Coffee Madness Ice Cream

Ready

Now that the fear of making ice cream and my first chocolate ice cream is under my belt … and so fabUlous … I have this desire need to try more flavors, add in different flavors and textures. Who knew making ice cream could be so easy? Well, easy thanks to my Kitchen Aide Ice Cream attachment.

After a kitchen powwow with a fellow ice cream with lots-o-stuff lover, coffee ice cream was the next flavor. But it needs chocolate! And something crunchy! Okay … brownies? Heath Bar pieces?

OH! YES!

The Dear One went to the store for me, list in hand, clearly saying MILK. I didn’t think I needed to be more specific … like, whole milk versus 2% milk. So into the house came 2% milk. Yucky to begin with, I wasn’t sure it would fly in the ice cream, but the thought of driving ALL the way to the store again made my head want to implode, so I went with it.

The 2% milk made this slightly less creamy. I also think my helper let the custardy part cook a *tiny* bit too long.

All that said, it was GONE without a problem in a couple of days. Freezer door opening, lid popping open, spoons digging in for just a spoonful.

But, really, how can you go wrong with coffee ice cream, brownies and toffee bits? You can’t!

  • 1 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 C milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 1/2 C very strong coffee
  • 1 1/2 C bite sized brownie pieces
  • 1/4 C Heath bar bits

Combine eggs, yolks and sugar in a bowl and blend thoroughly with a whisk or electric beater for about 5 minutes. Heat milk and cream in a medium saucepan; do not let boil, just “scorch” it, bringing to a near-boiling hot. Turn off heat. Very slowly pour in 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, beating rapidly with a whisk.

NOTE: Just as an aside, the reason for pouring a bit of the hot liquid into the eggs while whisking is so you temper the eggs. If you just poured the eggs into the hot milk, you’d have scrambled eggs!

Once it is all beaten in, pour the egg mixture into the saucepan with the milk mixture while beating. Heat mixture under medium low, stirring constantly, for a few more minutes or until the consistency is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon when dipped in. Turn off heat.

Pour mixture into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface of the liquid (this keeps the mixture from forming a skin). Chill overnight or until completely cool.

Pour mixture into ice cream maker and follow machine’s directions for how long it should churn. Add the 1/2 cup of CHILLED coffee halfway through churning. Toss in the brownie bites and Heath bits during the last minute of churning. You may need to finish mixing by hand before placing the ice cream in the freezer for a couple of hours. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.

 

Chocolate Ice Cream

Scoop

For Christmas (I am hanging my head in shame as I type) about 5 years ago (see, shameful) I was given an ice cream attachment for my Kitchen Aide stand mixer. I have never had enough room in my freezer in Brooklyn to place the bowl. It sat in its box, in a corner, waving frantically at me, “Use me! USE ME! Oh, please use me!”

Fast forward … Maine. Huge chest freezer in the basement. First thing that went into it? The bowl for the ice cream attachment! YAY!

Home alone. Nothing to do. What to make? What to make?

“Hello! Hello? Psst! Hey, LADY! It’s me! You know, the lonely and now FREEZING ice cream bowl? Come on! Give it a whirl. You won’t be sorry! Don’t you just love ice cream?”

Love? Well, for me, it’s an affliction, really. The creamier the better. Crunchy bits? YES, MA’AM! But fortunately I have lots of will power where ice cream is concerned. See a new flavor … HAVE.TO.HAVE.IT! Buy it, have a few spoonfuls and never look at it again.

Well, I used to have willpower where ice cream was concerned. What happened? The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz happened and this fabulous recipe for chocolate ice cream! The flavor is so rich and intense, it is so lusciously creamy … well, all I can say is O.M.G. and thank goodness the Dear One was returning soon so he could eat a lot of this!

Oh, Kitchen Aide, thank you for making this ice cream make so easy to use!

Hmmm, what next? What can I add in next? What sort of flavor? Must have crunchy bits. Think it may have to be coffee ice cream with heath bars …

This makes about 1 quart of the best chocolate ice dream you have ever had!

  • 2 C heavy cream
  • 3 T unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 5 ozs bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
  • 1 C whole milk
  • 3/4 C granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract

Ingredients

Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly.

Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream. Pour the mixture into a large bowl, scraping the saucepan as thoroughly as possible, and set a mesh strainer on top of the bowl.

NOTE: I used chocolate chips. I totally spaced the chocolate bar when I went food shopping!

Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in the same saucepan. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolk. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over the medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula (170°F on an instant-read thermometer). Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the chocolate mixture until smooth, then stir in the vanilla.

Chilling

Stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (If the cold mixture is too thick to pour into your machine, whisk it vigorously to thin it out.)

Scoop Spoon

NOTE: This ice cream stayed really creamy and soft-ish in the freezer. What a delight!

Panna Cotta with Berries

Panna Cotta finished

Let’s make dessert.

Sure. What do you want for dessert?

Panna Cotta. Please. I love Panna Cotta!

You love Panna Cotta? Well, if you love it, I’ll make it for you.

PANNA COTTA? SERIOUSLY!? I can’t make Panna Cotta! Off to the bookshelf I go to find a recipe that isn’t going to make my head explode by just looking at the recipe! And to the rescue came Giada de Laurentiis and an easy to make Panna Cotta from Everyday Italian.

It was silky and smooth and really yummy. Easy to put together and not a lot of fussy ingredients.

When a Panna Cotta lover tells you it was the best Panna Cotta they’d ever had, you know you’ve done well!

  • 1 C whole milk
  • 1 T unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 3 C whipping cream
  • 1/3 C honey
  • 1 T sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 C assorted fresh berries

Place the milk in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.

Pour milk mixture into a heavy saucepan and stir over medium heat just until the gelatin dissolves but the milk does not boil, about 5 minutes.

Mixing

Add the cream, honey, sugar, and salt. Stir until the sugar dissolves, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Pour into 6 wine glasses so that they are 1/2 full. Cool slightly. Refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours.

Spoon the berries atop the panna cotta and serve.

HOW EASY WAS THAT!?

Hummus

Done 2

There’s been a lot of dust. There’s been a lot of noise. Beautiful work done, but filthy, dirty, hungry people are standing around and wondering if I have lost my senses by not feeding us soon enough. You know, that look the polar bears give the zoo keepers when they enter their habitats – ‘I hope you brought me food. If you didn’t, I think I may just eat you instead.’

Dinner is still a while off. You wanted help AND you want dinner? Hmmm … I am good, even magical perhaps, but being drafted as a dust and noise making assistant AND making dinner at the same time is a feat even I cannot achieve!

I need something to be munched on while I shower and degrunge myself. Please, sit, relax, munch, have a drink, munch, a smoke, munch …

Fortunately for me, I had the wherewithal to whip up a batch of hummus and pita chips in the morning while tea kettles were whistling and coffee makers were dripping.

So simple! Everything goes into the bowl of a food processor. Whirl. Pulse. Whirl. Pulse. Scrape. Taste. Adjust seasoning. Done.

So, dear polar bear, munch away, you don’t get to eat the zoo keeper! At least not today!

  • 1 15.5 oz. can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained well
  • 1 6 oz. container Greek plain yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • sprinkle of sweet paprika

NOTE: You can use regular, plain yogurt, but then you should drain it. I use a coffee filter in a strainer and let the liquid leach out.

Chick peas draining

Everything goes into the bowl of a food processor, except the olive oil. Pulse until smooth.

Drizzle in olive oil. Pulse until combined and smooth. Adjust lemon, salt and pepper to your liking.

Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle the top with a little olive oil, a sprinkle of paprika, some pita bread or pita chips, maybe olives, a big glass of wine and you’re ready to forget the day!

NOTE: Start with the above measurements and adjust the salt, pepper and lemon to your liking.

Mini New York Cheesecakes

Done 3

Okay. I want to make dessert. I want to make a yummy dessert. No, strike that, I want to make a really great, turn someone into putty in your hands, yummy dessert. Wait, but it has to travel well and be easy to make. (Not asking for too much, am I?) The downside? There’s just two of us and how much dessert does anyone really want left over. And throwing away dessert is not an option.

Enter small batch baking and the genius of Christina over at Dessert for Two. She is my go-to site for this sort of thing. These Mini New York Style Cheesecakes were not just good … they were delicious … they were phenomenal. They were so simple to make, they can be thrown together at any short notice.

You know a recipe is successful when someone looks across the table at you, grinning from ear to ear, and the only word that could be mustered is ‘WOW’. And, yes, after that reaction, I will make these for you again and again.

I may experiment a little and instead of the sauce Christina made, cherries, or blueberries, or … well, the possibilities are endless!

This recipe makes 4 mini cheesecakes, using a regular cupcake pan.

  • 6 ozs cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 C + 2 T sugar
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/2 t lemon juice
  • 4 Nilla wafers (or other small cookies)

For the sauce:

  • ¼ C sour cream
  • 2 T brown sugar

Preheat oven to 375.

Add 4 paper cupcake liners to a cupcake/muffin pan.

Cookie

Drop a cookie in each liner, flat side down.

NOTE: I used a cookie and a half. The Nilla wafer doesn’t quite fill the entire bottom, and I’m a crusty kind of gal (no comments). I also thought that a few smashed graham crackers with butter might work.

Ingredients

In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, egg, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Beat very well until combined.

NOTE: You are going to look at this batter and think it’s just not going to be enough or too much, but it’s the perfect amount!

Ready to Bake

Divide the mixture between the cups and bake for 15 minutes.

Baked

Let cakes cool completely, then refrigerate at least 4 hours.

NOTE: They’re a bit puffy when they come out, but as they cool they fall a bit.

Topping

When ready to serve, stir together the sour cream and brown sugar and pour on top of each cake.

NOTE: I zested a bit of lemon on top of each just to make them look pretty – not that they lasted long enough to be seen as pretty. Also, I removed them from the paper liners before serving. Good thing too! Can’t have anyone sitting at the table LICKING paper cupcake liners!

Pear, Blue Cheese & Walnut Tart

I saw this somewhere, I know not where, so if I have slighted you, mea culpa.

This is great with cocktails – oh, it would be so lovely with a glass of bourbon, sitting outside, watching the sunset. It was quite good, huddled against the rain with a glass of wine.

It’s really easy to put together. I imagine it would be great with apples as well. Oh, or cherries! I used a Kyocera handheld mandoline to slice the pears. I think they may have been a touch bit too thin, so I overlapped them to make them seem thicker. You don’t want to use more than one pear or make the slices to thick or the puff pastry will become soggy.

  • 1 x 220g sheet of ready-made all butter puff pastry
  • 1 large sweet pear, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 1/4 C blue cheese, cut or crumbled into pieces about the size of a hazelnut
  • 1/4 C (scant) walnut halves
  • 3 T salted butter

NOTE: I used a Bosc pear. I used a sweeter blue cheese as opposed to a more savory one. Use your judgment with the walnuts. You’d like one in every bite! Same with the blue cheese. I used slightly more than the 1/4 cup. Can’t help myself.

Preheat oven to 375

Using a sharp knife, score a line around the edge of the pastry sheet about 1 inch from the edge, be careful not to cut all the way through the dough.

Keeping inside the scoring line you just made, arrange the pear slices in one layer on top of the pastry. It may seem as though there isn’t enough pear there and you may want to add a lot more – DON’T. Hold your ground! Noting worse than soggy puff pastry!

Scatter the bits of blue cheese evenly over the pears, followed by the walnut halves. Dot the pieces the tart with bits of the salted butter.

Place in the oven and bake for 12 – 15 minutes until the pastry is golden and cooked through and the cheese melted. Serve hot or warm.

NOTE: Is wonderful alone with drinks or with a salad for lunch. Either way, this will be making many appearances in my kitchen!

Tiramisu

Did you know that at some point in the history of Italy the Japanese invaded Italy, Tuscany in particular, and brought along with them and introduced to the cuisine starved Italians that delightful dessert known as TIRAMATSU?

Oh, heavy, heavy sigh. As I type, I am still shaking my head in disbelief, so if my typing is a little wonky, please forgive me.

This is what happens when men are allowed in kitchens. In Italy. Where the Japanese have NEVER invaded (except perhaps the Gucci and Fendi shops in Rome). The wonderful dessert of Tiramisu turns into Tiramatsu – which is apparently served in Florence in a beautiful church that has recently been compared to a Japanese Dessert Warehouse. Oh, ye worshipers at Santa Maria Novella, please send a pox his way!  (now don’t start sending hate mail, fellas, about men in kitchens. It’s nearly the same as your thoughts on women drivers!)

A dear, OLD friend recently went on a dream vacation with his family to Tuscany, and in the midst of this trip a cooking lesson was had at the villa they were staying in. Would have been fun to join in, but quite frankly the narration of it was hilarious.  When asked what they were making, the response received was Tiramatsu. When laughing followed that answer, my reply was … “Japanese dessert?” Feigning insult, I received the reply … now hang onto your mouse … “Italian, Japanese, whatever.” REALLY? This could be sparking an international incident of cataclysmic proportions!

Just to clear the confusion a wee bit, this was an Italian cooking lesson, but shall go down in the annals of history as Japanese Dessert Day. Really, would my Italian ancestors allow this to go by without unmerciful teasing? Anyone who knows me well knows the answer … ABSOLUTELY NOT!

And this brought to mind that I have not made Tiramisu in AGES and probably should soon – if for no other reason than to assure myself that this dessert is QUITE Italian.

Tirami su literally translates to ‘pick me up’, probably due to the espresso and chocolate in the recipe. I don’t remember where this recipe came from beyond my sister, and know she tweaked it and I tweaked it and came out with this delightful version.

So, here we go …

  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 lb mascarpone
  • 1 T dark rum
  • 1 T peach liquor
  • 24 ladyfingers
  • 1 C espresso
  • 1 100 g Toblerone bar

NOTE: You really want Savioardi, which are a crisper version of lady fingers. I buy the liquor in nip bottles as I don’t use those often. Toblerone adds an extra, really nice flavor and texture that just plain old chocolate does. ALso, I ended up using 1 1/2 Toblerone bars.

Beat egg yolks and sugar until light yellow. Add in the mascarpone and liquors.

Whip egg whites to soft peaks.

Fold egg whites into mascarpone mixture.

Soak Savioardi in espresso.

NOTE: You don’t want them to become soggy. It’s really more ‘showing’ the Savioardi to the espresso. A quick flip and out. It will soak up more than you think.

Finely chop the Toblerone bar – and try not to eat as much of it as you can while chopping.

Layer half the Savioardi in the bottom on an 8×8 dish.

Add half the mascarpone mixture.

Sprinkle with half of the chopped chocolate. Repeat.

NOTE: ALSO, don’t put the bowl of hot espresso next to the chopped chocolate. Not sure if you all know this, it’s certainly NEW to me, but chocolate melts next to hot things … so when you gather it to sprinkle it squishes through your fingers and makes an absolutely disgusting mess! In my hair, on my shirt, on my face … (this is what I get for teasing!)

Refrigerate for 1 hour or over night.

DIVE IN!

I was making four different things in my kitchen at the same time, so I had to repeat steps, dumped grated cucumber into the mascarpone, and my kitchen looked as though the Swedish Chef from the Muppets had been channeled into my body … I was COVERED in melted chocolate, mascarpone, espresso … but so TOTALLY worth it!

Hmmm… mascarpone, savioardi, toblerone, not a bit of nori to be found. Definitely Italian. And so there – HA on you, mpd!