Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Lesson #187: Peppermint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

I was driving by Chick-fil-a last week and I saw an advertisement for their Peppermint Milk Shake. I had two thoughts: that sounds really yummy and I think that I've made a version of that ice cream last year. Of course, I had to get a milk shake for research purposes :)

I came home and found an ice cream recipe that I posted last year and modified it to add bits of milk chocolate throughout. That was a good idea! This is a cooked custard based ice cream with candy canes steeped into the custard. During the last few minutes of churning I added crushed candy canes and chopped milk chocolate. DELISH!

LESSON LEARNED: Don't add any food coloring to this ice cream. As it sits in the freezer, it becomes "pinkish".

Recipe for Peppermint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Monday, December 10, 2012

Lesson #186: Hot Buttered Soft Pretzels

Last week I had a crazing for one of those buttery, hot, soft pretzels you can get at the mall. Since I wasn't going to make a special trip to the mall, I decided to look around the internet to find a good soft pretzel recipe. I knew I could trust a source like King Arthur flour, so I went ahead and tried this recipe. The finished product tasted just as good (maybe even a little better!) and saved me a trip to the mall. Here's the finished product with some step-by-step photos along the way.

 First, add all the ingredients to the bottom of a mixing bowl.

Knead with the mixer or by hand until the dough looks smooth.

 Place the dough in a zip-lock bag.

 Let it rise until doubled.

Divide the dough into 8 sections.

 Roll each into a log and let sit for a few minutes.

 Stretch out the dough and twist into a pretzel shape.

Give the pretzels a two minute bath in a baking soda/water mixture. This is what helps them brown.

Sprinkle generously with salt before baking.

Bake until golden brown and brush with lots of butter while warm.

Wait a few minutes and enjoy! I took a break from grading papers and read a magazine!

LESSON LEARNED: These pretzels are best served warm. Especially straight from the oven

Recipe for Hot Buttered Soft Pretzels

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lesson #185: Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

The holidays are the perfect time to enjoy fudge. Not surprisingly, I like to make my own!

This sweet treat is ULTRA creamy and smooth with just the right balance of chocolate & peanut butter. I took some to share with my students this week. A few people remarked they could eat a whole container of this fudge. I replied, "Me too!  That's why I brought it to my classes!"

LESSON LEARNED: You need a candy thermometer for this recipe. If you don't cook the fudge to the right temperature, it will not set correctly.

Recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Monday, December 3, 2012

Lesson #184: Peppermint Crunch Puppy Chow

I've just started to think about holiday baking and this recipe was first on my list. I love the simplicity of this recipe. It requires no baking and takes about 10 minutes from start to finish. The hardest part of the recipe is crushing the candy canes or mints.

The recipe is only 4 ingredients: Chex cereal, white chocolate, candy canes/mints, powdered sugar. It requires a little melting, mixing, and shaking and -viola - you have a wonderful dessert!  

LESSON LEARNED: Package up little bags of this mix to give to your friends.

Recipe for Peppermint Crunch Puppy Chow

Friday, November 30, 2012

Lesson #183: Sweet Potato & Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream

This recipe is for a novelty ice cream. How many times have you tasted sweet potato ice cream? If you are like me, the answer is zero. At least until you try this recipe! :)

It really, truly does taste like sweet potato. That can either be a good or bad thing. The sweet potato ice cream base is flavored with cinnamon and molasses and the toasted marshmallows add a little extra sweetness & smokey flavor. I liked it enough to have a few spoonfuls of it, while my husband ate a few bowls of it. For him, the best part about this is the toasted marshmallows which are folded into the ice cream after it's churned.

LESSON LEARNED: Toast the mini marshmallows over a gas burner or use a kitchen torch. Work quickly - they melt fast!

Recipe for Sweet Potato and Toasted Marshmallow Ice Cream

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lesson #182: Chocolate Craving Cupcakes

So, I totally had a chocolate craving the other day. In addition, I checked out the new Thomas Keller Bouchon Bakery cookbook from the library. It was a deadly combination!

I've been experimenting with some of the recipes in the cookbook and I just happened to have all of the ingredients for this DELICIOUS cupcake. A more accurate description might be a devil's food cupcake with a chocolate chunk pastry cream icing.

I brought these cupcakes with me to a family Thanksgiving gathering last weekend. They were DEVOURED by the end of the night. That's a good sign that it's a winning recipe :)

LESSON LEARNED: Since this cookbook is written by professional pastry chefs, the ingredients are listed in grams. I wrote the recipe using these measurements - make sure you take the time to measure the ingredients with your digital kitchen scale.

Recipe for Chocolate Craving Cupcakes

Monday, November 26, 2012

Lesson #181: Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn

Whew! Between the craziness of the end of the semester (I'll be glad when I'm not teaching four classes on the same day) and the holidays, it's been hard to find time in the kitchen. Luckily, I've had a little time to experiment with a few new recipes.

As part of the Thanksgiving celebration I hosted, I made this pumpkin spice caramel corn recipe. It was pretty low stress since I used my favorite caramel corn recipe that I've made a dozen times and added pumpkin spice for flavor. I think it appeared more complicated than it actually was to make - just the way I like it!

LESSON LEARNED: You could transform this recipe by adding a teaspoon of your favorite spice to the recipe.

Recipe for Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn
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