German Chocolate Cake

Happy happy birthday Nathan.

Begrudgingly I agreed to make the german chocolate cake he requested. For some reason I thought it would be complicated. Somewhere in my brain I thought I didn’t like german chocolate cake.

I think what I didn’t like was an overly sweet coconut layer. Or maybe somehow I thought german chocolate cake was something else. Who knows. I’m an odd duck sometimes.

German chocolate cake!

But you know what I do like? (warning this is going to get sappy) My husband.

We have been together for over 10 years and married for 8 of those. It has been tough. It has been really hard at times. There have been days I would have put him on the street for free. But I am so incredibly thankful for him.

German chocolate cake!

So here are 31 things I love about him (he turned 31 by the way):

1. His smile

2. I really like his smile when he is looking at me

3. He has this awesome ability to just swoop in a do the dishes. Unrequested.

4. When he comes home with beer in hand. Particularly when it is from Oakshire and has a koozie

5. When Little wakes up at night he handles it 95% of the time

6. Mad wok cooking abilities

7. The way my head fits on his shoulder when he hugs me

8. He’s a rockstar dad

9. I know he does things just because it makes me happy (vacuuming of late)

10. His sweet texts mid day

11. So supportive of my adventures and undertakings

12. Never complains about what’s for dinner

13. Appreciates all that I do for him and tells me as often as he remembers

14. Yard work.

15. Adores our kitties

16. Isn’t afraid to admit when he is wrong (most days)

17. He truly enjoys hanging out with Little

18. The man has a complete and utter lack of fear of failure.

19. He designed this gorgeous website

20. And maintains it for me

21. He will happily go out of his way to do things for his friends

22. It doesn’t bother him that I am a Duck football nut. He is right there with me.

23. Challah bread. He rocks it.

24. He will happily read to Little (swoon)

25. Genuinely wants to see me be happy and successful

26. He’s so darn flexible (unlike me)

27. Forever learning. If he isn’t learning he gets restless.

28. Total nerd. Shamelessly so.

29. Can put down cake or donuts or really anything sweet like it is going out of style

30. Juicing. He has introduced me to the wonderful world of juicing.

31. He loves me. Incredibly much.

German chocolate cake!

One year ago today: Chili Relleno Casserole

German Chocolate Cake (easily serves 12-16)
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

3 round chocolate cakes (I used this recipe bake for 30-40 min for 9 in round cakes)

For the Filling:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, toasted and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups unsweetened coconut, toasted

For the Rum Syrup:
2/3 cup water
½ cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons dark rum

For the Chocolate Icing:
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup heavy cream

Make the Filling: Stir together the heavy cream, sugar and egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Put the butter, salt, pecans and coconut in a large bowl and set aside. Heat the cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir) until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of a spoon (an instant-read thermometer will read 170 degrees F.). Pour the hot custard immediately into the pecan-coconut mixture and stir until the butter is melted. Cool completely to room temperature.

Make the Rum Syrup: In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the dark rum. Set aside until ready to use.

Make the Chocolate Icing: Place the chopped chocolate, corn syrup and butter in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just begins to boil. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute, then stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

Once the filling and icing are both cooled to room temperature, refrigerate for 1 hour.

Assemble the Cake: Set the first cake layer on a cake plate. Brush the top of the cake layer with the rum syrup. Spread 3/4 cup of the coconut filling over the cake layer, making sure to reach to the edges. Set another cake layer on top. Repeat, brushing the top of each cake layer with the rum syrup, then spreading 3/4 cup of the coconut filling over each layer, including the top. Ice the sides with the chocolate icing, then pipe a decorative border of chocolate icing around the top, encircling the coconut topping.

German chocolate cake!

Chocolate Eclairs

Ah Master Chef….

These were featured as a pressure test this past season and while many of the pressure tests might have made me sweat I would have won this one. Sorry, I don’t mean to brag, but seriously these are not hard at all.

Choux pastry is so terribly versatile and a breeze to make. I feel like I say this at least once a month but… while these may be a tad time consuming, they are very very easy to do.

Homemade Chocolate Eclairs

You do not need to have to piping skills to make these beauties. Mercifully they are covered in ganache so no one really cares what they look like. Besides I am more concerned about getting these in my mouth than if they are less than perfectly shaped. Also eclairs are one of those incredibly forgiving dessert.

The one technical part to these is filling them. I do have a filling tip for my pastry bag and that made it go so smoothly. Also I cheated a bit and made mini eclairs (about three bites) so getting the filling all the way through wasn’t that big of a challenge. If you make bigger eclairs I would encourage you to pipe the pastry cream in both ends and do so slowly. If you pay attention you can clearly tell where the filling is in your pastry.

Homemade Chocolate Eclairs

And the smugness factor is huge. Friends come over to play board games and you can serve up homemade eclairs. I like feeling smug when it comes to baking. But mostly I just love feeding my friends and family delicious food.

P.S. I didn’t just make eclairs on a whim. I made a batch to donate to the March of Dimes Signature Chefs dessert auction. It was an honor to participate. I support the March of Dimes and their goal of working towards a day when all babies are born healthy. To learn more visit www.marchofdimes.com/oregon/

Homemade Chocolate Eclairs

One year ago today: Rosemary lemon BBQ chicken

Chocolate eclairs (makes about 2 dozen small)
From Martha Stewart

Pate a Choux (Choux Pastry)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, plus 1 large egg white

Pastry Cream
6 large egg yolks
1 large egg
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Make the pate a choux- Bring butter, sugar, salt, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Using a wooden spoon, quickly stir in flour. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture pulls away from sides and a film forms on bottom of pan, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until slightly cooled, about 1 minute. Raise speed to medium; add whole eggs, 1 at a time, until a soft peak forms when batter is touched with your finger. If peak does not form, lightly beat remaining egg white, and mix it into batter a little at a time until it does.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.with a rack in the center. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip with pate a choux batter; pipe out oblong shapes, about 3 1/2 inches long and 1 inch wide, onto prepared baking sheets at 2-inch intervals. Transfer the sheet to the oven. Bake 10 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until golden brown, 20-25 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly. Raise heat back to 425 degrees and repeat process with remaining batch. If serving immediately, fill eclairs while still warm so they can take more cream; if filling at a later time, insert a skewer into one end, and move it around to expand opening for cream; set aside.

Make the pastry cream- In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks, egg, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Add cornstarch and flour; whisk until smooth and pale yellow. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine milk and remaining 3/4 cup sugar. Stir over medium-high heat until milk begins to steam. Whisking constantly, add half the hot milk to the egg-yolk mixture. Stir until smooth; add combined mixture back to remaining hot milk in the pan. Bring mixture to a boil, whisking rapidly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat, and stir in butter and vanilla. Strain through a fine sieve into a medium bowl. Place over ice bath and let stand, stirring frequently, until cool. Remove from ice bath, and press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto surface until ready to use. If not using immediately, refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Assembly and ganache- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a coupler and filling tip with pastry cream. Insert tip into one end of each eclair; fill. To make the glaze, heat cream in a small saucepan. Pour over chocolate in a small bowl. Let stand until chocolate is melted, stir until smooth. Dip top of each eclair into glaze; let excess drip off before turning over. Transfer to a wire rack to allow glaze to set.

Homemade Chocolate Eclairs

S’more Bars

I can’t believe summer is starting to wind down. It seems odd to be thinking that but Duck football kicks off in less than two weeks, some leaves are already starting to turn, we are closer to September than July, and while my garden is going for broke we are planning which winter crops to plant.

S'more bars- no bake and easy!

Somehow this summer I also feel like I have not roasted nearly enough marshmallows. These bars were my attempt to remedy the lack of s’mores in my life these past few months.

When I set out to find a recipe to make I didn’t realize the array of s’more bars out there. Some with a brownie base, some with a cookie base, even s’more cakes. I knew exactly the kind of bar I wanted though. You see, there is this lovely camp in southern Oregon I have been going to off and on my entire life. Literally my entire life. They make a bar almost identical to this to serve for an evening snack.

S'more bars- no bake and easy!

So how does this fit in to my view of eating healthy wholesome foods? It actually fits quite well because I believe in everything in moderation. Are these good for you? In no way shape or form but they are oh so very very good. And sometimes melted marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers are a necessity.

So here you go. Rice krispie treats meet s’more. Summer deliciousness in a bar.

Best part? Super portable. These made the trek to the zoo with us and help up beautifully.

Come on. Make them. Indulge with me.

S'more bars- no bake and easy!

One year ago today: Apple Crumb Bread

S’more bars (makes too many)
From Very Best Baking 

8 cups miniature marshmallows, divided
1/4 cup butter
1 3/4 cups (11.5-oz. pkg.) chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole graham crackers, broken into 1/2-inch pieces

Line 8-inch-square baking pan with parchment leaving an overhang on two sides. Butter the sides of the dish and the parchment. Heat 6 cups marshmallows, butter and salt in large, heavy-duty saucepan over medium- low heat, stirring frequently, for 5 to 10 minutes, until smooth. Remove from heat. Add 1 cup morsels; stir until melted. Working quickly, stir in graham cracker pieces, remaining 2 cups marshmallows and 3/4 cup morsels. Spread mixture into prepared baking pan with greased spatula or buttered hands, pressing down lightly. Cool for 2 hours or until set. Lift from pan; peel off parchment. Cut into squares with serrated knife.

S'more bars- no bake and easy!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

A little over a year ago I share with your the very best zucchini bread recipe.

An award winning recipe in fact. Just the local country fair but nonetheless award winning.

Chocolate zucchini bread- dense and brownie like!

In our attempt to power through all the zucchini that our garden is producing I have been making muffins but haven’t gotten around to making any bread yet this year. Then last week a friend on mine posted that she was making chocolate zucchini bread. Um. Yes please.

And wow. World changed.

This bread is somewhere between a brownie and zucchini bread. And as if the bread itself doesn’t pack an incredible chocolate punch it has chocolate chips for that extra umpf.

Chocolate zucchini bread- dense and brownie like!

I love bread recipes that make two loaves. I am not sure how we managed to not inhale both in an instant. One even managed to wait a day to be part of a delicious dinner delivery for a friend of mine with a new a little.

If you have any manner of self control please keep in mind this bread truly is best the next day.

But if you eat it all in the same day I wont judge. These things happen. I get it. We can still be friends.

Chocolate zucchini bread- dense and brownie like!

One year ago today: Lemon Dream Bars

Chocolate Zucchini Bread (makes two loaves)
From All Recipes

2 (1 ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups grated zucchini
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans and line with parchment. In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave chocolate until melted. Stir occasionally until chocolate is smooth. In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil, grated zucchini, vanilla and chocolate; beat well. Stir in the flour baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Chocolate Cupcakes with a Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

This is my last recipe in the “how to use up leftover jam” installment. I promise. 

I have a thing for frosting and always have. One of my favorite parts of being an adult is that I can make and eat frosting without anyone knowing about it. I have frosted many a cake first thing in the morning only to hit SUCH a sugar high before 9 am. It is lovely.

However, it seems that there are many people out there that don’t care much for frosting. I think it is because there is so much overly sweet frosting out there. Don’t get me wrong, I love that sickeningly sweet frosting but I think it is the frosting that gives the rest of them a bad rap.

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

I first made this frosting last year for a wedding shower. Be still my heart.

Helloooooo lovely. Where have you been my whole life?

This frosting is perfect. Slightly sweet. Huge strawberry flavor. Incredible texture. It wins over person after person who claims to be a frosting hater. Seriously. Trust me on this.

It is a bit of work to make this frosting. It is a tad technical too. You know what? I believe in you. You can make this. Is it as easy as powdered sugar and butter? No. But it is worth every step of effort, every dirty spatula, every bowl you have to wash.

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

If for some reason your frosting breaks/separates (mine did twice) just turn your mixer on medium high, set a timer for 3 minutes, take a deep breath, and then walk away. Both times my frosting broke (second time is above) I did that and both times it came back together. See?

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

And it is delicious paired with chocolate. This isn’t my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe to make but it is vegan and I had a dairy free guest I was cooking for (she had hers sans frosting). Besides you need a simple, easy, no fuss, comes together in a flash cake to make up for how much work the frosting is.

You know where else this frosting shines? In chocolate macaroons. I was so pleased to see I had enough frosting left over to fill a batch of macaroons. I was less pleased my macaroons were hollow. Thankfully they tasted delicious despite their flaws.

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

My favorite way to eat it? With a spoon. Yes there is a tiny bit still left int he fridge and I have been slowly eating it bite by bite. I don’t feel the least bit guilty.

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

One year ago today: Homemade Ricotta

Chocolate Cupcakes with a Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream (makes 2 dozen cupcakes and enough frosting to frost them plus a little extra)
Cupcakes from the Wycliffe Cookbook, frosting from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

For the cupcakes:
2 2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoon vinegar
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups cold water

In a large mixing bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt. In a separate bowl mix all the wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. Fill lined cupcake pans 1/2 full with the batter. Bake at 350°F. oven for 17-19  minutes, or until it springs back when touched lightly.

For the frosting:
4 large egg whites
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) strawberry jam, pureed in a food processor

In a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is warm to the touch (about 160 degrees). You can tell the sugar is dissolved my pinching some of the mixture between two fingers and rubbing- gritty and it isn’t done, smooth and you are set for the next step.

Pour the mixture into the bowl of your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg-white mixture on high speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks. Continue beating until the mixture is fluffy and cooled, about 6 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment. With mixer on medium-low speed, add butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. (If frosting appears to separate after all the butter has been added, beat on medium-high speed until smooth again, 3 to 5 minutes more.) Beat in vanilla. Beat on lowest speed to eliminate any air bubbles, about 2 minutes. Stir in strawberry jam with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth. If after adding the jam the frosting breaks (mine did) simply mix on medium high for 2-4 minutes or until smooth.

Chocolate cupcakes (vegan) with an out of this world strawberry buttercream frosting

One Year Anniversary Party

I meant to post on Friday but see there was this party and I was kinda busy…

Then I meant to post something Saturday morning but was terribly busy….

So I am sorry. But not really. Because it was totally worth it to miss getting a post up.

Thank you all so very very much who came. Thank you for the lovely kind words from those of you who didn’t make it. What a fun fun day.

The party went off without a hitch. There were hardly any leftovers and yet I think everyone got to try everything they wanted. I could not have been more perfect.

So here are a collection of pictures from right before everyone showed up. I intended to take pictures during but set my camera down as the first guest appeared and didn’t pick it back up.

IMG_8587

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

One year anniversary party!

Those beautiful cards with the names of the dishes? Yeah I am not that crafty. I was blessed to have the talented Jayma Malme visit me and so generously make them. She is amazing. Go check out her blog. I am in awe.

Let’s do this again next year!

Ps. Want the recipes? Here is the cookbook! Enjoy!

Fudge date balls

I love chocolate. Some may say I have a chocolate problem. I don’t think it is a problem as I have no issue with it.

If pressed I wouldn’t say I have sweet tooth. I have a weakness for chocolate, and apparently snickerdoodle cookies, but otherwise I can take or leave candy.

When I worked outside the home and had an office I had a designated drawer in my desk just for chocolate. At any given point in time I had at least 4 different kinds of chocolate but more often than not I had 10-15. You read that right. Ten to fifteen chocolate bars.  Mid-afternoon I would paw through the drawer to find just a bite or two of the chocolate that would fit my mood that day.

Once I became a stay at home mama I transferred all that chocolate to a cabinet in the kitchen (my new office). Little quickly learned when I snuck off to the kitchen around 3 in the afternoon that it was chocolate time. I have given him tastes of chocolate from very early on. And only good chocolate mind you. None of this Hershey’s crap.

 Fudge date balls- they taste like chocolate truffles but are sugar free and good for you!

The child is a chocolate fiend. What can I say? He takes after his mama. Like his mama though he doesn’t eat much at a time. This probably has to do more with his access to said chocolate rather than his self control. Just sayin.

One of my dear friends made this last week for a playdate we attended. Holy cow a bite of chocolate without a lick of sugar? Yes we can have the conversation of not eating too much dried fruit and that dried fruit has lots of sugar but I don’t care. At the end of the day it is still just fruit. And it is stupid good.

So here you go. My new obsession- chocolate I don’t feel the least bit bad about eating or feeding to the little.

Two things. First let these set in the fridge for a bit. I dare you to bite in to a cold one and compare it to a real chocolate truffle. So stinking close in flavor and texture. Second double the batch. Or triple it. There are never enough.

Fudge date balls- they taste like chocolate truffles but are sugar free and good for you!

Fudge Date Balls (makes 6)
adapted from The Happy Raw Kitchen

8 pitted  dates
1  tablespoon cocoa powder, or carob
1  tablespoon hulled hemp seeds (any nut or seed really will do)
1  teaspoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon dried coconut (not sweetened)

For decoration:
1-2 tablespoons hemp seeds or coconut for rolling

Process the ingredients ingredients in food processor until mixture starts sticking together. Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in extra hemp seeds or coconut. Balls can be refrigerated about 1 hour to firm up (DO THIS). These are very soft and chewy if eaten right away.

Fudge date balls- they taste like chocolate truffles but are sugar free and good for you!

Flourless chocolate cake

There are some days that nothing will help except for a big dose of chocolate.

Flourless chocolate cake

In this case it was both cocoa powder and what was left of my Pound Plus belgium chocolate bar.

Are you a dark chocolate person? We can still be friends if you aren’t but I’m in the darker the better camp. Also will you scream sacrilege if I tell you I think I like this better than brownies? Brownies have their place but this cake is a dense chocolate hug while not being super sweet (as brownies can often be).

Flourless chocolate cake

Chocolate delivered perfectly. Just my not so humble opinion.

This is my second foray in to gluten free baking. If all recipes are as easy as this one and the peanut butter cookie recipe this is a cause I could get behind. Both recipes have been dump, stir, bake, shove in face type of baking.

Not that I don’t appreciate 14 step ice cream cakes but there is something lovely about one bowl, one spoon, one tiny mess, less than 5 minutes, and done.

Flourless chocolate cake

Flourless Chocolate Cakes (serves 1 or if forced to share serves 8-10)
Adapted from Epicurious

4 ounces fine-quality dark chocolate (not unsweetened)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (I used Earth Balance to also make it dairy free)
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder plus additional for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375°F and butter an 8-inch round baking pan. Line bottom with a round of parchment paper. Chop chocolate into small pieces and place in a microwave safe bowl with the butter. Melt chocolate with butter in the microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until smooth. Whisk sugar into chocolate mixture. Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 25 minutes, or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes and invert onto a serving plate. Dust cake with additional cocoa powder if desired.

Flourless chocolate cake

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

Alright. Whatever. I clearly have an issue with food obsessions. Lately it has been Mexican food (refried beans, tortillas, enchiladas) and now biscotti.

First there was the plain hazelnut biscotti last week. It was perfect. But the only reason I made that recipe was because I didn’t have the chocolate chips to make this recipe. Oh my word chocolate hazelnut biscotti where have you been all my life?

 Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

The downside? I ate too many of these. The plain ones paired perfectly with a latte and were not as appealing to eat solo. These delicious nutty chocolate monsters however just seemed to find their way in to my hands and subsequently my face.

I just wish I had more hazelnuts lying around. Perhaps it is a good thing I am out and too cheap to pay out of season prices for more (yes I LOVE living in Oregon where we can just go gather hazelnuts out of our friends’ yards).

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

Make them at your own risk. You have been warned.

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti (makes 2 dozen + cookies)
from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, blend together flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, 1 cup chocolate chunks and hazelnuts until nuts and chocolate are pea sized. Using whisk attachment, beat eggs and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and foamy  and leaves a ribbon when drizzled back into the bowl (about 4 minutes). Replace whisk with paddle attachment, switch to low speed, and add the flour/cocoa mixture and mix till just combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir in gently.

Flour your work surface and turn the dough onto it. It will be pretty sticky at this point. Separate dough into three equal pieces. On parchment paper pat the dough into logs roughly 2 in x 18 in. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake 22-24 minutes, until firm to the touch. Transfer logs to wire rack and cool for 20 minutes. Once cool transfer logs to cutting board. With a sharp serrated knife, cut each log into 3/4-inch diagonal slices.

Place a wire rack on your baking sheet and arrange slices (cut side down) on the rack. Bake until biscotti are firm and dry, 15-20 minutes. Let biscotti cool completely (if you can). Store in an airtight container.

Chocolate Hazelnut Biscotti

Gift it. Lest you eat it all yourself.

 

Brownie Cookie and Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches

As promised here are the ice cream sandwich cookies.

Brownie Cookie and Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches

These were for a belated birthday desert. We are getting a bit more sleep around here these days (thanks Little!) so I honestly had no excuse for not making a cake. Although in my defense these were made amongst the madness that was making the tiramisu cake. We churned so much ice cream last week!

Trying to make ice cream sandwiches can be a bit of a messy business. I tried making them when the ice cream was still fairly soft and they didn’t hold together. I finally set a cookie in a custard cup, topped with ice cream, then added the last cookie on top. The cup helped hold the cookie upright so the ice cream could harden properly. Otherwise the top cookie just slid right off. What a stressful little mess it was.

Brownie Cookie and Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches

Second piece of advice I have to offer about these is to pull the sandwiches out of the freezer fifteen minutes before you intend on eating them. Letting them warm up ever so slightly will make eating them so much easier. The ice cream is soft enough straight out of the freezer but the cookie gets a bit hard.

I’m totally making more ice cream cookie come summer. These were awesome.

Brownie Cookie and Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches

Brownie Cookie and Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches (makes about 18 sandwiches)
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cooking School

1 vanilla bean
6 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp table salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups very cold heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup high quality strawberry jam (preferably homemade)1 recipe chocolate brownie cookies

Split vanilla beans lengthwise with a sharp paring knife. Gently scrape out all the seeds. Place vanilla-bean scrapings and pods in a medium saucepan with milk, cream, salt and half the sugar. Scald the mixture, cover, and remove from heat. Let steep for 30 minutes.

Combine egg yolks and the rest of the sugar and whisk together in a medium bowl. Return milk to stove, and bring just to a simmer. Using a measuring cup or ladle, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the hot-milk mixture into the egg-yolk mixture, whisking constantly until blended. Keep adding milk mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, until it has all been added. Whisk until combined.

Pour mixture back into saucepan, and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes and 170F. The custard should retain a line drawn across the back of the spoon with your finger.

Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Remove pan from heat and pour through a mesh sieve into a medium bowl set in the ice bath. Stir occasionally until cooled. (Discard vanilla-bean pod and strained seeds.) Cover bowl, and transfer to refrigerator until chilled, at least 30 minutes but overnight is best.

Pour custard into an ice-cream maker, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Churn until the ice cream is almost set. Add 1/2 cup of the jam and churn for a minute or two more. Transfer soft ice cream to an airtight plastic container and fold in the last 1/2 cup of jam. Freeze at least 4 hours and up to 1 week.

Brownie Cookie and Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches