Menu Banner
  1. Wednesday, March 13

    Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie…Mmmmmm…

    I am LOVING all the great cast iron skillet recipe suggestions everyone is sharing on last week’s post. I am super excited to start using my cast iron skillet regularly! Many people mentioned making giant chocolate chip cookies in their skillet, so of course I had to give that a try ASAP. And the experiment was beyond successful.

    Here’s what I love most about making a giant skillet cookie: you only dirty one dish! All the mixing and baking happens right in the skillet. Oh, and I also love that it is DELICIOUS.

    I found the recipe on Tasty Kitchen, but if you have your own skillet cookie recipe or tips, please share! I want to perfect this delectable goodie!

    Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie...Mmmmmm...
     
    Adapted slightly from Tasty Kitchen
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 8 tablespoons butter
    • ½ cup sugar
    • ½ cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 egg
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    2. Melt butter in 8-inch cast iron skillet over low heat. When butter is melted, stir in sugars with a spatula until well mixed. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes.
    3. Stir in egg and vanilla with a fork. Mix well. (I was worried the pan and dough would be too hot for the egg, but they weren’t – no scrambled eggs to be seen!)
    4. Using the spatula, stir in baking soda and salt, then stir in flour until well mixed.
    5. Spread batter over surface of the skillet then sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the top. Fold chocolate chips into batter. By spreading the batter first you minimize chocolate chips hitting the pan and melting. It’s okay if a bit of this happens, but it does help to sprinkle the chocolate over the spread out dough and then mix the chips in.
    6. Bake for about 20 minutes, until edges and top start to brown and center is set. (Took my oven 22 minutes.)
    7. Best served warm and with ice cream!


  2. Friday, December 7

    {Biscotti Week} Cinnamon Sugar Biscotti

    Today we have the last yummy recipe for biscotti week!

    Cinnamon Sugar Biscotti. I must admit, when I walked into our little biscotti class last week and saw all the various biscotti flavors at hand, the cinnamon sugar variety was the one I was least attracted to. I don’t know, I just wasn’t expecting much.

    Well, low expectations served me well this time around because HOLY MOLY this biscotti was good. At first bite I was stunned at how much I loved it, and then proceeded to eat not one, not two, maybe not even three of these delectable goodies. Seriously, I’m not sure how many I ate. Best not to dwell on such things.

    I don’t really have much to add to this recipe. It’s from Joy the Baker (again) and she got it from Epicurious. And it’s fabulous. Enjoy!

    {Biscotti Week} Cinnamon Sugar Biscotti
     
    From Joy the Baker (originally from Epicurious)
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 1 egg
    • 1 egg yolk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • For Topping:
    • ¼ cup granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 beaten egg (for brushing biscotti before baking)
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and arrange two baking racks in the upper portion of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or silpat) and set aside.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
    3. Also whisk together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping and set aside.
    4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beat in the egg followed by the egg yolk. Beat in the vanilla extract.
    5. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter all at once. With the mixer or just with a spatula, bring all of the ingredients together until a somewhat stiff dough is formed.
    6. Divide the dough in two on the two baking sheets. Shape each half of dough into a 9-inch long and 1½-inch wide log. Brush with the beaten egg and sprinkle very generously with cinnamon sugar. Bake the two sheets on two different racks in the oven for 20 minutes. Rotate the cookie sheets for even baking and bake for 20-25 more minutes until golden and firm to the touch.
    7. Remove from the oven but keep the oven on. Let biscotti cool until able to handle. Using a serrated knife, cut logs into ½-inch wide diagonal slices. (Click here to see a diagram for how to cut biscotti.) Place biscotti cut side down on baking sheet and sprinkle with more cinnamon sugar. Bake again until pale golden, about 10-15 minutes.
    8. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.


  3. Thursday, December 6

    {Biscotti Week} Chocolate Candy Cane Biscotti

    Today I have another awesome biscotti recipe for you. I think this one was my favorite. Actually, the one I’ll share tomorrow might be my favorite. No, this one. No, that one. No, this one…obviously I can’t decide.

    This biscotti is so good because it tastes great but it’s completely, ridiculously adorable and perfect for the holidays.

    Chocolate Candy Cane Biscotti
     
    Barely adapted from Land O Lakes
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • ½ cup butter, softened
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
    • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
    • ⅔ cup finely crushed peppermint candy canes
    • ⅔ – 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (if it’s Christmastime, use the red and green chocolate chips that Nestle makes)
    • Dark chocolate for melting and dipping
    • more crushed candy canes (or you can by little candy cane pieces in the bakery section – it’s in a container like sprinkles come in)
    Instructions
    1. Heat oven to 350°F. Combine butter and sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add eggs; continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour and baking powder; continue beating until well mixed. Stir in crushed candy and chocolate chips.
    2. Divide dough into fourths on lightly floured surface with lightly floured hands. Shape each into 9×1½-inch logs. Place logs 3 inches apart onto lightly greased large cookie sheet.
    3. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until tops are cracked and ends just start to turn light brown. Remove from oven; reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Cool logs 10 minutes on cookie sheet.
    4. Jane note: this biscotti is kind of fragile, so handle with care, both at this point in the recipe and later when you dip them in chocolate. If you’re careful they will not break”¦and it’s worth it because they taste so darn good!
    5. Carefully remove logs to cutting surface. Cut into ½-inch slices with sharp serrated knife. (Click here to see a diagram showing how to cut biscotti.) Discard or eat ends (I recommend the eating option). Arrange pieces on same cookie sheet, cut-side down. Continue baking for 12 to 14 minutes, turning once, or until cookies are lightly browned and crisp on both sides. Remove to wire cooling rack; cool completely.
    6. Dip each biscotti half way into melted dark chocolate; shake off excess. Or dip the bottoms in so they are dipped lengthwise – click here for a picture. I prefer this way. Place onto waxed paper. Immediately sprinkle with little candy cane pieces. Let set at room temperature until chocolate is hardened (about 1 hour).


  4. Wednesday, November 14

    {Thanksgiving Prep} Caramel Apple Galette

    For the last week, I’ve been brainstorming a way to make a caramel apple pie. In theory, it sounds delicious. But Nate and I both agreed that in practice it might not work the way we envision it. I can’t put my finger on it. Maybe it would work and I’m just over thinking it! Regardless, all this caramel apple pie thinking inspired what I actually ended up making…a caramel apple galette! For some reason, in my brain the caramel just seemed to work better with a galette than in a pie.

    Yesterday I made this caramel apple galette and it came out great! Super yummy and I loved the caramel flavor paired with the apples (I know, big surprise). I also sprinkled a bit of coarse salt on top at the end. Salted caramel is always welcome in my world!

    I didn’t add the caramel until right after the galette came out of the oven. I wanted the caramel to be smooth and gooey, not burned or caramelized. This technique worked perfectly.

    I combined a few recipes and also simplified things by using a store-bought crust. Feel free to use your favorite homemade crust recipe if you like. For Thanksgiving cooking, I like to simplify wherever I can. In this case, a store-bought crust did the trick and tasted wonderful!

    {Thanksgiving Prep} Caramel Apple Galette
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert, Thanksgiving
    Ingredients
    • One 9-inch pie crust (homemade or store-bought from the refrigerated section at the store)
    • 3 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced about ¼”³ thick
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
    • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 3 pinches of salt
    • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar (i.e. sugar in the raw) – you can use regular sugar if you need to
    • 1 egg, whisked with a bit of water
    • Caramel ingredients:
    • ½ cup of granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons water
    • 2½ tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
    • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream, warm
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
    2. Place sliced apples in a large bowl. Toss with lemon juice. Add ⅓ cup granulated sugar, the cinnamon and salt and stir well.
    3. Lay rolled out 9-inch pie crust on cookie sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Make sure there aren’t any holes in the pie crust!
    4. Pile the applies in the middle, leaving about a 3 inches of crust around the edge. Fold edges of the dough up around the apples. Make sure not to break any holes in the dough and also make sure the dough wraps up and over the apples so there isn’t any leakage. Pour most of the sugary-lemon juice leftover in the apple bowl over the apples.
    5. Brush outside of crust edges with egg then sprinkle with coarse turbinado sugar. I sprinkled a bit of that sugar over the apples as well!
    6. Bake for about 40 minutes, until crust is dark brown. Remove from the oven and immediately pour caramel sauce (see directions below) over the apples, making sure to not spill over the edge of the galette. I poured most of the caramel from this recipe over the galette, with about ¼ cup or so left over.
    7. If desired, sprinkle galette with a bit of coarse salt.
    8. Caramel Instructions:
    9. While galette is baking, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Do not stir. Cook over medium-high heat until it starts to brown, swirling as it begins to brown to distribute the sugar. While the sugar and water are going at it, heat up the cream in a saucepan or microwave just until warm.
    10. Once sugar water is light brown, remove from the heat and add your room temperature butter. Whisk the butter in, being sure it’s totally combined. Add the warmed cream and whisk vigorously. (Watch out for steam when adding the butter and especially the cream.) Let sit until galette is done. Caramel should be pourable consistency.
    Notes
    A note on transferring to a serving platter:
    If you want to transfer the galette to a serving platter, as I’m sure you will, it is a 2 person, 3-4 spatula job. Four-year old Anna was my assistant with moving the galette and she did beautifully!


  5. Wednesday, September 5

    Crispy Crunch Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Okay, so there’s a bakery-cafe called Le Boulanger in my town that has these chocolate chip cookies filled with crisped rice. The cookies are darn good and have a great texture. You may recall last spring I was experimenting with crisped rice in cookies, but I wasn’t very happy with the result. I’m here today to proclaim that I have cracked the crispy code!

    When my sister-in-law was first telling me about the Milk Bar cookies and mentioned that they had cornflakes in them, I started asking all kinds of questions with the crisped rice cookies in mind. Sure enough, the cereal was baked in butter and sugar before being put in the dough. I couldn’t wait to get home and try making the corn flake crunch with crisped rice and trying them in cookies. I had a sneaking suspicion this was just the little trick I needed to get it right.

    I was right – it was just the trick I was looking for! My sister and I agree hands down that the crisped rice in these cookies has great texture, nothing like that first batch I tried. Also, I used my Perfect Cookie recipe instead of the NY Times cookie recipe, which also greatly helped with the outcome.

    The end result? A seriously awesome cookie that pretty much comes out perfectly every time. They’re chewy, they’re crispy, they’re buttery, they’re chocolatey…they’re pretty much heaven.

    You’re welcome.

    Crispy Crunch Chocolate Chip Cookies
     
    From Jane Maynard, This Week for Dinner
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature
    • 1 cup packed brown sugar
    • 6 tablespoons sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1½ teaspoons vanilla
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • ½ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 cup flour
    • 2¼ cups oats
    • 1½ cups crispy crunch
    • 1 package (10-12 oz) MINI semi-sweet chocolate chips (the mini chips help with distribution and texture)
    Instructions
    1. Cream butter and sugars at medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Add eggs and beat at medium-high speed for 5-7 minutes. Beat in vanilla, baking soda, and salt just until mixed. Add flour and mix at low speed until just blended. Stir in oats, crispy crunch and chocolate chips.
    2. Make cookie balls (appx 2 tablespoons in size) and arrange on a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. Pat cookies down flat-ish, cover with plastic wrap and freeze or refrigerated for at least one hour.
    3. Preheat oven to 350 F.
    4. Bake cookies ~14 minutes, rotating the pan at the 7 minute mark. Cookies should be brown on the edges and starting to brown in the center when you take them out. Let sit on pan a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack”¦or eating! They are good warm but these cookies are also excellent cold, which is saying a lot coming from the fresh-baked-warm-cookie addict that I am.
    5. Freeze or refrigerate remaining dough that doesn’t get cooked.


  6. Thursday, August 30

    Cornflake-Chocolate-Chip-Marshmallow Cookies (a.k.a. Milk Bar Cookies)

    Today we’re using the cornflake crunch!

    Our family calls these cookies the Milk Bar Cookies. When I was out in New Jersey this summer, my sister-in-law made them and it was love at first bite. Actually, more than love. Holy cow, people. SO GOOD.

    These cookies are unique and special and oh-so-yummy. The cornflake crunch is perfect in the cookie both flavor- and texture-wise and the marshmallows cook out to create great texture and a sweetness that nicely counterbalances the semi-salty flavor of the cornflakes. Plus there’s chocolate. Bingo.

    The recipe comes from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook I told you about yesterday. I borrowed the book from my sister-in-law and need to get my own copy stat. Any cookbook that has two pages devoted to explaining the cookie dough mixing process is a book that needs to be on my bookshelf!

    Cornflake-Chocolate-Chip-Marshmallow Cookies (a.k.a. Milk Bar Cookies)
     
    From Momofuku Milk Bar, with notes on my experience
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 16 tablespoons butter, softened at room temp
    • 1¼ cups granulated sugar
    • ⅔ cup firmly packed brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1½ cups flour
    • ½ teaspoon baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
    • 1¼ teaspoons salt (Jane note: I only did ½ teaspoon salt and I thought that was plenty, and I love salt)
    • 3 cups Cornflake Crunch
    • ⅔ cup mini chocolate chips (Jane note: mini chips distribute better; also, I did 1 cup of chocolate chips and wish I had done even more, like 1½ cups)
    • 1¼ cup mini marshmallows
    Instructions
    1. Combine butter and sugars in mixer with paddle attachment. Cream together on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl, add egg and vanilla and beat for 7-8 minutes on high. Scrape down sides of bowl.
    2. Reduce speed to low and add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until dough comes together, 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add cornflake crunch and chocolate chips and mix on low for 30-45 seconds, just until mixed. Stir in the marshmallows just until mixed.
    3. The original recipe calls for a 2¾-ounce scoop (or ⅓ cup) measure. I did do this, but I wish I had used my small scoop. The cookies spread out a lot and my oven cooks so unevenly that I think a smaller cookie would have cooked more evenly. ANYWAY”¦back to the recipe!
    4. Portion out the dough onto parchment- or wax paper-lined cookie sheet. Press down the domes to flatten, cover in plastic wrap and freeze for 1 hour or up to 1 week. Do not bake from room temperature or they will spread too much when cooking. Once they were frozen, I moved them to a ziploc bag to store in the fridge/freezer.
    5. Preheat oven to 375. (Jane note: I cooked them at 350)
    6. Arrange dough a minimum of 4 inches apart if using the large scoop (cookies spread a lot) on parchment- or Silpat-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 18 minutes. Rotate pan halfway through. Cookies should be brown on edges and starting to brown in the center when you take them out of the oven.
    7. Cool completely on the cookie sheet then eat or store in an airtight container. Will store for 5 days or up to 1 month in the freezer.

     


  7. Tuesday, August 28

    Getting Back Into the Morning Rush Groove

    It’s our last week of summer. We are living it up as much as we can this week before we get back into the school routine. That said, I think everyone in the family is excited for a new school year, especially our little Anna who cannot WAIT to wear her new school clothes.

    There is one thing I am NOT looking forward to, however. Waking up in the morning. We are a family of sleepers. Nate and I both love to sleep, and our kids have inherited the gene. If we don’t wake the girls up in the morning, they routinely sleep until 8:30 or 9:00. It’s AWESOME. When you don’t have to go anywhere, that is. I am not looking forward to a school start time of 8:05.  I just don’t know how we’re going to do it!

    Between the tattoos and the sneer, I think Anna may be turning into a pirate. And, as you can see, our family can even sleep when eating. We are THAT good at sleeping.

    I’m trying to get my brain into morning routine mode. Planning out how I’m going to feed a baby, make lunches, get kids dressed and brushed along with feeding everyone breakfast sort of stresses me out. I always have the best of intentions with breakfast, but I often end up just grabbing a box of cereal. Nate, however, is great at pulling together nice, nutritious morning meals for the kids. He is especially good at omelettes and is the best smoothie maker this side of the Mississippi.

    Most recently Nate has been making “juicies,” which the girls really like and don’t require us to remember to freeze fruit ahead of time. We just grab whatever juice is in the fridge, whatever fruit is in the fruit bowl and hit blend.

    I’ve been working with Tropicana a bit recently. I appreciate their juice because it is made from fresh oranges and is 100% pure and natural. No added sugar especially makes me happy. The girls like to have a small cup of juice in the morning, but I wanted to come up with something a little more fun but still quick and easy for the start of school next week. Today we created Creamy Juicies!

    It’s basically a creamsicle in a cup, only healthier. And it was super fast to make. It’s definitely going on my morning routine repertoire!

    Those of you have have crazy mornings, how do you tackle it? Please share your best tips and strategies for tackling the morning routine. Strength in numbers, after all! Here’s to a not-too-stressful, not-too-much-yelling, everyone’s-teeth-get-brushed year of busy mornings!

    Creamy Juices
     
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Ingredients
    • 3 parts orange juice
    • 1 part milk
    • Small splash vanilla
    • A few handfuls of ice, to your liking
    Instructions
    1. Add juice, milk, vanilla then ice to your blender – blend! Add us much ice you like – less ice makes for a nice, cold drink. More ice makes for more of a slushy.

    This post was sponsored by Tropicana. Tropicana Pure Premium is 100% pure Florida orange juice. If you would like to connect with the folks at Tropicana, visit them at Facebook.com/Tropicana.

     


  8. Tuesday, July 3

    Homemade Creamsicles…and venturing into the world of making popsicles!

    One thing I’ve never made is homemade popsicles. I don’t have the molds. I’m not that into popsicles. And the girls have never asked to make them before. Hence, no homemade popsicles at the Maynard home! But I remember loving them as a kid and when I mentioned possibly making popsicles at home, Cate and Anna started cheering. Literally.

    Tropicana recently contacted me about writing a post incorporating orange juice with making something fun with my kids. Since we had already been contemplating making popsicles, Tropicana finally kicked me into gear! We went out and bought a really cool Zoku popsicle maker and were ready to go!

    My most favorite popsicles as a child were creamsicles. Whenever I take a bite of one, I’m instantly transported to my childhood home on Ensign Court, eating creamsicles on the front porch. I decided making homemade creamsicles would be a great way to use orange juice and make some new memories with my kids.

    We hit the store and picked up Tropicana’s Pure Premium orange juice, pulp free of course for the popsicles! Tropicana makes their juice with fresh oranges and it is 100% pure and natural, which makes me happy to use their product. We grabbed whole milk, orange extract, and, of course, cream and headed home to mix and freeze!

    I found a recipe on a blog called Nourished Kitchen that looked promising. It’s simple to throw together, providing ample opportunity for the kids to pour, mix and stir. There is also a lot of down time while the orange juice simmers, so you can grab some books and read together while you occasionally stir the juice. All in all, it is a great recipe to make with the kids!

    And the final product was good! We had leftover filling (the original recipe made a TON), so I threw it in the ice cream maker with a pinch of xanthan gum. The ice cream was yummy, although it had sort of a dry taste to it. I think I might need to perfect a creamsicle-flavored ice cream based on the vanilla ice cream recipe we’ve had such great success with. Does that not sound completely heavenly?

    There was one major snafu with the popsicles, though. This filling did NOT work with the Zoku maker. Such a sad discovery! The pops were totally stuck, so don’t use the maker for this recipe! My friend Necia swears that they’ve had great success with the Zoku, so we’re just going to have to try some other recipes! Thankfully I have friends with regular popsicle molds who were able to save the day. My favorite molds were the ones from Ikea, they worked great!

    See those there creamsicles freezing nicely in the Zoku? Yeah, they’re never comin’ out. At least not without lots of hot water.

    I’ll be sure to report on more of our homemade popsicle ventures!

    Homemade Creamsicles
     
    From Nourished Kitchen, with my notes and quantities adjusted
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • 1 cup orange juice
    • 2½ tablespoons honey
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 1 cup cream
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • ½ teaspoon orange extract
    • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
    Instructions
    1. Simmer honey and orange juice over medium heat in a small saucepan until reduced by half – this will take 20-40 minutes. Just grab some books and read in the kitchen with your kids while you wait! Stir occasionally. Once it has reduced, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
    2. Whisk together egg yolks, cream, milk, orange extract and vanilla extract. Add orange juice mixture and whisk well.
    3. Pour mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until solid. Do not use a Zoku popsicle maker for this recipe – it will stick inside!
    4. Will make at around 8-10 popsicles.

    This post was sponsored by Tropicana. Tropicana Pure Premium is 100% pure Florida orange juice. If you would like to connect with the folks at Tropicana, visit them at Facebook.com/Tropicana.

     


  9. Tuesday, June 26

    Whoopie Pies!

    Nate loves whoopie pies. As a New Englander, it’s in his blood. I’ll be honest…the only “real” whoopie pie I had until about a year ago was in Amish country. And it was kind of gooey and not-so-great. Well, I could see other people maybe liking it, but it just wasn’t my thing. But Nate, he’s always talking about how good whoopie pies are, so I felt it was time to embrace the whoopie pie.

    For his birthday last week, I decided to make whoopie pies. He was happy about that and said I had to get his mom’s recipe. I called Pat and her very words were, “This recipe isn’t very good. I think you need to tweak it.” When I told her that Nate gushes about her whoopie pies, she just laughed. I was beginning to think that it really was just the nostalgia talking and that Nate was crazy…

    Holy cow people, these whoopie pies were GOOD. So good that I think I might make another batch. Tonight. Because they’re gone. And I’m sad about that. So is Nate. He keeps asking where they all went.

    New Englander or not, nostalgia or not, these whoopie pies are fab. Enjoy!

    Whoopie Pies!
     
    Perfect dessert for a party!
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert, Cookies
    Ingredients
    • For the cookie part of the whoopie:
    • 1 cup butter, softened at room temp (original recipe calls for shortening, fyi)
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 4 teaspoons baking powder
    • 2 cup sugar
    • 2 cup milk
    • 4 cup flour
    • 1 cup cocoa powder
    • ½ teaspoon salt
    • Cream Filling:
    • ⅓ cup evaporated milk
    • ½ cup butter, softened at room temp
    • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temp
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ½ cup sugar
    • 6-7 cups or so of powdered sugar
    Instructions
    1. Cream sugar and butter together. Add milk and eggs – mix well. Don’t be scared”¦the batter is going to look all lumpy and weird and you’re going to think you did something wrong. You didn’t.
    2. Add everything else and beat well. See, told you the batter would look normal eventually.
    3. Drop from teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. I used my medium scoop, which was about 2 tablespoons – so my whoopie pies were medium sized. Pat does mini cute tiny little whoopie pies. Choose your own adventure!
    4. I baked mine on a silpat. I also smoothed the dough balls out and pressed them down slightly before baking (with wet fingers to minimize sticking, but make sure you don’t drip water on the dough). I definitely recommend pressing them down a bit so they aren’t totally round after baking, they’ll sit on your serving plate easier.
    5. Bake at 425 degrees for 7-9 minutes, until they are firm to touch and toothpick comes out clean.
    6. So the ORIGINAL cream recipe is a shortening-based filling. I think shortening-based frostings taste nasty, so I evolved the original recipe using butter, cream cheese (to lend creaminess) and powdered sugar. Cream all of the ingredients together in a mixer with about 5 cups of the powdered sugar. Then, keep adding powdered sugar until the frosting is sturdy enough to hold up to being placed between two cookies but still relatively soft”¦I know, super helpful. You just don’t want the filling to be too soft or fluid or it will squeeze out of the sides of the cookie, but you also don’t want super duper crazy stiff filling.
    7. Place frosting in a large ziploc bag with the very tip of the corner trimmed off and pipe frosting onto a whoopie pie cookie, topping with a second cookie. You should have plenty of filling to fill all the whoopie pies.
    8. When making the medium-sized whoopie pies with the 2 tablespoon scoop, this recipe yielded 26 whoopie pies.
    9. (Original cream filling recipe, in case you want to go that route: ⅓ cup evaporated milk, ¾ cup white sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, ⅔ cup crisco, pinch salt – mix, let sit 15 minutes, beat until creamy.)

     


  10. Tuesday, June 12

    Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream…and a note about the freezing process

    It’s time, my friends. Time for homemade chocolate ice cream!

    I still can’t decide which I like better, the vanilla or the chocolate. They are seriously both amazing. I am a chocoholic, so that’s saying something about the vanilla. But, I don’t know, this chocolate ice cream is just soooo good. Creamy and chocolatey, it’s almost like eating chocolate mousse or pot de creme in frozen form. The ice cream is super rich and packs a chocolatey punch – don’t be fooled by that light brown color!

    When I wrote about the vanilla ice cream, I mentioned that I didn’t follow the Cook’s Illustrated instructions for freezing the ice cream after it’s churned and that everything still turned out fine. WELLL…when I made ice cream for a third time, I discovered why they have you do what they do and now I am going to do what they sway from now on! They have you freeze a metal pan and then pour the churned ice cream into the metal pan. You let it freeze in that pan for about an hour and then transfer to an air-tight container. Just seemed like extra steps to me…but…now I know better.

    The first time I made the ice cream, I put it directly into one of my glass bowls with a lid. Nothing went awry and I didn’t think much about the process. The second time I did in fact freeze a metal pan. I put the churned ice cream in that pan and then ended up just storing it in that pan with foil on top. We ate it so quickly we didn’t really need an air-tight container! 😉

    Well, the third time I made the ice cream, when the ice cream was done churning, I put it in one of my casserole dishes because all my glass containers with lids were dirty and I hadn’t frozen a metal pan. As soon as the ice cream hit the casserole dish, it started melting!!! Not good. I left the remainder of my ice cream in the ice cream maker and put the casserole dish in the freezer for 5 or 10 minutes, then transferred the remainder of the ice cream to the dish and that seemed to help. ANYWAY…I don’t know why I questioned their technique! It all makes sense to me now! I will never qustion Cook’s Illustrated again. 😉

    Without further ado, the recipe!

    Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream
     
    From the Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook
    Author:
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Serves: 1 quart
    Ingredients
    • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used semisweet the second time – it was still rich but a bit less rich, which some people might like. Cook’s Illustrated recommends using high-quality chocolate, which I also recommend. We used Scharffen Berger.)
    • 1½ cups whole milk
    • 1½ cups heavy cream
    • ¼ teaspoon salt (Jane addition, not part of original recipe)
    • ¾ cup sugar
    • 4 large egg yolks
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Instructions
    1. Place an 8 or 9 inch square metal pan in the freezer.
    2. Microwave chocolate at 50 percent power, stirring every minute, until melted completely. Set aside to cool.
    3. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl set over a larger bowl of ice water.
    4. Combine milk, cream, salt, and ½ cup of the sugar in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is steaming steadily and registers 175 degrees, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. (Jane note: mine wasn’t steaming all that much, I just took it off when it hit 175 degrees)
    5. While cream mixture heats, whisk egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar in bowl until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add melted chocolate and whisk until fully incorporated.
    6. Slowly whisk half of heated cream mixture into egg yolks mixture, ½ cup at a time. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and registers 180 degrees, 7 to 14 miutes. Immediately strain custard through fine-mesh strainer and let cool over bowl of ice water to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Stir in vanilla, then cover and refrigerate until custard registers 40 degrees, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.
    7. Transfer custard to ice cream machine and churn until mixture resembles thick soft serve ice cream, 25-30 minutes. Transfer to frozen pan and press plastic wrap on surface. Return to freezer until firm around edges, about 1 hour. Transfer to an airtight container, press firmly and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. Can be frozen up to 2 days. (Jane note: is also delicious even before it’s totally frozen!)