Making Whoopie…Pies

My kids love to puruse lovely food photos in cookbooks and tell me which things they’d like to make.  While my husband and son were making plans to watch the superbowl, my daughter was checking out a baking activity for us ladies.  In the Whoopie Pie cookbook by Love Food (UK) she spied after dinner mint whoopee pies, and that was it. She even checked the cupboard and saw we had the ingredients.  Except one which she couldn’t reach.  So while we were baking the cookies and getting ready to make the frosting I realized we were out of mint extract.  Oops!  Hmmmm.  Here’s where it’s good to have a stocked pantry and the ability to make substitutions and create your own flavors.  Although my daughter was hoping for lemon extract.  I’m not a fan of lemon and chocolate.  Orange, yes.  Lemon, no.  Next she suggested coffee.  I was surprised by her choice, but chocolate and coffee is a perfect flavor pairing.

 

So we made After Game Mocha Whoopie Pies.  My kids not having too many whoopee pies in their lifetime were surprised by how soft the “cookies” were.  I had to explain this is more like cake and the cookies aren’t hard like an ice cream sandwich.  They understood better after seeing them assembled.  And yes, they scored a touchdown with the whole family.  These would be great for Valentine’s Day.  You could even shape the cakes into hearts.

Mocha Whoopie Pies

(this makes about 30 pies)

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

scant 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa

large pinch of salt

6 tablespoons butter, softened

generous 1/3 cup vegetable shortening

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 large egg, beaten

2/3 cup milk

 

Coffee Filling

1 1/4 cup cream cheese

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

2 1/2 teaspoon coffee extract

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugarm sifted plus extra for dusting

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Sift together the flour, baking soda, cocoa and salt.

Place butter, shortening and sugar in a large bowl and beat with electric mixer until fluffy.  Beat in egg followed by half the flour mixture and the milk.  Stir in the rest of the flour mixture until incorporated.

Pipe or spoon small mounds of batter on the cookie sheets, spaced about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.  Beake, one sheet at a time for 8 – 10 minutes until risen and just firm to the touch.  Cool for 5 minutes on pan, then carefully transfer with palate knife or spatula to a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the filling, place the cream cheese and butter in a bowl and beat together until well blended.  Beat in coffee extract and confectioner’s star until smooth.  Chill filling in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

To assemble carefully spoon the filling into a pastry bag fitted with a star nozzle or simply spread carefully on flat side of half the cakes.  Top the filling with a second cake and dust with confectioner’s sugar if desired.

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Hanukkah Chocolate Marshmallow Dreidels

Over the years my kids have been curious about many religions, beliefs and traditions.  My son was very infatuated with Judaism when he was about 6 years old.  We set up a menorah in our fireplace with candles and he wanted to play dreidel all the time.  I love that we can learn about and borrow stories and rituals from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.  No more so does this happen than with food.  We may not be Japanese but we certainly love our sushi.  I love to try new foods especially at the holidays.  With this being the first night of Hanukkah I was reflecting back on all the latke recipes I’ve made in the past.  (click to see recipes) There was the sweet potato butternut squash last year and the out of the garden pancake (green latke) a few years ago, and finally the traditional little latke that was part of my son’s religious exploration.

This year I thought we’d try something sweet and festive and I saw these adorable Marshmallow dreidels on Martha Stewart’s website.  These are fun and festive and would be a great addition to a cookie party of school gathering.  Of course we’ll be using the regular marshmallows as well as the vegan ones for my daughter.  Oy!  They happen to be kosher too.

Edible Hannukah Marshmallow Dreidels by Martha Stewart – video here

For an easy spin on the Hanukkah top, whip up these fun, kid-friendly treats. Marshmallows form the dreidels’ bodies, chocolate kisses serve as the tips, and pretzel sticks act as the knobs. A quick dip in melted chocolate provides a surface for piping white-chocolate Hebrew letters.12 chocolate kisses
8 ounces melted semisweet chocolate
12 marshmallows
12 thin pretzel sticks
2 ounces melted white chocolate
Dip bottom of chocolate kiss in melted semisweet chocolate. Press onto marshmallow; transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat to make 12 dreidels. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  1. Dip bottom of chocolate kiss in melted semisweet chocolate. Press onto marshmallow; transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat to make 12 dreidels. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  2.  Cut a small slit in bottom of each marshmallow; insert 1 thin pretzel stick. Dip dreidels in chocolate, and return to baking sheet. Refrigerate until set, about 15 minutes.
  3.  Fill a resealable plastic bag with melted white chocolate; cut a tiny opening in a corner, and pipe Hebrew letters onto 3 sides of each dreidel. Refrigerate at least 5 minutes or up to 8 hours before serving.

 

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Santa’s Favorite Cookies – White Chocolate Peppermint Meringues

 

I know I’ve written about cookies as currency.  But this year it is true at our house like no other time.  You see we’re doing some construction on our house.  So some days I’m baking cookies for the contractors to show my appreciation.  And some days I’m baking cookies for the neighbors to apologize for the contractors.
In between I’m making ginger molasses cookies for my friend’s cookie exchange (super fun and great way to get a variety of cookies) and sugar cookie cut-outs for my kids’ play dates.  While Baking I’m cranking the Christmas tunes for the spirit of it and to drown out the 12 banging contractors.  I thought we’d already been doing some serious baking however  my daughter asked this morning “Where are the cookies for Santa?”  I said, while gesturing to the boxes of homemade cookies, “Well any of the cookies could be for Santa”.  She indignantly replied that Santa’s favorite are the peppermint meringues and we have to give him those.  I kind of chuckled and thought well yes, they are one of “Santa’s” favorites.
Ever since I saw this recipe in the Sunset Magazine in 2011 these have been a household favorite.  They’re actually called White Christmas Dream Drops and were a first place winner from a reader in Tustin, CA.  But that doesn’t describe how chewy and light but packed with chocolate and peppermint flavor they are.  I brought some to a family gathering tonight and was asked for the recipe.  I couldn’t find the blog I had done when first discovering the Sunset issue so I figured I’d repeat myself.  I think I’ll be needing another batch anyways…for Santa of course.
White Christmas Dream Drops or White Chocolate Peppermint Meringues
  • 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar $
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips $
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp. coarsely crushed peppermint candies

Preparation

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 250°. Beat egg whites and cream of tartar in a deep bowl with a mixer, using whisk attachment if you have one, just until soft peaks form. Add vanilla and salt. With motor running and mixer on high speed, pour in 1 tbsp. sugar and beat 10 to 15 seconds, then repeat until all sugar has been added. Scrape inside of bowl and beat another 15 seconds. At this point, meringue should form straight peaks when beaters are lifted. Fold in chocolate chips and 1/3 cup candies with a flexible spatula.
  2. 2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, using a bit of meringue at corners as glue. Using a soup spoon, drop meringue in rounded 1-tbsp. portions slightly apart onto sheets, scraping off with another spoon. Sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tbsp. candies.
  3. 3. Bake until meringues feel dry and set when touched but are still pale, 30 to 35 minutes, switching pan positions halfway through. Turn off oven, open door, and let cookies stand about 10 minutes. Let cool on pans.
  4. Make ahead: Up to 2 days, stored airtight.
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Quinoa Cuisine – Book Review and Chocolate Zucchini Bread Recipe

My family is not new to eating quinoa, however I had no idea how diverse it really is.  We use it in pilafs, salads and frittata crusts.  But quinoa is a healthy ingredient not only in it’s whole stage, but as flakes and flours and with various colors and properties.  I received the Quinoa book by Jessica Harlan and Kelley Sparwasser.  Reading the introduction there is lots to learn.  For instance quinoa is not a grain, it’s actually in the goosefoot family related to beets, spinach, and chard.  Nutritionists refer to quinoa as a “pseudograin”, like buckwheat and amarynth because it has a similar nutritional profile to true gains and prepared in similar ways.

 

My family wanted to try the baked goods from the book, so I bought quinoa flakes and flour for my pantry (actually needs to be refrigerated ounce opened).  The first thing we made was the Rich Chocolate Zucchini Bread (see recipe below).  The quinoa flour is more grassy smelling and tasting, so it makes sense to pair the baked items with maybe more sugar or spice or chocolate than you’d (actually I’d) usually use.  I went with the recipe and was glad I didn’t cut back on any chocolate chips, after tasting the dough – which is not as yummy as other zucchini breads I’ve made with all purpose or wheat flours.  However once baked this was delicious and satisfied everyone’s palate.  (While combining these ingredients in photo, I wasn’t so sure).  This is also glutten free, so a great recipe to have on hand for potlucks or occassions where gluten free baking may be needed.  Unfortunately I cut the bread when it was still warm (yes, I was impatient) and it crumbled.  I wrapped the slices in plastic to hold their shape better and store, which worked well.

Next we made the Ginger Biscotti.  These too were delicious and wheat free too.  However I cheated and used half wheat flour and half quinoa.  Both because I wanted to try it (they suggest if not baking for a wheat free audience) and because I didn’t want to go to the store for more quinoa flour.  These are heavy on the ginger, so be prepared.  My son loves candied ginger and thuse these were a big hit as he shared them on a playdate.  They get very hard – a true biscotti.  So are best enjoyed dipped in coffee, tea or milk.  These are great for packaging and gift giving (prettier than my bread above) as they travel well.

Book Review

Overall:  I like this book and feel like it is a valuable resource for adding this healthy ingredient to more dishes for my family.  I look forward to trying some of the savory options such as the Tabouleh Salad, Bacon Wraped Dates, and Thai Summer Rolls.

Pros: I enjoyed learning about quinoa and all the various uses.  Also great to know for wheat and gluten free recipes for potlucks and gatherings.   Easy to identify icons for gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, freezes well, healthy choice, etc (yes, if you have my books I’m a sucker for icons).

Cons:  Wish there were photos.  Some recipes have more sugars and fats than I’d like to overcompensate for bitter quinoa flake or flours.  Some quinoa products may be more expensive and harder to find than traditional grains.

 

Rich Chocolate Zucchini Bread

You’d never know that this dense, fudgy bread is (sort of) healthy! It was inspired by a favorite recipe from Cooking Light magazine that I make every year in the late summer when zucchini are bountiful. But luckily, you don’t have to limit this bread to a summertime treat, since most supermarkets stock zucchini year-round.—JH

Serves 8 to 10 (Makes 1 Loaf)

Freezes Well, Gluten-Free, Healthy Choice, Vegetarian

 

⅔ cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons canola oil

3 large eggs

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 cups quinoa flour

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1½ cups shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)

 

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with butter, shortening, or cooking spray. Place the brown sugar, canola oil, and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat at low speed until well combined. Add the applesauce and mix on low speed until combined.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the quinoa flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add to the mixer bowl and beat, beginning at the lowest speed and gradually increasing speed, until the ingredients are smooth and well combined. Using a spoon or a rubber spatula, fold in the zucchini and the chocolate chips.

3. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the bread comes out with only a few crumbs clinging to it, about 1 hour. Let cool completely in the baking pan on a wire rack before removing and slicing.

 

Packaging Tips: To give it a professional look, bake this bread in a disposable paper baker (look for them in kitchenware or baking supply stores or online, such as at www.kingarthurflour.com). Or wrap it tightly in foodsafe cellophane or plastic wrap and tie with a ribbon. For a chocolate-lover’s gift, package the bread with a few packets of hot chocolate mix.

 

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I Left My Heart…

We started Valentine’s Day with something pink as requested by my daughter.  Luckily I had strawberries and blended a few with almond milk in the blender.  Voila!  Quick and tasty pink milk.

Later in the day I was stunned by what’s become school Valentine’s.  My kids and I sat down to go thru the Valentine’s one by one.  Many kids made cards and stuck a piece of candy on there.  But no apparently candy companies are trying to say the piece of candy is the actual Valentine – printing a “to” and “from” on the wrapper itself.  What?  I remember when Valentine’s day at school was about creating a beautitful “mailbox” (doilies, lace, pant, felt, show box) as well as the Valentine’s to go inside.  The only candy associated with Valentine’s was chocolates and candy hearts.  OK I know there are lots of preprinted Valentine’s with movie characters etc.  But at least there’s a bit of fun as the child picks his favorite and chooses which for each pal – writing a message and name.  But a piece of crappy candy?  No message, no creativity – but lots of chemicals.  My kids knew they weren’t eating any of this, especially when my son read the ingredients and realized he couldn’t pronounce anything.

My husband had offered to make Valentine’s dinner.  Which was so nice since it was a usual Tuesday with school and late evening Tae Kwon Do for my son.  We pleasantly came home to a grilled lamb dinner (my favorite) with roasted potatoes and salad.  He had champagne for us and sparkling cider for the kids – complete with a strawberry in each glass.  For dessert he got creative with grilled apples over vanilla bean ice cream and drizzled with honey and sea salt.  We were all impressed and full.

Instead of the school candy, I came home with a box of assorted chocolates from Chocolatier Blue.  My husband was on the same wavelength as he brought me my own stash of beautiful Socola chocolates.  These are delicious and real works of art and make me forget about the school candy.

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The Cupcake Caper

This time every year I am faced with lots of stress over cakes and cupcakes.  This year has been no exception and there’s only been one birthday so far.  You see the summer is full of birthdays in my family.  This year we added a preschool graduation into the mix too.  I’m not sure what got into me, but I thought I was going to make cake for my daughter’s graduation when I first signed up.  Until I was told there would be 150 cupcakes needed or two half sheet cakes.  Oops!

So I bought them at the suggested bakery near the school.  They are quite popular (and $$) and use fresh ingredients, but somehow I wasn’t impressed.  Though most of the 125+ people were happy and the cakes were eaten.  They were somehow bland and dense.  They were super cute though right?  And was I going to bake cake for that many people?  Nope.

 

However I spent two days (and more time and agony) perfecting 24 cupcakes for my daughter’s birthday party the following day.  Months ago my daughter picked out a cupcake photo she wanted me to make for her birthday.  It was an adorable cupcake decorated with sugar jewels out of our favorite cupcake cookbook (see previous review).  Turns out these are not so easy to find except for online and quite expensive ($1 per jewel).

Edible Diamonds

I went to CakeArt, an amazing cake decorating and baking supply store (they also have classes) in San Rafael for help on the jewels.  I thought if I can’t buy them, I can make them with molds.  Turns out they had a few “diamonds”, but the owner warned me they are made from isomalt and not good on many people’s stomache’s if eaten (and you know kids would try them).  Well, my daughter quickly understood this was not a good idea.  Luckily there were so many other lovely decorations she moved on and chose others.  This was still a few weeks before her party.

 

She still couldn’t decide on cupcake flavor.  One day she carried the cupcake book everywhere and reviewed it all during my son’s baseball game.  First she wanted lavender vanilla and I bought lavender.  Then it was strawberry milkshake, and I shopped for strawberry extract (couldn’t find).  It was too overwhelming that she could choose any flavor cupcake and frosting and mix and match with her chosen decoration.  Three days before she decided chocolate cake and vanilla buttercream frosting.  Hooray, I thought the hard part was over.

test batch

Since she had been so indecisive, yet so obsessive, I made a few test cupcakes for her reviewa few days before the party.  Then she says “Of course I’m going to like any of them…it’s a cupcake.”  Oh glad I wasn’t worried.  But glad I did the test.  I learned two valuable things from this recipe.  Do not spray with cooking oil as directed.  See above how the papers fall away?  And next, filling 1/2 to 2/3 full wasn’t enough.  I was also able to convince my daughter that the white frosting looked the best (her ideas of striped and colors were tried above).

test #2

Filling 3/4 cull and skipping the spray worked much better.

looking good and practicing my piping

Making the buttercream ahead for the test, I thought I’d just re-whip the next day when it was time to make a whole batch.  Well, this didn’t turn out so well.  The morning of the party, I frosted half of them and realized the butter cream was separating and kind of melting after a bit.  Yikes!

buttercream starting to separate

I quickly made another fresh batch of frosting and the second dozen looked far superior.  My daughter came in and said “Are these a diffrent kind?”  Having about one hour (still needing to shower and get dressed myself and pack the car with other food and ice chest) I scraped the frosting off the first dozen and refrosted them.  I felt much better.  O.K. first she was obsessed, and now I was.  As you can see, it all turned out fine…we made it to the party (at a gymnastics studio), everyone had fun, and the cupcakes were a hit.  Big kudos to the cupcake carrier too.  (Purchased at Target)  Great invention to protect your creations when on the go.

scraping off the melting frosting
fresh frosting fixed everything
the birthday girl adding the finishing touches
off to the party!
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Cheers to William and Katie

I remember watching Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding.  Mostly because it was on early, it was summer vacation, and it was my birthday (I’m not telling what year).  A royal wedding is certainly historical and my daughter and son have started asking about “real” princes and princesses.  So I’m taping the pomp and circumstance and we’ll watch a bit.

 

In the past few days I’ve seen a few articles speculating about Prince William’s special dessert, which will reportedly be served along with the wedding cake.  Who knows if this is true or not.  But it sounds yummy and easy, so I’ll be making one for the occassion tomorrow, and my own royal family can celebrate.  Here’s a recipe for the biscuit cake from New York City’s,  Tea and Sympathy.

 

Prince William’s Chocolate Crunch Cake

Tea & Sympathy’s Easy Recipe

Serves eight

Ingredients For the cake

1 box graham crackers

¼ c. raisins

¼ c. nuts, chopped

5 oz. dark chocolate

5 oz. milk chocolate

1 stick butter, room temp.

1 14-oz. can condensed milk

 

For the topping

5 oz. dark chocolate

1 tsp. milk

 

1. In a large metal bowl, crumble graham crackers into bite-size pieces. Add raisins and nuts.

2. In a saucepan, melt chocolates, butter, and milk. Stir frequently so chocolate doesn’t burn.

3. Add melted mixture to crackers and stir until dispersed.

4. Line an 11-by-7-inch pan with waxed paper. Pour mixture into pan; spread evenly.
Refrigerate for 2 hours.

5. For the topping, combine ingredients in a saucepan; stir until melted.

6. Remove cake from fridge and cover with topping. Cut into squares and serve.

 

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Happy Post V-Day with Pot de Creme

For Valentine’s Day my husband and kids and I had a romantic San Francisco style dinner of cracked crab, chowder, spinach salad and sourdough.  O.K. it was made by me at home and not romantic (but sweet).  No worries, as my husband and I will go out on the weekend. 

I did want to do something special and make my husband’s favorite dessert.  Not only is his favorite Chocolate Pot de Creme, but specifically one from Foreign Cinema Restaurant in SF.  So I couldn’t have been any luckier when I saw the recipe from Foreign Cinema’s Gayle Pirie and John Clark in the Sunday, January 30th edition of the San Francisco Chronicle.  I secretly found it, cut it and squirreled it away for Valentine’s. 

Everyone liked it, especially the kids.  Although the Foreign Cinema atmosphere, waitstaff and clean up was missing.  My daughter and I even made the Naomi’s Almond Wafer’s which accompanied the article and served it with a strawberry on top.  Which was my daughter’s suggestion.

Click here for the recipe if you want something creamy, rich and comforting to share with your Valentine and/or kids.  This was quite easy, although can be messy.  I was also glad I removed the ramekins from the hot water (just out of the oven) without kids in the kitchen as it could have been trouble.  I found I needed to cook them about 4 – 5 minutes longer than the 15 – 20 minutes, as they were all liquid.

removing from water
my sous chef making wafers
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Blondies vs Brownies…What Did Santa Prefer?

In thinking about this year’s Santa plate, my son decided that Santa would like brownies.  My daughter said she didn’t want to have dark chocolate (this is always a debate at our house).  I settled the score with making both brownies and blondies.  Nevermind that I had been baking gingerbread, sugar cookies, candy cane cookies, etc.  We needed to make more.

Luckily I also have a stack of cookbooks to review.  Two are really fun and I know I’ll be using them a lot throughout the year.  The first is Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy, Melt in Your Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich.  The second is Food Fest 365! : The Official Fun Food Holiday Cookbook by Yvan D. Lemoine. 

 

Chewy Gooey is great for those with a sweet tooth who need more ideas and inspiration (pictures are mouth watering).  I like that the cookies are divided by mouth feel and texture.  Each recipe even has a suggestion to make “upgrades” to create variations and new flavors.  There’s also a veriety of diets and allergies in mind with an index of dairy free, wheat free and low fat recipes.  I made the blondies from this book.  And yes, they were chewy and gooey – my daughter had her first blondie and it’s become a fast favorite.  Next time we make them we’ll try one of the updgrades.  But which one?  Nutmeg, cinnamon or peanut butter blondies?  Perhaps a tasting of all three.

Food Fest 365! is a bit different, but very fun.  It celebrates all the quirky food days established by politicians over the years.  Did you know March 16th is artichoke hearts day?  Of course I love the idea of celebrating the everyday.  The tough part about this book is the arrangement and order is by the calendar.  So if you’re menu planning, you’ll need to consult the index to find what you’re searching for.  Of course it’s also just fun to look up dates and see what food day it is.  For instance my birthday is Cheese Sacrifice Purchase Day (after the Mayans of course) with a recipe for Sundried Tomato Cheese.  I can see someone going through a la the movie Julie and Julia and blogging about making each day’s recipe.  You’ll find everything from Hot Toddy Day to Lobster Day to Angel Food Cake Day, with hundreds in between.  December 8th is where I found Chocolate Brownie Day.  My son was very pleased with the gooey, rich flavor and they were quick and easy, like a brownie should be.

So what did Santa like?  Well Santa (I believe) was so tired since one of the children at our house stayed up to try to see him (and made it to 2:30 a.m.), that he broke off an equal piece of each and then left crumbs on the fireplace. (Note.  Besides the blondies and brownies and milk for Santa, there were of course carrots for the reindeer.  Plus my daughter also made a beaded collar for Rudolph – see photo above)

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Happy Birthday to Me (with Mint Chip Ice Cream)

After becoming a parent your own birthdays are not as meaningful or exciting to you, but they are for your kids.  Even if the gifts they see you open aren’t toys like they’d hope for, they still look forward to the cake.  What’s a birthday without cake?  The cake was never as important to me, even as a kid, as the ice cream.  I do appreciate a good layer cake, and I must admit the Ghostly Good Cake was a tasty one.  However we have so many birthdays and desserts the month of July, I’m ready to make something different.  

Of course my husband always brings a cake home.  It’s usually a petit one (so we don’t have left-overs) for the candle and singing ritual from the local bakery or grocer, which is usually fine and tasty.  But I insist on making mint chip ice cream.  The kids protested when I said I was making ice cream and said “It’s your birthday, you can’t make it yourself”.  To which I replied “It’s my birthday and I want MY mint ice cream. Not one you buy in a store.” 

This is my favorite recipe for mint chip ice cream.  Note: it is more mint than chocolate and thus not chocoalte mint.  It’s not a crazy color green and doesn’t have mint extract, but the real mint from the garden.  It makes it like no one else’s.  Even the kids agree, once they’re reminded by the taste.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Recipe

(from Simply Recipes.com)

Ingredients

mint-chocolate-chip-1.jpg

  • 3 cups of fresh mint leaves (not stems), rinsed, drained, packed
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream (divided, 1 cup and 1 cup)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate or dark chocolate, chopped fine, keep in the freezer until used

Method

mint-chocolate-chip-4.jpg mint-chocolate-chip-5.jpg

1 Put the mint leaves in a heavy saucepan with the 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of the cream. Heat until just steaming (do not let boil), remove from heat, cover, and let stand for 30 minutes. Reheat the mixture until steaming, remove from heat and let stand for 15 more minutes.

cooling cream in ice bath
2 While the mint is infusing in step 1, prepare the remaining cream over an ice bath. Pour the remaining 1 cup of cream into a medium size metal bowl, set in ice water (with lots of ice) over a larger bowl. Set a mesh strainer on top of the bowls. Set aside.

mint-chocolate-chip-6.jpg
3 Strain the milk cream mixture into a separate bowl, pressing against the mint leaves with a rubber spatula in the sieve to get the most liquid out of them. Return the milk cream mixture to the saucepan. Add sugar and salt to the mixture. Heat until just steaming again, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat.

mint-chocolate-chip-7.jpg
4 Whisk the egg yolks in a medium sized bowl. Slowly pour the heated milk cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so that the egg yolks are tempered by the warm mixture, but not cooked by it. Scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

5 Return the saucepan to the stove, stirring the mixture constantly over medium heat with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spoon so that you can run your finger across the coating and have the coating not run. This can take about 10 minutes.

mint-chocolate-chip-8.jpg mint-chocolate-chip-9.jpg
The custard base does not coat the back of the spoon, it is not ready.

mint-chocolate-chip-10.jpg mint-chocolate-chip-11.jpg
The custard base coats the back of the spoon. You can run your finger across the coating and have it not run. It is ready and should be removed from heat immediately, and poured through the sieve over the ice bath to stop the cooking.

mint-chocolate-chip-12.jpg
6 Pour the custard through the strainer (from step 2) and stir into the cold cream to stop the cooking.

7 Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator (at least a couple of hours) or stir the mixture in the bowl placed over the ice bath until thoroughly chilled (20 minutes or so). Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

mint-chocolate-chip-13.jpg
8 Once the ice cream has been made in the ice cream maker it should be pretty soft. Gently fold in the finely chopped chocolate. Put in an airtight container and place in the freezer for at least an hour, preferably several hours. If it has been frozen for more than a day, you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften it before serving.

Makes 1 quart.

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