Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream

I gave my hubs the choice of any ice cream flavor, aaaaany flavor he wanted, and I have to say he surprised me with his request for chocolate chip cookie dough. He’s not a big desserts guy. When I make some unusual cookie he laments that I never make chocolate chip. When I spend too much time swirling a mountain of frosting on top of cupcakes, he pushes most of it off to the side. So I was more than happy to make whatever ice cream flavor he requested.

I wasn’t counting on cookie dough.

Don’t get me wrong, I like cookie dough ice cream. I’ve been known to order it from time to time. But making cookie dough for the purpose of putting it into ice cream turned out to be more difficult than I originally thought. The recipe seemed easy enough–a scaled down version of chocolate chip cookies without the eggs, baking soda or baking powder–but it just didn’t taste right. I really wanted to knock one out of the park for the guy and I was disappointed with the end result.

Of course, it couldn’t have been too  bad since when I packed it to bring to my brother’s house he said, “I thought this was for me.”

I can’t quite put my finger on it. It wasn’t quite a consistency issue. Something was wrong with the flavor. My only guess is that there was too much butter, because of the remaining ingredients, I can’t imagine any that would explain the strange taste.

But the moral of the story is this: bad cookie dough ice cream is still better than no cookie dough ice cream.

Here is the recipe for the cookie dough: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Cookie-Dough-for-Ice-Cream-Eggless/

And I used my foolproof vanilla ice cream recipe:

Ingredients

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup milk

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

Whisk together cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla until the sugar completely dissolves. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap against the top of the mixture so a skin doesn’t form. refrigerate for at least three hours, though it can sit overnight as well.

Freeze mixture according to the directions on your ice cream maker. Add cookie dough while ice cream is still soft.

Rainy Day Coconut Sorbet

Yesterday morning was the epitome of a morning I would have liked to stay in bed with a good book, a small dog, and a handsome husband, all of which I have access to. I love thunder and lightning and the sound of rain pounding on the windows.

In fact, if no one would be hurt and if there wasn’t any damage, I wouldn’t mind a monthly hurricane to pass through. I don’t even mind when the electricity goes out for an hour or two–nothing that prevents me from showering or, more importantly, eating, but a few hours to be filled with candles and board games and wine and the ice cream you don’t want to melt. Last August during Hurricane Irene I played the best game of Monopoly of my life.

I feel the same way about snow storms. There’s something about stripping away the options for the day and having license to lounge that appeals to me. This is probably because I love to do nothing but tend to feel guilty in the wake of wasted hours. But take away my electricity and make leaving the house a danger not to be attempted and I’m happy to open a bottle of wine and let the hours waste away.

I once told my father, an avid golfer, that there is nothing I like to do so much that I would do it in the cold and rain, fingers numb, feet wet, and still have fun. But given those same conditions, I’m one happy camper snuggled under a blanket with Mr. Darcy.

Do you want to know why I made sorbet? I had a cup of coconut milk sitting in the fridge. Enjoy!

Coconut Sorbet

Ingredients
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 cup sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until the sugar dissolves. You’ll be able to hear the difference as you whisk and you can taste it for any grittiness.

Chill in the freezer for 2 hours or in the refrigerator over night. Freeze according to you ice ream maker’s directions.

Chocolate Spice Cupcakes with Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting

See those little cake? They baked up into perfectly raised domes.

The flavor was a mild chocolate with strong traces of ginger and cinnamon.

The texture was moist and spongy but firm enough to get a good bite .

The frosting was sweet and nutty and salty and rich and thick and airy.

Whoever Justin is, I’d like to thank him.

Chocolate Spice Cupcakes with Chocolate Hazelnut Frosting

Makes 12 cupcakes

Cupcakes adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes

Preheat to 350

Ingredients:

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2/3 cup boiling water

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 egg, room temp

1/3 cup honey

1/3 cup maple syrup

Boil water and stir in baking soda

Whisk together the flour, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and allspice in a small bowl.

Cream butter and sugar in an electric mixer until smooth. Add the egg and mix until creamy.

Add the honey and maple syrup and then the baking soda mixture and beat until mixed.

Add the flour mixture and mix just until combined.

Pour into cupcake tin and bake for 20 minutes or until your tester comes out clean.

Frosting Adapted from my Peanut Butter Frosting

1 1/2 sticks butter

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut butter (Justin’s was awesome–not too sweet and had a great salty bite)

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Cream butter and almond extract. Add nut spread and mix until smooth. Add sugar and beat until fluffy.

Butterless Peanut Butter Cookies Save Friday

Friday as I was leaving work I thought, maybe someone wants to go out for drinks. But the moment passed and the office emptied and I was on my way home to an empty apartment. I sat on my bed for a while going through a list of things I could do and people I could call. There were plenty of options, but all involved getting up off of that bed, exerting the energy to make a connection, and then getting into my car and going somewhere. I even turned down free dinner and the best homemade margaritas ever at my parents’ house because I couldn’t be bothered to drive half an hour.

I made my go-to dinner when I’m home and lazy–pasta with shredded cheese and settled on the couch for a night of sloth. I flipped TV channels, alternating between Sex and the City reruns, Say Yes to the Dress (the obnoxious bridesmaids one), and–let’s reserve judgement here–Freaky Friday (the Lindsey Lohan/Jamie Lee Curtis one). And before you go clucking your tongue and shaking your head and pitying my sad taste in movies, I just need to say that I have an affection for movies when Lindsey Lohan was cute/pretty/likable.

Anyway. A couple of hours into this funfest I decided that I needed to make cookies and I needed to make them without butter. Because I didn’t have any. It turns out this is not an unusual endeavor because I had a few recipes to choose from. The end result wasn’t quite the same as a chewy cookie filled with butter but it tasted great dunked in milk.  I think it could have a stronger peanut butter flavor but overall, they’re pretty good for missing a major cooking ingredient and something I’d make again in a pinch. I might add oats to a normal peanut butter cookie recipe; I like the crunch they add.

My husband came home around 11:00 while I was watching DC Cupcakes Takes New York and I saw my night through his eyes and we went out to a bar for a few hours. Sure, it was the closest bar to our house, but it was better than the couch.

I followed The Curious Cook’s recipe, using 1/4 cup peanut oil and 1/4 cup vegetable oil. If you don’t use peanut oil, I’d up the amount of peanut butter.

Brownie Sundae Cupcakes

You know that movie Four Christmases? This weekend I had four Memorial Days, which is just to say we went to four bbq’s in just as many nights. I’m not complaining–having other people cook delicious dinners on their grills while I kick back and drink wine and beer is a great way to spend a night, or four.

It was also a weekend of sitting around tables–kitchen tables, patio tables, banquet tables, even folding tables on the deck of a boat–and enjoying the company of friends and family. It was one of those weekends when the conversation never seems to falter, laughs are plentiful, and you feel grateful for the people in your life.

I was looking for a dessert to bring to a bbq on Monday that I could make ahead of time since I knew I wasn’t going to be home Saturday and Sunday. My first inclination was towards ice cream–it seemed appropriate for the unofficial start to summer. Then I saw a post from How Sweet It Is that changed my mind. As soon as I read the recipe for ice cream cupcakes I knew it would be perfect, especially substituted with brownies and my homemade vanilla ice cream.

I cheated a little bit–Trader Joe’s makes brownie mix that you pour right from the pouch into the pan. I can’t say it’s the best mix I’ve had, but when you’re pressed for time (i.e. trying to beat traffic up 95 for your first bbq of the holiday weekend!) it works perfectly. I made the brownies Friday night and the ice cream Saturday morning before we left. Monday when we got home I scooped the ice cream on top added the cherry and we left for bbq #4.

I was worried that the brownies would freeze once everything was assembled, but I had one a day later and it was still soft.

Brownie Sundae Cupcakes

Ingredients

You favorite brownie recipe or mix

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup milk

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

Make the brownies according to the recipe, pouring batter into cupcake liners. You may need to keep your eye on them in the oven, as the cooking time will vary from the directions. Cool completely.

Whisk together cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla until the sugar completely dissolves. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap against the top of the mixture so a skin doesn’t form. refrigerate for at least three hours, though it can sit overnight as well.

Freeze mixture according to the directions on your ice cream maker. You may need to freeze the ice cream a little more before spreading it over the brownies so it’s firm and not too melty. Top with a cherry.

Oatmeal Apple Cookie

I know I said I was going to make you something healthy. I lied. I didn’t really have anything in mind when I said that. I just figured with four days of cupcakes, you deserved a palate cleanser. But then I went to Upstate New York over the weekend and bought these amazing apples, that I think are actually from California, and I can’t eat them all before they go bad. So. Oatmeal Apple Cookies.

20120522-202932.jpg

A quick technology update. After Canon decided they couldn’t fix my old camera, I bought a new one. So why am I still taking poorly lit photos using the iPad? Because my laptop is still only allowing me 40 seconds of access before freezing and if I’m going to blog on the iPad it makes my life just a little bit easier to have the photos on the iPad. BUT! With a little arm twisting from my father, I bought a Mac Book Air. And by arm twisting, I mean I saw him using his Mac and decided I wanted one. If I wasn’t in need of a computer, I’d probably just wait another year until Dad goes in for an upgrade and gives me his. Oh well.

20120522-203024.jpg

I don’t want you to worry about me, though. I’m still using my flip phone circa 2008. And the iPad doesn’t have 3G so you won’t see me updating Facebook from the bar or answering emails on vacation. I hear you can do other stuff on your smart phone while wandering planet Earth, but it’s probably best if you keep that info to yourself. I have a hard enough time living my non-3G life.

20120522-203104.jpg

These cookies aren’t super sweet and you can taste the apple, which is a plus in my book. As I was taking pictures, I thought they might be good with butterscotch chips thrown in.

20120522-203139.jpg

Oatmeal Apple Cookies, adapted from the recipe on the top of my Quaker Oats
Makes one dozen

Ingredients
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup oats
1 medium sized apple, chopped

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine oil, sugars, eggs, and vanilla in a medium sized bowl and stir.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
Add dry ingredients to medium bowl and stir until combined.
Stir in oats and apples.

Spoon dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes.

Lemon Coconut Cupcakes

Still hanging in there? Ready for one more cupcake post?

As I mentioned earlier, I had been planning a pound cake with lemon custard filling and coconut frosting. When I made the change to cupcakes, I wanted to preserve those flavors but didn’t want to fill any cupcakes. Four different kinds of cupcakes was my own masochism but even I’m not crazy enough to go into filling flavors. Compromise? Lemon cake.

So here’s what you do: take a fantastic poundcake recipe and add an arbitrary amount of fresh squeezed lemon juice. Done.

Oh, you want exact measurements? Fine. Squeeze two lemons for everything they’re worth, around a third of a cup, plus the rind of one lemon. Add the juice and rind at the very end, after the eggs.

20120517-194445.jpg

I used the Ateco 867 again, but instead of swirling the tip, I kept it still in the middle of the cake, then pulled it straight up slowly while squeezing. Top with coconut and, if the spirit moves you, yellow sprinkles.

Someone on Facebook posted the ago-old question last night, what would you do of you knew you could not fail? I would open a coffee shop where I could sell my cupcakes, maybe a daily pot of soup, maybe I’d even let my husband design the menu of sandwiches based on snack food…he has some amazing ideas involving Fritos, potato chips, and Doritos. Hubs thought about it finally came up with his answer: ask Alyssa Milano on a date.

We all have our goals.

Reece’s Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Don’t even try to tell me your sick of cupcakes. It’s not possible.

I had initially planned a cake and a cheese cake for the shower, both of which I was excited to make. The cheesecake was envisioned as orange scented with a thick layer of dark chocolate poured on top. The cake would have been a remake of Emma’s Birthday Cake, the Key Lime and Coconut, but instead of graham cracker cake, the pound cake I’m obsessed with and filled with lemon custard rather than lime.

However, Mother knows best. She said cupcakes would be easier to serve and display nicely and sure enough, she was right. I hate when that happens, mostly because it happens ALL THE TIME. I still have both of those cakes stuck in my head so please invite me over and ask me to bring dessert. I make a lovely dinner guest, I promise.

I used the Hershey’s recipe again and while it’s a great tasting recipe, I’m not crazy about the texture or the way it shapes up. It’s very spongy and sticky and rises straight up and then spreads out flat. In an attempt to create my own chocolate cake recipe, I followed the rules from this super helpful website and started experimenting. Note to self: do not experiment with the cupcakes you plan on giving your mother for her birthday. They came out dry and crumbly. Thankfully, filling them with vanilla marshmallow cream and topping with chocolate helps. Here’s one I made special for my Husband:

20120516-134918.jpg

Our wedding anniversary is next week but more interesting is that this week marks ten years from our first date. Fortunately, neither of us knew we were on a date because it involved a culinary disaster in which my future husband used a shot glass as a measuring cup, misjudged its size, and ended up turning Lipton Pasta Sides into soup.

20120516-200747.jpg

I am all over the place today. Let me try to bring it back around. Here is the tip I used for the Reece’s cupcakes, the Ateco 867. It’s a nice big one and makes a fantastic swirl, but doesn’t finish with a nice peak. How do we solve that? Stick half of a Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup in the middle. Rule number one: if it doesn’t look good, cover it in frosting/sprinkles/coconut/candy.

This recipe combined Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Chocolate Cake and my Peanut Butter Frosting. I slapped some melted chocolate on the tops of the cakes like I did with the Oreo, mostly because they spread too much and I ended up trimming the edges with my kitchen scissors. The chocolate covered up the rough edges. See Rule Number One.

Cherry Almond Cupcakes

Cupcake Week continues!

The next little dessert on our tour is the uber adorable Cherry Almond cupcake. What is it about topping desserts with maraschino cherries that make them ridiculously cute? I didn’t have to experiment too much with this recipe–I knew after I made the maraschino frosting a few weeks ago that it would pair well with almond cake. I have a vanilla cake that I’m loving right now so I simply added a couple of tablespoons (yup tablespoons) of almond extract and achieve the new flavor. I tried a bite fresh from the oven and I was worried that it was too almondy, but once cooled and frosted it worked perfectly. I wrestled with the pink frosting for my nephew, but this is 2012, if we can’t eat pink cupcakes to celebrate a baby boy, then we’re practically cavemen.

If your wondering where those gorgeous paper cups came from, I got them during my last trip to NY Cake and I’m pretty sure I squealed with delight, out load, in the middle of the store. These beautiful cupcake accessories prove that if you can’t bake it, fake it. I don’t think you could dislike even the worst tasting cupcake if it was dressed in these little ensembles.

20120515-192426.jpg

I used the Ateco 858 tip on these, which gives that great soft serve sundae look, especially suited for the cherry on top. Again, the wider the tip and the more frosting you use, the easier it is to create a polished look. I promise it will fool everyone into thinking you know what you’re doing. Man, I’m giving away all of my tricks today.

To throw these together, I used the maraschino cherry frosting previous mentioned and cupcakerecipes.com’s poundcake cupcakes with two tablespoons of almond extract. Top it all with a cherry and sprinkles.

Oreo cupcakes

As promised, welcome to Cupcake Week.

I’ve struggled in my cupcake making with creating little treats that are both tasty and pretty. The emphasis should always be on taste, but it bothered me that I was so inept at decorating. I found a solution that works best for me–it’s all about the tools

I’ve always considered myself an artistic person though I can’t draw or paint. Whatever those skills are, I don’t have them. But I love scrapbooking–I can cut and glue paper with the best of them. It’s all in the tools. Circle punches, stickers, rub off print, it’s a wonderful world. The same principle helps me with cupcakes decorating: avoid anything freehand. Depend on tools. The tools for me in this case are the wider frosting tips. This week I’m happy to share with you which tips I used in case it’s helpful for you, that is, if you happen to be even more inept than I.

I’ve been making Oreo cakes for a while now. I might be so bold as to say that Oreos are my favorite cookies, perhaps with the exception of some homemade cookies, but if you’re buying it in a package, it’s Oreos for me every time. The problem with Oreo frosting is that it’s difficult to make it pretty, especially when pretty depends on you being able to squeeze the frosting through a tip. I brilliantly (if I may be so immodest) decided to coat the top of the cupcake with melted chocolate-I used chocolate melts because I had a spare bag around. I then sprinkled crushed  Oreos over the chocolate before it melted so that the cookies stuck in place. I topped the cookies with marshmallow fluff frosting and sprinkled cookie crumbs over the whole shebang. Perfection! This combination was amazing. I can’t even pretend to be humble, it was heaven.

Here is the tip that I used, Ateco’s #844:

20120514-192330.jpg

As I mentioned last week, all of the photos, other than the tip above, were taken by my obliging cousin who I must say did a great job of capturing the beauty of these gorgeous little cakes.

You can locate both the chocolate cake and the frosting from my Fauxstess Cupcakes post, in which I erroneously refer to them as Fauxtess. Oops.