas, sliced

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the cold milk and vanilla pudding until thickened, set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk with a hand mixer until combined. Beat in the thickened pudding mixture until incorporated.
Gently fold the cool whip into the pudding mixture until combined and set aside.
Now to assemble.

Place 3/4 of the Nilla wafers on to the bottom of a 13x9 inch baking dish.
Top with the sliced bananas, then the pudding mixture, smoothing it to the edges. Lastly top, the pudding decoratively, with the remaining Nillas.

Cover and place in your refrigerator to set for 2-3 hours. Enjoy! I love the added creaminess that the cream cheese and cool whip bring. It takes your average banana pudding it knocks it on it's heels... I hope you make this soon!

*Recipe adapted from Paula Deen's "Not Yo Mamas Banana Pudding"

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Pazookie

Going out to BJ's is probably one of my favorite chain restaurants... I love the lunch specials, and the house-made pretzels, and most importantly, the Pazookie. The closest one is an hour from my house (it's probably for the best) but I get to splurge when we do go!

I love ending the night with a white chocolate macadamia Pazookie, warm gooey cookie and melting vanilla ice cream is one of THE BEST combinations! My other favorite combo is chocolate and peanut butter, so rmaking this at home meant re-creating it in my favorite flavors.

So here it is, a Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate Chunk Pazookie... YUM!

You Will Need:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
1 Tablespoon cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark chocolate chunks

Vanilla ice cream for topping!

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 7" cast iron skillet, set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until smooth. Add in the egg until blended and then add in the corn syrup, cold water, and vanilla. Beat until combined.
Stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt... Just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chunks.
Press into your prepared skillet so the cookie is even all over.
Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until puffy and golden. Remove and let cool slightly.
Top with cold ice cream and serve.