Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Raspberry & Peaches Shortcake

This is literally the best time of the year. Fresh fruit, daily. To put on dessert, daily.

Surprise surprise, more peaches and berries. I'm a little obsessed.

Which works out, because I had the bright idea to sign up for a half marathon, so I need nutrients to fuel those extra miles I'll be running. And, those extra miles will allow me to rationalize second helpings. And thirds?

Especially of this.

Raspberry & Peaches Shortcake
2-1/3 cups Bisquick
3 TB sugar
2/3 cup milk
3 TB butter, melted
Lots of black raspberries
Lots of ripe peaches
1-1/2 cup sugar, for the berries

Whipped Cream
1/2 pint whipping cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Directions for shortcake: Mix first four ingredients together. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes. In a large bowl, add 1 cup sugar to black raspberries. In a separate bowl, add 1/2 cup sugar to peaches. Set in fridge for about a half hour, or until you serve it.

 Directions for the whipped cream: Whip together on high until peaks form. Chill covered in the fridge.

I'm not going to lie, I had thirds.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Berries & Peach Smoothie

Sometimes you need a pick me up. And sometimes it's too early in the day for a cocktail or a hit of ice cream. Sometimes you need something that's actually, gulp, healthy.

Healthy can be awesome too, though. Especially during fruit season in Ohio.

Berries & Peach Smoothie
1 cup black raspberries
1 cup blueberries
2 whole peaches
1 plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
1 tsp. honey
1/4 cup almond milk
4 ice cubes

Directions: wash all fruit. De-pit peaches and cut into pieces. Add all ingredients to the blender and pulse until well blended. This is a tart, textured fruit smoothie to wake up the senses on lazy summer mornings. Serve in pretty glasses and enjoy on your porch.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Blueberry and Wild Raspberry Cookies

I've been overdosing on chocolate these past few days, and after one too many chocolate comas and many more scoops of chocolate ice cream, I decided it was time to take a slightly different approach to appeasing the almighty sweet tooth.

I got the inspiration after strolling through my yard and finding the first wild black raspberries of the season. Numerous possibilities flashed through my mind:

cobblerpancakespiecakesyrup! However, I took a deep breathe and realized that these little guys are few and far between, at least for a week or two, so another option presented itself. Fruit cookies! Supplemented with blueberries, because you can't go wrong with blueberries either.

Blueberry and Wild Raspberry Cookies makes 15-20
1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1-3/4 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp lemon zest
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 TB milk
1/2 cup crushed walnuts (optional)
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup fresh wild raspberries

Cream butter and sugars, then mix together everything but the milk and berries. Add in milk and stir. Then gently fold in the berries. Some might burst, but no biggie.
Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to make it easier to handle. 

For crumb topping:
Ingredients: 2 TB flour, 2 TB sugar, 3 TB brown sugar, dash cinnamon, 2 TB softened butter.
Directions: mix flour, cinnamon and sugars together. With a fork, mix in butter until a chunky crumb mixture forms.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle on crumb topping. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes to make them easier to handle. Bake for 8-10 minutes.

These are tasty, like muffins in cookie form.

As usual, Daisy loved the cookies.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Sauce

I'm sorry to say that I have not been very attentive to this blog lately. Or, for that matter, to my sweet tooth. Poor thing. It's had to make due with boxed brownies and bakery cupcakes for these kitchen dry spells. I've started doing freelance writing for a local paper, and still work most evenings at the restaurant, and with all this work when am I supposed to make cookies!? Really, I need to get my priorities straight.

Finally, I had time to make something. And, what do you know, it was more ice cream. For my dad of course, it being Father's Day and all. And, the best Dad in the world who taught me everything good in life, requested dark chocolate ice cream. He knows his stuff, that's for sure.

It was so good that I, as per my usual, ate enough for three large football players. Dad liked it too.

Dark Chocolate Ice Cream (and I mean dark)
Makes 4 qts.
6 eggs, or one egg beaters
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder
2 cups brown sugar
6 TB vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 pt. half & half
1 whipping cream (half pint)
whole milk (to fill line, about 1 quart)
2 bags ice and salt, or whatever your ice cream maker requires

Directions: Beat together all ingredients except milk. Chill in the refrigerator if you have time, if not, that's fine too. Then pour the batter into the ice cream container and add milk to the fill line. Make according to the ice cream maker instructions.

This is a really simple way to kick up plain old homemade ice cream. And it's even better with this salted caramel sauce...

Salted Caramel Sauce
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, water and corn syrup and bring to a boil. Brush down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil over high heat until a deep amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the cream, butter and salt. Let the caramel cool to room temperature. This will last about two weeks if you keep it covered in the fridge (assuming that it makes it past the first ice cream bowl). If it gets too thick, add a spoonful of very hot water (from the tap) and whisk until smooth.

Drizzle over any ice cream for some awesome flavor, and try not to eat the whole jar.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Homemade Local Strawberry Jam

Mmmmm... it's strawberry season.

There is nothing better than picking a sun-ripened bright red strawberry off the vine and popping it in your mouth. It just tastes like pure sunshine and always puts a smile on my face.

Especially ones as pretty and cheerful as these.
We grew a few strawberries in our garden, but to get a batch like this we went to a local fruit farm, where cute little Amish boys in straw hats politely carried them out to our car. We needed more than just a few. Because it's not June for long, and strawberry season doesn't last forever (maybe in heaven?).

Luckily, this year my mom taught me one of her specialties: the art of jam-making.

Homemade Local Strawberry Jam (makes 5-6 medium-sized jars of jam, about 5 cups)
2 pints strawberries, crushed
4 cups sugar
1 box Pectin
3/4 cup water
First wash the berries and cut off the stems. In a large bowl, smash the strawberries.

Mix the 4 cups of sugar with the strawberries. Mix well and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. 

In a small saucepan, stir 3/4 cup of water and pectin and bring to a boil on high heat. Stir continuously for about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

 Stir pectin mixture into the fruit mixture. Stir constantly until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy, about 3 minutes.

 Pour into jam jars, leaving a 1/2 inch space at the top in case the jam expands in the freezer. Let stand at room temperature with the lids on for 24 hours, until set.

This stuff is the best on toast or biscuits in the mornings, especially 6 months from now in the dead of winter. It's like summer in a jar.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Butter Pecan Ice Cream

I warned you it would happen. And here it is. One of many ice cream escapades to come. With the new ice cream maker and my inborn obsession with ice cream, you can expect to see a lot more of this in the very near future.

Because, let me tell you, I love ice cream. Truly. Madly. And deeply. In fact, that Savage Garden song actually explains our relationship perfectly.

My boyfriend told me he was finally sure I actually liked him when I grudgingly gave him a bite of my ice cream at Dairy Queen after about a year of dating. The true test of affection? Whether or not you'll share your cone. That's love right there.

And homemade is always so much better than anything from the store. Sorry Breyers, but I have you beat. I've never been a fan of butter pecan in my life, until I made this upon my Grandma's request. The lady did just turn 80, so I thought I'd give her what she wanted! And I was so glad I tried this recipe, adapted from my Aunt Becky's.

{Butter Pecan Ice Cream}
6 eggs (I used egg beaters, 1 package)
2 cups white sugar
2 cups brown sugar
1 pint half & half
1/2 pint whipping cream
6 TB vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
Approximately 1 qt. whole or regular milk
3 cups pecans, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter

Directions: Beat the first 7 ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Pour into ice cream container and add milk to the fill line. Stir. Follow directions for your ice cream freezer to make the ice cream. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 1 stick of butter. Add pecans and stir constantly, until the pecans are soft. Allow to cool.

When the ice cream is done, pour in the pecans and any extra sauce from the butter and pecan mixture. Stir, then place in freezer to harden for at least 2 hours. Makes 1 gallon of buttery creamy nutty goodness. The three cups of pecans make it very nutty, so if you prefer more ice cream to nut ratio, use 2 cups. It tastes just as good after pulling out of the freezer a few days later, if you have any left over.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

White Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Frosting

You are going to start noticing a few themes here. Besides chocolate and brown sugar. These themes will be showing up consistently over the next few weeks, months or years, I'm betting. So I hope you like:

1. Ice cream. With the appearance of a brand new ice cream maker in our house, plans to buy the new Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams cookbook, a humid Ohio summer and a girl who's in LOVE with ice cream, what else would you expect?

2. Cookie dough. Because it is amazing. And I've recently discovered an eggless version that tastes just like the real thing, so no risk! Bonus.

3. Cupcakes. I recently took a trip to Chicago with my best friends and there were so many cupcake shops! They inspired me with their cute little icings and surprising flavors.
We went to Molly's Cupcakes (they have swings!) and got these:

We chose chocolate chip cookie dough, red velvet and lemon meringue.

Almost too pretty to eat!
I fell in love with cupcakes, a dessert I previously gave far too little attention. So, today I began my cupcake-making quest, starting out as a beginner with a lot to learn. Eventually I'll master the red velvet and chocolate chip cookie dough, but today I decided to keep it simple and unpolished.

White Cupcakes with Brown Sugar Icing
For the Cupcakes
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
1/2 cup crisco
2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.

Mix all ingredients except the egg whites. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites for 2 minutes. Beat into the other ingredients.

Pour into cupcake tin, 2/3 full. Don't overfill or you'll end up with a mess!

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the frosting
2-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 lb. box powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2-1/2 tsp. vanilla
Bittersweet chocolate chips, chopped

Cream butter and brown sugar, then beat in the powdered sugar. Add in other ingredients. Fold in chopped up chocolate chips. Apply liberally to cooled cupcakes. I went for the rustic look and just used a spatula to frost the cupcakes.
I couldn't resist adding chocolate, what a surprise

These cupcakes are sweet and almost caramelly with all the brown sugar. The bittersweet chocolate in the icing evens out the sweetness. I don't know Molly's, I may beat you yet.