Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Peanut Butter n' Chocolate ice cream

This is by far the BEST flavor at Baskin Robbins.

When I was in High School I used to get two scoops in a waffle cone, and if it wasn't bubblegum flavor it was definitely this one.

The creamy rich chocolate base with a swirl of peanut butter that became chewy in your mouth... TO DIE FOR.

Plus, chocolate and peanut butter were made for each other. Anyway they come I'll take it. So this ice cream is indeed cheek-tickling perfection. Lick the spoon, lick the bowl, perfection.

For the Base:
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup smooth peanut butter

  1. In a sauce pan, combine 2 cups of the milk, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is steamy but not yet boiling. 
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 1/2 cup whole milk and cornstarch until there are no lumps.
  3. Add the cornstarch mixture into the milky-chocolate mixture and bring to a boil over low heat. Boil until thickened, you are looking for the consistency of pudding. Remove from heat.

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the 1/2 cup of heavy cream to a boil. Place the chocolate chips in a bowl and pour the hot cream over. Stir until the chips are completely melted.
  2. Add the chocolate cream mixture into your "pudding" base and stir to combine. Place the base into a bowl and cover. Keep in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to overnight.
  3. Once cool, place mixture into your ice cream maker. Once the mixture is thickened, and while the machine is running, drop small spoonfuls of peanut butter in (make sure you do this right before finishing as you want a ribbon of peanut butter).
  4. Transfer ice cream to a freezer safe container and freeze until solid.


recipe source: Joy the Baker

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monster Cookie Dough Dip

There is absolutely nothing I love more than a great dip.

Fine, I am not even that picky. Give me a tortilla chip with salsa and I'm sold.

But of course when I came across a billion dessert dips on Pinterest, I knew I would have to make one.

Is it a sign of someone food obsessed when they come up with reasons to make certain things?

For this it was the fact my family was coming to visit and I wanted a delicious and easy dessert (and to rid myself of the guilt of eating the whole thing alone).

Then other times its because I feel guilty about making an entire batch of brownies for myself so I say "but its raining outside, and rain is depressing, so brownies are necessary".

Anyways, this recipe makes a TON of dip, so try and serve it for a crowd if you can. But if you eat 99.9% of it with a spoon, I wont judge you....

Monster Dip:

1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, slightly softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup plain M&M's
1 cup peanut butter chips (or semisweet chocolate chips if that's your thing)

  1. With your stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter and peanut butter until smooth and creamy.
  2. Add in the powdered sugar, brown sugar, flour and vanilla.
  3. Mix in the oats (you may add or take away oats depending on how thick you like your dip). 
  4. Stir in the M&M's and peanut butter chips.
  5. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  6. I paired mine with honey graham crackers and pretzels, but any side would do.

Enjoy! It seriously tastes like cookie dough with the excuse of a "dip".

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Salted Caramel Butter Bars

The thoughts I have on these bars... Is highly inappropriate.

If butter is your thing... These bars are for you.

If salted caramel is your thing.... These bars are for you.

Luckily for me, butter AND salted caramel is my thing.

...But so is chocolate, fruit and hard candy. Screw it... It's all my thing.

I could waste my time with a witty blog post or some smart fact about salted caramel but that just detracts from the obvious...

The truth is... we have a love affair, salted caramel and I.

So...Great. Now that the cats out of the bag.... Make these bars.

(adapted from Cookies and Cups)

2 sticks, unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour

Caramel Filling:
30 pieces of caramel candies, unwrapped
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt or 1/2 tablespoon sea salt

For the crust:

Grease an 8x11 inch baking dish.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

In your stand mixer, cream butter on medium speed until softened. Add in both sugars and mix until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and mix until combined. Sift in the 2 cups of flour and mix on low speed until a soft dough forms.
Press a 1/3 of the dough into your prepared pan to form a bottom crust and prick all over with a fork. Cover the remaining 2/3 and chill in the refrigerator. Bake the crust until brown around the edges, about 20 minutes.Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

While your crust is cooling, either in the microwave or stove top melt your caramels with the vanilla and cream until smooth.

Pour the caramel over your baked crust and sprinkle with salt.

Remove remaining crust from the fridge and crumble the chilled dough over the caramel.

Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden,  about 25 minutes. Let cool before cutting into squares.

If I am willing to let salted caramel cheat on me for you to make these... Please do. I'd hate to look like an idiot.

The warm flaky butter shortbread and the gooey caramel.... sigh*

Friday, May 18, 2012

Strawberry-Shortcake Cookies

The whole time I was baking these cookies I had the song "Summer time and the livin's easy..." stuck in my head.

1. I'm ready for summer and
2. I LOVE Sublime

Maybe I'm out-dating myself a little bit but have any of you heard music today? It's garbage. I feel like my parents. Their parents thought their music was garbage, they thought MY music was garbage and now... I understand the feeling. (Man I'm old...)

Exhibit A: Justin Bieber.... Really?
So ya... you're cute in an "I want to pinch those cheeks" kind of way. And ya, maybe you started a hair trend but music wise? Singing "baby thought you'd always be mine.mine." at 15? Your relationships last 5 months... is that "always"?

And who is the Wanted? And that other group with the 5 guys? It's certainly NOT N'Sync or 98 Degrees so I don't want to hear it....

Anyways, that's quite enough of my ranting. Hopefully I haven't pissed off too many Bieber fans... Now. Make these cookies!

Cookie Dough:
(Thanks to Martha Stewart)

12 ounces strawberries, hulled and diced into 1/4" pieces (should equal around 2 cups)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup heavy cream
sanding sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine strawberries, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and remaining 7 tablespoons of granulated sugar in a large bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or your hands until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the heavy cream until the mixture starts to clump together then add in the strawberry mixture.

Using a cookie scoop or around 2 tablespoons, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Sprinkle with sanding sugar and bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Cookies are best served immediately but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.

Enjoy these little Strawberry-Shortcakes on-the-go! These cookies would be the perfect addition for a picnic also!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake

I am 100% sure that life requires some decadence from time to time.

Especially on an amazing holiday like, I don't know, Mother's Day?

I have no problem making my own cake (especially after my boys made me breakfast AND dinner).

Just make sure you serve this cake for a crowd.. Unless you don't mind ending up with 5 lbs of pure chocolate cake all to yourself.

Yep... Neither do I.

My husband compared it to the Mother-load cake from Claim Jumper. But better.

How apropos....

For the Cake:
(Recipe from Williams Sonoma)

1 cup cocoa powder, sifted plus more for dusting the bundt pan
3/4 bag of semisweet chocolate chips (or 7 ounces)
1 cup boiling water
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (or 20 whopping tablespoons)
2 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, lightly beaten
4 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

For the Ganache:
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup heavy cream

Make sure all of your ingredients are room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease your bundt pan then dust with cocoa powder, tap the excess out.

In a bowl, combine the 1 cup of cocoa powder and chocolate chips. Add in the boiling water and whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth and well blended. Set aside.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside also.

In the bowl on a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until smooth and cream, around 45 seconds. Reduce the speed to low and add in the brown sugar, beat until combined. Increase the speed back up to medium and continue beating the mixture until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure to stop the mixture occasionally to scrape down the sides. Add in the beaten eggs, a little at a time, beating until incorporated making sure to scrape down the sides again. Beat in the vanilla until incorporated.

Reduce the speed to low and add in the flour mixture, alternately with the sour cream. Always beginning and ending with the flour. You want to beat the mixture just until no lumps remain. Slowly pour in the chocolate-cocoa melted mixture until no white streaks are visible. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into your prepared Bundt pan (or sit down on the couch with a spoon... just kidding... kind of)

Spread the batter higher up the sides than in the middle. Place on the center rack in the oven with a large cookie sheet on the rack underneath to catch any drippings.

It will happen.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 60 to 65 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the cake cool upright for 15 minutes. Loosen up the sides with a knife than invert cake onto your serving tray. Let the cake cool completely, at least an hour.

Meanwhile start the ganache: In a heatproof bowl, combine the chocolate and butter. In a small saucepan over medium heat bring the cream to just a simmer. Immediately pour the cream over the chocolate and butter and whisk until the mixture is completely melted and smooth.

Drizzle the ganache over the top of the cooled cake, allowing the ganache to drop down the sides. Let cake stand so ganache may harden, at least 15 minutes.

I'm at a loss for words. Just make this cake... Please?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Apple Fritters

I'd like to think that since it's nearing Mother's Day my family has something extravagant planned.

A day full of pampering, delicious food and champagne. Lots of champagne.

But alas, my husband has never been much of a planner and my kids are far to young to even know the difference between Monday and Friday, let alone an epic holiday like Mother's Day.

So I have decided to take the day into my own hands and plan what I would like to do.

I'll start the day by having brunch, going to work (who do I talk to to make this a National Holiday *AHEM*), have an amazing dinner then pampering myself on Monday with a massage and pedicure. 

Just tell me where I have to sign the card!

I have a feeling though, if any of you are in the same boat, you could leave this recipe out and have these on Mother's Day. 

Besides the hot oil part, kids could definitely get in the kitchen and help the Dad's with this one. Plus, Apple Fritters are amazing. Anytime I go to a gas station market it's the first thing I beeline towards. Who knew how easy they were to make at home!?

Apple Fritter Dough:
(recipe adapted from seeminglygreek)

1 heaping cup of all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
dash salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 egg
1/3 cup milk plus more if needed
1- 1 1/2 cups chopped apple

oil for frying
milk and powdered  sugar for glaze or dipping

Mix all of the dry ingredients together and slowly add in the wet except for the apples. Carefully mix until combined but not overly beaten then gently fold in your apple pieces. The batter should be the consistency of cake mix, so I wound up needing more than the 1/3 cup of milk (about 2 tbsp more).

 Heat your oil and once ready, use a small spoon or cookie scoop to spoon batter about 3-4 balls at a time. Watch carefully for the underside to turn brown, this should take about 40 seconds per side, and flip carefully. Ideally your oil should stay at 365 degrees, you don't want the outsides to be cooked but the center doughy! Place on a paper towel lined plate to drain and cool. Dip into glaze, drizzle or serve on the side for dunking!

Happy Mother's Day to everyone! We all deserve a day, OK a week..... yeah, you're right, a Month's worth of spoils!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bread n' Butter Pickles

I am absolutely loving the fact that the weather is finally warming up. Beach, flip flops, sun dresses... here I come! But more importantly, to me anyways, that means ice cream, BBQ's and fruit markets.

I am OBSESSED with fruit markets. The one by our house finally opened and their stuff is a complete steal. Where else can you get 5 artichokes for a dollar... you heard me right... a DOLLAR!

But my favorite thing you ask? (I am assuming you are all asking...) is homemade pickles. The guy literally sells pickling cucumbers 4/$1. S-T-E-A-L!

So here is my recipe for homemade pickles. They are TOO easy! These can be whipped up in a couple of minutes, the juice can be used to pickle anything once made and the fact that I just saved you all from spending $4 on a jar of store bought pickles... well, I deserve a medal. Feel free to mail them to me... HA!

For the Pickles:
5 pickling cucumbers
4 sprigs fresh dill or 1 1/2 tablespoons dry
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
3 cups water
5-6 garlic cloves
pickling spice (recipe as follows)
salt and pepper
Sterilized mason jars (or left over pasta ones as you see above)

Pickling Spice:
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon all-spice
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 bay leaf, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

(I eyeballed almost all of these spices, if you enjoy more or less of something please sub to your liking!)

Sterilize your jars but boiling in hot water for 5 minutes. Carefully remove them with tongs and place upside down on a towel to dry.

Wash your cucumbers and cut into 1/4 inch thick round slices. Spears are fine or if you find cucumbers small enough leave them whole. Place the cucumber slices along with the dill into the sterilized jars.

Set a medium sized pot over medium-low heat and combine the vinegar, sugar, water, garlic cloves, pickling spice, salt and pepper. Bring the brine to a boil then pour over cucumbers in still semi-hot mason jars and seal with the lid. Allow to cool to room temperature before sticking them into the fridge. You can serve once they are chilled but the pickles are best after a couple days.

These are amazing. Place on burgers, fry them or eat right out of the jar! They have a sweet, tangy flavor followed by a hint of spice... FANTASTIC!!

Pretzel Bites

Isn't mall food amazing? Yes it's packed with saturated fats, trans fats and mono-sucry-watchamacallits but it's tasty.

The only thing that motivates me to go shopping, especially with young children, is the promise of soft pretzels and frozen yogurt...don't judge me.

However, nearing the age of 30...I should really cut back. If I have the chance to make something delicious at home I take it.

That's where these pretzel bites stepped in. Yeah they're a little time consuming, but they're delicious and would be the perfect App at your next party. Serve with cheese or mustard. Or you can coat in cinnamon sugar or like I did...

... Butter and Parmesan cheese... YUM! The options are endless...

For the Pretzels:

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 packet active dry yeast
2 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
4 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

vegetable oil
3 quarts water
1/2 cup baking soda
1 egg, beaten plus 1 tablespoon water added to make egg wash
coarse salt

In a stand mixer with a dough hook or paddle attachment, combine the first 5 ingredients. Let sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast. Add in the flour and salt (make sure to add the salt second, as to sit on the flour, otherwise it activates immediately with the yeast). Mix on low speed to incorporate ingredients then switch to medium and mix for 4-5 minutes until it starts to pull away from the sides.

Remove and knead gently with hands to form a ball. Grease a large bowl with the vegetable oil, then place the dough ball in, turning to coat and cover with a clean towel and set in a warm place. Let rise, until doubled, nearly an hour.

Once the dough has doubled in size, remove from the bowl and cut into 8 equal portions. Roll out each section into a 20" long log and cut off 1 inch pieces. You're welcome to free hand the size depending on your liking.

Bring the 3 quarts of water to a boil and add in the baking soda. Gently drop in your pretzel pieces, working in batches of around 15-20. Boil for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a large cookie sheet, coated with cooking spray, making sure the pieces don't touch.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Lightly brush pretzel pieces with egg wash and sprinkle with salt. Bake pieces for 15 minutes or until golden.

They are best served warm and definitely with your favorite dipping sauce. We had ours with spicy mustard and it was AMAZING! Enjoy. Happy Monday everyone!!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Blueberry-Lemon Muffin Cake

So... Not sure if you can't tell but I am OBVIOUSLY obsessed with anything lemon.

This is what... the 4th recipe or so that I have posted? And it definitely wont be the last.

This muffin cake is fan-flipping-tastic!

Plus, any excuse to eat cake at 8 am is enough of a reason for me!

This recipe whips up fairly quick so surprise your family with this for breakfast on a Monday... Psh-a BEST.MOM.EVER.

For the Cake:
(Recipe from sixsisterstuff)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
zest from 1 large lemon
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
a small container of blueberries
3/4-1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

Preaheat oven to 350 degrees.

In your stand mixer, cream together the butter, lemon zest and 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and mix until combined. In a seperate bowl toss together 1/4 cup flour with the blueberries, set aside. Then in ANOTHER bowl whisk together the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour into the butter mixture a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk but ending with the flour. Fold in the "floured" blueberries.

Spray a 9" square baking pan with cooking spray. Spread batter evenly into pan and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cake Batter Frozen Custard

For the past 3 days my life has been wrapped up in millionaires, romance and naughty things...

I wish I could say it was literally happening to me but I've been sucked into reading 50 Shades of Grey.
It is quite intoxicating. Passion, romance, money.... then I look up and my kids are throwing blocks and going the wrong way up the slide. Sigh...

So, to deal with the fact that a millionaire isn't calling me up to be HIS, I decided to spill my tears into some ice cream... but not any kind... Frozen Custard.


Almost makes up for the the fact I've been swept up in a romance novel.... That's my justification anyways.

For the Custard:

1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup cake mix (I used white but why didn't I think to use Funfetti????)
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
1 cup whole milk
1 cup half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla
rainbow sprinkles

In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream, the cake mix, sugar and pinch of salt. Heat over medium until warmed through (stirring often). Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, half and half and vanilla. 

When the mixture in the saucepan is warmed but not yet boiling, remove from heat and slowly pour a small amount into the egg yolks while whisking. This is to temper the eggs. Place the tempered egg mixture back into the sauce pan and add in your bowl with the other milks and vanilla. Return mixture to medium heat until the mixture is thickened (resembling a custard). 

Place a large sieve over a plastic container and pour mixture through. The sieve will catch any cake particles or "scrambled eggs" from the custard. Cover and place in the refrigerator until chilled, preferably over night. Once the mixture is chilled, pour into ice cream maker. During the last 10 minutes add in your rainbow sprinkles. Eat straight out of the maker or let it set up in the freezer for a couple of  hours longer. Store in an air-tight container in the freezer.

The custard is thick, creamy and velvety and provides a hint of cake batter. It's quite delicious and almost makes you forget the fact that a millionaire isn't madly in love with you.....almost.