It’s National Ice Cream Day….maybe

Homemade coconut milk based Raspberry, French Vanilla and Double Chocolate ice cream. In a triple sunday with blackberry syrup, mango syrup and marshmallow syrup and of course with a cherry on top

Depending on the website you’re looking at, today is National Ice Cream Day. It may also be this coming Sunday. But no matter which calendar you choose to follow, I’ve got you covered with ice cream recipes this week. You can also check out this link to see all my frozen treat recipes.  All of this weeks recipes will be coconut milk based and use sweetened condensed milk as the sweetener. You will need an ice cream maker. I’m aware that there are several recipes out there that don’t require an ice cream maker, I’ve not tried to make these without one so I don’t know how well they’d work without one. If you try it, let me know how it turns out.

So first up is classic French Vanilla

French Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 2 13.5 oz cans coconut milk
  • 1 13.5 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1TBS Vanilla paste

Combine all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix with a whisk or a electric mixer until all the ingredients are well combined. Chill ice cream base in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Churn according to you ice cream machines directions. Place churned ice cream into airtight containers and place in the freezer to harden for at least 4 hours but best to make a day ahead. Yield 1 quart of ice cream.

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream

  • 20 mint candies like Andes mints coarsely chopped
  • ½ tsp peppermint oil
  • ½ can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • Green Food Coloring (optional)

Combine, coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, vanilla paste and peppermint oil (and green food coloring if you want that green color) in a large bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Chill ice cream base in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Churn according to you ice cream machines directions. Once the ice cream has churned, mix in the chopped up mints. Place churned ice cream into airtight containers and place in the freezer to harden for at least 4 hours but best to make a day ahead. Yield 1 pint

Raspberry ice cream all dressed up with mango syrup, blackberry syrup, whipped cream, fruity cereal and a cherry on top

Raspberry Ice Cream

  • ½ cup freeze dried raspberries
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 13.5 oz can coconut milk
  • ½ can sweetened condensed milk

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until the raspberries have ben completely broken down. Chill ice cream base in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Churn according to you ice cream machines directions. Place churned ice cream into airtight containers and place in the freezer to harden for at least 4 hours but best to make a day ahead. Yield 1 pint

The Ultimate Chocolate Sundae

Double Chocolate Malted Milk Ball, Cookies n Marshmallows

  • 2 13.5 oz cans of coconut milk (divided)
  • 1 13.5 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 TBS cocoa powder
  • 3 oz extra dark chocolate chopped
  • 1 TBS vanilla paste
  • 1 tsp ground coffee
  • 3 TBS malted milk powder
  • ¼ cup crushed malted milk malls
  • ¼ cup mini marshmallows
  • ¼ cup chocolate wafer cookies chopped
  • 3 oz of chocolate coarsely chopped (which ever kind you prefer)
  • pinch of salt

Pour one can of coconut milk into a microwave safe bowl and heat at 50% until it just starts to bubble. Place 3 oz of the extra dark chocolate into a large mixing bowl and pour the warm coconut milk over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted. Add in the remaining can of coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, cocoa, vanilla paste, milk powder and coffee. Stir until well combined and then chill in the fridge for a few hours. Churn according to manufacturer’s directions for you ice cream machine. Toward the final 5 minutes of churning add in the the malted milk balls, marshmallows, cookies, salt and the remaining chocolate. Place ice cream base in airtight containers and let chill overnight.

 

 

 

 

 

Peppermint Chocolate Layer Cake with Peppermint White Chocolate Buttercream Icing

Rich chocolate cake stacked high with layers of Peppermint White Chocolate Buttercream Icing and finished off with more buttercream, chopped up candy canes, and peppermint bark

I hope everyone had a relaxing Christmas Holiday, things are settling back down around the homestead and the marathon cookie baking and decorating has come to an end. Now that we’re heading into the New Year, things are also calming down at work and I should be back to having consistent days off which will hopefully allow the blogging schedule to fall back into place.

This week’s recipe came about because I was asked to bring a dessert for Christmas dinner.  I’ve been intrigued (read obsessed) with MilkBar’s layer cakes (and their corn cookie and crack pie). The gang over at MilkBar always seem to come up with these fanciful flavor combinations for their cakes and they have a distinct visual style with their unfrosted sides. It’s been ages since I’ve baked a layer cake, so I thought it would be kind of fun to try my hand at building a MilkBar style towering marvel.

Over the years via interviews and various cooking segments, Christina Tosi (the genius behind MilkBar) has shared how she goes about designing and assembling these cakes with the cake itself, the frosting and a textural element as the basic components. In this case because of the holiday I opted for crushed candy canes and crumbled peppermint bark for my textural elements. I also decided to use peppermint oil rather than peppermint extract, because it provides an intense wallop of peppermint flavor. You can certainly use peppermint extract, it just takes a lot more extract to provide the same intensity of flavor and that will impact the texture of the frosting. I was able to find food grade peppermint oil at a specialty shop, but you should be able to find it easily enough on the interwebs.

As it turns out, I must have given away our cake pans when we moved from NJ to CA. So I had to go out and buy new cake pans. I opted for 7″ inch springform pans figuring that the springform would come in handy for assembly, transport and unveiling. I lucked out and was able to find 3 identical pans at Homegoods.

There’s basically three stages to creating this cake, first its the baking of the cake, then making the buttercream and then the last part is the assembly of the cake itself. The whole process took about 8 hours, which includes the time the cake had to chill in the fridge so the icing could set up and help hold the.cake together so It could be transported to its destination.

Part 1…the cake

Ingredients

  • 3 cups AP flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint oil
  • 8 oz. melted extra dark chocolate
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 8 tsp extra dark cocoa

Place a clean glass or stainless steal bowl over a pot of lightly boiling water to make a double boiler. Break the chocolate into small chunks and place into the bowl, stir until all the chocolate has melted. Set aside to let cool. While the chocolate is cooling, assemble the rest of the cake ingredients. In a large bowl, combine, flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cocoa and set aside. In another bowl, mix the oil, water, sour cream, vanilla extract, peppermint oil and eggs lightly until combined then slowly pour into the dry ingredients.  Mix until just combined by hand or with an electric mixer. Slowly mix in the melted chocolate. Divide batter evenly between 3 prepared 8″ cake  pans and bake in an oven preheated to 350 for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Because I used smaller pans and filled them to about half full, the cake took closer to an hour to bake for me. Remove from the oven to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then remove from the pans and let cool completely before icing.

Part 2….the Icing

Ingredients

  • 1lb unsalted butter (softened and room temperature)
  • 12 oz white chocolate chips
  • 1lb powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp food grade peppermint oil
  • 2 TBS corn syrup
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream

Use a double boiler or microwave to melt white chocolate chips and set aside to cool. Once the white chocolate has cooled but is still liquid, whip butter in a large bowl or stand mixer with whisk attachment on high speed until the butter turns pale yellow. Scrap down the sides of the bowl and add vanilla extract and peppermint oil and whisk on medium speed until flavoring is incorporated. With the mixer on low, slowly drizzle in the white chocolate and add the corn syrup*. Turn the mixer off and scrap down the sides. Add ⅓ of the powder sugar and turn the mixer on to low, mix until the powered sugar is thoroughly incorporated, turn off the mixer and scrap down the sides between each addition. Continue until all the powdered has been added. You should hear the motor of the mixer slow down. Now gradually start adding the heavy whipping cream. Your looking for a nice spreadable/pipable texture that’s not too loose. The icing should be airy but still hold a peak so you may not need all the cream.

Part 3….Assembly

Some assembly required. A springform pan and a sheet of clear vinyl hold the cake together during assembly.

 

  • large spoon or piping bag with large tip to apply icing
  • 1 cake pan
  • 1 cake board
  • a 10″ wide strip of acetate of clear vinyl.
  • clear tape
  • crushed candy canes
  • broken up pieces of peppermint bark

Cut the acetate of vinyl so that the length is equal to the circumference of the cake pan with 1″ overlap. The acetate/vinyl is what will allow you to build up the layers of the cake.  Level all three cakes, crumble the tops and set aside, you’ll use them to form the bottom layer of the cake.

Place the cake board at the bottom of the cake pan, then form a cylinder with the acetate/vinyl and place it into the cake pan, making sure that the cylinder is snug against the sides of the cake pan. Tape the top and bottom of the cylinder.

Spread a thin layer of icing on the cake board and pack the crumbled up cake into the bottom of the cake pan and top with a layer of buttercream. I find that its easier to use a piping bag for this rather than trying to spread with a spoon. Sprinkle the buttercream with crushed up candy canes and peppermint bark. Continue layering cake, buttercream and candy until get to the top layer. Frost the top layer and sprinkle with more candy canes and peppermint bark. Place a layer of plastic wrap over the top of the cylinder and place in the fridge to chill for at least 6 hours or overnight. This will allow the frosting to firm up which will help keep the cake together.

To serve, tip the cake onto its side and remove the cake pan, keeping a hand on the cake board so that it stays in place, turn the cake back up upright and place it onto a cake stand or plate. Cut the tape and remove the vinyl/acetate cylinder.

Enjoy….

* The corn syrup is necessary for texture and to help stabilize the frosting. Honey or agave will not substitute in this case because they’ll solidify and turn gritty when the cake is chilled.

Mmmm Donuts…

freshly decorated donuts and fritters

A few weeks back, I made peach fritters and teased that I will show you how to make the donuts that are actually the beginning of the fritter process. Raised donut are pretty easy to make and the ingredients are inexpensive. The process takes a few hours, but that’s mostly idle time waiting for the dough to rise and proof a few times. Donuts are also a fun way to get the young’ns in the kitchen to help and have fun decorating their own donut creation. So without further stalling, here is my recipe for Yeast Raised Donuts.

Yeast Donuts Recipe

Ingredients

2 packets instant yeast

4 cups All Purpose Flour

1 ½ cups whole milk

⅓ cup shortening

⅓ cup warm water

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp salt

¼ cup buttermilk powder

Instructions

In the bowl of a stand mixer, bloom the 2 packets of yeast in warm water and set aside.

yeast getting frothy.

While yeast is blooming, melt the shortening in the milk over low heat then set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, mix salt, flour and buttermilk powder.  The yeast should be frothy by now. slowly add the milk shortening mixture, beaten eggs to the yeast mixture.

Gradually add the flour and mixing with the paddle attachment until all the flour has been added. Switch to the dough hook and mix for about 5 minutes or until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. The dough will be quite sticky but that’s ok. Turn the dough out into a greased bowl and cover with a tea towel or grease cling wrap. Let the dough rise until its doubled in size. Pound it back down and let it rise a second time.

Once the dough has risen a second time, turn it out onto a floured work surface and knead the dough for about 5 minutes, adding bench flour if the dough starts to stick. Then roll the dough out to about ½” thick and cut to desired shape and fry at 350F until golden brown. Let drain and cool on a wire rack before decorating.

The decorating

For me, the fun part is the decorating and coming up with interesting taste combinations.

Basic Glaze

Classic donut glaze

2 cups powdered sugar

2 TBS melted butter

Pinch of salt

1 TSP Vanilla Extract

1/2 cup whole milk

In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar, butter salt and vanilla extract. Gradually add the milk until you have a fairly loose mixture. This glaze is good for fritters or for basic glazed donuts.

Chocolate Glaze

S’mores donut with easy chocolate glaze

its basically the same recipe as above with the addition of 4 TBS cocoa powder.

Chocolate and Coffee Glaze

chocolate and coffee donut with dark chocolate and coffee topping

2 cups powdered sugar

2 TBS melted butter

Pinch of salt

4 TBS Cold Brew Coffee

1/4 cup milk whole milk

4 TBS Cocoa Powder

In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar, butter, salt, cocoa and coffee. Gradually add the milk until you have a fairly loose mixture.

Maple Glaze

Maple glaze with crispy bacon

2 cups powdered sugar

2 TBS melted bacon grease

Pinch of salt

8 TBS premium maple syrup

1/2 cup whole milk

In a small bowl combine the powdered sugar, bacon grease, salt, and maple syrup. Gradually add the milk until you have a fairly loose mixture.

Or..

You could just keep it simple and toss the donuts in some powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar or plain ol’ white granulated sugar.

Bonus…

I made passionfruit curd and filled some of the donuts with it. Here’s how to make passionfruit (or any) curd:

6 Egg Yolks

3/4 cup granulated sugar

½ cup Passionfruit juice

3/4 stick chilled butter cut into cubes

In a heavy bottomed sauce pan combine egg yolks, sugar, passionfruit juice, in a heat bottomed sauce pan over low heat, stir constantly until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Run mixture through strainer to remove any large pieces. Then slowly stir in the butter until all the butter has been added and is melted. Cover curd directly with cling wrap to prevent a skin from forming and let cool in the fridge before using.

To use as donut filling, Put curd into a pastry bag fitted with the largest round tip you have. Insert the tip directly into the side of the donut and slowly but firmly squeeze the pastry bag. You should be able to feel the curd filling the donut.

 

 

 

 

Holiday Treats Part II-Sugar Cookies and more

Snowman Cookie

As I mentioned in a previous post, the thing I look forward to the most during the holidays is baking holiday treats. Here are a couple of my favorite cookie recipes, a simple kid friendly sugar cookie and a chocolate variation of the same sugar cookie. I’ve made a video to show you just how easy it is to prepare the sugar cookies. I’ve also included, my recipe for icing as well as some pictures to show you some examples of different ways you can decorate the cookies.

Chocolate Snowflakes copy
Chocolate Sugar Cookies
3 oz grated bittersweet chocolate
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups AP flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder

Put the butter and chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl. Heat on medium power for 2 minutes. Take out and stir half way through the cooking time. Remove from the microwave and stir with a whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated with the butter. Add the sugar, egg and vanilla and stir until blended. Slowly incorporate the flour, baking powder and salt. Turn out on a board or counter that’s been dusted with confectioner’s sugar. Knead dough until its blended and forms into a square. Wrap with waxed paper. Seal in a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375f. Divide dough in half and return the unused portion to the fridge. Roll dough out until its between 1/8″ and 1/4″. Then cut into whatever shape you’d like. Lay out on a parchment lined cookie sheet (or you can use a silicone baking mat). Bake 8 -10 minutes for softer cookies or 10-12 minutes for crispier cookies.

Icing
2 TBS Softened Butter
2 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
2 tsp milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 to 6 tsp light corn syrup
paste or powdered food coloring

With a hand mixer, soften the butter then add in the powdered sugar. Slowly add in the milk. Gradually add in the corn syrup. The amount of corn syrup will vary depending on the consistency of the icing you’re trying to achieve. The icing needs to be free flowing to flood the cookie surface, but not too loose or it will run off the sides. For piping and lettering it needs to be thicker but still able to flow through a #3 or 4 tip. This should make enough icing to ice 4 dozen 3″ cookies.

Here are some ideas for different ways you can decorate the cookies depending on the season.

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Wonton three ways…

Homemade wontons with pork filling

Homemade wontons with pork filling

Wonton Filling
6 oz ground pork
1 TBS grated ginger
3 scallions finely chopped
1 TBS soy sauce
1/2 tsp five-spice powder
1/2 cup finely chopped napa cabbage
1 tsp corn starch

Add the corn starch to the soy sauce and blend with a fork then set aside. In the bowl of a food processor combine all the ingredients except the soy sauce corn starch mixture. Pulse until all the ingredients are combined. Add the soy sauce and corn starch and pulse until its incorporated. Chill the filling in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Wonton wrappers are fairly easy to come by these days. Many grocery stores have them in their produce departments. Put about 1 tsp of filling in the center of the wont wrapper. Brush the edges with water and then fold. I bundle them up 6 at a time in wax paper and freeze them.

You can steam or boil them or fry them.

Fried Wonton with soy, chili and vinegar dipping sauce

Fried Wonton with soy, chili and vinegar dipping sauce

Fried Wonton with Dipping Sauce
I fry up a few of the freshly made wonton and serve them with a spicy dipping sauce

1/4 Rice Wine Vinegar
2 TBS Soy Sauce or Tamari
1 crushed clove of garlic
a dash of Sriracha or a 1/4 tsp of sambal oelek
a dash of chili oil
scallions and cilantro

Quick Wonton Soup

Quick Wonton Soup

Quick Wonton Soup
Serves 4

1 Quart Chicken or Vegetable broth
1 tsp chinese five spice powder
2 TBS Soy Sauce
2 Nickle sized coins of fresh ginger slightly crushed
2 Cloves Crushed Garlic
Scallions and cilantro for garnish

In a medium sized pot on medium heat, simmer the broth, soy, ginger, garlic and five spice together for about 10 minutes. Strain, out the garlic and ginger and raise the heat, bring the broth to a boil and add the frozen wonton. Cook until the wonton float. Serve in soup bowls and garnish with the scallions and cilantro.

Szechuan Wonton

Szechuan Style Wonton
1 TBS grated ginger
2 TBS finely minced garlic
4 scallions chopped
1 TBS Szechuan style chili bean paste
1 TBS Soy Sauce
1 minced serrono or thai chili
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 tsp Soy sauce
2 TBS Oil

In a small bowl add the chicken stock, soy sauce and corn starch together and mix with a fork until the corn starch is well incorporated and set aside. Heat a Wok or skillet on high heat and add oil. When oil starts to shimmer add the ginger, scallions and chilies. Be careful and do not stand too close to the stove. The steam coming up with be pungent and have a lot of the oil from the chilis in it. Stir the mixture constantly to keep from burning, add the garlic and chili paste and cook for about 2 minutes until the garlic is cooked through. Turn the heat down to medium and add the corn starch mixture. Add the wonton and let cook until the wonton are cooked through and the rawness is cooked out of the corn starch. Serve with rice.

Wonton
Defrost a bundle or two of the frozen wonton in the fridge for a few hours before making. Boil the wonton in water for about 5 minutes or until they float remove from water and drain thoroughly and set aside.