Tag Archives: desserts

blackberry ice cream

Last summer, I made my first attempt at blackberry ice cream.  Homemade blackberry ice cream.  Lucky me…I just happened to have an ice cream maker that I’d received for a wedding gift several years back.  Of course, I’d never taken it out of the box, but that’s beside the point.  The first attempt at ice cream turned out well.  Unfortunately, I didn’t photograph it…therefore, I didn’t blog about it.  Truth be told, maybe that was a good thing.  Because it gave me something to do this Memorial Day weekend.  You know, gave me an excuse to make and eat some stinking good ice cream.

blackberry ice cream

Truth is, it wasn’t terribly hard to make. And remember, if I can make it, anyone can make it.

blackberry ice cream
ingredients:
2 pints fresh blackberries
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups half & half
1 cup sugar

5 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

equipment needs:
fine mesh strainer
ice cream maker

directions:
Add blackberries to medium saucepan, adding 1/4 cup sugar and juice of 1/2 lemon. Cover and cook over low heat for 20-25 minutes.
Drain using the fine mesh strainer, pressing the berries until as much juice as possible has been extracted. Set juice aside.

Next, heat half & half and the remaining 1 cup sugar in a separate sauce pan over low heat. Turn heat off once mixture is totally heated through.

In a separate bowl, add heavy cream. Set aside.

Beat egg yolks until yolks are pale yellow and slightly thick. Temper the yolks by drizzling 1 1/2 cups of half and half/sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Next, pour the egg/half & half mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the half & half mixture. Cook over low to medium-low heat until the mixture is thick. Stirring constantly. No really, keep stirring.

Drain the custard mix using the fine mesh strainer. Pour into the heavy cream. Stir to combine.
Add blackberry juice to the cream/custard mixture and stir well.

Chill mixture completely, then follow your ice cream maker instructions.

See, easy.
bberry diptych

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Blondies

It’s so rare that I sit behind my home computer anymore.  Honestly, these days with work the way it is (insane), the thought of getting back onto a computer sounds about as appealing as having my head shaved. Thus the reason I stay away. Kind of sad actually, because I was given this recipe almost exactly a month ago. I know, I’m pathetic.

I finally give you….

Blondies.

1 ½ c. (7 ½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
½ t. salt
12 T (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
¾ c. packed dark brown sugar
½ c. white sugar (a little shy of ½ c.)
2 large eggs
1 ½ t. vanilla extract
¾ c. semisweet chocolate chips
¾ c. white chocolate chips

Adjust oven rack to the middle position and preheat to 350 degrees.
Pan prep/trick for easy removal:
Spray 13 x 9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Fold two 16-inch pieces of parchment paper or foil lengthwise so that one piece measures 9 inches wide and the other measures 13 inches wide.
Lay one piece along the length of the pan then the other one across the width of the pan. Make sure to press the paper or foil down into the corners so they lie flat. What you are going for is to have the pieces criss-crossed with rather clean corners in the pan . . . but with extra length hanging over each side. The extra length makes “handles” to remove the blondies after cooking and cooling. Spray the sheets with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Whisk the melted butter and sugars together in a medium bowl until combined. Add the eggs (beat first) and vanilla and mix well.

Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture just until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX. Fold in the semisweet and white chocolate chips and nuts, if using.

Turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Use the spatula to gently pull the batter into the corners and try to get a uniform thickness.

Bake until the top is shiny and cracked and feels firm to the touch, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool the pan completely on a wire rack. Remove the blondies from the pan using the foil or parchment handles and transfer to a cutting board.

Use a large bread or serrated knife to cut into 20 or 24 bars and serve. Hint: To have clean edges, you can use the knife to trim all the way around the bars before cutting into squares.

*Okay, I have to admit, I didn’t follow this recipe exactly. I used bleached flour and light brown sugar because well, I had them on hand. However, even though they tasted fantastic, they weren’t as great as my friend Mark’s version.  So yeah, you might want to actually use the ingredients that the recipe calls for. 

*Ps. I wish I could say I didn’t eat one of those blondies in the photo. Well, actually, technically, I didn’t eat one.  Nope. I ate them all.

Happy Saturday everybody!

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My new toy and a recipe

before-after kitchen aid mixer

You may, or may not, have heard, but I kind of had a birthday last week.  {Shhhh…we don’t talk about age around these parts…} But gifts…we do talk about.  And that pretty little cobalt blue thing staring at you, well, that was one of my gifts.  I love it for so many reasons. 

It comes with the hope of being able to make some beautifully tasty desserts.  And it’s shiny. And pretty.  And blue. And I love it.

And I decided it had to be used, regardless of my kitchen skills.  So as I was reading Bon Appetit Hon the other day, I realized that she had shared the perfect recipe for my first mixer attempt. The recipe originated from 3 Baking Sheets to the Wind as it is one of her fondest food memories. Without going into deep detail, click over to both websites for great recipes and great fun. So oh yeah, the recipe looked pretty fool proof and it required minimal ingredients.  That alone was reason enough to make these little beauties.

So I did. And they were delicious.  Light, buttery, and rolled in confectioner’s sugar. Win-Win-Win.

russian tea cookies

If you’re up for giving your stand mixer a test run, take my advice and make these.

Oh and by the way, they’re called Russian Tea Cakes.

1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon almond extract
6 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
Combine the flour and 6 tablespoons of powdered sugar in a medium bowl and whisk until combined.
In the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and almond extract until smooth.  Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until fully combined.

Roll the dough into 1 inch balls and place them about 1 inch apart on the prepared sheets.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool completely before rolling them in the 1/3 cup powdered sugar.

Thanks to Wendi and Ali for making my first Kitchen Aid Mixer experience an incredible one!

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White Trash Wednesday – Oreo Truffles

Sometimes, no matter how white trashy, a recipe just sounds tasty. And this one, well, it sounds tasty. I admit it. I’m secure enough in my Alabama heritage to admit that I don’t exactly have a refined palate.

So when a recipe is called “Oreo Truffle”, you can bet your sweet hiney I’m gonna be a fan.

 

You’ll need:
1 Package crushed Oreo’s
8 oz cream cheese, softened
Chocolate (of any variety: milke chocolate, semi-sweet, white…)
Powdered Sugar

To make:
1. Mix crushed Oreo’s and cream cheese until blended
2. Refrigerate mixture for 2-3 hours
3. Meawhile, melt chocolate over low heat in a saucepan, stirring frequently
4. Shape into balls and quickly dip into the melted chocolate
5. Dip into sugar, top it off with crushed Oreo’s, drizzle with chocolate.
6. Freeze for 10-15 minutes until chocolate has set.

Enjoy.

Recipe adapted from Suzie’s Recipe Box.

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Halloween Bars

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Halloween is getting close and I’m doing all I can to get in the spirit. The 85 degree temperature isn’t helping much, so I’m forced to buy cheap decorations and treats to get me in the seasonal mood.

That’s okay because I really do love the cheap decorations and the throngs of candy bars sitting in a big plastic bowl on my kitchen counter. And sometimes I just enjoy baking those Halloween treats. So that’s exactly what I did. I found a recent Betty Crocker mini magazine and scooped a recipe straight from it. This one was for Halloween Goody Bars, but I’ll just call them Halloween Bars. Even if they were super good.

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Ingredients
1 1/2 cup quick cook oats
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup chopped pecans
1, 14oz., can sweetened condense milk
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tbsp butter, softened
3/4 cup Reese’s Pieces (or if you have the patience, orange and brown M&M’s)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13×9 in. pan with cooking spray
In a large bowl mix oats, flour, sugar, salt, and 1 cup butter with a spoon. Stir in pecans. Remove 1 cup, set aside to use later as the topping.
Press remaining mixture into pan.
In a saucepan, cook condensed milk, chocolate chips, and 2 tbsp butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate chips are melted and the mixture has turned into a smooth and creamy goodness.
Spread chocolate mix over crust.
Sprinkle with candies and reserved oat mixture, pressing oat mix into chocolate mixture.
Bake 23-25 minutes or until set.*
Cool completely- around 2+ hours. Cut into bars.

*Mine took over 35 minutes to cook completely, then again my oven is almost as old as I am.)

Ps. these bad boys are rich.  Enjoy with a giant glass of cold milk.
Pps. I have about 10 sitting downstairs. Feel free to stop by and take them away from me. Like I need a chocolate covered buttery oat and sugar bar. Yeap, just like I need a hole in my head.

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Magpies and taste tests

I might have mentioned that my friendship with Elaine grew out of a mutual love of baked goods. So it really should have come as no surprise when she told me we’d be taste testing cakes for her munchkin’s 1st birthday party.
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Now, I’m all for eating my face off. I love cakes. I love cupcakes. I love cookies. Hell, I love food in general, but a girl like me cannot afford to go blindly into a cake taste off. Elaine, and her skinny self, on the other hand, can. While she’s got guns from carrying around a baby all day, I don’t. So, while one of us can afford to indulge, the other one really just shouldn’t.

But I did.

Oh, I did alright.

And I loved every sugar filled second of it.

From the mini cupcakes from Magpies*
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to the slices of cake from (insert bakery name here).
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And then I walked back to Atlanta ate more. Chinese for dinner to be exact.  BBQ the next day. And I haven’t even talked about the fantastic brunch I had before the cake off extravaganza happened.  I’ll leave that for Thursday, when I’ve finally come down from my sugar high.

*And on a different note I wanted to highlight some of the cakes from Magpies.  Unlike one little bakery that shall remain nameless, Magpies was perfectly happy to let me take pictures of their goodies.  The sweet lady working even cleaned the cases that housed the cupcakes before I took pictures! And for that, I thank you Magpies.

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If you’re ever in Knoxville and are in need of a sugar fix, go to Magpies.  In all sincerity, they have some of the best icing I have ever tasted. (And I have tasted a lot in my day.)

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Sweeter in Tennessee

The past two weekends I’ve spent driving up to Tennessee. The first trip was to Nashville. This weekend was Knoxville.  And oddly enough, next weekend I’ll be heading up to Athens, GA for the Georgia / Tennessee game.  So I guess you could say it’s a bit of a Tennessee kind of month for me.

I’ve been lucky enough to spend these two weekends with two of my dearest friends.  And for the Knoxville trip, I finally met my friend, Elaine’s, soon to be 1 year old, Caroline.  
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I met Elaine several years ago and our friendship developed over a mutual love of food…cookies actually.
Henri’s shortbread cookies to be exact. 
When she lived in Atlanta, we’d grab lunch a few times a week…
going to the same place everytime…
eating the same sandwiches everytime…
and with about as little guilt possible, eating the same shortbread cookies everytime.

She hasn’t lived in Atlanta for quite a few years, but her love of those cookies remains strong. And that’s precisely why I knew I had to bring a few  dozen along with me as an early birthday gift.
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And we ate them.
For a snack, for a dessert treat, and, rumor has it, for breakfast too.

Somehow those cookies tasted just a little bit sweeter in Tennessee.
Thanks Elaine.

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