Saturday, July 30, 2011

Buckeye State Ice Cream

As predicted, once I started I can't stop. This is my second ice cream in as many days, with plans to make another batch tomorrow. But when it is this easy and this good, there's nothing stopping me. And until my freezer gets full or my waistline gets thick, I can't stop and won't stop.

Today I give you the Columbus favorite, the Buckeye State. With all the flavors of the candy, and in homage to the team, this ice cream deserves the title (or maybe the team deserves the ice cream?). Anyways, this will just about knock your socks off, because as my Mom says, "This tastes exactly like a Reese's Cup!" But better Mom, way better.

Buckeye State Ice Cream from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream at Home
2 cups whole milk
1 TB plus 1 tsp cornstarch
1-1/2 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cups sugar
2 TB light corn syrup
2 TB honey
4 oz. chocolate (55% to 70%) chopped

Then make it per Jeni's instructions! It literally only takes about an hour, total. So fast and easy, it's a bit scary. I might not be able to stop. Ever.

Peanut butter and cream cheese. Tempting

Hello, peanut buttery goodness.


Melted chocolate only makes this ice cream better.
The ice cream maker, doing its thing.
I promise I'll stop spouting Jeni's praises soon and start coming up with my own ice cream ideas. And I even promise that I'll get off this ice cream kick. Someday.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Jeni's Salty Caramel Ice Cream

Brand new ice cream maker? Check.
Brand new Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams Cookbook? Check.
Brand new reason to make (and eat) as much ice cream as humanly possibly? Double check.

For my first stab at emulating Jeni's goddess-like ice cream greatness, I thought I'd try the recipe that made her famous. I couldn't believe she put all her recipes right there in her cookbook, for all the prying eyes of the competition to see. I had a feeling she'd make it hard, or leave out the key ingredient, or sabotage the final product in some secret sneaky way. But, silly me, Jeni isn't sneaky. She's a goddess, duh. I followed her instructions to a tee and got Salty Caramel Ice Cream, to a tee.

Salty Caramel Ice Cream word for word from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Makes about 1 quart
2 cups whole milk
1 TB plus 1 tsp cornstarch
1-1/2 ounces (3 TB) cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1-1/4 cups heavy cream
2 TB light corn syrup
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

I used her dry burn technique to melt and carmelize the sugar. I think I got mine slightly burnt, because my ice cream is a bit darker than hers, but it was still delicious!

After chilling the ice cream mixture, I popped it in the ice cream maker.

With my new handy dandy Cuisinart stainless steel 2 Qt. no-salt no-ice yogurt, sorbet and ice cream maker extravaganza, it was as easy as pie to whip up some ice cream. Actually pie is pretty hard to make... it was easier than pie. And more rewarding, in my opinion.

My new favorite person, er, machine.
All I had to do was mix up the ice cream (per Jeni's somewhat intense instructions), pour it into the ice cream maker, and flip a switch. Voila. Like I said, a lot easier than pie.

So needless to say, the canister will have a permanent home in my freezer because its going to have a lot of work to do... Ugandan Vanilla Bean? Yes. Sweet Corn and Blackberries? Please. Bangkok Peanut? Oh yes please. So many flavors, so little time. Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This world is full of perfect pairings: bread and butter, milk and cookies, Stabler and Benson, me and Rupert Grint... and last but certainly not least, peanut butter and chocolate. In cookie form.

I used to turn up my nose at any additions to the classic chocolate chip cookie recipe. Why mess with a good thing? I'd ask. Keep your walnuts, your cherries, your raisins and especially your peanut butter, thank you.

That is, until I discovered the cookies at Spoon Market, a little place in Wooster, Ohio located conveniently and disastrously next to my work place. Each day when I see those enormous cookies sitting smugly in the window, I have to get one, even when the only flavor in the case is peanut butter chocolate chip. I tried. I fell in love.

So, I am now on a mission to duplicate Spoon's huge, slightly undercooked, chewy cookies that are chocolate chip with not an overpowering addition of pb. This is take number one in a series of searches.

Pillowy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1-1/4 cups chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer. Add in the egg, vanilla and pb and beat until smooth. Mix in flour, baking powder and salt with a wooden spoon, then add chocolate chips.

Form into balls and drop onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 9 minutes, remove from oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for a few minutes to let them firm up.

Eat with a huge glass of milk, because these turn out slightly airy and pillowy. They are dying to be dunked in a cold glass of milk. These are excellent and perfect for the cakey-cookie lover.

While these are delicious and mysteriously disappeared from my counter top as fast as I could take them out of the oven, they did not quite live up to the Spoon-like cookie of my dreams. Man, I guess I'll just have to try again. Life is so hard....

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Weeknight No-work Dinner: Fish Tacos

You know those hot summer days when you work hard and play hard under the July sun until dusk begins to fall and the lightning bugs rise out of the grass and the air smells like tomatoes and sunscreen and your nose is a little sun burnt and you light up the grill and raid the garden and come up with an inspired, spur of the moment, tastes-so-good-because-you-are-so-hungry dinner? I'd call such a day perfection.

Last night we threw together grilled tilapia tacos with homemade guacamole, cilantro pico de gallo and roasted sweet corn, topped off with mozzarella, romaine and Siracha.

The garden also inspired us to throw some fresh Kale on the grill, simply grilled until crispy with a dash of olive oil, garlic salt and pepper. Some corn chips and guac, grilled peaches and cold beer completed the meal.

Yeah, perfection is the right word.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hogwart's Pumpkin Pasties

Hello my name is Kelley and I'm addicted to Harry Potter.

This might not seem serious. But how would you feel if you couldn't stop speaking with an English accent. And if you couldn't finish any other books because you had to keep re-reading the series before the next movie release? Or if you felt it necessary to reference Hogwarts, A History in most conversations and often found yourself muttering "lumos" instead of reaching for the light switch?

I may be exaggerating a teensy bit. At least about the light switch thing. Okay, I do it, but I don't expect my spell to actually work... it sucks to be a muggle.

The new movie came out this weekend, and while I didn't wait in line for hours wearing robes and my Gryffindor colors, I did decide to express my Pottermania in other, more practical ways. With food, of course.

For the final movie, I was tempted to prepare a Hogwarts style feast complete with steak & kidney pie, pudding, butterbeer and treacle tart. However, I'm not as talented as a house elf.

Pumpkin Pasties recipe from harrypotterrecipes
2 eggs
1 15-oz can pumpkin
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp all spice
1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 pie crusts

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine ingredients. Bake in a large greased casserole dish at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake another 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.

On a clean surface, roll out pie crusts. Use a bowl (about 4-5 inches across) to cut out rounds.

Place rounds onto a baking sheet and place a large spoonful of the baked pumpkin onto the middle of one half of the round, like so.

Fold the pie crust over and crimp the edges closed. Cut slits in the tops to allow venting. Mine are lightning bolt shaped. Cute, right?

These are delicious and are a much better treat than that nasty overpriced popcorn at the movies. Luckily these are just the right size to sneak into a movie theater and eat under cover of darkness sans knife and fork. Although they'd also be excellent with vanilla ice cream.

The movie is a must see, and these are a great accompaniment! Dig in.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Fruit Pizza

There are some things that just scream summertime... baseball, peaches, beach towels, bug spray... and fruit pizza! The ultimate time to make this sweet pizza is when the fruit is fresh and ripe, and most of the time, local (except, in this case for the pineapple and banana, demanded by the boyfriend). This is a killer recipe that will knock anyone's socks off with the beautiful presentation, the layers of texture and, of course, the taste! I brought it to my boyfriend's mother's cookout and they loved it!

Fruit Pizza 
The beauty of this recipe is that you can make most of the components the night before, like the crust and the glaze.
Sugar Cookie Crust:
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar 
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
Mix first four ingredients together until fluffy. Then add: 
1-1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Directions: refrigerate for one hour, then spread on 9-13 greased pan or make individual fruit pizzas by placing them on smaller round pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Cool. 

Creamy Center: 
8 oz. cool whip 
8 oz. cream cheese (softened) 
1/3 cup sugar

Directions: Mix together and spread on cooled crust. Top with fruit of your choice. Here I used strawberries, black raspberries, pineapple and bananas. My favorite combo is peaches, black raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. Kiwi and grapes are also nice on these pizzas.

 The citric acid from the juice in the glaze works keep the fruit from turning brown. Be sure to coat the fruit in it, but don't overdo it. The citrus taste can dominate the rest of the fruit, and we don't want that.

1/2 cup sugar
dash of salt
1/2 cup orange juice
2 TB lemon juice
1/2 cup cold water
1 TB cornstarch
Mix first four ingredients together in a saucepan. In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup cold water with 1 TB cornstarch, then add to juice mixture and cook on medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Let cool, then pour over fruit. 

There are a lot of steps to this recipe, but it really is not hard. The only part that is difficult is trying to stop eating it when it's done!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sprinkle Cupcakes

Who doesn't love sprinkles? Who doesn't enjoy an obscene amount of oh-so-colorful sprinkles on a cut-out cookie, or an ice cream cone, or a cupcake? Let's be real, sprinkles would be good on anything. Except maybe meatloaf.

Satisfy that sprinkles fix and feel like a 6-year old girl: go crazy with the sprinkles. And you might as well get out the glitter and the My Little Ponies while you're at it.

Sprinkle Cupcakes (makes 12)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup crisco
2 eggs
1 TB vanilla
1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup colorful sprinkles, plus more for finishing

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together crisco and sugar. Add in eggs and dry ingredients. Then pour in milk. Fold in sprinkles. Don't over stir the sprinkles or the color will run!
Line cupcake tin and fill with batter 2/3 full. Bake for 15-17 minutes.

Buttercream Frosting
Mix together the following ingredients:
1/2 stick butter
1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 TB milk
1 tsp vanilla

Frost cupcakes and add sprinkles. Enjoy!