"It is always sad when someone leaves home, unless they are simply going around the corner and will return in a few minutes with ice-cream sandwiches. " Lemony Snicket
Ice cream sandwiches...I remember so fondly eating them up as a kid with the soft cakey-cookie outside and the meltingly delicious inside. The only problem is that they weren't actually all that good. Ah, nostalgia! Lol! The idea of them, however, is very good. And they are not so hard to improve upon. I start with a flourless (and therefore gluten free...bonus!) brownie cookie and sandwich premium ice cream in-between two cookies. Roll them in sprinkles and you are good to go. The brownie cookie is a good base for almost all of the flavors you could imagine- from plain vanilla to everything but the kitchen sink (maybe not so great with an apple pie flavored ice cream, but you get the idea- peanut butter, coffee, cookie dough, strawberry, butter pecan, mint chocolate chip....) The brownie cookie stays somewhat soft even when frozen so it makes eating pretty easy. These are pretty big so you might want to split yours with someone special. You can make them any size just watch the baking time in the cookies if you go smaller. As for the decorations, finely chopped nuts, sprinkles or non-pareils, finely crushed candies.... use your imagination for endless combinations. Great project to make with the kids, too, so why not get the whole family involved!
Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches-makes approx 14-16 3" cookies, enough for 7-8 sandwiches
12 ounces 70% bittersweet chocolate, choppped
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
3 extra large eggs
1/8 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup granulated sugar (7 ounces)
3 ounces almond flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp kosher salt
approx 1/2 gallon your favorite ice cream(s), slightly softened
sprinkles, nuts or other garnishes for the sides, optional
1. Combine the almond flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2.In the top of a double boiler or in the microwave gently melt the chocolate and butter together. Once melted, stir to combine and set aside for a few minutes to cool slightly.
3. Using an electric mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed, beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla and espresso powder until increased in volume and lighter in color, about 2-3 minutes.
4. Reduce speed to low and drizzle in chocolate. Combine well.
5. On low speed stir in almond flour mixture, until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer and cover with plastic wrap. let set on counter for 45 minutes or refrigerate for up to 30 minutes to firm up a bit.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
7. When ready, using an ice cream scoop that holds approximately 1/4 cup, scoop dough onto parchment lined baking sheets about 3 inches apart. Pat dough down slightly using moistened fingertips.
8. Bake for 10-12 minutes until just set and tops no longer appear wet. Remove from oven and cool on baking sheet. Once cool transfer to freezer for 30 minutes (can be made up to a week in advance, store airtight in freezer for longer storage). Repeat with any remaining dough.
9. When ready to assemble sandwiches, place any sprinkles or other garnish in shallow bowls or pie plates. Remove ice cream from freezer to allow it to soften slightly. Place a parchment -lined baking tray in your freezer.
10. Working with a pair of cookies at a time, scoop a generous amount of ice cream onto the base (Flat side) of the cookie. Top with the second cookie, pressing down slightly to push ice cream to the edge of the cookie.
11. With a small off-set spatula, smooth edges of ice cream, sandwich (Working quickly). Roll edges in desired garnishes (sprinkles here) and immediately place on tray in freezer.
12. Repeat with remaining cookies, until all have been filled and garnished, if desired.
13. Serve immediately or wrap individually in wax paper or plastic wrap and store air-tight in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to a week or two.
14. Share! : )
"When life hands you lemons, make lemon sugar cookies." -me : )
I missed posting a recipe last week. Suddenly life has gotten very busy for me. We decided to put our house on the market again. It was on the market briefly last fall, but didn't sell. So we decided to let the holidays pass and try again this spring. And here it is, spring (though today Colorado is in the midst of a crazy spring snowstorm)! So this past week we had to get it ready for pictures for the MLS listing and edit out our personal stuff. Worst of all I had to really clear out my art studio space which makes me so sad to have so much of it inaccessible until the house sells. It's also my daughter's high school soccer season and with two-3 games a week, the hours/days just go by. I know, my story is nothing new. We are all trying to juggle life and responsibilities with the fun stuff (personally I am lobbying for a responsibility to fun ratio that's a little more evenly split-lol).
A couple weeks ago we met up with some old friends who had moved out of state and I made them a few goodies, including these Lemon Sugar Cookies. They are really simple but cheerful and bright with that nice fresh lemon taste. My two most favorite flavors in desserts are chocolate (duh) and lemon. Although hands down, anything chocolaty is my favorite, sometimes it's nice to have something less heavy and with the bright flavor only a lemon can bring to the party. Anyhow, this recipe is a great spring sweet to add to your repertoire. Do you have any go to recipes that just shout spring to you? Please share! And if you like this cookie recipe, please post a comment. Introduce yourself and say hi. I'd love to meet you!
Lemon Sugar Cookies
3 3/4 cups ( 1 lb 2 ounces) all -purpose flour (stir and spoon into measuring cup method)
1 Tablespoon baking powder*
1 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups (14 ounces) granulated pure cane sugar
zest of 3 lemons (use this tool-so easy!)
juice of 1 lemon, set aside
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
yellow or plain sanding sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine flour , baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine butter, lemon zest and sugar. Cream together on low speed until well combined.
3. Add in eggs, corn syrup and vanilla. Increase speed to medium and mix well. Reduce speed to low.
4. Stir in flour mixture and mix until just combined. Remove bowl from mixer.
5. Scoop out dough and dip the top only in sanding sugar of your choice. Place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Dip your (clean, of course) pointer and middle finger into lemon juice and pat down the sugar on top of each dough ball. You can use a pastry brush, if you prefer not to get your fingers sticky.
6. Bake for 10- 12 minutes until lightly golden around edges and set. Do not over-bake.
I know they aren't much to look at , but they sure are tasty! And just in case a plain cookie isn't enticing enough on its own, consider making ice cream sandwiches by encasing a scoop of raspberry, blackberry or blueberry sorbet between two of these babies. Not a bad idea, I know! ;)
*Note: I live at about 5,00o feet above sea level, so I decrease the baking powder to 2 1/2 teaspoons, in case that is of use to anyone else.
“Baking and love go hand in hand, for as one bakes a tasty treat and fills the room with its sweet aroma, the true joy is to take what has been made and share it with another.” - Heather Wolf, Kipnuk has a Birthday
It's true, baking is no fun if the final result isn't going to be shared with anyone. Over the weekend we took a long road trip from our home in Colorado to visit our son who is at the University of Nebraska. He is playing club rugby for UNL and we hadn't had a chance to see him play yet. This past weekend was our opportunity, and we'd been looking forward to it for weeks. I'm firmly in the "food is love" camp, and so I wanted to bring him a treat that would survive the car ride, have a good shelf life and be conducive to sharing. Gooey Peanut Butter M&M Oat Bars fit the bill perfectly. This recipe is an adaptation of one I have been making for a long time. It originally appeared in a little cookbook I bought at a Southern Living at Home party years ago but called for regular Milk Chocolate M&M's. So feel free to make that substitution if you prefer. Each variation is pretty outrageously good!
Gooey Peanut Butter M&M Oat Bars- makes 1- 9x13" pan
1 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted (you could use dry roasted unsalted peanuts, too) but I prefer pecans)
1 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (einkorn flour or gluten free flour may be substituted)
2 cups Old-Fashioned (Rolled) oats (use gluten free , if desired)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled*
12 ounces (approx a full 1 1/2 cups) Peanut Butter M&M's , divided (or a mixture of Peanut Butter and Milk Chocolate, per your taste)
1- 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 Tablespoon creamy peanut butter (I like Jif)
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9x13" baking pan with aluminum foil; lightly grease or spray with non-stick baking spray. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine pecans, flour, brown sugar, salt, baking powder and oats. Mix on low to combine.
3. On low speed stir in butter until mixture is crumbly. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of crumbs. Press the remainder evenly into the prepared 9x13 pan. Bake at 375 degrees F for about 10 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from oven and let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
4. Meanwhile, place 8 ounces (approx 1 full cup) of Peanut Butter M&M's in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on 50% power for 30 second intervals, pressing on candies with back of wooden spoon to mash between intervals, until candies are pretty much all melted with pieces of the candy shell speckling the mix). Stir in sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and peanut butter. Stir until well combined. Pour mixture over cooled base, leaving a small border around all sides.
5. Combine reserved crumb mixture with remaining 4 ounces (approximately a full 1/2 cup) M&M candies.
6. Sprinkle crumbs evenly over chocolate-peanut butter mixture. Press lightly to adhere. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until bars are set and nicely golden.
7. Let bars cool completely before cutting (to cut, remove bars from pan using foil ends. Peel off foil and cut bars into desired size). Bars keep well for 3-4 days, wrapped tightly in foil, at room temperature. They freeze beautifully, too, wrapped air-tight in foil and placed inside zip top freezer bags for up to 2 months.
* Note: if using Einkorn flour reduce butter to 7 ounces. Proceed as for bars above.
"It's like peanut butter and chocolate. Each is great, but they're better together." -Richard Whitehead
I'm dating myself, but anyone else remember the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup commercial that had that line in it? In the end it was a good thing though! Chocolate and peanut butter together is a match made in heaven.
A while back there was a really nice magazine published (or at least I thought so) called Chocolatier. Are you familiar with it? Sadly it is no longer. As a pastry fan and pastry professional hopeful and then a working pastry professional, it was a magic door into pastry worlds I only dreamed of. I remember one recipe for a cookie I think was called Tiger Striped Cookies. It was a drop peanut butter cookie with chocolate streaks through it. Once it was baked it had a pretty striking appearance and a great flavor. I had the recipe for a long time and then through subsequent moves and whittling down my recipe collection it somehow disappeared. I was thinking about that recipe the other day and thought I'd just try to recreate it to the best of my memory. Here is the result for that cookie- super easy, super tasty. If you are in the chocolate-peanut butter lover's camp I bet you will love it. Let me know, won't you?
I used Einkorn flour for my gluten sensitive daughter but the recipe shows the ingredients for both all-purpose or Einkorn flour. For that matter you can also use a 1:1 ratio gluten free baking flour just as easily.
Peanut Butter "Tiger Stripe" Cookies- Yield: approx. 3 dozen cookies
2 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed (14 ounces)
1 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Jif)
1 cup ( 8 ounces)unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (OR 10 3/4 ounces Einkorn Flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda*
1 teaspoon baking Powder*
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 ounces good-quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped, melted and cooled
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
* I am 5,o00 ft above sea level. I reduce baking soda to 1 1/8 teaspoon and baking powder to 3/4 teaspoon, in case you are baking at high altitude, too.
3. Cream together sugar, peanut butter, and butter on low speed of stand mixer until well -combined.
4. Add in eggs and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until well incorporated.
6. Reduce mixer to low speed and stir in flour mixture just until combined. Remove bowl from mixer.
7. Drizzle melted chocolate on top of dough in a random fashion
8. By hand, using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the melted chocolate into the dough, leaving distinct areas of peanut butter and chocolate dough. The idea isn't to make this a chocolate dough. It should look marbled, more or less like this:
9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a spring-loaded cookie (ice cream) scoop, dish out balls of dough onto baking sheet, spacing 2 " apart.
10. Bake cookies in preheated oven for 12-13minutes until done. Remove from oven and cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough until all the dough is baked off.
11. Well now you have left to do is eat them (though sharing them would be a nice idea, too). ♥
" I doubt whether the world holds for anyone a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice cream." - Heywood C. Broun
Does ice cream elicit the same emotional response in you as it does in me? I would almost have to say ice cream is my most favorite dessert, or perhaps a tie with a simple home made chocolate chip cookie (frozen, of course- more on that another day). And of all the flavors out there, mint chocolate chip would have to be my all-time favorite. The minty fresh flavor of it adds to the coolness. The chocolate pieces are a wonderful contrast, as long as they are substantial, and give the taste buds more to explore (no thank you to the striated chocolate for me in some brands).
I like ice cream so much that on more than one occasion I have given serious thought to opening up an ice cream shoppe (yes, definitely with two "P"s). Luckily I came to my senses each time! lol! However, it remains one of my favorite things to make and tinker with in spurts. Recently, I had a couple bars of good white chocolate that kept catching my attention every time I opened the cupboard they were stored in. I rarely eat white chocolate out of hand (I am most definitely in the camp of dark chocolate lovers) but there are a few desserts I make with white chocolate that have been long-time favorites,so I like to keep a bit on hand. Finally it occurred to me to make ice cream with them. We were having a run of nice warm weather, spring was in the air, and it seemed like perfect timing to get out my ice cream maker and get to work. So I settled on making White Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. Oh, yes! And let me tell you, it came out pretty darn wonderfully. The base for the ice cream I adapted from an old favorite recipe found in Death By Chocolate by Marcel Desaulniers. The method is a bit unusual as he calls for whipping the eggs, but it makes a lusciously creamy ice cream. The white chocolate mellows the mint a bit, and I used actual mint chocolate bars for the chips. You could use regular bittersweet chocolate, if you can't find the mint, but then I'd probably amp up the mint in the ice cream base, but we'll talk more about that soon.
Obviously you will need an ice cream maker for this recipe. If you don't already have one, I'd recommend a Cuisinart one without reservation. I have this one , but I am sure you would get great results with any Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker. They seem to have one for every budget. At one time I had a fancy counter-top model ice cream maker before and ended up selling it at a garage sale. For the money I'd go Cuisinart over and over again. So get your machine out and lets get churning!
White Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (makes approx 1 quart-ish)
8 ounces good quality white chocolate (not chips)- will contain only cocoa butter as the fat, chopped
2 cups whole milk plus 3 Tablespoons
2/3 cup granulated sugar
small pinch of fine sea salt
2 whole eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure Peppermint Extract
6 ounces Lindt Mint Chocolate bar (or bittersweet chocolate)
1. Make ice cream base at least 4 hours ahead or 1 day before : Set up an ice bath with 2 large bowls that can nest together. The bottom bowl will have ice and water in it and the top bowl will hold your custard base shortly. Leave the top bowl off the ice for now. Place it aside.
2. Place the chopped white chocolate and 3 Tablespoons of milk in the top of a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl that will fit over the top of saucepan. Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat. Place the bowl of white chocolate and milk over the water.
3. Turn off heat and let white chocolate melt completely, about 10 minutes. With a rubber spatula, stir mixture until perfectly smooth; set aside.
4. In a 2.5 -quart saucepan, heat the remaining 2 cups of milk, pinch of salt and 1/3 cup granulated sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil.
5. Meanwhile in the bowl of the stand mixer, beat the 2 eggs with the remaining 2/3 cups sugar until light and thickened, about 3 minutes. If the milk has not come to a boil by then, reduce the speed on the mixer and keep mixing to maintain the volume created.
6. Pour the boiling milk into the beaten eggs, while the mixer is going, to avoid scrambled eggs (also ok to remove bowl from mixer and whisk in the milk by hand. This is called tempering). Return the egg-milk mixture to the saucepan and continue cooking over medium heat, until mixture has thickened, and when you run a finger through the mixture on a spatula it leaves a clean trail. Do not boil the mixture.
7. Immediately strain the mixture through a fine sieve into the bowl you previously set aside.
8. Immediately whisk white chocolate mixture into base and place on top of ice bath to chill (about 15 minutes) stirring occasionally. Stir in peppermint extract. Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
9. Meanwhile, chop mint chocolate and gently melt over double boiler or in microwave, stirring occasionally until completely smooth.
10. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Spread the melted mint chocolate in an even layer on the parchment-lined pan, about 1/16"- 1/8" thick. You want the " chips" you will be making to have some bite to them later, but not too thick as to be a nuisance. Place the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes until chocolate has completely hardened.
11. Remove the pan from the freezer and chop the chocolate into roughly 1/4 " squares. It will crack in places and not be exact. That's ok. Return the chocolate to the freezer until ready to use.
12. After base has sufficiently chilled, remove from refrigerator. At this time taste base for flavor. Not all extracts are the same. You may want your ice cream a little more minty than I want mine. Additionally, once frozen the flavors will be slightly muted. I'd start with 1/8 teaspoon more per time, if you want to increase. Whisk in well and taste again.
13. Place custard into machine and churn per manufacturer's instructions for your machine. When ice cream is almost completely frozen, add in mint chocolate chips, 1/3 at a time. Isn't that looking good?!!
14. When completely churned, remove from ice cream maker and quickly transfer to containers to freeze. I had these cute little pint containers I found on-line. Here's something similar. Tupperware containers would be fine, too..
15. Let ice cream "ripen" in the freezer for several hours before serving. Then scoop out and enjoy!
“And when all of the flourless chocolate cakes & chocolate mousse or ganache cakes have come and gone, there will still be nothing like a fudgy brownie, dry & crackled on top, moist & dense within, with a glass of cold milk.” -Richard Sax
Did you try the brownies I featured last week (recipe here)? Well, if not, I bet today's post is going to have you running to preheat the oven! This recipe for Caramel Brownie Parfaits is so good! This recipe is a family favorite and we tend to make them for lots of our special occasion and holiday meals because they are, well, um... caramel and chocolatey , like together! There are a few steps, but all of them are quite simple. Also a little waiting is involved, so plan to start the recipe about 24 hours ahead, especially if you also need to make the brownies. In fact, this is a great make ahead dessert.. The caramel sauce can be made up to a week ahead, store in the refrigerator. The brownies can be made up to 3 days ahead, store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator. Make the caramel cream 24 hours in advance. Assemble parfaits up to 24 hours ahead of serving. Got your game plan ready?
The recipe makes about 6 , depending on the size glass you use. They would also be so, so darling (and less caloric) made in little mini portions for a crowd. Whatever size you choose to make them, these creamy, fudgy, gooey parfaits will have you licking the spoons and the inside of the glass for every last bit! So let's get started, shall we?
Caramel Brownie Parfaits
3 cups (approximately) of cubed (about 1/2") pre-made brownies
4 large egg yolks
1 1/2 Tablespoons corn starch
3/4 cup plus 10 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
3/4 cups milk, divided
1 1/2 cups plus 2/3 cup heavy cream, divided
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided
1 small pinch sea salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1. Make Caramel Cream: In a medium sized bowl, whisk egg yolks well. While whisking, sprinkle in 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar. Combine well. Whisk in cornstarch and lastly, whisk in 1/4 cup milk; set aside.
2. In a 1 1/2- quart saucepan, combine 7 Tablespoons granulated sugar and 2 Tablespoons water.
3. Cook sugar mixture over medium to medium heat, stirring. STOP stirring as soon as mixture begins to boil. Before mixture comes to a boil, brush down sides of pan occasionally with a wet pastry brush. Continue cooking sugar, swirling pan gently as needed to cook evenly, until mixture is a medium dark amber color.
4. Once desired color is achieved, remove pan from heat and immediately yet carefully pour in 1/2 cup of milk. Mixture is extremely hot and will rise up and sputter- exercise the utmost caution here.
5 Return pan to heat and cook over medium-low heat, whisking continuously until caramel is melted and mixture is smooth.
6. Temper reserved egg yolk mixture by pouring about 1/3 of the hot milk-caramelized sugar mixture into egg yolks, while whisking constantly (you don't want scrambled eggs here). Return egg-milk mixture to pan and cook, over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heat proof rubber spatula, until mixture has come to a boil. Cook for 1 more minute, stirring constantly.
7. Immediately strain mixture through a fine sieve into a clean heatproof bowl to remove any lumps then stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla.
8. Cover mixture directly on the surface with plastic wrap, poking a hole in to allow steam to escape. Refrigerate until very cold at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
9. Make Caramel Sauce: in 1 1/2 qt sauce pan, combine 3/4 cups granulated sugar with 3 Tablespoons water. Combine well. As with caramel cream recipe, cook sugar over medium to medium-high heat, stirring, until mixture comes to a boil (brush down sides occasionally with wet pastry brush).
10. Once mixture comes to a boil, STOP stirring. Continue to cook, swirling pan occasionally as need to cook evenly, until mixture comes to that same medium-dark amber color mentioned above.
11. Remove from heat and very carefully pour in 2/3 cup heavy cream (mixture is extremely hot and will sputter-exercise extreme caution).
12. Return to heat and cook over medium-low heat until caramelized sugar has melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and transfer to a heat-proof bowl or pitcher. Stir in butter, small pinch of sea salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Combine well. Allow to cool at room temperature, then cover and store in the refrigerator until needed.
13. Assemble Parfaits: Remove caramel cream from refrigerator. In a mixing bowl, beat 1 1/2 cups heavy cream with a hand held mixer until medium peaks form.
14. Whisk about 1/3 of cream into chilled caramel cream base, Fold remaining whipped cream into caramel cream; set aside.
15. Remove caramel sauce from refrigerator. Gradually and gently liquefy it at 15-20 second intervals in the microwave on defrost just to a drizzling consistency (you don't really want to heat it it as otherwise the hot caramel will melt your caramel cream.
16. Cut your brownies into cubes, if you have not done so already. Place 3 brownie cubes and 2 -3 teaspoons of caramel sauce in the bottom of each glass (adjust accordingly if you chose to make mini versions).
17. Top with approx. 1/4 cup of caramel cream. Continuing layering brownies, caramel sauce and cream, ending with brownie cubes and caramel sauce as shown.If not serving immediately, cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
18. When ready to serve, top with whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles and a small brownie cube, if desired.
19. Dig in! Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Note: this parfait would also be great with a little added crunch. Try layering toasted chopped pecans or these praline pecans (divine!!) in the brownie layer. Feel free to leave a comment if you try this recipe. I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Happy creating! ♥
“There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate.” -Linda Grayson
I am so all about the chocolate, always have been. I grew up in a home where not everything was chocolate (dad always wanted cherry pie for his birthday for example), but it actually seemed like it was. I was out of college before I even knew what a snickerdoodle was (chocolate chip cookies and brownies in rotation were our most common desserts). Now I enjoy lots of different flavors but chocolate remains my true love.
I've been working on my chocolate chip cookie and brownie recipes for quite some time. Up until recently I was pretty happy with my current recipes. Then my daughter was diagnosed with gluten sensitivity, and I was also advised to stay clear of gluten as I try to resolve some auto-immune issues. Personally I am not a huge fan of gluten-free baked goods. I find the taste starchy and off-putting. For some reason I find the gluten free flours bother my tummy a bit, too. I have used Bob 's Red Mill 1 to 1 Gluten Free baking flour with really great results, but again, the taste is just not what I am looking for. It's just my personal experience. You may feel differently, and it's all good.
So when I started thinking about gluten free brownies, the thought crossed my mind to make them in the style of flourless chocolate cakes, some of which use ground almonds in place of flour to add structure. So I did just that, and not only are they wonderful, I believe they are now my favorite brownie ever! The chocolate flavor is more vibrant than the version with all -purpose flour (which is an awesome brownie anyhow). So unless you are allergic to nuts, these grain free, gluten free (and decadently fudgey) brownies make one hell of a dessert! If you are allergic to nuts, don't worry, I tell you how much all purpose flour to use if you want to make them the traditional way, and you will NOT be disappointed!. Coming on Monday I'll be sharing an amazing dessert to use the brownies in-so stay tuned! It's a 2 for 1!
Best Ever Fudge Brownies- makes 1- 9x13" pan
1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tablespoon almond flour (or you can use 1 1/3 cups all-purpose or 1:1 Gluten Free flour or Einkorn flour, if you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon instant espresso powder
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
6 large eggs, room temperature
2-3 Tbsp whole milk or heavy cream (optional)
1 cup of chocolate chips or chunks (optional)
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9x13" baking pan with aluminum foil. Spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.
2. With a whisk combine almond flour (OR all-purpose OR gluten-free flour, as you wish), baking powder, salt and espresso powder in a medium bowl; set aside.
3. In a microwave safe bowl, combine the butter, unsweetened and bittersweet chocolates. Gently melt the chocolate-butter mixture in the microwave, at 1 minute intervals until completely melted and smooth.
4. Whisk in the sugar until very well combined. Whisk in eggs, 2 at a time, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
5. With a spatula or wooden spoon, stir in the almond flour mixture (or whatever flour you chose).
6. Dump brownie batter into prepared pan, smooth top to level it out . I like to lightly brush the top with milk or cream to keep it soft (totally optional). Sprinkle chocolate chips or chunks evenly on top if using.
7. Bake the brownies on the center rack of the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
8. Let cool completely, then refrigerate for 3 hours or over-night before cutting.
9. Remove brownies from pan using the foil to help. Remove the foil from the brownies and cut into desired sized brownies. I like to trim the edges for nice neat squares (the pastry chef in me plus you need a snack about now, don't you?). Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
10. Grab a glass of cold milk and enjoy!
Note: I prefer to store these well-wrapped in the refrigerator to preserve freshness longer.
Remember to stop back on Monday for a super yummy dessert you can use scraps or chunks of these brownies in. I can't wait to share it with you!♥
“Love is like a hollowed out piece of chocolate, filled with melted music.” -Jarod Kintz
Tomorrow is my daughter's 17th birthday and Valentine's Day is not far behind. For me any celebration calls for chocolate. So I thought I'd share my technique for making an easy showstopper of a cupcake that you can whip up in time for Valentine's day or any time you need a little chocolate indulgence. You'll need to begin the recipe 24 hours ahead of time, but that's just to allow for refrigeration and time for the delightful cream (sooo delicious) to set up. Start with a baker's dozen of chocolate cupcakes, homemade (best) or store-bought. If you have more, simply increase the ingredients accordingly.Use the best quality chocolate you can afford as the flavor will be front and center. You will need a scale for this recipe as well that measures in both grams and ounces.
13 prepared chocolate cupcakes, cooled
500 grams Heavy Cream
pinch instant espresso powder (optional)
180 grams good quality Milk Chocolate(Lindt, Valrhona, El Rey or Callebaut are some brands to consider), finely chopped
4 ounces good quality Semi-sweet or Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped
1. In a medium saucepan, bring the cream to a boil.. Remove from heat and immediately add chopped milk chocolate and espresso powder to cream. Let sit 5 minutes, covered. Gently whisk until combined and smooth.
2. Immediately transfer mixture to a mixing bowl, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface. Poke a slit in plastic wrap to allow steam to escape. Place in refrigerator for 24 hours.
3. Meanwhile, gently melt the 4 ounces of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate. Have 4 sheets of parchment paper nearby.
4. Lay out two sheets of parchment paper on a smooth, level surface. Pour half of chocolate onto one sheet. With an off-set spatula, spread the chocolate into a thin, even layer. Place another layer of parchment on top of chocolate, smoothing it out.
5. Roll chocolate sheet up and insert into an empty paper towel or toilet tissue tube.
6. Repeat with the other half of the chocolate. Place both rolls in the freezer to set, for at least 30 minutes or over-night.
7. After 24 hours, remove the cream mixture from the fridge. With a hand-held or stand mixer, whip the chocolate cream on medium speed until thickened and the consistency is somewhere between whipped cream and soft mousse. It will be fairly thick.
8. Remove chocolate rolls from freezer. On a clean sheet pan, unwrap the rolls, leaving shards of chocolate to use. Place sheet pan in freezer until ready to use.
9. Meanwhile, place whipped milk chocolate cream in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe the cream mixture on top of each cupcakes in a generous rosette.
10. Remove chocolate shards from freezer. Top each cupcake with the chocolate shards as desired. Sprinkle tops of cupcakes lightly with powdered sugar. Eh voila! "Oohs" and "aahs" will abound! Share the love! ♥
Cupcakes are best eaten within 24 hours. The cream will start to wilt in a day or two. Keep cupcakes stored in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator and let sit at room temp 20-30 minutes before serving.
"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy chocolate, and that's kind of the same thing."-unknown
OMG-The holiday for me, I tell you! Chocolate is my middle name. I am not even sure why some of the other flavors even exist when there is chocolate to be had.Lemon is lovely, vanilla is nice, but chocolate is the food of the gods! That says it all, doesn't it?
Unfortunately for me, I didn't have much time to whip up anything really spectacular on such short notice. I did, however, have time to cook up a batch of the BEST hot fudge in the world, and so will you! I don't use superlatives lightly, so trust me when I say how good this is. A lot of well-meaning and normally credible people try to pass off ganache, a mixture of heavy cream and chocolate, for hot fudge. No, no- not having that. That is ganache and it has its place. Hot fudge, on the other hand needs to be thick, a tad sticky-chewy and taste like, well, fudge! There is a world of difference. So without further ado, may I present to you the BEST hot fudge sauce in the world! Make some now.
Hot Fudge Sauce
10 ounces semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (NOT chocolate chips)*
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup water
pinch kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
tiny pinch instant coffee or espresso (optional, but I recommend using it)
1/2 cup light corn syrup (NOT high fructose corn syrup)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan mix together chocolate, sugar, water, salt, instant coffee and butter. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until chocolate and butter are melted and mixture is well combined.
2. Stir in the corn syrup, and bring the mixture to a full boil.
3. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened and glossy, about 10 minutes.
4. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool to room temperature and transfer to heat-proof containers.
5. Store hot fudge sauce in refrigerator for up to 10 days. To reheat, gently heat in microwave on 50% power setting for 30 seconds at a time until fluidity is restored, stirring between heatings.
"Listen! The winds are rising and the air is wild with leaves, We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves. " - Humbert Wolfe
The wind is most definitely rising here where I live, the leaves are flying off the trees, and the night-time temps are about to plummet. I am afraid the splendor of fall is quickly becoming a distant memory. Sigh....
In honor of this most beautiful time of year and what seems to be a collective love for all things pumpkin spice, I created this delicious milk shake. My son, who loves pumpkin pie, was my inspiration. He'll be home from college in a few weeks for Thanksgiving and I can't wait for him to taste these!
Just a safety warning, you will need to caramelize sugar. It is easy, but it can also be dangerous. Be very careful and pay attention to the safety tips below.
PS I never said a splash of rum would be a bad thing if you want to make them a bit more grow up! ; )
Praline-Pecan Pumpkin Spice Milkshakes
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup pecan halves
1/3 cup milk
6 tablespoons pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 1/2 cups premium vanilla ice cream
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
small pinch freshly grated nutmeg
For Praline Pecans:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. put pecans on baking sheet in a single layer. Bake in hot oven for 8 minutes to lightly toast. Set aside to cool.
2. Combine granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan. Stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Brush down sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to help prevent crystallization.
3. Bring to a boil. At this point STOP stirring immediately or you will get a grainy result and have to start all over again. Also DO NOT leave the stove as it can go from good to burnt in the blink of an eye.
4. Continue cooking caramel, swirling pan occasionally to prevent uneven cooking. Once the sugar has taken on a medium-deep amber color (this will take several minutes) , remove from heat and immediately stir in pecans with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula.
5. Stir pecans quickly until pecans are evenly coated with all that caramel goodness. Immediately dump pecan mixture back onto-foil lined tray. NOTE: caramel is hotter than Hades! Exercise extreme caution handling this molten sugar as it can burn severely.
6. Set pan aside and with wooden spoon or spatula...or 2 (DO NOT USE YOUR FINGERS!), un-clump the pecans quickly, trying to flatten into a single layer as much as possible. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes.
7. Once pecans have cooled, coarsely chop and set aside.
1. In your blender jar, place all remaining ingredients along with 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped praline pecans.. Cover tightly and blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into two glasses, top with whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a few reserved chopped praline pecans, if desired.
Leftover pecans can be stored air-tight in a dry location. Use to make additional shakes or toss with a mixed leaf baby lettuces , chopped apples, diced celery and dried cranberries for a nice fall salad. Cheers!